I no longer want a S&W 686


December 14, 2008, 05:32 PM
I've been casually looking for a new revolver in 357 magnum. Earlier today I was walking around a gunshow and had my S&W 629 Mountain Gun with me at the time as I was looking for a set of grips for it. I got a chance to paw over a 686 for a while and compare it directly w/ my 629. It's a nice gun, no doubt and I'm sure it's a great shooter. But it's essentially the same size as my 629.... if I'm going to keep the same size frame I'll stick with my 629 which I love greatly. I'm just looking to add a 357....well, because I don't have one - no good reason.

I do NOT want a j-frame sized gun. I do want 3"-4" barrel. I prefer S&W but, unlike some, I have no problems with Taurus. Not much of a Ruger fan.

What am I missing?

edit: I saw a S&W 19-3 at the previous gun show but that dealer wasn't at this one so I didn't get to compare... but I liked it a lot when fondling it at the last show.

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CSA 357
December 14, 2008, 05:53 PM
yes the 686 is bigger than a 19, but its not as big and heavy as a 629! i have a 4 inch 686 and a 4 inch 629, the 686 is a L frame and the 629 is a N frame, i like the 19 better than the 686 for a carry gun, the full lug does add some weight, they say the 686 will stand up better to hot loads than the 19, i can say that the recoil on the 19 is worse than the 686, you could also look at a mod 66, good luck! csa

December 14, 2008, 06:18 PM
What am I missing? Well you could get a 7 shot 686 that would give you one more round. I love both of my 686 plus revolvers for home protection and cc. My 629 is for hiking etc.

December 14, 2008, 06:31 PM
It sounds like your wanting a K frame size .357 . That is the Model 19 or stainless is the 66 . Other K-frame .357's are fixed sight guns.

Don't forget to look at the Ruger SP 101 , as well as the Taurus.

December 14, 2008, 06:34 PM
Not much of a Ruger fan.

What am I missing?
You just answered your own question.

December 14, 2008, 06:56 PM
RockyMtnScotsman, The Colt Python, thought by a lot of folks to be one of the best .357 revolvers ever. Might as well want the best, if you just want one. The S&W Model 19, is a good choice for less money. orchidhunter

December 14, 2008, 07:34 PM
I have a model 66 no dash 2 1/2" round butt and like it a bunch, but it is not a small revolver. It's on the K frame, same as the blued model 19 but stainless.

It's certainly smaller than my 629 but not all that much smaller than a 686. The L frame does not seem to be exactly halfway between the K and the N - it's more like a K plus. Supposed to be considerably stronger than a K frame though.

Revolver makers have always shown a lot of respect to the .357 magnum so for long life maybe it's wiser to follow their lead than to worry over bigger and smaller too much.

December 14, 2008, 07:40 PM
Then try a Colt Trooper Mk III or Mk V, or a Python if you like spending money.

December 14, 2008, 08:05 PM
The 686 is an L frame, while the 66 or 19 are slightly smaller K frame guns. The difference is slight - a 2.5 inch barrel model 66 weighs about 32 ounces, while a 2.5 inch barrel 686 weighs about 34 ounces. Grip size is the same, and you can interchange aftermarket grips between them. Many holsters made for the 66 will accomodate a 686 of the same barrel length with a little wiggling.

I have both guns and they are shown below. One significant difference is that you can shoot just about any factory .357 ammo in the 686, while most will tell you to be a little careful of shooting the 125 grain .357 ammo in a 66, so as not to crack the forcing cone.


December 14, 2008, 08:19 PM
I did a doubletake on seeing your photo, pogo2, as your 66 is almost the spittin' image of mine. Same gun, same grips, but my trigger is polished in the outer edges and the hammer is too - just a couple of little touches I did to smooth the overall feel of the pistol to taste.

No, on second look - the 66-3 does not have the case heads flush with the edge of the cylinder like my 66 no dash does. So that's what they changed.

December 14, 2008, 10:50 PM
I've got two 66's, a -1 snubby and a nada 4", and I have a 6" 686 (I forget the -#).

Between them, I like the 66's over the 686 any day. They're just too sexy compared to the bulky 686.

December 15, 2008, 12:01 AM
Yes the L frame is thicker than the K, but what won me over for a carry gun is the way the 686 frame is taller and the sight aligns with my eye better. The 66 I have to crouch my head a bit. This made the choice easy and is something you cannot read about or have somebody else tell you. You just have to go shoot them.

December 15, 2008, 04:18 AM
What am I missing?

I think maybe the thing you are missing is size vs. weight. The way that the weight of the 686 is distributed is very different than the N frame (28 or 27 in .357).

In a 4", the 686 weighs the same as a 4" N frame - within 1/4 ounce on my scale (I think they were both at 41ozs unloaded). This is because of the full lug and thicker, vs. tapered, barrel. But in size, it is very much, as KRS said, a "K plus" and not in the "N" realm. Don't forget that added weight, especially out there at the muzzle near the lever end of the gun, makes the recoil characteristics much more friendly.

So, in a 4" .357:

The K is the quickest and handiest
The L is the best handling re: recoil
The N is the largest - and neither quickest or best at absorbing recoil.

I have 2.5" and 4" .357s in both K, L, and N (3.5" and 4" in the N, they never made a classic in 2.5"). I shoot them all and often "head to head," and my opinions are:

1) favorite for extended shooting: 4" L frame 686
2) favorite for carry is: 2.5" K frame 19
3) Prettiest: 3.5" N frame 27

As an added observation, given I can carry one of seven different S&W 357's if I choose, when I go for an open-carry woods gun, it's the 4" 686 that get's the nod 80% of the time.

