Although I eventually want one of each, and I really want an AK variant, I think the M1 style action in an American made rifle would be great for a first auto-loader.
I want an M1 action too. I think mine will end up being a Garand, though. As a member of the RWVA, I get access to the CMP, which is the only organization in the US that can ship a firearm directly to your door. A Rack Grade M1A1 for about $500 all the way up to Correct Grade for $1100? Yes, please.