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Old April 10, 2009, 07:30 PM   #1
newbtoguns
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smith & wesson 686 vs 686 Plus?

I know the obvious difference, the 686+ is 7 round and the 686 is the normal 6.

The questions are:
Why do they cost the same? I've seen the Plus listed as little as $10 over a comparable 686 6-shot. Doesn't common sense dictate that the 7-shot gun should be more valuable and expensive?

I briefly entertained the idea that the thinner cylinder gaps between rounds in the 686+ would make it inherently weaker and short lived, thus less appealing, but i doubt that s&w would mass produce a self destructive gun in the first place.

I have heard that the 686+ actually has a shorter cleaner trigger because the bullets are closer together and the cylinder rotates less, this seems to make sense from a mechanical standpoint but further fuels the question, Why choose the 6??

On that note, anyone out there crazy enough to propose an argument that 6 shots are better than 7? I'm having a hard time figuring who in their right mind would restrict themselves to 6 shots when 7 shots is the same price and even same gun.

i'm perplexed

Last edited by newbtoguns; April 10, 2009 at 09:49 PM.
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Old April 10, 2009, 07:46 PM   #2
Auto426
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I believe that the reason they cost the same is the same reason that the same guns with different barrel lengths cost the same. You would think that more steel and machining on the longer barrel would translate into more cost, but it's the same.

As for strength, the weakest point on a regular S&W cylinder are the bolt notches, since that's where the steel is at it's thinnest. The 686+ looks like it has thin cylinder walls, but it also has offset bolt notches, making the the cylinder walls the weakest point. They seem to be plenty thick enough, about as thick as the cylinder walls on my 629.

The reason to stick with 6 instead of 7? Speed loader availability/cross-compatibility with other guns may be one thing. Another is that most people are used to 6 shot revolvers, and might want to stay with 6 so they don't mess up their shooting rhythm.

As for me, if I were buying a 686, I would go with whatever would be the cheapest and most easily available, which would probably be the 6 shot version. The extra round doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me, and since I already have a GP100, it would be nice to have speed loaders that work for both guns.
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Old April 10, 2009, 09:19 PM   #3
5Wire
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I believe the location of the cylinder stops on the Plus version is in a location where the cylinder is its strongest and the walls themselves are plenty sufficient for the magnum loads. I saw a post somewhere that compared thicknesses of Ruger & S&W, maybe somebody else can find it. I couldn't.

I have two 686 Pluses. Nary a problem, with bullet weights up to 180 grain.

686



686 Plus

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Old April 10, 2009, 10:11 PM   #4
AMarty
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686 + Price

I just bought a new 686 + this week and the price was even stranger than that of the OP.

The place I bought it had a 686 + 6" (7 shot) and a 686 4" (6 shot). The 686 with the shorter barrel and less capacity was $20 more expensive!

I asked the clerk why - she looked at the tags on them and said the 686 + had been produced in November 2008 while the 686 was a newer February 2009 product. Apparently, there had been some kind of across the board price increase between the two production dates.

Sounds good to me, $20 cheaper for more rounds and a longer sighting plane!
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Old April 11, 2009, 10:35 AM   #5
melchloboo
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It is supply and demand.

Revolver guys (like me) tend to be conservative, we don't like new-fangled things. I'm sort of serious here. I have heard a few rumors about the reliability of the 7 and 8 shot cylinder timings, so I'd rather not be the guinea pig. After a decade or so of the design proving itself, I'll give it a try. I think a lot of other people feel that way, so right now even though in theory 7 is better, we're waiting to see it work out it practice.

As to barrel length, that's also supply and demand. Because the 3 & 4" barrels are more concealable, there's a greater demand for them. 4" also tends to be more popular for action sports.
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Old April 11, 2009, 03:28 PM   #6
dgludwig
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After a decade or so of the design proving itself, I'll give it a try.
Well, it's been over twelve years now...c'mon in, the water's fine!

