I have found that soda pop bottles are designed for higher pressure and don't deform as badly. Plus they are cheap to replace. In general a soda pop bottle filled to just the start of the shoulder won't break.
Water freezes from the top down. In a tall bottle, water freezing at the top gets a grip on the sides, and so as the water freezes down, the expansion pushes out the bottom.
Laying it on its side, and not quite filling it to the half way mark, the slab of surface ice is a wedge that can easily be lifted.
In addition: If you freeze the water, then add ice water from the fridge to fill up the bottle, the resulting mix won't melt very fast.
Finally, put the bottle in a thick sock and it will insulate it, keeping it cold longer.
If you are freezing larger containers, such as barrels, the following technique works well:
Put the barrel on a pallet. This allows the bottom to freeze as fast as the sides.
Float 3-4 inches of styrofoam peanuts, or broken up styrofoam on top. This slows the ice formation on the top, and also weakens it. The core then breaks through the top when the pressure gets high, instead of pushing out the bottom.