About the only lever gun at that price point is the Brazilian 1892 clone (used to be Puma, or Rossi and I think now it's a Braztech or some such.
If you are shooting full power loads the '92 action has a good strong lockup. General word is that they function better in .44 magnum or .45 Colt than in .357. The .357s can be real finicky about feeding especially with .38 Special ammo.
Dick's Sporting Goods had some .44 Magnum '92s on sale last time I was in there.
If you can stretch your budget a little the Beretta Renegades are available on GunBroker and elsewhere at a closeout price of about $700 which is about half of MSRP. I think those are made in .357 and .45 only. The rifle is manufactured by Uberti and is a reproduction of the Winchester 1873. The older "toggle link" action is not as strong as the Browning-designed 1892 model but it is very smooth operating and looks great.