First post: Questions about S&W 686 and 386


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cmdc
April 1, 2010, 09:30 AM
I have read The Highroad for several years but this is my first post. I have a 686+ with a 2.5 in. barrel. I like the gun but am curious about how much difference there is between this one and a 3 in. barrel regarding balance/handling and muzzle velocity/energy.

I also just got a 386 Night Guard and am getting light primer strikes/failure to ignite with Blazer 158grn. .357 ammo. It fires Remington .38 special +p OK. I did not have the opportunity to try any other brands of ammunition.

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340PD
April 1, 2010, 09:43 AM
Try taking off the grips and checking the strain screw in the frame. It is licated at the bottom of the mainspring in the grip area of your frame. Many times it is not tight enough. Tighten it and recheck your ammo.

http://tinyurl.com/yz6wy2b

cmdc
April 1, 2010, 09:56 AM
Thanks. I'll do that and try it again.

MrBorland
April 1, 2010, 11:37 AM
I also just got a 386 Night Guard and am getting light primer strikes/failure to ignite with Blazer 158grn. .357 ammo. It fires Remington .38 special +p OK. I did not have the opportunity to try any other brands of ammunition.

Is this a new gun? If it's got the original rubber Pachmayr grips, also check grip screw. If it's too tight, the rubber grips can actually rub on the mainspring a bit, robbing the hammer of some oompf (AFAIK, Blazer uses CCI primers, which have a reputation for being relatively hard). Someone may have been a bit overzealous when putting the grips on, and it's easy enough to check.

If you've been shooting a bunch of .38s through it, also try scrubbing the cylinders out with some Hoppes and a brass brush. It's possible there's just enough deposits from the shorter .38s to make the .357s not seat completely. Normally, people notice when the .357s have an obvious problem seating, but I'm guessing there's also a point where it's not so obvious. Again, easy enough to check.

Beyond these (strain & grip screws and a cleaning) things, if this is a new, unmolested gun, I'd suggest contacting S&W.

cmdc
April 1, 2010, 11:48 AM
Thanks for the input. Yes, this a brand new gun. I will check the areas you suggested and if that doesn't take care if it, I'll send it back to Smith and Wesson.

Any input on the 686? Is there enough difference between the two to warrant getting the slightly longer barrel?

MrBorland
April 1, 2010, 12:55 PM
I don't personally have any experience in evaluating the differences between a 2 1/2" and a 3' barrel, but I suspect they'd be small.

While I have a soft spot for 3" k-frames, if I already had a 2 1/2" gun and wanted an additional (non-carry) gun, I'd probably go with a 4" or even 6" barrel. Whether it's worth replacing the 2 1/2" with a 3" gun is a tougher call, though. I suspect it's not.

dairycreek
April 1, 2010, 01:00 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/dairycreek/686Bcompresed-1.jpg

I have had this 686+ snubby for several years as well as a 3" barrel 386. My personal opininion is that the heavier 686 is much better balanced in my hand and better for concealed carry as well. Just an opinion but, for me, the 386 has turned into a "safe queen".

Oro
April 1, 2010, 07:31 PM
I have owned the 2.5" 686 and shot the 3". There's little difference and not enough to justify owning both, or paying very much to get the 3" if you already have the 2.5".

As to muzzle energy, etc., there's going to be a very small amount of difference on average. When you compare two guns head-to-head, the 2.5" may even have more depending upon variables of cylinder construction and b/c gap. This is not a reason alone to switch guns. A .357 out of a 2.5" barrel is still one heck of an effective round.

I agree with Mr. Borland, were I hankering for another one, I'd get a 4". Very well-balanced gun and so much more so than the 2.5" variant. I did not find that one a very "handy" gun or as concealable as other options, and went back to using my 2.5" 19's and 66 instead. But the 4" 686 is a very well balanced gun.

jfh
April 1, 2010, 08:30 PM
I want a 3." I have a 4"--and a NG386 (2.5"). It just seems to me that the proportions of the 3" are just about right...:confused: I admit, however, to finding the 4" proportions to be highly pleasing.

But, the best overall is the a j-frame 3" HB. If they would only do one in a DAO....

Jim H.

rha600
April 1, 2010, 10:04 PM
I have read The Highroad for several years but this is my first post. I have a 686+ with a 2.5 in. barrel. I like the gun but am curious about how much difference there is between this one and a 3 in. barrel regarding balance/handling and muzzle velocity/energy.

I also just got a 386 Night Guard and am getting light primer strikes/failure to ignite with Blazer 158grn. .357 ammo. It fires Remington .38 special +p OK. I did not have the opportunity to try any other brands of ammunition.
Welcome to the club.

1) make sure the grip isn't too tight and/or remove some of the rubber from the inside of the grip.

2) you might wan to get a longer firing pin.

Mine did it with that Magtech .38 special but I've never had a problem with anything else. And I've shot quite a bit. Personally I don't like how mine shoots so I think I'm going to get a 686 instead.

cmdc
April 2, 2010, 12:08 PM
Thanks to everyone for your input. I really like the 2.5 in. 686, and got a really good deal on it, I think. I paid $700.00 for it LNIB, and it included a speed loader, night sights and a CT laser grip in addition the the grip that came on it. I will definitely keep it, and will probably ADD a 4" 686+ or a 620 if I can find one. I will also try the other fixes on the NG before sending it back to Smith and Wesson.

If you enjoyed reading about "First post: Questions about S&W 686 and 386" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!