S&W 681? Reviews and recommendations...


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GunNut
September 9, 2007, 01:16 AM
Spotted a used S&W 681 the other day for around $300 OTD and am considering purchasing it seeing as I have tons of .357mag reloading supplies.

So I know that the gun is basically a fixed sighted version of the 686 and that the gun is a square butt.

Does anyone own this model and would you recommend it for my intended use as a range gun and possibly for some woods carry?

Anything else that I should know about the 681's?

Thanks,
Steve

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Stephen A. Camp
September 9, 2007, 01:27 AM
Hello. Only that I regret having gotten rid of mine foolishly several years ago. Some needed to be sent back in to S&W due to a problem with the firing pin bushing but not all. I am not familiar with the serial numbers of those for which S&W did the change. I think that the problem related to fired magnums' primers flowing back into the firing pin hole and jamming the revolver. Mine worked fine with all of the magnum rounds I tried.

To me, this L-frame handled like a charm and the fixed sights were dead on for Winchester 145-gr. STHP's as well as the 158's I tried.

Best and good luck.

PS: If I can find another one in good shape and at the right price in my area where I can examine it, I'll buy it in a heartbeat.

GunNut
September 9, 2007, 01:33 AM
Stephen,

Thanks, I believe this gun has been upgraded by the factory as there was the "m" mark in the crane.

Steve(Stephen too)

Stephen A. Camp
September 9, 2007, 01:36 AM
Hello. Well, there you go! I think that the "M" does mean that it has been taken care of. I have an S&W CS-1 with such an "M" and on it and I believe that it means a similar problem was taken care of.

If you like the revolver and it checks out alright in your estimation, I'd buy it. These are hard to find...at least in my neck of the woods.

Best.

Gator
September 9, 2007, 01:39 AM
Holy c#*p! $300 OTD and you didn't buy it? Those are great guns and are also wonderful fodder for five shot .44 Spl conversions.

GunNut
September 9, 2007, 01:42 AM
Holy c#*p! $300 OTD and you didn't buy it? Those are great guns and are also wonderful fodder for five shot .44 Spl conversions.

It does have quite a bit of finish wear, but that is an easy fix. The gun does seem to check out fine otherwise.

Who does the conversion to .44special?

Gator
September 9, 2007, 01:49 AM
I think several smiths will do it, Clements and Bowen do them for sure. You will need a 696 cylinder and a five shot L frame hand from Brownells. The barrel gets re-bored and re-rifled and the new cylinder and hand fitted, its a pretty easy conversion.

Rexster
September 9, 2007, 03:28 AM
I deeply regret selling off my M581 in the mid-80's; a fixed-sight sixgun that shoots to point of aim is a great joy.

Thaddeus Jones
September 9, 2007, 07:55 PM
I own a 681 no dash. I paid almost nothing for it, and it would be one of the last revolvers I part with. Superbly accurate, and built like a tank. The 3" 7-shot version is my idea of the perfect combat revolver.

My advice is get it, shoot it, love it!

wayno
February 13, 2008, 02:24 AM
Wish mine had a 3" barrel and that someone
would not have left pry marks on the sideplate.
May send it of to S&W for some work.

Sheldon
February 13, 2008, 05:49 AM
Great gun and great price. The Navy SEALs used them for a time if I recall correctly.

SJshooter
February 14, 2008, 10:17 PM
I paid double that for my 681 (then again, I have to pay California premium prices) - but I'd pay it again. Great gun! The fixed sights take getting used to, but they'll make you a better shooter. It's also nice to have no sights snagging on the holster draw. I'd prefer a 581 because I love blue, but where I live both are very rare. Go get that 681 before someone else does!

http://bushnell.smugmug.com/photos/226853462_ZFqUT-L.jpg

Boulder
February 15, 2008, 10:27 AM
The 581 (and 681) is one of the models I wish I had. For $300, I would definitely but it.

I'm a little surprised the newer M619 never took off. Semi-lugged, 7-shot, L-frame, fixed sights. Davidsons seems to just offer the 620 (adjustable sights). Maybe it's been discontinued? Maybe it's because of the lock? I think it's even a round butt. Seems like it would be a really awesome CCW.

strangelittleman
February 15, 2008, 10:58 AM
Heck yea, I'd grab it for $300! Those are great guns and quite hard to find in my area.
As for the new S&W 619, it's still being made, I saw one in Nashville, Tn., just two days ago at the Bass Pro Shop in the mall by the Grand Old Opry. They are rd butt, and I too think they would make a great CCW/Service revolver. I believe the price on it was $479 or so.

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