You bet ! The 38 special is still a premier defense load, if you use modern hollowpoints for self defense. The 82 is a solid, no-nonsense revolver that is modeled on the old S&W model 64. Nothing wrong with the 82.
The model 82's are a good revolver, like said above a clone of the S&W model 64 series. A bit big and heavy to carried concealed, but a very good shooter. The S&W 64 trigger is better IMHO than the Taurus, There are some surplus 64's around , but even those can cost a bit more than a new 82. As far as 38 special being a popular caliber, not as much these days. But still one of my favorites in the + p variant loaded with a good bullet in my snubbies. For the price range of $260 to $300 you can't go wrong with a model 82.
The model 82 is one of 3 or 4 contenders on my radar right now too. I've already trained my mind not to worry about the new finish, as the gun would be a range queen. With all that's going on in my life, it's hard to justify the price of a new Smith or even a Ruger GP. When I look at the used Smiths I get pissed because they are simply asking too much for them (in my neck of the woods). Great for the seller that they hold their value, but it sucks for the buyer.
I have had amazing luck with all the Tauri that I've had since day one..... Ironically, my newest favorite gun is a Rossi 461, it's freaking amazing! The trigger is insane and it hits exactly where it's pointed, I mean exactly!
Shoot it as much as possible and don't worry about wear and tear.
Let us know what you decide and post pictures for the picture whores in the forum (not me of course) LOL! Ya ME!
I picked up a Model 82 about 5 years ago for $239 "used" police trade in. It was in like new condition. It has a very nice blue gloss finish on it, has a fantastic DA and SA trigger and has a great heft to it. Mine is the modern version with the fully shrouded ejector rod. For the price I think they are very good.