The problem with the internet is that one guy's misfortune turns into internet lore in record time. Yes, problems have occurred with the new Smiths, just like they did with the old ones. The only difference is the old guns that had problems didn't make it to today. They were either repaired or discarded. That's why the old guns are perceived as being of better quality.
Yes, the bluing on those old guns won't be beat by anything today. Mechanically speaking though, I'd say guns made today are the best they've ever been.
Also, if the lock worries you, it can be removed. Instructions are on the internet on how to do it.