I personally don't like much that has come out of the factory in the last few years- I don't think you can beat an old K-22 from the 50's- if you want a 10 shot- look for a 617-3. there was one on gun broker recently that had the steel cylinder (some had an alloy cylinder). Anything with the hammer lock I tend to avoid.
The original 617 no dash is still my favorite S&W.
My new 617 10 shot had to be returned to the factory because several chambers were cut oversize causing the empties to bulge and not eject - I had to use a cleaning rod in some chambers to punch the empties out. S&W replaced the cylinder, but I still had a problem with a few chambers. Then, I discovered the rear sight was loose. Sold it, took a $250 bath and looked for an old K22. (This all happened about 2 years ago.) Regards, Ed
Just my humble opinion but the worst years for Smith & Wesson quality were during the period of time they were owned by/part of Bangor Punta 1965 - 1987 I believe that within that time frame 1972 - 1983 were the worst for Quality Control and fit and finish of the revolvers and intro of various Semi Automatics with less than stellar reputations with many of the various Police Departments that used them.
The new 10 shot 22s are OK but no where near the quality of the old K-22s. If you have a chance try an older K-22 single and double action against a new one and you will feel the difference. Still the 10 shot is whats out there today and quite acceptable if you just like to plink and have fun.
I would buy a 5 screw K-22. There won't be any more of them, and the quality is top notch. Also, the value will just go up over the years if you take care of it. Be careful though, once you start getting into the older S&W's, they are addictive.
What Chip said. I have a 6" no-dash 617 and have turned down some obscene offers for it. If you troll sites like GunBroker, you'll find those old girls in like-new condition bringing bids approaching $1,000.
Some of the newer stuff is good, too. I have about a dozen S&W revolvers made between 1985 and 2001 and there isn't a bad one in the bunch. A lot of S&W fanatics get in heat and on point over the older guns with pinned barrels and recessed cylinder chambers but that stuff doesn't do anything for me. Even the later MIM hammers, triggers and cylinder releases aren't hateful. I have several 629s with forged parts and one with MIMs and can't tell any difference when shooting them. Likewise, I have numerous 686s with forged and one with MIM and they feel the same, too.
Now the internal lock and its ugly Hillary Hole - no, thanks.