686 Recall


Maj Dad
June 20, 2009, 01:59 PM
Some years back there was a recall by S&W that involved 686s (maybe others, don't recall). I believe it entailed a modification of the hammer or frame at the firing pin hole, but the specifics have fuzzed over. Do any of you gentlemen have any better recollection? I have a 686 no-dash that shoots like a million bucks and am not inclined to have it modified, though Smith sent me a pre-paid shipping label. It ain't broke, I don't shoot hundreds of full-house loads a week and I am coming into the age of conservative paranoia... :cool:
Maj Dad

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June 20, 2009, 02:28 PM
Bought a new 686 4 incher in the mid-1980s when they were introduced. Still have it and it's an excellent pistol.

The recall was for the replacement of the "hammer nose and hammer nose bushing", IIRC? Never sent mine back because the turn around time was too long to suit me. The problems mostly involved cylinder bind-up from a partially backed out primer.

Had that problem with a few of my ultra-hot handloads with 158gr SWC w/gas checks. Backed the load off a tad, no more problems. Only shoot WW 125gr SJHP loads in it now, no further glitches and a can of 2400 lasts a bit longer with reduced loads. I was younger and friskier (dumber) back then. ;O)

Went and looked: Mine is Ser. # ACL 15xx, 686/no dash, as I expected it would be.

June 20, 2009, 04:19 PM
remember a little of it.
However mine has never failed yet.
ser aczxxx oct-83 in fac.grip.
If it aint broke......
And alot of Everthing, since bought in -90-:cool:

June 20, 2009, 04:20 PM
The recall was issued for a huge number of guns to catch a very few that were out of spec. If your gun runs fine, then just let it be. Also, I doubt nowadays they will replace it with the same forged and flash-chromed hammer as was on the original "no dash." I would not do it unless you have a problem shooting factory ammo in the gun.

I have a 686 no dash and I have not sent it in for the recall. Recalled guns that have had the modification will have an "M" overstamp in the yoke cut.

Maj Dad
June 20, 2009, 05:04 PM
I will go with my gut instinct and your advice and keep shooting without the return hassle. It's like new, and I see no reason to fix it... BTW, SN is ACL 37xx, 4" with a dept. or internal SN very lightly stamped on the left frame - CA SO 744201, which I assumed was a CA sheriff's ofc. I bought it out west about 10 years ago for $265 + $30 shipping/tax and thought it was a great buy. Sure is a nice shooter.
Thanks, gents.

June 20, 2009, 05:17 PM
Quoting myself from post #330 of the definitive "The 686" thread


Smith and Wesson recalled the models 581, 586, 681, 686, or 581-1,
586-1, 681-1, 686-1 and 686CS-1 . Extremely high pressure magnum loads were resulting in cylinder binding on some guns. They were afraid it would cause failure to fires in the wrong situations, and also that people would have accidental discharges by improperly trying to release the cylinder. Those models, if they've been returned to S&W for the recall fix , should have an M (for 'modified') over the model number.

If anyone has those models still unmodified, S&W will still pay the shipping costs and replace the offending parts for free.

If there is a recall on a piece of equipment that handles the kinds of pressures generated by .357 magnum loads, there's probably a good reason. Just because yours work (for now), does not mean that it's wise to ignore a recall. In my opinion it should not be considered optional when talking about a gun that is going to be shot. The only exception is collector's guns which don't get fired, which in some cases the "flaw" is valued. This is not the case in any 686.

EDIT: Oh also , it had nothing to do with "to catch a very few that were out of spec" , but rather had more to do with the softer flowing primers of the day.

June 20, 2009, 07:14 PM
And if I recall, it was mostly a problem only with certain brands of ammo.

Maj Dad
June 20, 2009, 08:37 PM
I have never been able to afford more than one or two boxes of factory hotloads in magnum pistols. I reload about 99.9% of the time and have never had any issue with those loads. I agree that recalls are not made on a whim and should be seriously considered. I also believe that we should use our logical and intelligent analytical noodles to sort the lawyer fluff from reality. Reality - what a concept... ;)

This forum is a pre-eminent interface with reality - and the contributors are our connecton with it.
Regards to all!
Maj Dad

June 20, 2009, 10:18 PM
Had the "problem" with my 686 very early on. Once I backed off a tad on the loads, no further problems with those 158gr SWC loads in the pistol.

In the past 25 years and many, many hundreds of rounds, never another problem either. It'll eat all the 125gr JHP loads ahead of 17grs of 2400, that you want to feed it, with no hiccups. Nothing but CCI 550 primers, FWIW.

Had it ever "bound up" again, it would've went back to the S&W authorized repair center for the updated parts.

June 22, 2009, 02:48 AM
Above the "M" marking for modified revolvers was mentioned but you didn't tell us if your revolver was modified or not. I'm guessing you wouldn't be worrying about the modification if your revolver was already done but I was just wondering if you verified there was no "M" stamped on your revolver. I guess I got lucky because the "problem" was fixed in the M686-2 which is what I own. I really enjoy shooting those older S&W revolvers...

June 23, 2009, 03:20 AM
EDIT: Oh also , it had nothing to do with "to catch a very few that were out of spec" , but rather had more to do with the softer flowing primers of the day.
Uh, it WAS a small batch of fp bushings that were out of spec. It was NOT a general problem of the whole line. If you aren't familiar with this recall, you can call S&W and ask about it. You WILL need to find someone who has specific knowledge of it, like Kate F., to get the whole story. Since it was impossible to know which guns had the out-of-spec part, a general recall was issued for the whole engineering series. This is how recalls work when the individually affected units, no matter how few, can't be identified.

If the bushing is out of spec, it will become apparent when there is an indexing issue with magnum loads. I believe they said it was less than 1% of the recalled guns that were actually affected.

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