How to redirect a web page, the smart way: This page shows you about a dozen different ways to redirect a page using a 301 status.
I concur. I changed the URL scheme on this site last year, and redirected 4,000 pages using 301 and watched Google update its index within 48 hours, seemingly without being penalized any in way.
The page also makes this claim:
Over the past 4-6 years, use of meta tag refresh redirection has been abused for uses in relation to SPAM. The result of this and other scenarios of mis-uses of it, is that when using it, that page WILL be de-indexed from every search engine.
True? I guess I haven’t heard of this before.