I feel for you JE, and I really hope I won't offend you by recommending that you MOVE. You will never get those rights back, while "staying and fighting" is commendable, you have to face political reality....California will NEVER be what it once was... as will New York, and others...
I moved from New York when I was 21 and it was the best thing I could have done for me and my family, Pistol moved from California to Colorado for the same reasons essentially, and would NEVER go back for the same reasons I would never live in NY. It is TRULY amazing how much freedom there still is in the "real" world of "flyover country,", truly a "Breath of Fresh Air" you can actually FEEL TOUCH and TASTE that you thought no longer existed.
But having said that, I would suggest you order a couple of M38 Mosin Nagant Cavalry Carbines before they go away. IT is Kalifornia legal because no bayonet, and it is what the M44 was based on, but the 38 is a lot more handier WITHOUT that bayonet.
The reason you need to order at least a couple, though, is virtually ALL M38s saw hard action in the war, as opposed to the M44s, many of which were virtually unfired. While I have NEVER found an M44 that did not shoot WELL, I had to go through about 8 M38s before I found one that shot as well as any M44...because the bores are never as good.
In fact most are "counterbored" to get rid of the damaged rifling at the muzzle, because they cleaned them (for some reason the Russians were taught to clean all rifles that way!) not very carefully through the muzzle.
The GOOD news is that you will not waste any money, and will probably MAKE money on them, and enjoy shooting them all until you find one that shoots well. Just buy two at a time, at your dealer price, shoot them, sell the one that shoots worse for more than you paid for it on the net or at a show (if they are still LEGAL in CA!), order two more, from either the same or a different jobber, and compare the THREE, sell the two worst, and so on until you are satisfied. And also along the way you will probably get at leaast one with an original M38 stock, so keep the stock for the one you will eventually keep, and have it "original," and sell the other ones with the "restocked" M44 stocks...(They quit making M38 stocks in 1944, so all M38s made after 44, as well as all that were arsenal refinished after the war were rebuilt with M44 stocks...most "collectors" prefer their M38s in M38 stocks, I know I do....
You will have fun, stay legal, and learn a lot about Mosin Nagants this way too!