How about a 22/250 Savage Edge or whatever the new name is..you could get a brand new one with a scope for $300.. they also make it in .223 but I'd just settle for the 22/250..it'll do anything th other will do and more..
My uncle bought his son a new savage Axis(edge) in 308 win he said the gun is great not prettiest but it's a tack driver.I do realize your looking for a 223 just some added info and a gun in your price range
IF YOU COMPARE DECENT AMMO AND COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES 22-250 AMMO AND 223 ARE QUITE SIMILAR IN PRICE. IF YOU BUY ABSOLUTE JUNK 223 YOU CAN BUY IT REAL CHEAP. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS 22-250 IS NOT MADE IN JUNK AMMO. JUST MY OPPINION AND WE ALL KNOW OPPINIONS ARE LIKE OTHER THINGS, WE ALL HAVE THEM