December 15, 2008, 09:27 AM
I would agree with everything that Oro says. The L feels more like a K than the N. It is still a personal choice though. For instance I would favor the M-27 for range use or OC simply because I shoot N frames the best out of them all. Nothing fits my hand better or points more naturally than a tapered barrel N frame for me. For IWB carry though, regrettably the N is out. :)

December 15, 2008, 09:42 AM
for range use or OC simply because I shoot N frames the best out of them all.

Yes, that is the variable I did not address, the fit to the hand. The K and L use the same grip size. The N is larger. Both offer the same shape grips, but are proportionally sized. Thus, your "best" gun is decided by your hand, as well as the physics of the gun in question.

Thanks for pointing that out, 20nickels.

PS, when I am not stuffing a 4" 686 in my holster outdoors, I am stuffing the 3.5" N frame 27 into it. I agree with you it is a sweet feeling and handling gun, and far too pretty and nice to leave at home!

While I have ranted about the virtues of the 686 as a shooting platform, the 3.5" 27 would be the last one I would ever sell should I be forced to do so - the intangibles on the 27 are that great.

December 15, 2008, 03:03 PM
I've never heard from anyone who bought a GP100 and didn't like it.

There are, on the other hand, a LOT of threads about how people don't like S&Ws anymore.

December 15, 2008, 04:53 PM
If you all ready have a Mountain Gun,and unless you just realy want a .357M, keep the MG and use some SD loads.
If, on the other hand, you want something to carry, THEN, look for a K frame. L frames are more durable than K's but don't handle as well IMHO.
Do not rule out a Ruger. Their small frame .357M, the SP 101 deserves a look. It is lighter than either the K or L frame. It does, however, only hold 5 rounds.

December 15, 2008, 04:59 PM
I have both a 5" 629 Classic and a 4" 686+ Each has it's place in my collecion. I am looking at getting a 3" in either 686 or 60.

December 15, 2008, 06:04 PM
I really like my 66 with a 5.5 inch barrel. It is a Dallas PD Commemorative made in 1981. I have owned a few "new-newer" S&W's but they are all gone. A hammer without a firing pin and a stamped, hollow trigger just scream, "piss poor quality". I am quirky like that.

As a matter of fact, I don't really care for revolvers at all; I have acquired 8 revolvers in different calibers, .22 lr - .44 mag, over the years and gotten rid of 7 of them.

My 66 is accompanied by 2 SA .45 1911's, 1 SA 38 super 1911, 1 DW PM 7 1911, 1 Belgium Hi power, and 1 UDX Target Buckmark.

If could keep only one handgun, I would get rid of all my JMB candy and hang tough till death to my 66.

December 15, 2008, 06:16 PM
Get a N frame .357 they come in various models that reduce weight, different barrel lengths and you already own a N frame. Your hand will thank you.

December 15, 2008, 09:51 PM
N, L and K frame .357s . . . I've had 'em all.

During the years I was hot and heavy shooting bowling pin matches I finally realized what worked best for me.

As another poster noted, the big N frames don't really lessen the kick vs. the L frame. My competition times with a 6" M27 were never as good as my 3" K-frame Model 65. A Model 27 though, is a purdy thang indeed!

The FIRST to go though however, was my L frame 686. As someone noted, its about as heavy as the N frame.

I also hated the big, full lugged barrel on the L framed .357s. I like it on a 629 or 29 Classic .44 Mag. for single action hunting . . . but for fast double action "gun games" stuff (and for self defense) I want a lighter barrel so the gun is faster on the draw, faster to point from the "low-ready," and faster recovery to muzzle flip between targets when shooting double action just as fast as the sight picture comes back down.

Thus . . . MAKE MINE THE SLEEK K-FRAMES! I've consistently shot them best in timed competition.

In fast "yank and crank" shooting, a shorter barreled K frame wins hands down . . . and that's what one does in a self defense situation too!


A 3" K-frame - Usually a blued M13 or stainless M65, both with fixed sights that, I've discovered, are dead on at normal shooting ranges.

The other commonly-encountered choice is a blued or nickle M19 or stainless M66 . . . all with adjustable sights and 2 1/2" barrels.

I prefer the 3" guns due to them having full length ejector rods and a longer sight radius.

L frames? Frankly, I don't see EVER wanting another L frame. It has absolutely zero appeal to me and I don't see this changing. Ditto with the stout GP-100 . . . an L-frame with a poorer trigger.

Nawwww, make mine a "K!" The K's just are better balanced and faster drawing and pointing . . . the true classic carry .357 . . . and they are also like a shapely girl . . . sleek, exciting, responsive and beautiful . . . in a world of stout, stocky, heavy .357s!


Bill B.
December 16, 2008, 10:37 AM
Great Pictures Guys!

December 16, 2008, 02:58 PM
I have both a 5" 629 Classic and a 4" 686+

Though I like my 4" 686+, I've always thought a 5" barrel would be a perfect compromise and would aid in the balance without making it muzzle heavy like the 6" tends to be.

December 16, 2008, 06:18 PM
Just keep searching and hold your money until you are sure. That's what I did.
19-3 2.5 K frame Nickle. I don't think it can be improved on for personal carry.
This is actually the twin brother that I sold. I kept the nice one :)

December 16, 2008, 08:30 PM
OP...you no longer want a 686? Sweet...more for the rest of us!;)

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