The "smaller scale model" SAAs in 38Spl are meant for cowboy action shooting for use by ladies with smaller hands and/or kids. The intended role calls for very mild ammo. I would shoot standard-pressure 38 in it no sweat but serious +P loads...yeah, no. Bad idea.
Mind you, there are now a few very good 38Spl defense loads if you needed to press it into that service.
As to Italian vs. Ruger:
The Rugers hold up better than any of the italian guns. The Stampede is an Uberti with a transfer bar safety on it and the Beretta nameplate; it is often claimed to be weaker than the equivalent no-safety Uberti variants.