In my (comparatively short) life's experience with Smith & Wesson revolvers, I've owned a decent handful and all were pre-lock except one. The one ILS-equipped revolver that I had was a Model 60, 3-inch, full-lug .357 Magnum J-frame. And I can readily and happily admit that it was a very fine specimen and there was nothing specific to the on-board lock that made me dislike that revolver.
Frankly, I found the build quality to be excellent, I found the accuracy to be exceedingly good and the smoothness of the double action trigger bred confidence. Top-to-bottom "feel" that it was a well-made revolver and nothing about the fact that it was newer or had the infernal lock made me dislike the revolver.
I did sell it anyway, because I never got along well with that J-frame and I found it uncomfortable to shoot.
It may sound odd then when I admit that here in the year 2013, I simply have no interest in a Smith & Wesson revolver if it is equipped with the internal lock. And that's much more due to the fact that it's of "more recent" build date and not from an era where I'm more comfortable. It's about some of the parts being made differently and the general consensus that most men come to eventually, almost no matter the subject: "they just don't make 'em like they used to..."
In my eyes, there are so many phenomenal used Smith & Wesson revolvers on the market that interest me, it just seems senseless to take a chance on a newer one with bits, parts and changes I don't care for.
So for me, it truly has never been about the lock itself. It's not so much about how dumb it looks on a classic revolver. It's not because S&W sold out to some British company. Not because they sold their soul to the Clintons.
It's just because they aren't the guns that I grew up with, so they really aren't what I want. And the big ugly lock & hole? If anything, it's like a giant beacon that draws your eyes and to me, it says, "keep looking, nothing to see here."
It doesn't mean they are bad guns, and I would never worry that the lock is going to "engage all on it's own!"
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.