I'd look hard at BCM and PSA. AimSurplus also has some great deals (here's one
) on uppers when they're in stock. PKFirearms also has good deals on Daniel Defense uppers
, among others.
I think 1:8 is ideal. But finding a 1:8 upper that I like is pretty tough. I have one, a 16" BCM stainless steel middy. But it makes for a heavy upper and is strictly a range and varmint setup due to the SS barrel.
Also- I have a Hypertouch trigger. They're excellent!