Please help me to choose between S&W's


December 29, 2006, 05:30 PM
I am new to this forum, so please forgive me if my questions are too obvious for experienced members.
I would like to buy a revolver that has to be used mostly for recreational target shooting. In other words - for fun!
Hopefully, I should never use it for self defense, but you never know... I am not planning to carry it.
I already have .22LR Kimber Rimfire Target but sometimes I feel feel like holding something more substantial in my hand:D .
I am new to guns, so I did a lot of reading lately. I kind of narrowed my choices to a few 7-round .357 Smith & Wesson models. They all have 4" barrel.
Here they are in no particular order:
1. S&W 686 Plus
2. S&W 620
3. S&W 586-7
4. S&W 520 HIVIZ
The gun shop I visited has 686 in stock but they can order any model for me. I like how 686 feels in my hand even though it quite heavy.
Can somebody explain to me in simple words the difference between 686 and 620 models? Specs look almost identical:confused:
According to S&W web site Model 520 is 2.8oz lighter than 686. Would it change recoil significantly? (Most likely I would be shooting .38 Special).
And what about HIVIZ front sight on 520 vs. Red Ramp on the rest of the guns?
Does anybody have an opinion on 586? I could not find much information on this one. It sure looks great!
I would apprecciate if somebody can help me to make a choice.


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December 29, 2006, 05:34 PM
I vote 586, since I have an older no"dash" model and it is awesome. Gotta love that blue.

December 29, 2006, 05:45 PM
I own a Model 619 which is the same as the 620 without adjustible sights. I enjoy shooting the 619 a lot and I'm sure you will like the 620 as well. Don't worry about it feeling heavy, you won't notice the weight at all once you start shooting it.

December 29, 2006, 05:50 PM
I`d have to go with Jackal ... my FFL just had a trade in of a 586 that the previous owner had sitting in his safe for the past 20 years. It sure felt nice to handle even though I didn`t get a chance to fire it... yet :D
I`ll have to wait till after the holidays to see what he wants for it.

December 29, 2006, 05:54 PM
I have a 686+ and really enjoy it. The 586 is the same except it's blued. So 586 vs 686 is just your preference for blue or stainless.

The 619/620 are also L Frame based guns like the 586/686, however, they are only available in 4" barrels and 7 shot cylinders. The barrels also have only a partial underlug. Doesn't change the weight much, but it would balance closer to your wrist, so you may prefer the 620.

If you are mainly going to be shooting 38s, I wouldn't rule out a nice K Frame gun like a S&W Model 19/66 (blue/stainless), or even a 38 Special gun like a Model 10, or something like my Model 14.


December 29, 2006, 07:25 PM
I like the 686. In the big S&W 357 mag revolver, the SS set up is very well balanced and look awesome.

December 29, 2006, 08:10 PM
I am new to this forum, so please forgive me if my questions are too obvious for experienced members.
QMark, first off welcome to THR! No worries about asking any question here, we all had to learn somewhere too. Now on to your description of your requirements.
I would like to buy a revolver that has to be used mostly for recreational target shooting. In other words - for fun!
Hopefully, I should never use it for self defense, but you never know... I am not planning to carry it. (Most likely I would be shooting .38 Special).
From those quotes, I'll share a few insights. First of all, not all 357 Mag. revolvers are as accurate with .38 Specials as they are with 357 Mags. It's not brand or model specific, it's a result of the .38's shorter case being fired in the magnum's longer chambers. Second, a 357 Magnum chambered gun will cost more than a .38 special only chambered gun. Why pay extra for a cpability that will rarely be used? Third, if you're open to a dedicated .38 Special based on the first two observations, you'll open up more, and (far better in my opinion) options based on what you're telling us you're looking for. Also, on the self defense note the .38 Special has been used for self defense since 1899. Bullet design and smokeless powders have come a long way in the last 107 years. The venerable .38 S&W Special is more than adequate should you ever need it for SD.

Now, if you'll entertain me, I'll give you a little different recommendation based on the above observations. All the guns you listed are built on what S&W calls the L Frame, which is a medium frame. The L Frame is a beefed up version of the K frame, and was introduced to handle repeated high volume use of full house .357 Magnums in S&W's medium frame revolvers.

So, now looking at a dedicated .38 for target use, were looking at some great guns. The K-38 Target Masterpiece (S&W Model 14) generally with a 6" bbl, or the K-38 Combat Masterpiece (S&W Model 15) generally with a 4" bbl are amongst the finest .38 Special revolvers ever built, and their blued steel & walnut grips are just beautiful. There is also the S&W Model 67 which is a stainless version of the Model 15. The M67 is still available new from S&W if I remember correctly, but I'd still get an older used one. The M14 & M15 are only available on the used market. This is a good thing though. The new S&Ws are just assembled, and while they're nice, they aren't like the old guns. The older S&W's were handbuilt, hand fiting & finishing was done on the entire gun: They are orders of magnitude nicer than any new S&W I've handled. Because they're used, they're also less expensive than new guns.

See Jim March's Used Revolver Checkout Thread stickied at the top of this (the revolvers) sub forum. Print it out & take it with you to the dealer. Using that guide anyone can ensure they're getting a good revolver. Many folks here even use it when looking at factory new guns, and there are a few reports of folks catching defects the factory missed.

