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Old June 18, 2014, 12:35 PM   #1
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Who own a S&W 686?

I've been thinking of getting one of these as a hiking/camp gun. I'd prefer the 7 shot cylinder. Any assessments from people who actually have one? Any problems with these things? Thanks guys.

Last edited by Tom Servo; June 19, 2014 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Language
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Old June 18, 2014, 12:43 PM   #2
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Its one of Smith and Wessons best guns. If 357 is your desired caliber than you cant go wrong with a 686 for the purpose you listed above(6 or 7 shot).
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Old June 18, 2014, 01:09 PM   #3
Crunchy Frog
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I have one of the early production "no dash" 686s, before they became available with the seven shot cylinder. It's an excellent revolver. A seven shot version would be even better.

Kind of heavy for a hiking gun, perhaps, but I cannot find any fault in the gun's performance.
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Old June 18, 2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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Been reading a lot of little snips about this revolver and it seems to be the "Chief of the Teens"
I can't say I really want to cut loose with a cylinder of Magnums when I feel what they can shoot like through my 4 5/8" Vaquero! They KICK! I can;t imgine em in a 2" lightwight!
My Model 36 (No Dash) and .38 Specials are plenty enough for this old guy!
I can control the Chief, it packs a pretty heavy bullet and with the right loads (125G HP "standard" .38 Special loads. You have plenty of power to end a possible attack.
The new airweight frames and cylinders make for a nice carry gun! The price isn't out of reaason either.
The .modern .38 Special and it's modern loads are a FAR sight better than a .22 Rimfire for defense!
Now the .22WMR is a different animal, as it does develop some pretty good numbers that ought to make the bullet start to preform.
Nevertheless, the 2" .38 jas been a favorite for self protection for decades. WHY? Because it works and works well!
So save up get a686 and fill her up with a cylinder ofthose Horniday XTP's and feel safe!
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Old June 18, 2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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I've got a -2 & love it!
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Old June 18, 2014, 01:59 PM   #6
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I've got 3, all 4" 6-shot versions. My first has almost 75k rounds through it, and still shoots well. My 3rd is the PC SSR version. All have been used in competition, which is very tough on revolvers, and have had no problems to date.
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Old June 18, 2014, 02:00 PM   #7
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If you were to take a poll on "the one revolver everyone should own" I think the 686 would come out very near, if not at, the top.
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Old June 18, 2014, 02:07 PM   #8
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If you have a choice, I'd recommend getting the "Plus" version. I've heard some people claim that the trigger pull on the Plus version is different (if not worse) than the six-rounders but, after shooting and/or dry-firing more than a couple examples of each iteration, I've never detected any significant difference between them. Imo, no downside to the Plus but the seventh round is a definite plus for the Plus. The Model 686 is my favorite of the many Smith revolvers I own. I think... I do like my Model 1955 Target an awful lot.
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Old June 18, 2014, 03:32 PM   #9
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I have a 686SSR (six shot) and feel it's an excellent revolver.

If you can, get an action job done by someone who knows what they're doing, including the Bang, Inc springs and an extended firing pin.

I set mine up with a very light DA pull for hunting and competition. It's only reliable with Federal primers seated to the bottom of the primer pockets. It's 100% with the right ammo and very unreliable with most factory ammo.

This isn't for everyone!

Last edited by Japle; June 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM.
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Old June 18, 2014, 03:40 PM   #10
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Meet Brighid,,,

Meet Brighid,,,

She is an extremely high quality handgun,,,
Capable of stopping pretty much anything in North America.

She's strong enough to handle any factory load out there,,,
Yet the frame/grip size isn't too fat for normal hands.

The only complaint I have is one of aesthetics,,,
I wish it didn't have the full underlug barrel.


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Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old June 18, 2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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The 686 is a heck of a gun. Ive had 2. One a 4" custom round butt the other a 2.5". Both were GREAT shooters. The added weight of the L frame combined with the under lug make it a dream to shoot.

