S&W 686 info please


September 26, 2005, 02:25 AM
I'm looking for a 686 with a 2.5 " barrel. I found one online but was startled to find it had the key lock mechanism on it. The price was good but that stopped me. I wanted an older version.

Would someone give me some history on the 686? I was looking for a model 19 first when I came upon the 686. I have been a colt man forever and am trying to break out of the groove due to parts being hard to find.

This will be a carry gun for me.


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September 26, 2005, 05:20 AM
To avoid the lock, you want to find a 686-5 or earlier. The 13/65 (fixed sight) or 19/66 (adjustable sight) will be much better carry guns, due to smaller size.

September 26, 2005, 09:40 AM
Could be you want to look out for a chopped early one or the 1990 dash 3.

Anyways - approx history is -

686 ''dash nothing'' - 1980

686-1, 1986 - radius stud package and floating hand

686-M - 1987 recall stamping on earlier versions

686-2, 1987, hammer nose change, bushing and ass'd parts

686-3, 1988, new yoke retention system
1990 - 2 1/2" barrel introduced.

686-4 ........ 1994 thru 1998 - many changes including move to 7 shot, sight changes etc.

September 26, 2005, 10:09 AM
To add to the above the 686-5 had the move to MIM parts and frame mounted firing pin. Many prefer the hammer mounted firing pin and non MIM parts. The 686 Plus or + has the 7 shot cylinder the 7 shot coming out first on the -4 models. For a carry gun thought there are some 3" bbl. versions out there, also in the -4 as I recall. I think D. Hart has one that he has posted pictures on some forum at. Another oddity is the 686 Mountain Gun of which about 2,000 were made. They are as light as a 4" Model 66 K frame.

September 26, 2005, 10:34 AM
Thanks for the great info guys.

Two more questions:

1) What does MIM mean?

2) Are all model 66's recess chambered? I understand the model 66-1 is, but what about the later models?

September 26, 2005, 11:22 AM
MIM = Metal Injection Molding = Metal injection molding (MIM) is a powder metallurgy process used for manufacturing metal parts. Although metal injection molding uses powder metal, it is nothing like conventional powder metal processing (Sintered Metal). The metal powders used in MIM are 10-100 times smaller than in powder metal processes. Also, the end product of metal injection molding is much higher in density (greater than 95% theoretical density). Unlike powder metal, products manufactured by MIM can be case or through hardened, painted, and drilled and tapped. Source: http://manufacturing-fabrication.globalspec.com/LearnMore/Part_Fabrication_Production/Molding_Services/Metal_Injection_Molding_MIM_Services

MIM is an alternative to casting as done by Ruger or Sintering as done on some previous Colt models and Dan Wessons until recently. The topic over at the S&W Forum has been discussed to death. I have some MIM Smiths myself including a 686 and they can be tuned quite well. Essentially the arguments of the pre MIM advocates are (1) the hammer mounted firing pin allows the gun to be tuned to a lighter double action pull and (2) the guns are better fitted or can be better fitted allowing less slop in the action. I have a blueprinted MIM L frame with an extended C&S firing pin with a 6.75 lb double action that fires WW magnum primers so I don't know about aregument #1.

I have seen a Smith Model 66-2 that did not have the recessed chambers. Smith eventually phased this out to save cost.

September 27, 2005, 02:10 AM
Great information guys, thanks.

I just found and bought a 66-1. It is pinned and recessed. cool!!! Great way to break into the smith crowd.

May 25, 2007, 09:29 PM
Two questions:

Where do you look to find the 686-nothing or 686-1 etc? I know the model number is on the yoke/neck of the cylinder, but does it also include the level of revision that that particular gun is?

Where can I look to find the approximate year of manufacture for the pistol? I know SW will send me a letter of authenticity and history for 30 dollars but I just want a rough estimate by looking up the serial number. Ruger's website has a very good example of this.


May 25, 2007, 09:36 PM
Yes - if cylinder swung out so crane is rotated the full 90 - the stamping on the frame underneath is the whole designation - usually anyways AFAIK on the 686, and others. So - no dash number or - all ways up to - what is it now ... must be over 6.

Standard catalog of Smith & Wesson 2nd edition (I believe a third is coming out actually) will provide most info needed to get a DOB on a gun. If you post the SN, with xxx as last digits - I or others can look that up for you.

