There's all kinds of used Smiths out there that can save you some money. I'd look there or the Ruger GP100. Those things are built like tanks. No problem shooting full house loads there. I've had a couple Taurus 357's and they didn't give me any trouble but I always seem to sell them off wanting to get something that makes me feel a little more comfortable. I just did find an old Smith Mod. 28-2 Hwy Patrol 4" that I am really man crushing on. What a shooter!
Like others have said if this is not a carry piece you might want to look at longer bbl weapons. This will also open up options like Ruger Blackhawks and Vaquero if you dig the cowboy thing or maybe a SP101[?] (though I'm not all that sure on longer bbl length with the latter). Shorter barrel means the sooner the round will tumble. I guess if you are always going to shoot up close and personal though it wont really matter. I like shooting out at 25+ yards so anything shorter than 4" for me just doesn't work all that well.
I got a friend that really likes the Charter Arms revos. They are pretty inexpensive, but I'm noty sold on the overall quality if it's a used a lot. Rossi makes some pretty good ones but I've seen several get a littl eloose on the lock up if they where used with the hotter 357 loads. They do well with the 38's though. But if all I was going to shoot was 38's I'd just get one of those.
At the end of the day I think I'd lean to the Smiths and Rugers. And yeah snubbys do look pretty cool but look at the right tool for the right job thing. The longer barrels make for bettter target shooters.