I don't think I could ever save for an entire year for just one gun! To me there aren't many things worth saving that much for. Even if it were a really nice unit, if I could get two or three of a cheaper gun that would always win out in the end for me.
If I did want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on one gun though, while it's not a rifle, it would be a Saiga 12 shotgun, converted to pistol grip configuration with a Russian solid polymer side folder stock, rifle sights, flash suppressor, and a bunch of mags.
If I had a year of "residual" funds to save for a rifle that was gonna be "the" rifle, I think I would also vote M1A...however you must be prepared to also put away ammuntion and at this time about the best thing going is Lithuanian 200rd battlepacks @ $100 a throw, theres stuff out there for less, good luck finding it. Its nice to have a couple thou banked away if your going to go with an M1A. I love my loaded model, on a good day I can tear one ragged hole in the 10ring at 100yds with open sights and 57 year old eyes.