Here is my take..
I own about a dozen older S&W revolvers. I like the polished finish, and the case hardened lock work and no lock. As was the issue in the past, some have over sized throats, which can effect accuracy / barrel leading.
Also own 3 of the newer models - a 4 inch 629-6, a 2 3/4 inch model 69, and a 7 1/2 inch PC .44 Magnum Hunter. Though not bad, none show the level of finish or classic "looks" of the older models. All three are also some of the most accurate revolvers I own. Smooth rifling, consistant throats afforded by CNC machining contribute to improved consistency and accuracy. Older guns were hand fit, which is nice, but only as far as the abilities of the individual who made it. I have seen a few that were stinkers.
A LOT less handfitting and QC these days, so the possibility of acquiring a lemon in a new gun is always present, but S&W has a good reputation for taking care of problems and making things right, if needed.
Older guns may also not have been perfect from the factory, but most have been fixed, if needed, by now, so can also be a good choice. Most model 41 problems can be traced to needs cleaning, weak springs, or magazine issues. The 41 is a proven, reliable design. I would probably look for an older model in nice shape, as I am a sucker for that high polish blue, but certainly understand the attraction of a factory warranty. No bad choices, really. The drilled & tapped barrels of the newer guns is also a bonus if you intend to attach optics.
Personal opinion is a good thing, and everyone is entitled to one. The hard part is separating informed opinion from someone who is just blowing hot air....
Last edited by Bigeasy; 11-19-2019 at 10:25 AM.