You made a mistake in passing on the 38/44. I picked up mine in a local pawn shop (mostly a gun shop really) a few years ago for $305.00 and they had 3 more. I went back later to work a deal on another and they were all gone. Mine is a 1954 vintage 4" blue with decent finish and superb lockup. I loaded some Keith recipe hard cast SWC's for it over the proper dosage of 2400 and got 1.5 inch groups about .5 inches above point of aim at 25 yards over a sandbag. Those loads a quite hot. I have 50 left and keep them in a separate well marked box. Standard .38's shoot quite well also but not as well as the hot stuff. It is a keeper and one of my favorite pistols.
"A Liberal is someone who doesn't care what you do, as long as it's mandatory". - Charles Krauthammer