Sw 66 or SW 686 advice?


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iyn
December 9, 2010, 08:57 PM
I've decided to buy a 38/.357 revolver. a gun both my wife and I can shoot. I was going to get a 3" barreled sw686, but the store has a used sw66 in 2-1/2' barrel. this is for home defense and I do not "plan" on shooting .357, mainly 38's or 38+p's. I'm not sure which to get and can only buy one not both. I've read some people said "pre lock" is better or some prefer the internal firing pin rather than the firing pin on the hammer. Any advice?

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Creator
December 9, 2010, 09:17 PM
Iyn,
This is my first time on this forum. Could not pass up your question. I have a S&W 642-2 Air weight, 5 shot designed for continious +P use. It has the Crimson trace lazer grip. I choose this because I carry 24/7, it's really light but kicks! I also have the new Ruger SP101 in 3". I would go with the S&W 686 because you could later get the "Mag-na-port" quad port. 3" barrel required. I prefer the Ruger but both are fine. I own the S&W 629 Classic 5" in 44 mag. Love it. But with your choices, go 686!

Olympus
December 9, 2010, 09:37 PM
Both are great guns. But for your intended use, I'd say the 66 is better. If you plan on doing a lot of range shooting or a lot of .357 shooting, then I'd say go with the 686. But the Model 66 is considered by many to be the best all around revolver made my Smith.

Here's a little taste of 1975 no-dash 66 of mine that I like to show off when I get the chance:

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa121/adambrown69/PC040016.jpg

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa121/adambrown69/PB060017.jpg

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa121/adambrown69/PA300007.jpg

Pre-lock Smith revolvers, in my opinion are much better guns. I can only speak for myself, but as long as Smith is putting the locks on their new guns, I'll never buy one. And my opinion is that the newer revolvers don't have the quality, craftsmanship, or pride in work as the older revolvers. And the same people like me who prefer older revolvers also typically tend to prefer the hammer-mounted firing pin instead of the transfer bar. I have a couple Colt revolvers with the transfer bar, so it's not a deal breaker for me personally. But the IL sure is. Good luck with your search and let us know what you decide.

iyn
December 10, 2010, 01:53 AM
thanks olympus, your photos and comments makes the sw 66 look good! I'm torn between the 2 guns because the 3" barrel on the 686 will be a little better at the range because the targets are set at 25 yrds. I had a 2" sw 15 years ago but the hammer mounted firing pin that broke twice. during dry firing with snap caps.

ArchAngelCD
December 10, 2010, 02:46 AM
I'm a big fan of the K frame Magnum revolvers. They have very nice triggers and as you said, no locks. I would buy the M66 especially if you are going to fire mostly .38 Special ammo.

nathan
December 10, 2010, 03:22 AM
THe Model 66 is a dandy. Perfect for the .38 plus P load in the night stand.

Messenger Guard
December 10, 2010, 05:34 AM
I would say go for which ever is cheaper and in better condition. The only advantage the 686 has is the ability to digest 357s all day without developing end shake. Perhaps the added heft of the "L" frame 686 would also tame perceived recoil. Since limited shooting and home defense are your parameters, either will do a great job. That said....the 686 is my favorite revolver bar none.

iyn
December 10, 2010, 05:42 AM
Messenger Guard, is the new 686 just a "good as the "pre-lock" ones? Sorry for all the questions. I'm the "1911 guy" getying into revolvers.

Messenger Guard
December 10, 2010, 06:21 AM
In some ways the lock version is better (got my flame suit on:D). The 686-1 and -2 are still under recall. If you find a 686-1 or 2 without an "M" stamped under the model number behind the yoke, that weapon is under recall. There were cases of these early guns locking up under heavy mag loadings. S&W will repair at no charge to you last time I checked even though these guns are 30 years or so old. For those that remember the Bangor/Punta, Lear Siegler era at S&W, not all was hunky dory. While many of those weapons were nice, there were dogs as well. While I don't like the lock, computer assisted drafting machines have made today's Smiths as accurate as hand fitted guns of yesteryear. There is a cold mechanical harshness with today's MIM, 3 screw, Hillary hole, non firing pin on the hammer guns but hey, I carry the epitome of modern industrial ugly to work everyday (Glock). While not having the hand fitted master craftsmanship beauty of a Registered Magnum (Angels serenading), they do go bang every time and are accurate. Given my druthers, I would want a 686-4 which has all the loved features. That said, If I found a deal on a new 686, I would not feel the weapon would let me down.

MrBorland
December 10, 2010, 07:45 AM
I have a 66 and a 686. At least one other recommended the 2 1/2" 66, but for a HD you and your wife use, I'd recommend the heavier 686. I'd also recommend a 4" rather than a 3" barrel, as you'll get a bit more velocity from the longer barrel, and the increased sight radius will make it easier to shoot accurately.

is the new 686 just a "good as the "pre-lock" ones?

"Good" and "better" are subjective. The older ones have a nicer fit and finish, but the newer ones shoot every bit as good - and in my experience maybe even better. For your intended use, I wouldn't sweat any new/old, lock, MIM and firing pin issues, so long as the gun's in excellent condition.

richkratz
December 10, 2010, 08:56 AM
Disregard the unknowledged above opinions regarding the 66's abilities to shoot magnums...first off. The issue SOME k-frames had was after many, many thousands of rounds of shooting 125gr full house magnum loads, the forcing cones were developing cracks, and some flame-cutting on top strap was observed. 99.99% of owners would NEVER see this occur, but was brought to the attention of the gun world and has been blown out of proportion ever since.
That said, I would not hesitate to recommend one for your intended purposes. I am not a fan of the "hillary hole", nor am I of the frame-mounted firing pins, as I previously owned a 686-5 that gave light primer strikes, even after sending back to S&W. IMO, get the 66.

oldfool
December 10, 2010, 09:15 AM
agree with forcing cone issues with the 66 being "overblown", but I still prefer to think of the 66 as the perfect 38+P gun myself.. although the Ruger 3" SP101 comes close

nice as the 686 is, I would choose the 66
(and did, twice in fact)

Olympus
December 10, 2010, 10:53 AM
richkratz and oldfool are correct. Problems with the 66 and .357 are almost always overstated. The primary cause of forcing cone cracking is shooting a significant amount of light weight .357 bullets. Stick with the heavier .357 bullets and the 66 will be just fine. And you have to put it in perspective. Are you shooting thousands of .357 rounds a year? If so, get the 686. But the 66 will be just fine if you want to run 50 or 100 rounds of .357 through the gun every so often.

And personally, I can't see any difference in accuracy at 25 yards between a 2.5" barrel and a 3" barrel. I've shot both.

evan price
December 10, 2010, 10:57 AM
I own a 66-no dash 2.5" myself, it is darn near a perfect carry and bedside gun. You won't see enough difference to notice between a 3" and a 2.5" barrel. The only real benefit to the 3" (which is why they are sought after) is that the 3" is the shortest barrel that still has a full-length ejector rod. "K"-frame S&ws, as long as you don't use the hyper velocity 110 and 125 grain loads, will shoot for longer than you'd care to spend shooting it.

For me, if the choice were a 686 vs a 66, I'd take the 66 all day long and twice on sunday. The 686 "L"-frame is heavier (may be better for recoil sensitive people, but it's heavier all the time!) but the 66 is about the perfect size IMHO. Plus if it's a 66-1 or earlier it is pinned & recessed- and .357 K-frames they aren't making them anymore. The "L"-frame 686 is still coming out of the factory.

Ultimately, the choice is which ever one feels best in y'alls hands.

Thaddeus Jones
December 10, 2010, 11:00 AM
Owning both 2.5, 3" and 4" 66's and a 3" and 4" 686, all pre lock of course, I vote for the 66.

The K-frame points more naturally and is faster handling, for me. :)

springfield30-06
December 10, 2010, 11:21 AM
Personally, I'd like to have whatever one does not have an internal lock. If both have or both do not have the lock I'd pick the Model 66.

joe_security
December 10, 2010, 11:42 AM
Get the (K-Frame) 66. To me, the 686 is muzzle heavy like a Python or GP100. The 66 will point straight out where as the 686 will feel like it drops down and you have to lift it up. JMHO and of course YMMV. It admit the 686 is heavy duty and a great revolver, just too muzzle heavy for me.

squarles67
December 10, 2010, 01:08 PM
I'm with the "Get the 66" crowd

RugRev
December 10, 2010, 01:22 PM
For home defense I would get the 686+ (7 shot). These started coming out in the -4 versions with hammer mounted firing pin in the old style. I have a 686-5 Mtn. Gun without lock which is 7 shot. I found the balance and weigh about the same as a 4" 66 I had so decided to go with the 7 shot. The 7 shot is lighter by a couple of ounces than the 6 shot. Actually, a 686-4+ Mtn. Gun would be ideal but they don't exist. 66's exist in 3" version albeit as do the older 686's without lock. As you won't be firing light weight bullets in .357 the 66 would work well, too.

Action_Can_Do
December 10, 2010, 03:16 PM
I'm going to have to go against the crowd with this one. The only reason to own a model 66 these days is for novelty. Despite some people claiming that 66s handle the 357 magnum just fine, every used sample I've seen at my preferred gun store has been nearly shot to death. Those guns are beaten. Furthermore, I hear that S&W is starting to run low on parts for the older 66s and has no interest in making or buying more. The 686 is a current production gun. Parts for it are available. Service is available. Think of it like this. What would make a more practical car? A 1969 Ford Mustang or a 2010 Ford Focus? Cooler doesn't mean better.

Olympus
December 10, 2010, 04:23 PM
I'm going to have to go against the crowd with this one. The only reason to own a model 66 these days is for novelty. Despite some people claiming that 66s handle the 357 magnum just fine, every used sample I've seen at my preferred gun store has been nearly shot to death. Those guns are beaten.

I think that's a bit of stretch. There's nothing novel about my 66. It sits in the shoulder holster with one end looped over the corner of the headboard on my bed, slightly higher than ear level. It's full of some nasty .357 shells and 3 speedloaders with more on the nightstand. Now that it's cold weather, I sling on the shoulder rig before I leave the house. It's performing full duty for me.

And just because some of the 66s in your area have been well worn, doesn't mean the same for the rest of the country. I've seen my fair share of worn out 686s as well. One of my local shops got in a large shipment of 66s and 19s from somewhere overseas. I wouldn't give $200 for any of them. It has nothing to do with their model numbers, it has to do with the way they were treated. Buy a 66 that has been relatively well cared for and will last you the rest of your life. As I said, mine is from 1975 and it's just as tight as day one. This gun has shot .357 shells for 35 years now and there's been no problems.

bigtubby
December 10, 2010, 08:08 PM
Get the 66 you can always pick up a 686 down the road

Action_Can_Do
December 10, 2010, 09:14 PM
Lyn
Remember to always check a gun thoroughly before buying, especially used! There's a sticky up top that will tell you how to do so.

Racinbob
December 10, 2010, 09:37 PM
Geez!! What a choice. A 66 or 686. I love my 82 vintage 66 but I really want another 686 (yea, I'm an idiot that sold one). I prefer the K frame but a 4" 686 is in my radar. Ya can't go wrong with either.

roaddog28
December 10, 2010, 10:03 PM
Hi,
Based on what your going to use the revolver for, I would recommend a 4 inch barrel either fixed sight or adjustable rear sight revolver. I will include pictures of my revolvers. These are excellent revolvers. I have a Ruger GP100 & S&W 686 but they are heavier than the 66 and if your not going to shoot 357s much than a 66 or a Ruger Service Six might just be the answer.
Good luck
Howard
S&W M13-2 4 inch Excellent revolver. Same as a 66 only fixed sights
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/SWM13a.jpg
S&W M66-4 4 inch Maybe the best all around 357.
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/model66-4.jpg
Ruger Police Service Six 4 inch Just like the M13 only stronger
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu283/HPitt74985/RugerServiceSix.jpg

Confederate
December 10, 2010, 10:11 PM
If you want the weight and balance of a 66 and the durabillity of the 686, find a like-new Ruger Security-Six.

If you're bent on a S&W, go with a 66 if you're going to shoot mostly .38s, and a 686 if you handload .357s. I have a stainless Security-Six and shoot mostly .38s, so I might as well have a 66. But that was the whole idea behind the 66.

oldfool
December 11, 2010, 12:41 AM
"every used sample I've seen at my preferred gun store has been nearly shot to death"

now there's a sure fire bet no matter the make or model or caliber
caveat emptor, memorize your revolver checkout sticky (as I suspect you have), and be picky and patient -
only novelty factor being the fool who owns one and pawns it
but anybody thinks nice 19/66s are that hard to find just ain't looking all that hard, friend

my two, 1st bought NIB, 2nd used, over 20 years apart, one new one not, neither new now, both same price
the 2nd, I would guess a cop gun, shot little, cleaned well, stuck in leather in top of somebody's closet for years... minor tannic acid stains, a little one-side grip sunlight/grime hurt it not a bit... (local pawn shop sells lots of NIB fantastic plastic, ain't got a clue, thank gawd)
looking at the front sight you would never know which is in your hand, and never feel difference in trigger, nor see difference in your target groups

The only reason to own a model 66 these days is for novelty.
for novelty buy modern polymer
(novelty steel revolvers are for investment collectors looking for papers/box, unfired, not shooters)
for a revolver not held in hand, but bought on-line, check out Collectors in Houston, if real well heeled, pricey, but they don't lie
(alas, Jim Supica ain't in that business no more, because whatever he says it is, trust that)

me, color me foolish, refused to pick up in hand that nice 19 to check it out at same local pawn shop for $500, even after the roof leaked and "hurt" the finish one one side, and they dropped it to $450, and it just sat there for 5 months before some smarter fool than me picked it up, a shooter is my guess

novelty is what plastic is all about
k-frames and Ruger "sixes" is what revolver shooters are all about
gun abuse is not what revolver shooters are about, just non-shooters

but never was nothing wrong w/ the 686, not saying any different here
just saying that no shooter who knows revolvers and loads ever wore out a 66 by shooting 357s through it, not in 20k or 30k rounds worth

PS
"A 1969 Ford Mustang or a 2010 Ford Focus?"
I think you just nailed "practical" there, yup
(if all else fails there is always Hi-Point, and you can't very well say they are novelties, not at any gun show, nor impractical; the Ford Focus of handguns if ever there was one, no dispute)

PabloJ
December 11, 2010, 01:04 AM
I've decided to buy a 38/.357 revolver. a gun both my wife and I can shoot. I was going to get a 3" barreled sw686, but the store has a used sw66 in 2-1/2' barrel. this is for home defense and I do not "plan" on shooting .357, mainly 38's or 38+p's. I'm not sure which to get and can only buy one not both. I've read some people said "pre lock" is better or some prefer the internal firing pin rather than the firing pin on the hammer. Any advice?
I'm picking up S&W Mod. 28 with 4" barrel and adjustable rear sight. It will be gloriously large N-framed .38 to .357 range toy. The weight will help tame recoil force of heavier loads and 4" barrel will keep muzzle blast at manageable levels. Two and half inch barrel is poor choice for HD and or range toy revolver.

clang
December 11, 2010, 01:34 AM
You need to pick up one of each. I've got 2 66s (2.5" & 4") a 3" 686 and a 4" 681. They are all great guns. The 686 weighs about the same as the 4" 66.

iyn
December 11, 2010, 12:45 PM
Thanks roaddog28.
Nice guns. Those are hard to come by in our used market here. I have to keep and eye out and be patient. I've always like shorter 3" barreled revolvers. I don't know why. Maybe because it still has the full lenght ejection rod and is closer to the lenght of a 1911. Funny how if I had listen to gun experts and had started shooting with a 38/.357 revolver in the 1990's. I would not be here. thanks for your help

BCRider
December 11, 2010, 10:14 PM
I have to agree with Roaddog on his suggestion of 4 inch barrel options. If you're not trying to hide it in your clothes on a regular basis the longer barrel just makes for a steadier, easier shooter all around at the range or at home if needed.

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