In conclusion, I apologize for not giving you a direct answer to the question you asked. The older S&W's I mentioned are just so much better that I can't recommend anyone buy a new one. I was new to guns myself, but some kind gentlemen set me strait on the old S&W's. Then some other fine gentlemen here on THR re-enforced what I'd been taught about the old guns. I just had to share what I've learned. Please keep asking questions, and enjoy your time here at The High Road. :)

December 29, 2006, 08:21 PM
Since all your choices are adjustable sighted, I'd go with the M67, not on your list. I think you mentioned weight as an issue, and the K-Frame M67 is lighter than an L-Frame. If you want blue, you'll have to go on the used market or go with a fixed-sight Model 10.
I like the feel of a K (used 66, pretty similar to M67) better than the L (620). It's lighter, which I liked, but recoil would probably be managable with .38 Spl or .38 + P. Of course, it was a square-butt and the new M67's are round butts, but that can't b helped. I say M67, since you'll only shoot .38's and want a "fun" gun. Of course, I liked the feel of the GP1OO but it weighs a ton.
P.S.Since you already have a .22, I won't say get another one. But the 10 round 617, 4'' sure does look nice. You could use it for HD in a pinch, loaded with high-velocity ammo.

December 29, 2006, 09:29 PM
The 686 is almost the perfect gun for you. but a used Model 66 would serve just as well. Both guns have the same grip and would feel the same in your hand.

The Model 66 is my favorite fun-gun. I've had one for years. I've often said my 66 would be the last revolver I'd ever sell. It's lighter than the L-frame 686 and I find it more handy.

The 686 has quite a following and many shooters consider it the best .357 revolver S&W ever made. It is truly a remarkable revolver. Bottom line: You really can't go wrong with either gun.

The Real Hawkeye
December 29, 2006, 10:31 PM
Here's your gun. And no key hole in the frame. Just get a replacement rear sight blade, and you are in business for much less than the cost of a new one, and you'd have a MUCH better gun than what they're making now. Take a look. Holster wear just gives it character. Or, even better, check this one out.

December 29, 2006, 11:17 PM
I have the 586-7. Gorgeous gun that shoots fantastic. I see no accuracy difference whatsoever firing .38 vs .357, and I shoot both from this gun every time I shoot. If you want some photos:

Don Lu
December 31, 2006, 07:14 AM
I vote for the 520.

December 31, 2006, 11:27 AM
I noticed that you bolded "7 shot".

Chances are, you won't find a 7 shot K frame or old L frame so I suggest that you go to the store, handle the guns on your list individually, and pick the one that sings to you. I've never had a 357 Smith that didn't shoot 38 Specials equally well. And I have a "few" S&Ws. Got an acquaintance who is a world class PPC shooter uses a 357 686 to win major fetes in a 38 Spl game.

If I must pick from your list, I will go with the 586 only because I'm on a blued gun kick. But do remember that the stainless guns will always age better.

Would it that we all face such pleasant problems!

Let us know what you picked.

December 31, 2006, 12:11 PM
The new 520 is lighter then the old K-frame .357's and 7 shots is more than 6.;)


The Hi-vis sight has to go though.

December 31, 2006, 03:31 PM
I would like to start from saying Thank You Everybody for replying to my post and for your recommendations.
Here is where I am standing right now...
I really wanted to buy a New 7-round gun. It should be new mostly to get S&W lifetime warranty and also because buying a used gun requires some level of expertise I do not have.
So, it is between 586 and 686 now. Rubber or wood. Blued or SS. The price difference is insignificant. 686 can be bought locally (big plus:D ), 586 is available only online (big question mark:confused: ). I like durability of SS on 686 and I assume that grips can be changed to the wooden ones If I choose so. I do like combination of Blued and wood on 586 even more, but I'm really concerned about aging of a blued gun.
So here is a couple of new questions I would like to ask.
1. Is there any reliable way to keep Blued gun in a good shape? I am not planning to carry this gun but it will be used and most likely scratched.
2. Is it correct that 586 is a Limited addition gun?
3. Any recommendation where I could find wooden replacement grips for 686?
4. I see a lot "no-dash" references here on the forum. What does it mean?

Happy New Year to all of you!

December 31, 2006, 04:16 PM
Protecting a blued gun from rust shouldn't be a problem if you keep it lightly oiled and keep it in a dry place.

The last regular 586 run was from 2005 IIRC. I remember seeing them @ gun stores here in Kali. Pretty guns.

Wood grips: The beauty of buying a Smith is that there are many, many accessory makers out there that offer grips for it. Visit gun shows or look online and you will not have a problem finding grips that are more attuned to your taste.

No dash = first generation L frames. They come in 6 shots only.

January 2, 2007, 06:17 PM
I got a day off today and decided to visit some local gun shops. And look what I found.
Brand new S&W model 686 with 5" barrel, 7-shot cylinder, wood grips, HIVIZ front sight. I had to choose between 4' barrel with rubber grips and 5' barrel with wooden ones. It was easy.:D
Many Thanks to everybody who provided information that helped me to make a decision. It is very much appreciated!
On my way back from gun shop I stopped by my friend's place and he took some pictures(thank you Gregory!). He said it is quick and dirty. Looks pretty good to me!
I hope everybody agrees.

January 2, 2007, 06:18 PM
Four inch S&W Model 10....

January 2, 2007, 08:13 PM
Well done. They made that variation in 2004 only IIRC.

January 2, 2007, 08:43 PM
That's a very pretty revolver, you did well. I just can't understand your post title, "choose between S&Ws". Take your time and just buy them all.:)

I like S&Ws and wood grips.{A708118F-5D9C-492D-A177-0D475F75E550}/picture.JPG{540A997F-C6D3-418E-AC66-D54079ACE432}/picture.JPG

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