The older Colt revolver designs used somewhat smaller parts, and the action was designed to lock the cylinder into perfect alignment with the cylinder. This is why Colt always had a reputation for better accuracy.
The price for this is an action that's slightly more susceptible to wear and damage.
In practice, the older Colts are tough, pretty trouble free guns, UNLESS they're abused or mistreated.
The stories about Colt revolvers going out of time are approaching "urban legend" status. If Colt's guns were as weak as these stories have it, Colt would have spent so much time repairing them, they would have had no time to make new ones.
The usual "trouble story" about Colt revolvers almost always involve used guns, or guns the owner has subjected to abusive treatment like slamming (Bogarting)the cylinder shut, or force cocking the hammer.
As far as strength of the frame and cylinder, the Colts are actually STRONGER than the equivalent S&W guns.
Colt's ARE difficult to get repaired properly, having a reputation as a "watchmaker's" gun, with small working surfaces.
In fact, the older Colt design is not obvious in it's method of operation. In the old days, when a great many police departments and civilian shooters owned Colt revolvers, most gunsmiths knew how to work on them, simply because of customer demand.
When Colt began to lose it's police and civilian market, most of the Colt-knowledgeable gunsmiths retired, leaving people who knew all about the popular S&W and Ruger designs, but who were mystified by the Colt.
Simple put, the Colt is a more refined design than most other brands, and they require a better understanding of the tight tolerances and small working surfaces.
Since Colt's aren't too often encountered by by most gunsmiths today, they feel no need to learn how to work on them.
All this is NOT applicable to the later, super strong Colt Trooper Mark III and later guns.
Wow - Thanks for the quick replies. That is the information I was looking for. I really like the Detective Spec. I was able to acquire. Although it is, from what I understand, one of the last ones produced and utilizes the older style lockwork, it is easy to appreciate it's design and tight tolorances compared to revolvers from other manufacturers in this price range.
It's still new in box, except for my handling. It came to $356 out the door.