View Full Version : S&W model 686 or 66?

Old Shooter
September 7, 2005, 06:42 AM
Need opinions. I've never really been a revolver shooter but every once in a while I get the urge. I've narrowed it down to a 4" barrel 6 shot 357mag (for the option of .38 special).

Now the choice is between the 686 or the 66. Whatcha think (- and yeah, I know I can't go wrong with either but which one)? The purpose is to shoot in IDPA in SSR.

September 7, 2005, 06:55 AM
I think the overwhelming choice here is going to be the heavier 686.
I prefer the unlugged M66 though.

DT Guy
September 7, 2005, 08:19 AM
Having had and shot both, I'll say it's a 'vanilla or chocolate' question. Some prefer the muzzle-heavy feel of the 686, some prefer the rearward balance of the 66. Accuracy and trigger will be essentially a wash between them.

AFA durability, not many people have actually worn out a 66, though many have read about it on the internet. :) Shooting the PF required for IDPA, a 66 will last several lifetimes.

Pick your favorite flavor after handling both and it's true; 'you can't go wrong' with either.


ted murphy
September 8, 2005, 08:17 PM
I prefer the 66 myself, but the heavier weight of the 686 is liked by many.

If you want to buy new, you will be looking at the 686 as they discontinued the 66 last year.


September 8, 2005, 08:26 PM
I carry a 66 or a 386 on the theory that in IDPA you should shoot what you carry I'd opt for the 66. Dennis

September 20, 2005, 12:44 AM
Man I love shooting the 66s. It's just one great ballenced wheelgun and heavy enough for hot 38s. But you'll have to use the HK twist type speedloaders cause the push type safariland speedloaders don't work well with the 66.
So the heavyier front end will give the 686 faster follow up shots and the push type safariland speedloaders should give you faster follow up shots.
So for gameing the 686 is hard to beat, but the 66 is my favorite just for fun shooter.

DT Guy
September 20, 2005, 06:12 AM
But you'll have to use the HK twist type speedloaders cause the push type safariland speedloaders don't work well with the 66.

Unless you have the wrong model Comp I, II or III speedloaders or grips that interfere with the loader, this shouldn't be the case. My 19 worked perfectly well with Comp IIIs, although they are a different size than the ones needed for my 686.


Lucky 7
September 24, 2005, 02:16 PM
Suprised more fans havent sound off! It seems to have a better overall balance than the 66 (which all the weight seems to be towards the rear).
Hey anyone out there know of a dropleg or speed holster for the 686? Thx
Semper Fi!

Guy B. Meredith
September 24, 2005, 09:52 PM
Since we're talking competition, I would say the 686 in 7-shot. The top choice for revolver competiton (ICORE) are the 8-shot 627 with the 645 and the 7-shot 686+ filling out most of the rest of the field.

Old Shooter
September 25, 2005, 01:36 PM
IDPA restricts wheel guns to 4" barrels and I believe the 686 with 7 shots only comes in 6" ... oh well!

September 25, 2005, 01:41 PM
Then pick a 38 not a 357.
The 38 will be more accurate shooting 38's than a 357 for the chamber length the bullet has to jump befor hitting the lands.

Guy B. Meredith
September 25, 2005, 02:13 PM
Actually, I haven't seen much difference in accuracy between .38s and .357s for anything other than serious marksmanship shooting and I haven't tried that so I cannot verify there is a difference in that case. For IDPA, IPSC and other action competition the difference in accuracy is not enough to be of consequence.

October 2, 2005, 12:20 AM
DT, the Model 66 cylinder does not swing out far enough for the comp 11 speedloaders to be used except very slowly. And mine are the correct ones for the model 66. And this was with the stock wood grips nearly worked down to nothing on the left side. The comp 111s with their long handle might work OK. And the HKS twist type work preaty good.
But the 686 lets the cylender swing out farther so the comp 11 speedloaders work very fast, and the model 66 comp 11 speedloaders work great with the 686 too. But the 686 comp 11 speedloaders don't work on the model 66.
The 38/357 accuracy difference I doubt could be a factor in anything but bullseye shooting. Especially if you got a good handload for the 38s you shoot.

T. O'Heir
October 2, 2005, 01:03 AM
Price and which one feels better in your hand. A 66 is a SS M19. The 686 has a full lug and is heavier. You'll need to do a trigger job on either anyway, so the one that feels better is the one to go with.
"...for the comp 11 speedloaders..." No offense, but HKS speed loaders work just fine with a 66/19. The brand is irrelevant.

ted murphy
October 3, 2005, 04:22 PM
The only advantage of buying a .38 gun is the cylinders can be easier to clean. I know shooting lead in my model 15 is much easier to clean up than on my 66 .357 magnum where you get the lead deposits on the longer chambers.

Small thing really, but noteworthy.


DT Guy
October 3, 2005, 06:20 PM

I don't doubt you, but I've used Comp IIIs in a 19 many, many times without an issue. (Although I probably ALWAYS had Hogues on it when doing so.)

I've only got a 686 now, but I'll see if my dad's 19 has this issue and report back.


Old Shooter
October 4, 2005, 07:36 AM
Good advise from all.

I ended up doing it the easy way - I bought both used. I'll try both for a while (cheapest speed loaders until I'm sure which one I'll keep) and just sell the one I won't be using. (I don't like safe queens so if I don't shoot it - out it goes).

Thanks everyone - it seems more like personal preference as to which one works the best. It may work out that I forget about shooting wheel guns and just stick with semi-autos!

DT Guy
October 4, 2005, 09:40 AM
Hah-my bet is you'll shoot (and keep) them both! Good revolvers are addictive, even for us 'square gun' fans.


October 6, 2005, 11:45 PM
DT I would say the comp 111s with their long shaft will work well with the 66models. The Comp11s that I said don't work well is the short speedloader. And the shortness is what makes them hard to work in the closeness of the model 66s.
So Ol Shooter, get the comp 111 speedloaders or the HKS type speedloaders for best workings with the 66 model.