I eschewed the AR type rifles because when I served, they weren't well developed yet. So when I looked for a long gun that would serve as a main battle rifle, I bought a DSArms SA58 FAL carbine chambered in .308. I liked the idea of an adjustable gas system and the fact that it was called the "Right Arm of the Free World". It had hitting power, a track record, a standard caliber and easy parts availability.
That said, I longed for a Springfield M1A. Eventually I sold the FAL and bought a new Springfield Scout Squad model with a synthetic stock. The rifle was accurate, had light & comfortable recoil, was nice ergonomically and was an accurate and easy shooter. I would still have it, but economics forced me to sell it.
I currently have a 1943 Springfield Garand for my main battle rifle. It's most definitely about as old school as you can get. It's accurate and a pleasure to shoot. I have always liked the characteristics of the .30-06 round and this rifle shoots it well.
I dislike only having eight rounds. However, I find that it's the only negative when I compare it to the M1A. In fact, surplus .30-06 ammunition is cheaper than .308, so there is a bit of a financial savings.
The Garand is also considerably less expensive to purchase than the M1A. The savings will buy a lot of ammunition and other toys.
For closer in, I have a 1943 Inland M1 carbine. It is as reliable as they come.
You can buy both
the M1 Garand and an M1 carbine for less than the price of a new Springfield M1A. I also really enjoy having a piece of history in my hands.
I too do not care for all the tacticool goodies that get stuck on firearms these days.
I have a Mossberg 500 shotgun with an 18.5" barrel, factory Ghostring sights that I bought and installed myself and an elastic butt shell cuff. I keep it loaded and the buttcuff gives me five more rounds right to hand if ever necessary.
For plinking, I have a Ruger 10-22 with a Nikon Pro Staff scope. It's much more scope than the rifle really needs, but I had the scope laying around and so on it went. I really like the combination and have been quite spoiled by it.
For hand guns, I have a 1927 Sistema Colt .45acp, an FM Hi Power in 9mm, a S&W model 37 .38spl. Airweight and a Ruger GP160 .357 magnum. My wife has a S&W model 60 .357 magnum loaded with .38 HP's for a S.D. handgun.
I like .44 magnum, have owned several, but currently don't have one. I have bought and sold many guns, both rifles and handguns, but the ones I just wrote about are essentially my keepers.
I don't know if this will help you, but I hope it at least gives you food for thought.