I have a S & W Model 63. It is sweet enough for me and unless you need the ten round version of the S & W Model 617, it is a little heavy for a 22. After being discontinued for several years the 63 was re-introduced by S&W in 2007 (I think). Now if it was a 22 magnum, that would be nice.
My 617 is at least as mechanically accurate as my early
model 63 Smith. The 617 is more difficult to accurately shoot
under practical conditions due to its extremely light weight.
Neither one is going anywhere.
I have a 1958 vintage 6" Model 17, a 6" 6 shot 617, a 4" 10 shot 617 and a 5" 8 shot 63. All are nice and each has a place in my arsenal. I prefer the balance of the 6" 17 and 4" 617. The weight of the 63 is 30 oz. and it makes it nice to carry. It also shoots surprisingly well for such a light gun. They all shoot well.
I have two earlier S&W 22LR revolvers with one being a K22 pre Model 17 with 6 inch barrel in 95% condition that I paid $500 for. The second one is a Model 17-4 with 8 3/8 inch barrel and was as new unfired and I paid $550 for it. I would think that is a better way to go for the cost and to me these guns were better made back then. I bought both of these in the past 7 months. I did replace the stock grips with S&W combats though.