686 black stainless


September 23, 2007, 09:33 PM
I recently picked up a near new S&W 686 6" in near new condition. This was a limited run in blackened stainless. Its not a coating, its more like a "stain" the way I understand it. It is hard to capture the true color of the gun. It is like a "milky" blue/black, but looks very nice. It locks up tighter than a drum, and has a great trigger. I'll have to get some range time in with it this week.




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September 24, 2007, 03:57 AM
Very cool looking gun! Keep the pics coming!

September 24, 2007, 07:10 AM
Nice looking 686, usually the "blue" ones are 586 but maybe this one is still a 686 since it is anodized stainless?? Interesting.

Who did the special limited run promo? Distributor? S&W?

September 24, 2007, 03:28 PM
Is that what this is, "anodized"? I replied to your post on TFL and nobody knew what this actually was. I would like to know of any companies specializing in this and how strong the finish is. I may send off a Smith SS revolver and have it done. If it is just anodized it isn't really black SS, but a coating, like paint which means it can be scratched. More info on this would be helplul.

September 24, 2007, 05:01 PM
It is a 686-3, black stainless from the factory. Limited run in 1988. The finish isn't a coating, nor do I believe it to be an anodizing. If memory serves me correctly, S&W found a way to chemically "stain" the stainless. You would have to call S&W and ask them exactly how they done it for sure. I used to own a 5906 in black stainless that had the same finish. It seemed to hold up as well as blueing.
You can't scratch it off. If you have ever seen a gun that has been finished in cold blue, it looks similar.


September 24, 2007, 05:22 PM
According to the S&W collectors bible, Standard Catalog of S&W, 3rd. edition:

Product code 104248
6" 686-3 with "Midnight Black Finish". 2,876 produced in 1989.

Product Code 104250
4" 686-3 with "Midnight Black Finish". 1,559 produced in 1989.

It doesn't go on to say how they did it, but it isn't anodizing, which only works on aluminum, titanium, zinc, magnesium, and niobium.
It has to be a chemical stain, or plating of some kind.


September 24, 2007, 05:30 PM
I saw one of those in a store not too long ago, and made a mistake in calling it a 586 also. I said to the store clerk "I think you have that mislabeled, that must be a 586 , not a 686"... The funny thing was he agreed that must be the case, and took it out too look at it. Yet it was confirmed it did say 686-3. Both of us were confused. I had forgotten all about it, but I'm glad you brought your gun to show and tell.. now I know what the deal was with that :)

September 24, 2007, 05:48 PM
It definately is not a plating or a coating. Here are some better pics.





September 24, 2007, 05:54 PM
Chemical stain it is then!

BTW: S&W stainless has enough Carbon in it to be magnetic, and probably enough to get those results if you accidently dropped one in a hot bluing tank with the carbon steel guns on your luch break.
That's probably how this got started!


September 24, 2007, 06:04 PM
I wonder how many good guns were the result of an "accident".


September 24, 2007, 06:50 PM
Sig does a "blackened stainless", too. My old P239 had it. Not sure what the process is, though.

-- Sam

September 24, 2007, 09:10 PM
hans1911, congrats on a beautiful revolver. I owned an identical one up until a year ago. Smith & Wesson called it a "mid-night black" stainless 686. I traded mine for a 5 inch S&W model 27-2 that I'd always wanted.

Be careful with the finish -- it is not very durable and is prone to scratch easily. That is one of the reasons that S&W did not continue offering the "mid-night black" finish. It should be a great collectors item as time goes on. Enjoy and shoot it , but again I caution you to be careful of the finish.


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