Given that Catalina very likely followed the scantlings from S&S, the 38 should be one of their stronger boats.
Nothing wrong with old "IOR boats", except that for cruising it's better not to put up too much sail off the wind in big air -- they will not plane.
But then neither will any displacement hull, like the slow Catalina 30.
Most boats will take a lot of helm supervision with a chute up in big air; it's just worse in boats with lots of pinching of the stern sections. (You would not expect to gain much except drama if you put a chute in 25 kts on a double ender, either...)
If you refer to the old Hunter 30's from the 70's, they were OK boats, but built to a minimum standard. I would put them below Catalina on the quality scale, but after all these decades condition and upgrading is more important than label.
Unless you are restricted to buying something really cheap or just love
the Hunters and Catalinas, why not expand your search parameters a bit to better built and better sailing boats like the Cals and Ericsons? Don't rule out the S-2, either. Remember that the J-30 was designed to be a cruiser that owners could race one design.
Lotsa good choices out there.