My only advice is that for a hiking gun, that is carried a lot but shot a little. The 686 might be a little on the heavy side. So there's the trade off. Heavy to control recoil... Pain to carry all day up the mountain side
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Old June 18, 2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Thanks for the great replies. The weight is a valid concern, but my current hiking gun is a full size 1911. I don't know the weight difference of the two, but it would be easy to look up. Still, I am somewhat concerned about the weight.
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Old June 18, 2014, 04:30 PM   #13
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I have a pair of dash 1's ....a 4" and a 6".....they're both solid guns / I've carried them both in the woods...but in a holster, the 4" rides on my belt better.

( I have 2 1/2", 4" and 6" guns in K and N frames too...model 19's, 66's and 27's and 28's )...I've grown to like the 4" guns a lot better than the
6" versions ( or the 2 1/2" ).
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Old June 18, 2014, 04:52 PM   #14
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The 686 or 586 is probably the best design of the S&W revolver, at least for shooting. It's a little heavy for ccw . I have a 7 shot 686 and a 586, both are great guns. For shooting .357 loads it's better than the model 19 but the 19 is lighter and therefore a favorite for carry. 6 or 7 shot, I think you'll be pleased.
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Old June 18, 2014, 06:17 PM   #15
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I have a 4" 686-1 that was not sent in for the modification. I carried it for several years doing night security patrol duties. It has held up very well in all conditions. I currently use it as a home defense revolver. I know it will take care of me and my family as long as I take care of it. The last time I qualified with it was way back in the mid-1990s. The course was fired at 7 yards, 15 yards and 25 yards. With 125 gr. SJSP 38 Special +P ammo I fired a perfect 300. With 125 gr. SJSP 357 Magnum ammo I shot 297. The 686 will handle any factory load you choose to use and beg for more. My 686 is one of the finest revolvers I own.
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Old June 18, 2014, 07:10 PM   #16
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Bought a 6'' in the mid to late 80's, no work done to it best shooting handgun I own.
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Old June 18, 2014, 09:35 PM   #17
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Great guns

I've got the 6" version. Very accurate, but the weight is not something i'd like to carry for extended time.
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Old June 18, 2014, 10:16 PM   #18
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I have two, a 4" 686+ and a 6" 686+ and I love both of them. The 6" one is very accurate and will cut a ragged hole shooting off hand @ 21 feet, he 4" groups are just a little larger. The trigger on both of them is great out of the box. I recommend them and I like the extra shot in the "plus" revolver.
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Old June 18, 2014, 10:34 PM   #19
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I have a four inch 686 that I purchased around 1995-ish. Awesome gun. I love shooting .38 wadcutter loads from it. Killed a deer or two with it along the way, too.
"No honest man needs a handgun smaller than a canned ham."
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Old June 19, 2014, 07:04 AM   #20
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I have the 2 1/2 inch model 6 shot, love it !
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Old June 19, 2014, 07:59 AM   #21
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Japle, Never seen a SSR with an unfluted cylinder. I love my SSR it's about as good of one gun for everything as a guy can get.
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
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Old June 19, 2014, 12:55 PM   #22
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Japle, Never seen a SSR with an unfluted cylinder.
There’s a story behind the unfluted cylinder, too long to go into and posted too many times already. Suffice to say, S&W sold me a very dangerous revolver ...

and gave me the unfluted cylinder to make me happy.

I’m very happy.
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Old June 19, 2014, 01:14 PM   #23
Bob Wright
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I have two Model 586s, the blued version which I prefer, a 4" and a 6" gun.

As to my experience, I consider the 586 to be the best double action .357 Magnum to come down the pike, bar none. And, yes I've had experience with both the Model 27, the Python and the Dan Wesson.
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Old June 19, 2014, 02:36 PM   #24
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For the OP: can you be more specific about what model/barrel length you are considering for the hiking/camping use? Or is that what you are asking?
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Old June 19, 2014, 07:13 PM   #25
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Bought one in the 90s. Great gun with a fantastic trigger, fit and finish. Not my perfect idea of a hiking gun, but if you don't mind the weight, it will serve you well.
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