Having shot several variations of both models (686 and 686+) as well as a Model 586 over the years, it has been my experience that any difference (in terms of pull weight, length of pull, reset, creep or over- travel) discerned between triggers of different revolvers (of which there was little) could not be attributed to the number of holes in the cylinder but rather that which can be expected to occur between firearms that are mass produced with the typical variations attendant from one example to another.
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Old April 11, 2009, 04:01 PM   #7
publius
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I would opt for the 6 shooter just because I'm a tradionalist. I'd probably forget about the 7th shot anyway. just not natural when all your other revolvers are 6 shooters.
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Old April 12, 2009, 03:44 AM   #8
trublu
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Depends what you're looking to do with it.
eg revolver division in IPSC is for 6 shot revolvers.

But if it's for defense, then I like the idea of an extra round which is why I bought a S&W 8 shot revolver
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Old April 12, 2009, 08:35 AM   #9
Hafoc
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Well, I'm another of those one-gun types you find in online forums by the hundreds. The guy who's going to tell you that whatever he has is the finest gun in the world, because the world's greatest expert (who, he blushes to admit, is of course himself) deigned to buy one.

Seriously, I'm not quite that inexperienced. Have other guns, I have even had other .357s before, it's just that the 686+ is the only .357 I have at the moment. I've had my slightly oddball 686+ (5" half-lug barrel, Ahrends finger-grip stocks, Hi-Viz sight) for several years now. It's a fine revolver. I've never had any problems with it.

As The Guys said, your Smiths with even numbers of shots put the locking slot dead center on the chamber, while the Smiths with odd numbers of shots put the locking slot in the gap between chambers. Since that locking slot on the chamber makes for a weaker spot-- weaker, not necessarily weak-- you might argue that the 7th shot actually makes the chamber stronger. Whether that's true or not, it's strong enough.

I'm not going to tell you it's the finest gun in the world, just that I think it's a fine one and I'm very happy with my own. I would hazard a guess that it's every bit as good as the six-shot version. As for the trauma of enduring that extra bean in the wheel... it is amazing how quickly you get used to it.
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Old April 12, 2009, 04:06 PM   #10
dairycreek
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I have had the S&W 686+ in the pic for several years and have put a ton of rounds through it (both 357 and 38 spec). It has been a fine, reliable, and accurate weapon.

When I was in the process of purchasing it I faced many of the questions raised in the OP. I called the S&W Customer Service department and asked them about cylinder wall strength. My answer was straightforward and to the point. There is absolutely no difference in terms of strength between the 686 and the 686+. The guy then went on to answer that product liability required that this be the case. S&W could not expose themselves by building one revo stronger than the other.

His bottom line comment is that S&W's intent is to have the two revos virtually the same in all respects other than the choice of 6 vs. 7 rounds.
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Old April 12, 2009, 06:28 PM   #11
Chicken321
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Why choose 6?

1) Nostalgia

2) If you can't hit your target in 6, you probably can't hit it in 7. (unless, of course, a CCW situation presented multiple targets)
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Old April 12, 2009, 07:20 PM   #12
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I have the rare 686+ Mountain Gun and love it. Lighter contoured barrel, pre-lock, and an extra round in cylinder. Whats not to like? Like others here have said, the odd number of chambers in cylinder place the notches between the chambers and theoretically should be a bit stronger. I imagine the price is not much different between the two because once the tooling is set up, it really does not cost much more to manufacture the 686+.
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Old April 12, 2009, 08:41 PM   #13
dgludwig
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2) If you can't hit your target in 6, you probably can't hit it in 7.
Sort of a disingenuous argument as it begs the question: if you can't hit your target in 5, why have 6? The truth is that nobody ever involved in a real gun fight has ever complained about having too many bullets on board. Nobody. The reverse, of course, is true.
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Old April 12, 2009, 09:19 PM   #14
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I don't like the 7 shot revolvers, I like the 8 shot better.
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Old April 12, 2009, 09:31 PM   #15
dgludwig
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There you go!
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Old May 19, 2009, 07:45 AM   #16
michielk
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Well, we don't have "defense-guns" over here; just sport-guns. So my perspective is a bit different.

