S&w 686 - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 03-31-2019, 05:58   #1
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S&w 686

I'm picking up one of these tomorrow, a no dash, pre lock 686 with 6 inch barrel, made back in the mid 80's.
I've put a lot of rounds through a Model 17 K-22 and Model 29 and 629 .44 Mags, but never had a "medium bore" revolver.

My brother had a 4 inch K frame Model 66 that I shot a bit, but I have always wanted a 6 inch 686. Finally found one, and it is an older, more desirable model.

I've got brass and powder, need to buy some small pistol primers, carbide dies and bullets. I've never shot PC coated bullets, but have been reading up on them and was going to try some from Missouri Bullet Company.
Some input from you guys that have shot coated cast bullets would be appreciated.

Here are a few pics of what I'm getting :


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Old 03-31-2019, 06:46   #2
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Sweet purchase. My dad has one and we shoot it often. At 85 he puts me to shame the way he handles it. Your going to love it.
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Old 03-31-2019, 11:41   #3
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S&Ws answer to the PYTHON !!
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Old 04-06-2019, 21:14   #4
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I finally got my hands on the 686. Single action pull is 3 1/4 lbs.
It's been a while since I've shot any S&W, much less an older one.
The double action pull is off my 8 lb. scale, so it must be around 10 lbs.
But it is so smooth and short it feels like 5 lbs.
I won't be thumbing the hammer back much !

I also got a .357 Blackhawk Convertible, new/unfired but the dealer's BIL is a gunsmith, and did a trigger job and free spin pawl on it.
The Ruger has a clean 3 1/4 lb. pull also, but it feels like he put a lighter mainspring in it too. I'll see if it sets off primers reliably. The stock mainspring was in the box so I can always put it back in if need be.

I didn't plan on trying the 9mm cylinder so soon, but couldn't find any decent plinking ammo in .357, so I bought a box of Fed Amer Eagle 147 grain 9mm for the other cylinder.
There was .38 Special, but I don't want to have two different lengths brass to load.
I'll buy a big bag of Starline .357 brass and do a mid power load for the bulk of my shooting.
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Old 05-09-2019, 19:44   #5
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An update on my two 357 revolvers.
I put a stronger mainspring in the Blackhawk. Gunsmith had put a 17 lb. one in when he did the trigger job, it felt really wimpy and while it set off all the .357 ammo I tried, it didn't set off some of the 9mm. So I swapped the spring with a 19 lb. one.
The heavier mainspring (hammer spring ) actually dropped the trigger pull from 3 1/4 pounds down to 3 lbs. even. Go figure.

I put a white outline blade in the rear sight, a much easier process than switching out the blade in the S&W.
I still want to install a yellow insert in the front ramp, but for now I'm making do with yellow Testors paint.

I wanted to chamfer the chambers in the Blackhawk, as they are really sharp edged and you have to wiggle the rounds to get them to go in.
But the 5/8" cutter I had was too big for the Blackhawk cylinder, I have a 1/2" cutter on it's way from Brownell's.

I put the black plastic grips back in the box and ordered some new ones.
The plastic ones were grippy enough, but felt way too small for the chunky Blackhawk.
(Too short). My hands aren't that big, but I wanted a place for my little finger so it wasn't curled around the bottom.

So I got a pair of "extended" grips from Texas grips, they are 1/2" longer and cover the bottom of the grip frame.
They are Mesquite, with Ruger medallions.
The Ruger was shooting pretty good the last time out, most groups at 25 yards were around 2 inches.


The Smith and Wesson got a red ramp front and white outline rear. My old eyes can see those better than the target set up it came with.

The cylinder was sticking a bit upon opening, some research on the S&W forum helped me determine the center pin was too short. I ordered a new center pin from Brownell's, it was longer than the old one, and now the cylinder opens without sticking.
While I had the cylinder apart I put a slight chamfer on the chambers, then a good cleaning and lube before reassembly.

I sold the big bottom Target grips ( sorry but I hate those, always have) and have been using a pair of Hogue rubber grips (only $20).
Today I got some Hogue Rosewood grips in the mail. I like dark wood grips on stainless guns.
The rubber grips were a bit long front to back, but these wood ones feel great.

The S&W was easier to load, it didn't need much chamfer, the Ruger does for sure.
The 125 grain plated bullet by HSM shoots great with anywhere from 5.6 to 7.2 grains of Universal. The Smith had several groups close to 1 inch. 7.2 grs. was a bit more 'blasty", so I settled on 6.5 and loaded up 300 of them.
Velocity at 6.5 grs. is 1050 fps.


I'd love to get out and shoot some more, but we're having a week straight of rain, so an indoor pic will have to do:
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:38   #6
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very nice we need to go out shooting again.i got a few to play with. ones an old taurus 689 i have had for a long while i know its a taurus but its a good one.then theres the low budget ria 38 spc.its also a good shooter.
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Old 05-10-2019, 17:20   #7
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The Rock Island has a nice matte finish. And a Colt style cylinder latch, interesting.
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Old 05-10-2019, 18:24   #8
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ya its a close copy it shoots like one also.
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Old 05-10-2019, 20:19   #9
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Love the grips on the Ruger! Nice Smith and good shooting brother.
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Old 08-04-2019, 17:55   #10
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
I finally got my hands on the 686. Single action pull is 3 1/4 lbs.
It's been a while since I've shot any S&W, much less an older one.
The double action pull is off my 8 lb. scale, so it must be around 10 lbs.
But it is so smooth and short it feels like 5 lbs.
I won't be thumbing the hammer back much !

I also got a .357 Blackhawk Convertible, new/unfired but the dealer's BIL is a gunsmith, and did a trigger job and free spin pawl on it.
The Ruger has a clean 3 1/4 lb. pull also, but it feels like he put a lighter mainspring in it too. I'll see if it sets off primers reliably. The stock mainspring was in the box so I can always put it back in if need be.

I didn't plan on trying the 9mm cylinder so soon, but couldn't find any decent plinking ammo in .357, so I bought a box of Fed Amer Eagle 147 grain 9mm for the other cylinder.
There was .38 Special, but I don't want to have two different lengths brass to load.
I'll buy a big bag of Starline .357 brass and do a mid power load for the bulk of my shooting.
Absolutely awesome revolvers.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:17   #11
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yeah, the Smith has been on my "must have " list for years.
I always like to have a single action around, but I just couldn't like that .357/9mm Blackhawk much.
With the alloy grip frame and small holes in the barrel and cylinder, it was muzzle heavy, worst balance of any 6 gun I've had. It was fun to shoot with the 9mm cylinder though.
I traded that .357/9mm off, and discovered the Flattop Blackhawk.

The Flattop was reintroduced in 2010, and has similarities to the New Vaquero.
Blued steel grip frame and ejector housing (instead of the painted alloy ones used in the regular Blackhawk), a smaller, lighter slimmer "Mid frame", and cylinders that index (click and stop) at each chamber, like a Colt, Uberti or old model Blackhawk.

It has the best feel and balance of any Ruger I've yet had.
Mine is a convertible, so it comes with a .45 Colt and a .45 ACP cylinder.
And Ruger seems to take more care in building these, better polish and bluing, and none of the burrs, sharp edges and casting and machine marks that the large frame Blackhawks have.
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