Regarding the Ruger/Smith extractor rod question, I don't see it as a step up in reliability to go to a Ruger because of that single issue. Rugers have transfer bars. Transfer bars occasionally break. I've personally had more tranfer bars break (3) than Smith extractor rods back out (2) and cause trouble in the 35 or so years I've fooled with them both. I torque extractor rods, and have never had one come loose after being torqued.
A S&W hammer block can break just as easily as a Ruger transfer bar, so both designs are roughly equal in that regard.
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar