Mechanically it doesn't matter either way. Colt very happily used non-pinned barrels and non-countersunk chambers for well over 100 years with no problems.
The only reason the pinned and countersunk chamber models are preferred is because of a feeling that the older guns were better quality.
I chose the "no frame lock" option based on principle. I am likewise opposed to magazine disconnectors on semi-autos.... I suppose the theory that we shouldn't rely on additional "features" to keep us safe from ourselves is old-fashioned.
I think the 'recessed' was only used for the then 'new' .22 RF High Velocity Cartridge Revolvers, and, a few years later, for the .357 Magnum, and then later for the .41, and .44 Magnum Revolvers...and never for any of the older low pressure Cartridges the majority of Revolvers were chambered for.
I think it is a nice feature, a nice gesture, whether anyone really deems it necessary, or not. These are details which have charm, intentionality, and finesse.
So, yes, the 'Recessed and Pinned' era, was one in which the S&W Revolvers were across the board, of a higher quality through out, than what followed.
If I were to buy a Smith and Wesson revolver (and not a Colt), I would not buy anything in current line. Yesterday, I looked at a pristine Smith and Wesson 44 Special Classic with a safety lock, MIM hammer and MIM trigger; lacking all three features, I would have bought it. What a waste.
i have a s&w 642 with lock and after a few 158 +p my trigger would lock up sometimes removed side plate and the lock fell out without removing the cylinder so researched it left it out and havent had a problem since kinda sucks ya gotta carry a key and hope that it doesnt lock up when defending yourself
"Pinned and recessed" are premium Magnum features Smith & Wesson chose to drop in the early 1980s as I recall. They are part of what makes earlier Smith Magnums so much more desirable than later Smith Magnums. I would always choose those features if given a choice of a Smith with them and a Smith without them. While the posed question did not specify whether the price with and without is deemed to be the same, in the real world they are not.
greyman, Smiths without the offending characteristics you mention are available. Just limber up the credit card or check book and pay the price. They will never be more plentiful or less expensive than right now.
In the poll, I voted for the first choice because I would love to have a Smith & Wesson with a "rebatted" cylinder. Even though I do not know what that is, it sounds really exciting! All I have are Smiths with rebated (recessed) chambers.
Many years ago when I was just getting into shooting/collecting, an older friend of mine said, "when buying Smith's, just remember 2 things, pinned & recessed". In my opinion, p&r'd are a step above the rest, and represent a time gone past.
I usually say the older the better. I will always take a P&R rimfire/magnum over the latter. I still like the Smiths until they went into the MIM stage, and I can even tolerate them. When they introduced the lock, that was it for me. IMO that's when S&W quite making revolvers. I will not buy that junk they put out today. I am not just saying this because of looks either. I had one of the last 66's made with 2.5 inch barrel and the thing broke 3 times before I even got to shoot it. I am not kidding either, I got the gun started cycling the action a few times and it broke and then locked up. Trip to the Gunsmith, back home, cycle action a few times-broke again/locked up again. Repeat this one more time then down the road it went after I got it "fixed" the last time. I literally traded it for about half of what I paid. Granted that was probably just a very bad lemon, but most I have cycled feel like they have sand in the action and they do look like a big ol' pile of steaming .... I truely believe most Taurus are better than the Smiths being made during this time period, and oh yeah I CANT STAND A TAURUS LOL. Why buy a new S&W when you can go and get a great 70's gun for the same or less money...:bang_wall: