S&W 686 - 6 shot vs 7 shot


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CTGunner
April 10, 2010, 10:49 AM
Can someone tell me the pros and cons of the 6 vs 7 shot 686?

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LawofThirds
April 10, 2010, 10:57 AM
The 6 shot is better if you're planning to do IDPA with it since they don't allow you to load more than 6.

That's about it. The 7 shot is even stronger than the 6 because the locking lugs are offset.

amd6547
April 10, 2010, 11:07 AM
The advantage to me of the 6-shot is price...There a great bargains out there in 6-shot 686's.
I got this one for $300:
http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h61/amd6547/P1000987.jpg

FirearmsEnthusiast
April 10, 2010, 11:11 AM
I'd get a 6 shot, something just doesn't feel right about getting a 7 shot :(

jad0110
April 10, 2010, 11:20 AM
The one other drawback for the 7 shooter are there are fewer brands of speedloaders available for them. HKS makes a 7 shot model, but Safariland does not.

I myself went with the 7 shot model, as I am fine with the HKS speedloaders and I don't shoot competition with the gun. As a home defense gun, I figured the extra round is a nice bonus. YMMV.

CTGunner
April 10, 2010, 11:51 AM
Thanks for the responses. The point made about shooting competition is great. I hadn't thought about that. I had also incorrectly assumed that everyone would be saying that the 7 shot would be less durable. Again, thanks for the info.

plateshooter
April 10, 2010, 01:01 PM
I have one of each. The timing feels
different on the 7 shot as the cylinder does not have to move as far to the next bolt notch. I like shooting my 7 shot in double action better than the 6 shot but I guess it is all in what you get used to. I really like both guns, and couldn't imagine selling either one.

DWFan
April 10, 2010, 01:41 PM
What's the cylinder length of the 686?

shockwave
April 10, 2010, 01:47 PM
The one other drawback for the 7 shooter are there are fewer brands of speedloaders available for them. HKS makes a 7 shot model, but Safariland does not.

Correct. I use the HKSs also with little trouble. The 7-shot capacity goes a long way toward making the 686 a viable HD gun. Perhaps 5 Star Firearms (http://www.5starfirearms.com/speed_loaders.html) might be persuaded to make a 7-round loader. I'd certainly buy a few if they did.

The 686 6" isn't as good for IDPA (in my experience) as an equivalent revolver with a 4" barrel. So I'd definitely get a 686 regardless but look for something else for IDPA.

Manco
April 10, 2010, 01:59 PM
I'd get a 6 shot, something just doesn't feel right about getting a 7 shot :(

I used to feel the same way, ages ago, but that was before I learned that even the original "six-shooters" usually only held five rounds for safety. After I got over that, I got over requiring six chambers in a revolver, too. Give me that extra round, please--who knows, I just might need it.

RugRev
April 10, 2010, 02:03 PM
SL Variant (Germany) makes a 7 shot speedloader which may soon become available (see below):

http://www.bobmacs.com/Products.htm

CTGunner
April 10, 2010, 02:04 PM
The 686 6" isn't as good for IDPA (in my experience) as an equivalent revolver with a 4" barrel. So I'd definitely get a 686 regardless but look for something else for IDPA.

I was thinking the 686 4" would be perfect for IDPA and possibly for carry. Do any of you guys carry the 686 concealed? It seems most logical to me to carry the gun that you 'train' or shoot with the most. That's basically what I do now but it's a Glock. Does the 686 have a baby brother that's best for carry. I tried the 60 but it doesn't really feel or balance the same way for me.

9mmepiphany
April 10, 2010, 02:09 PM
Does the 686 have a baby brother that's best for carry. I tried the 60 but it doesn't really feel or balance the same way for me.
that would be the M-66...built on the K-frame rather than the L-frame of the M-686

I had also incorrectly assumed that everyone would be saying that the 7 shot would be less durable.
that's fairly common, because of the extra hole in the cylinder, but the 7-shot is much stronger due to the locations of it's bolt notches

ChristopherG
April 10, 2010, 02:42 PM
Shooting competition with a revolver is a lot of fun and can vastly improve your level of gun handling skills and comfort. If I were gonna get a medium frame .357 for anything other than carry it'd be a S&W 686 SSR, a 6-shot L-frame in their 'pro series' line. I've got the N-frame (8-shot) 627 in the same series and it's a winner.

In my experience, though, either an L or N frame is a bit bigger than most people are going to end up wanting to carry concealed. The wide majority of people who carry a revolver concealed carry a J; and if I were to carry a revolver regularly, it would either be a J in a pocket (it sometimes is) or a 2.5/3" k-frame, the epitome of concealed revolver carry IMHO (others would say the SP101, but they're mistaken ;-) ). A k-framed .38 or .357 (e.g. the model 19 or 66 or 10 or 64 or 67 or 13 or etc. etc. etc.) would give you six shots and be competition friendly (I competed successfully with one in IDPA for a couple years) and still be a manageable carry. A 4" would be best for competition, a 2.5/3" a little easier to carry. Life is full of compromises.

Not to say the L-frame isn't a great shooting gun--it absolutely is. Just that most will conclude that it's a bit big for regular concealed carry, which it was never designed for. It was made as a duty gun.

jad0110
April 10, 2010, 02:42 PM
Do any of you guys carry the 686 concealed?

I don't carry my 686, but I carry it's even more manly bigger brother, a 4" Model 28-2 Highway Patrolman in .357 Magnum. In fact, I've got it in my Lobo Gunleather IWB holster as I type this. It is big, but not too bad for me anyway. I like carrying bigger guns, but that's just me and I fall into the minority on this one. I'd say a 4" 686 can be done, assuming you invest in a good quality gunbelt and holster.

And the big thing on IWB holsters, IMO, is to get one with the belt loops spread far apart and NOT sitting directly on top of the cylinder.

If you are interested in something between the size of the tiny Js and the big L and bigger N, the K Frames as suggested by 9mm are great choices. Though I love carrying my big bad N, I don't carry it every day. I carry my 2.5" K Frame 66 in .357 more frequently. I also carry a 4" Ruger Police Service Six about as often as the 66.

amd6547
April 10, 2010, 03:20 PM
I have carried my 686 IWB in the crossdraw position, with no difficulty. But then, I have also carried a Beretta 92FS and other large handguns. The 686 is mainly for around the house, though. I often carry my SP101 3" for my 357 CCW.
Being used to the 5-shot SP101, I am not that concerned about 6 shot versus 7...I am perfectly happy with 6 rounds of high performance 357 mag ammo with a speedloader reload.

CTGunner
April 10, 2010, 08:48 PM
Thanks for all your thoughts and opinions on this. I went to two dealers today to check out the 6 and 7 shot versions of this gun. Unfortunately, and to my surprise both dealers only carried the 7 shot. On the upside one of the dealers had a 3inch version which also had a round butt. I really liked this option. At $760 new I will have to either wait a bit or trade my SigP226 to make it happen. I'll sleep on it and let you know what happens.

Fishslayer
April 11, 2010, 12:30 PM
The advantage to me of the 6-shot is price...There a great bargains out there in 6-shot 686's.
I got this one for $300:

Whoa.... don't think I've ever seen a pinned barrel 686? Can't be a whole lot of those around.

LawofThirds
April 11, 2010, 01:06 PM
That's not a pinned barrel.

amd6547
April 11, 2010, 01:41 PM
No, it is not pinned.
It is a 686-1, stamped with an M, which means it went back to S&W for a recall at some point. Compared to the price of new 686's, you really can't beat some of the used deals out there...frankly, I wouldn't be able to afford new...besides, I don't care for the lock mechanism the new ones have.

Fishslayer
April 11, 2010, 02:02 PM
.frankly, I wouldn't be able to afford new...besides, I don't care for the lock mechanism the new ones have.

Same here. I already have a '64 M28-2 but I'd have a hard time passing up an older 4" 686 at the right price. I really like the full underlug.

Spartacus451
April 11, 2010, 05:40 PM
The 7-shot has a lighter cylinder.

Zilmo
April 11, 2010, 06:05 PM
I'm partial to the six shot, mostly I guess from tradition. Seven shots just don't seem "right".

OldCavSoldier
April 11, 2010, 06:22 PM
I own two 7-shot M686's, both with 3-inch barrels. Love 'em!!! My son has a 6-shot M686 and loves it, but, the other day did mention that a 7th shot could come in handy...

Backpacker33
April 11, 2010, 10:12 PM
Had one of each. Bought the 6-shooter for IDPA but I really can't justify ANOTHER dedicated competition gun.

Then bought the 7-shooter. OK, can't use it in IDPA, but I have a wonderful older 586 that works just fine.

The 7-shooter just makes sense to me for personal defense, and is a frequent trail gun when I am backpacking where I don't need the .44 Magnum.

Lighter? I can't tell when it's on my belt. Stronger? I don't think it matters with SAAMI-spec loads. If I want to drill for oil with a .357 handgun (and I have no idea WHY I'd do that), I'd get a Ruger, though I had a friend, years ago, who handloaded for his 1960's S&W, and HIS friends said he could dig tunnels through mountains with it.

BTW, I'd like to see proof that any good commercially made modern revolver has any history of failure at the cylinder bolt stop when used with SAAMI-spec loads over a long time.

I used to have the S&W N-frame 8-shooter and felt it was a great open-carry backpacking gun. One of my charming children claimed it for himself a couple years back and I haven't seen it since.

Anyway, for my money it's the 7-shooter.
-Backpacker

Guy B. Meredith
April 12, 2010, 03:04 AM
If IDPA and PPC are the only shooting sports you participate in you might want a 6 shot. Otherwise, the 7 shot is very popular with ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts) competitors and give you one up in other competition.

Then to paraphrase, "I know what you're thinking punk 'Was that 5 shots or six...or seven?'" I originally bought the 7 shot for home defense and anticipated that the bad guy would be counting to six.

The SL Variants have been around for a while, have been expensive and have been sometimes scarce. After experience with my moonclip equipped PC 627 V-Comp I tossed the HKSs and had the 686+ set up for moonclips. That's about $80 for conversion and moonclips are relatively cheap. The only speedloaders I use now are Safariland for the M66 in IDPA.

Manco
April 12, 2010, 02:26 PM
Then to paraphrase, "I know what you're thinking punk 'Was that 5 shots or six...or seven?'" I originally bought the 7 shot for home defense and anticipated that the bad guy would be counting to six.

On that note, the 686+ always reminds me of that silly Don Knotts movie, "The Shakiest Gun in the West", in which his character foolishly and unknowingly expends all six rounds on target practice right before a classic showdown with the villain watching, and his "wife" shoots the villain for him, who then says "A seven...shootah?" just before he expires (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9DuYlcVwbo#t=05m40s). :p

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