When you start looking for an economical double action revolver you need to really look. There are a couple of makes and models that fit the economical standard it just depends on what your idea of economical is. We will look at the D/A revolvers from the highest economical to the lowest.
Here is the most expensive of the economical revolvers. To get the best value for the money you will need to focus on guns found in the used market. Take a look at the Speed 6 with a used cost from $250 and the Service 6 from $235. Look here for several photos of the different Ruger D/A's. Both are quality, dependable guns that you cannot go wrong with.
Taurus had a reputation of cheap for many years and older ones can be found at quite a discount. The quality of Taurus is nothing to sneeze at any longer. Imported from Brazil and now distributed through Taurus USA these guns have a unique feature... a lifetime warranty. That is lifetime of the gun not the owner. The way Taurus keeps costs down is by making all their own parts on on a lot of equipment made by Taurus Forge. For a while Taurus and Smith and Wesson were owned by the same company. For the best value look at the model 85. It is a .38 special pistol and available in several barrel lengths and in different configurations. A new model 85 will set you back about $375 and a thorough search will turn up a used example as low as $185.
Here is an American gun manufacturer that has been on a roller coaster ride. Founded in 1964, bankrupt by the 90's resurrected in 2000 and declaring bankruptcy again in 2005. An agreement with MKS supply kept the doors open with MKS handling marketing and distribution.Charter may not make the best finished revolvers but they have never been accused of being overly expensive either. Designed to use fewer internal parts and easier to make they have been able to keep the costs down. You can get a Charter .38 new for around $395 and used will be much less. What I personally like about Charter is the fact that they still make a small .44 special pistol. You can find a used .44 for around $250.
Quality and price leader
There are other economical D/A revolvers out there such those made by Rossi. But for a proven dependable and quality revolver you can search the used markets and find yourself a Smith and Wesson model 10. Made since 1899 and currently still in production they are not hard to find. They are found in a standard barrel and a heavy barrel. With a variety of barrel lengths and finishes you can find one that suits your liking. Smith and Wesson has been the leader in producing firearms with a quality fit and finish. No one can match the blue of an older Smith. The model 10 is a .38 Special gun and has been carried by police and military units over the world. Keep your eyes open and you can snag one of these gems on the used market for around $250.
Once again we have seen that, with a little patience, you CAN find an economical firearm to suit you budget.