Re: sugestions on a 357 for my mom
If possible, make a trip to a range that rents out or find someone that has the models that you guys are looking at.
Another one to consider besides the LadySmith models (good revolvers BTW) would be an SP101 Ruger.
The SP is a little heavier than most of the snubby Smiths and will help tame the recoil a bit more than the steel-frame Smiths. It's much easier on the wrist than the Airweight or Scandium Smiths.
If weight vs recoil isn't as much of an issue, also check out the Ruger LCP. I don't have much experience with these yet so that's about all I can say about it.
As for the Taurus and Charter Arms revolvers...well, I like the older Taurus models but the more I see of the new ones they have terrible quality control and aren't near the firearm that they used to be 20years ago.
Same goes for Charter Arms...except I haven't seen a decent Charter built since the late 70s. that's about the time things got pretty lean for the company and I think they started cutting corners on already inexpensive guns. The new Charters aren't much better either.