I just bought a Model 17, made in 1971. I paid a few pennies under $500.00 for it. I had checked "Gunbroker" and that seems about the going price for "shooters." I noticed yesterday the same dealership had another one on the rack for the same price. I don't know if the trigger had been worked on or if it just got nice over the years, but the trigger is something to write home to mom about.I'd be watching for a vintage S&W K-22. No idea what they are going for now as I haven't been looking lately. Definitely worth the wait though... you won't be disappointed.
I looked at a Taurus a few months ago. The S/A pull wasn't too bad, but the D/A felt like it was full of rocks. It might slick up in time, but I elected to go with a Ruger Bearcat instead.
Another option if you can find one is a Dan Wesson. I've got one and it is a GREAT revolver. If it has a downside, it's the fact that it's a BIG, HEAVY gun. It's about the size of an "L" frame Smith and Wesson. The upside is that you can change the barrel length and the entire grip quite easily. They shoot like a laser beam, at least mine does. They generally go for less than a Smith and Wesson, but that is changing as people start to catch on to them. They show up on Gunbroker from time to time.
You can get a good idea the size of the Dan Wesson, (left center) here. Smith and Wesson 17 at the top, Ruger Mk II below.