As for a CETME under $1K, you would probably have to go with CAI. But there are plenty of decent semi-auto rifles out there for under $1000. If you don't have your heart absolutely set on a CETME, I would look around at other options if I were you.
S&W has a deal right now, if you buy an AR-15 you get 5 free 30 round P-mags. I picked my M&P15 up for under $900 not too long ago.
Centerfire Systems has several AK variants for around $500. I would recommend getting a Bulgarian AK-74 or a Tantal if you're into the 5.45 round. Stay away from WASR's though.
Look around on Gunbroker or Gunsamerica, there is some good deals right now. All the people who bought piles of "assault rifles" for investment are mostly selling them cheap because the Obama scare is over and the economy is down.
Honestly I am looking for something with an 18+ in barrel, chambered in .308 Winchester (or comparable), with a detachable mag / aftermarket available 20+ round mags. Semi auto preferably, but open to anything. Really just looking for a new toy, and I don't have 400+ yards to shoot at so nothing too precision geared. 1-1.5" groups @ 100 yards are mildly acceptable to me for a rifle of this purpose.
I do not want a .223, otherwise I'd have gotten myself one of the new Ruger Ranch target models. Those are some excellent rifles but the .223 is not acceptable by my standards at all.
Any other suggestions? And thanks again everybody for your input!
I have owned bothe the FAL (clone) and the HK91 (clone)
My FAL was a I built it Franken-gun. It was accurate and it was very expensive to get parts and magazines for.
I liked shooting it too much!!!!!
I always wanted the HK91 for its ability to shrug off crud and remain accurate. It is not as accurate as the FAL but it is more durable and the magazines can be had for about 2-3 bucks each. That makes them nearly expendable and much more cost effective.
I also have extensive experience with AR type platforms (retired military) and would venture to say there is a lot of stuff you can do with a HK91 or HK 91 clone that you cannot do with any other battle rifle. It was the chosen rifle of the SEALS and some other high speed low drag operators for a number of years until the Pentagon shoved the AR platform down their throats for resupply and a host of other dumb reasons I will not go into here.