Personally, I'd consider the Lincoln 130 amp welder. It's about $450. You can use gas/solid core. Lincoln/Miller make among the best wire-feed welders. There is a BIG difference between how the cheap welders weld and how the nicer ones weld. I know because I started on a cheapie and welded with one for years till one day I used a buddy's Miller. I was stunned at the difference. If you go to your local welding shop they will probably let you try out a demo model. The best thing is if you ever need parts you can always get them immediately for a Lincoln/Miller. And I know two guys that had problems with their welders that had to jump through a lot of hoops to get fixed. Something to consider.
BTW, a lot of local welding supply shops can be just as competitive as mail order outfits. Generally if you buy locally they take care of you down the road. Good luck,