In Pin-shooting you can only load 6 rounds (auto or wheel). So you will need to make sure you've closed the wheel in the right position. In IPSC you can only shoot 6 rounds between reloads. So for competitive shooting, I think 6 is the standard and most deserible. Preferable one with moonclips.

Keep in mind that the price-tag is a marketing-decision, most of the time it is not really related to the cost of producing.

I think I would prefer a 2011-style double stack .40sw or 10mm gun for CCW if it was allowed here. Large capacity (16 or more) and lots of power.

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Old May 19, 2009, 09:28 PM   #17
P5 Guy
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No Six Shooters

The only revolver I own that has six holes in the cylinder is my M17 22LR. All the rest are five or seven
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Old May 19, 2009, 11:39 PM   #18
odsixer
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I bought a 686+p, I like the unfluted cylinder,the trigger is amazing.

Last edited by odsixer; May 20, 2009 at 12:47 AM.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:09 AM   #19
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Looking at a current '09 S&W catalog, actually in a magazine format, you'll find the 4" 686+, # 164194, @ MSRP $932, while the 686 version, #164222, is MSRP $909. Now, if you opt for the 66's replacement - the 620 - it, #164401, is MSRP $893. The 620 is really just a 4" 686+ with a partially lugged two piece barrel - another 7-shooter.

Several years ago, I bought one of the 5" h-l 686+ 'Stocking Dealer Exclusive' mentioned earlier. It is at the top below. I wanted a 4" version, just over a year ago when I ventured into my pusher's lair with denaros in hand... fully intent on leaving with a 620, as I don't like full lugs (Don't let my 617, 625, or 696 know...). I left with the 627 Pro at the bottom... it was only ~$120 more... and it had an eighth hole in it's cylinder! Yeah, it also came moonclip ready... and with the spring-loaded front sight - tool-less change. While the 5" 686+ came as shown, I added the HiViz front sight and Ahrends 'Retro Targets' to the 627 Pro.



I found HKS #587 Speedloaders as easily as I found their #10 for my 10, 64 & 66 - and the same price. They work great - 7 rounds in quite rapidly. I also found 50 8-hole moonclips from Ranch Products for that 627 Pro for $35 delivered - and a de-mooner is available from Brownell's for $14.36. That 8-banger reloads a lot faster! And, in my own competition - me against myself at the the SPC targets - it's legal ! Of course, so is my 617 10-shooter. Be safe and enjoy which ever one you have - or get. If new - and money is limited - or you like the partial lug look - consider that 620.

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Old May 20, 2009, 06:34 AM   #20
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It is supply and demand.

Revolver guys (like me) tend to be conservative, we don't like new-fangled things. I'm sort of serious here.
I'm with you on this. I don't doubt for a second that if the 7 shot revolvers were really out selling the 6 shot version you wouldn't see the similiarity in pricing.
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Old May 20, 2009, 01:54 PM   #21
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Revolver guys (like me) tend to be conservative, we don't like new-fangled things.
Precisely. Revolvers have six holes, unless they're j-frames, in which case they have five.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:08 PM   #22
5Wire
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Precisely. Revolvers have six holes, unless they're j-frames, in which case they have five.
or some K frames that have 10.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:24 PM   #23
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or some K frames that have 10.
10-shot revolvers, you say? Well, what they gonna think of next? Call me old-fashioned (or just call me old), but I don't believe there's any space in my gun safe for that kind of thing.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:27 PM   #24
5Wire
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Well, what they gonna think of next?
Plans are in the works for a no shot revolver to save ammunition...
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Old May 21, 2009, 05:16 AM   #25
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I'm intrigued by the N-frame .357 that with the eight shot cylinder.

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