The thread under Colt concerning the finest revolver ever made brought up the ralative strength of revolvers in general. I've had about as many busted revolvers as anyone, though never blew up a revolver as far as splitting the cylinder walls. I say any gun will eventually suffer a breakdown when subjected to heavy firing of heavy loaded ammunition.
1. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (my son-in-law's) barrel swelled inside the shroud, locking the two together. Gunsmith was unable to separate the parts, sawed off the assembly ahead of the frame to remove. New barrel and shroud required.
2. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (same gun) barrel stub cracked inside frame. This from metal fatigue, replaced barrel.
3. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (another son-in-law) Side plate bulged out did not guide hand (pawl) so cylinder did not lock up, gun fired, splitting the barrel.
4. Colt New Service .45 Colt/.44 Special Trigger sear worn down, failed to lrotate cylinder far enough to lock up. Discovered before any damage done.
5. Colt M1917 .45 ACP Trigger sear worn down, same as above.
6. Colt Python .357 Magnum Trigger sear worn, discovered before damage done. This was after 5,000 rounds. The two others above were used guns when I bought them, so had no idea of the number of rounds fired.
7. Smith & Wesson Model 29. This gun suffered broken trigger pivot pins and other internal parts. This was sent back to the factory for installation of an "endurance package."
8. Smith & Wesson Model 29 Barrel stub cracked at about 8,000 rounds. Replaced by factory.
9. Colt Single Action Army .357 Magnum (customized) Top strap stretched, barrel angled downward so far rear of cylinder bound against the top strap. Frame had to be re-aligned by gunsmith.
In addition, numerous top-break revolvers that passed through my hands as a kid had worn locking lugs to the point the guns usually jumped open when the gun was fired. I learned to have a welder build up the lugs and then file them down to original contour.
Most of these guns were magnum caliber, fired with high velocity, heavy bullet handloads, and were usually approaching the 5,000 round mark or so.