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Thread: S&W 686 Your Reviews

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    S&W 686 Your Reviews

    I'm thinking about buying a S&W 686 Performance Center Pro Series 4" barrel NOT PLUS or the 686
    Standard 6" barrel. Both 6 rounds cylinder. Anyone shooting these??? Pros/Cons, problems, really need to know. General review opinions. Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy

    NC_JEFF's Avatar
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    I like mine it's a -6 model, I've had no issues with the gun at all. It's out with me most every trip to the back yard range shooting a lot of target load wadcutters, target load swc's and I always finish with a couple cylinders of 125gr 357 magnum loads. This is my second 686 and I have no complaint about either one.
    Jeff

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have the six-inch standard and the five-inch PC model with the ventilated rib. I much prefer the PC gun. It is light, and points well for me. At present I'm shooting 5000 rounds per year with it. If I buy another one (and I may soon), it will be the PC 4" ventilated rib version.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I have a 3", It's my go to revolver.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for the info. Jeff, Tatume, Prcshooter, do you know the cylinder chamber diameter and groove diameter of your pistols???

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mine is a 6" , 6 shot. I've had it just over a year, I really like it so far. I recently mounted an Ultra Dot on it, to help aging eyes, and have only had a chance to put about 20 rounds through it.
    To answer the op's question though, I'd buy the same gun again if I had to do it over.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have had three of them....well, one was a 586 (blued, same gun). All three were 6" models and one was the 686+. Having owned two Bill Davis custom built revolvers that were called "one holers, here's what I found. All three of my guns would shoot as well, or nearly as well as the Bill Davis guns. That's saying a lot. I have shot groups with the Davis guns at fifty yards that put five shots in an inch. Most all groups were close to an inch, and that was with open sights. I consider the L-frame S&W guns about as good as anything ever put out of the factory. One of my Davis guns was built on a Model 27, so that's saying a lot. I had a Python back in the late 70's and I wouldn't trade my 686's for one based on accuracy being the determining factor.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    I have a -6 six shot 6", all factory bought in 2014. The DA is wonderful and the SA in breathe-on-it excellent. I wouldn't ever trade my -6 for all the no-lock, non-mimed, legacy revolvers I read people foaming about on forums. I've put a bit of wear on mine and it still shoots great.

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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master



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    I consider the S&W 686 the best .38/.357 ever available I currently have three:
    CS-1 (4”), a 686 standard with 4” barrel and a 686 with 6” barrel. I have NO plans to downsize. I have owned most of the better .38/.357’s out there and have shot the rest. My 686’s are just flat out superb both on the Range and in the Field!

    FWIW
    Dale53

  10. #10
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Mines a early 4" no dash model , shoots great bit heavy even with a good belt and holster to hike round with but that weight soaks up recoil with heavier loads
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Plate plinker's Avatar
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    Why limit yourself to six rounds and not eight? Just curious.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I have owned several different 686 revolvers. They all shot well. The one I now own is a 686+ with the lock and the ECM barrel. It shoots just as well as the others with both jacketed and cast.
    I,too, used to look down on the new guns with the lock and different rifling. Experience has taught me not to worry about it. The guns still work the same, at least, for me.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Have always liked them. Have a 6" 5 series set up for PPC that is a laser. Would not think a second if I stumbled across an earlier 6 series 4".

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a 6" and a 3". The 6" I use for target, plinking and hunting. The 3" I use for target and winter time EDC. Super accurate and a pleasure to shoot even with warm magnums. Would not trade them for any other .357 wheel guns.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

    LUCKYDAWG13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue32 View Post
    I have a -6 six shot 6", all factory bought in 2014. The DA is wonderful and the SA in breathe-on-it excellent. I wouldn't ever trade my -6 for all the no-lock, non-mimed, legacy revolvers I read people foaming about on forums. I've put a bit of wear on mine and it still shoots great.

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    I gotta ask what mold and weight boolits are those they look great and your S&W
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Have an early no dash 6". Still the most accurate handgun I own and that has been/is quite a few. Totally reliable (factory mainspring) and just a pleasant shooting handgun. I hope to find a 45 Colt that shoots as good but not so far. Will keep it until I find another handgun I can shoot more accurately.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAMESGR View Post
    Thanks for the info. Jeff, Tatume, Prcshooter, do you know the cylinder chamber diameter and groove diameter of your pistols???
    The important measurement is the chamber throat diameter. My PC gun has 0.3575" throats, which I consider to be perfect. My standard gun had tight throats, and DougGuy honed them to 0.3575" for me.
    Last edited by Tatume; 03-26-2020 at 07:58 AM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Ive had four 686s over the years all excellent and good shooters with cast or jackieted
    currently have two a old 6" with fireing pin in hammer and a newer 5" 7 shot unfluted cyl was a special edtion of some sorts.
    I also have the S&W PC Jerry special and two 66s 2.5" and 4 " and a 649

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAMESGR View Post
    I'm thinking about buying a S&W 686 Performance Center Pro Series 4" barrel NOT PLUS or the 686 Standard 6" barrel. Both 6 rounds cylinder.
    What is your objection to the seven-round models? The odd number of chambers eliminates the weak link in revolver cylinders. The locking bolt notches are moved from the thinnest location to the thickest. The seven shot models are stronger than the six shot models (not that either one has been found to be lacking).

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks Tatume, all the cylinder throats in my 38's pin gauge .356 and the barrels pin gauge .346 on the lands. difference between 6 shot and 7 shot is difference between in-stock and ain't no distributors got none. S&W's in stock are few and far between around here. I found the ones I'm looking at 30 miles south of home and found one(1) 60 miles west of here. What loads do you mostly shoot???

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check