Thanks for the thoughts.
I am sort of torn. I can't do anything for about 3 weeks anyway, which probably means after Christmas anyway.
I like the S&W options, espcially with a shrouded hammer, for their ease of carry, weight and the fact that they, legally, circumvent the no chambered round law. I have the dies to reload them and a holster too.
They however, are expensive, only 5-shot, and a long way from me: like 6 hours round trip and another 10-15% of the budget in fuel!! (it cost me more to fill my tank the other day than it did to buy my little ill-fated Astra!!
I like the Mak because it is here (in my town), I've always had a soft spot for them (being the gun I cut my teeth on when endlessly training for the licence exam), and they carry 8 shots (albeit it not as potent as a 158gr SWC .38). They also have a safety, so if I did decide I wanted one in the chamber at some stage, or they change the law, I'd feel a bit better about it. However, I don't have a holster for it, so that would be an added expense...
If another Astra crops up: I'm going to jump on it, though!!
When the right to effective self-defence is denied, that right to self-defence which remains is essentially symbolic.
Freedom: Please enjoy responsibly.
Any idea that relies on murder for its survival in intrinsically weak.