You have a budget, you're pushing it to make $3K happen, and that's the bottom line. I have a number of clients who are on SS, so I get that, as well.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Raptor and 52" deck, if you can swing it. The larger deck will cut down the amount of hours on the machine. And, you get a 3-year warranty. It'd be nice to get into a larger chassis for the smoother riding, larger diameter tires and the longevity the heavier build bring, but, that's not an option. Talk to your Hustler dealer about demoing a Raptor 52" on your property. Then, go from there. I don't think you can go wrong with this machine. Again, you have a budget.
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