They had a nice VEPR with a nice polymer furniture in .223 that I would have bought if I had $1200 on me at the time.
Seriously, feel your pain. I don't own a AR based rifle, and 7.62 x39 is not exactly cheap anymore either. Plus, I like to hunt varmints and the cheap ammo is drying up as you point out.
I was in a shop in Libby, MT last week. A guy was order as many primers (for reloading) as he could. 5,000 at a time!