May 25, 2007, 09:46 PM
Do not have the book but plan on ordering it soon. Just bought my first SW. Grew up as a young boy shooting all of dad's model 36's. Nice to actually have an honest to god full size .357/.38 for a change.

Model number 686 no dash. The serial number is ABC9xxx. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

May 26, 2007, 01:57 PM

May 26, 2007, 09:56 PM
Sorry late back - well with L frames it seems that ABC would fall into the 1982 group .... this fits in with the ''no-dash'' 686 starting 1980 until ''dash one'' started 1986.

Yep - 1982 should be pretty accurate.

May 26, 2007, 10:27 PM
What are the serial numbers of the recalled 686? I heard there are some that were recalled due to some defects.

May 26, 2007, 10:29 PM
Thanks a million. Always interesting information to know when your gun was made.

Shawn Michael
May 26, 2007, 11:16 PM
others great info, why I log into the forum, always learn something

May 30, 2007, 07:27 PM
Great information guys, thanks.

I just found and bought a 66-1. It is pinned and recessed. cool!!! Great way to break into the smith crowd.

Sounds great , I also just picked up a made in 1981 66-1 last weekend! Very nice! Have a 13 year old 686-4 as well. Now , time to try to add the big N-frame Model 27!

A Smith K , L and N Frame all in 357 would be a dream trio for me! Although the 27 will probably be the most difficult one to aquire.

Hec I just noticed that this is a very old thread! Oh well!

May 31, 2007, 03:21 PM

If you just want a big honkin' "N" Frame to fling boolits downrange, you might want to look for a Model 28 instead of the Model 27. The 28, (Highway Patrolman) is the "poor man's" 27 - matte blue finish, no serration on the barrel rib - the utility version of the Model 27.

There appear to be a few more Model 28s out there than 27s, and they also tend to be a bit more affordable. They shoot the same............;)

February 28, 2008, 02:40 PM
My 686 2.5" has a key lock, which doesnt really seem to get in the way of anything I do with it. What is the distaste for this item?


ps I am a VERY new shooter, so my knowledge is limited and of short duration.

February 28, 2008, 02:54 PM
What is the distaste for this item?

Hoo-boy, you're opening a can of worms. There's lots of opinions here and elsewhere. Some don't care. Others care a great deal because of cosmetics, of a possible malfunction, and/or they feel it represents an American archetypal company caving in to political pressure.

Do a search on this forum for some actual opinions. I posted a recent thread on another forum for your read.


April 20, 2010, 09:35 AM
Just this week purchased a 686-4 2 1/2" barrel, bead blasted satin finish, ported barrel, night sights, and custom trigger work. Gun shoots flawless, I paid $575. How did I do money wise? I just realized how good I did desirable wise, this gun is my first Smith wheel gun, I'm LOVIN IT! It's a HOOT to shoot!


April 20, 2010, 04:05 PM
DeltaJohn you SCORED!!:D

April 20, 2010, 05:40 PM
The use of MIM parts is offensive to me primarily due to the way it looks. It's horrendously ugly, especially with stainless steel. It also appears to ding and scratch more easily.

I also don't like the rubber grips and sights. The front sights used to be a part of the barrels and they were attractive. Now they're tapped in. The rear sights also have been cheapened.

And then there are the locks!

April 20, 2010, 05:48 PM
I'm very pleased with my 686 no dash!

July 8, 2010, 08:29 AM
Ok, I'm new here. Looking up info on a revolver and reading some of your posts is very enlightening. I'm hoping for some further education.

A couple of years ago I bought a 686-3 from a friend. Paid $215. I thought it was a good deal no matter what but seems the "-3" isn't so desirable. It has a 2.5" barrel, serial # RKR2xxx. Anyone who could help me with date of manufacture? Also, some more info on the -3. I really appreciate it. I know I'm new and asking a lot but I know I can and will contribute to this forum.


Sorry, I did mean to put this in the S&W DOB thread.

July 8, 2010, 04:42 PM
GO WITH THE MODEL 19. You will not regret it... I personally believe it has a better balance, and it is much more comfortable to carry.

July 9, 2010, 02:43 AM
Wow, another 3 year old thread brought back from the Abyss... :rolleyes:

July 9, 2010, 04:30 PM
I have a 3" pre lock 686 with cylinder and slide combat sights. I love it. Good house gun, can be stretched into a carry role if needed.

July 9, 2010, 10:12 PM
These ancient threads should be automatically closed after a reasonable period of time. That way no one has to drive a wooden stake through their heart when they rise from the dead.

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