How are the current S&W 686's? The current crop?


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HoosierQ
February 10, 2011, 11:10 AM
My ship came in so I am fixing to go gun shopping here in February. Got several potential items on my list and realized that I need to also be looking at a big .357...a full-sized revolver that is.

So how are the current, brand new 686s or 686+s? Now I know "they don't build 'em like they used to"...well nobody does. I know they have locks and that I should probably care, but I don't...not enough to make that a criteria any way. But how are they holding up out there in the real world for folks?

I am looking at other brands as well but here's the thing. I have never owned a big S&W revolver and can't really work off of my own experience. I have a S&W 642 that I EDC and it is just about the perfect weapon for that and I like it a lot...no problems with it whatsoever.

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MIL-DOT
February 10, 2011, 11:41 AM
Well, if you "already know they don't build 'em like they used to", then why are we even talking here? :D Seriously,having acknowledged that, why not just hit a gunshow or Gunbroker and hunt up a really nice older pistol ? They're all over the place, and that's exactly what I've been doing lately. I got an older,but nearly NIB model 15 Combat Masterpiece from Summit, then found a really nice, 35 year-old model 66 at a gunshow two weeks ago, and traded into an old model 28 Highway Patrolman a couple months back.
Also, like you, I have a new 642 for EDC, and I like it alot for what it is, but I'm not interested in getting any cool,classic magnum pistols with that annoying IL, especially when the older ones can still easily be found.

HoosierQ
February 10, 2011, 12:37 PM
MIL-DOT (and others)

I may have confused, but you make a good point. I put that clause in there about not building them like they used to because I know a lot of people think that and I didn't want to get a S&W bashing thing started...I myself, cannot say one way or another. I think everybody thinks things were better "back in the day" and I'll guess collectively everybody is probably only half right, regardless of what they're talking about...with some exceptions of course going both ways.

My absolute 1st choice for a S&W .357 would in fact be a used S&W 28 or 29...even with some holster wear or finish issues...4" or 6" no real preference frankly. Around this neck of the woods, those are mighty scarce seems like. Last couple of gun shows I saw NO 28s in any configuration and the 29s were neither common nor affordable to me.

So obviously the 686 isn't cheap either (cheaper than a nice 29 I think) but that gun is the heir apparent to the 19, 28, 29 etc so that's why I am asking.

PS. You mention "easily found" old revolvers. WOW, not me. I must be holding my mouth wrong or something. I see used Glocks stacked up like cord wood...used semis of all sorts frankly...but I just do not see those nice used revolvers that folks so often comment on...not in shops. I think one of my problems is that I go shopping and I have a series of things that'll meet my desires/needs at the time. I have yet to strike out with single minded purpose, and no time limit, to find me a 28 or 29 (or a 19 or a Trooper, or a Python, or Cobra).

B1gGr33n
February 10, 2011, 12:51 PM
My BIL has a 686 6". We've shot quite a few boxes of .357 and .38 through it together, and it's performed flawlessly. Drilled holes in paper at 50 yards easily. His has pretty standard smooth iron sights with white dots, and the rubber grip. Personally I'm looking hard at the 386 XL. From what I understand it's similar to the 686 except it's lighter, being made from Scandium, and has 7 shot capacity.

Just my $.02 as per request.

MrBorland
February 10, 2011, 01:07 PM
So how are the current, brand new 686s or 686+s?

My $0.02: Current S&Ws may not have the fit and finish of the older ones, but modern CNC production generally makes gun that shoot just as well. That said, when a CNC machine does get out of whack, S&W doesn't seem to have a process for catching or fixing those guns before they go out, so occasionally, you'll read about a problem child. Fortunately, S&W CS has a very good reputation and any problems are generally quickly and easily fixed.

My primary IDPA gun is a 686 (with the IL) I bought new a few years ago, and it sees a lot of use. The hard use would be tough on any revolver - new or old - so it's needed TLC now and again, but it's a great gun and very accurate to boot. I wouldn't hesitate to get another.

As far as the 686 or 686+, my preference is for the standard 686 6-shooter, as I'd be able to shoot matches with it if I wanted. There are more speedloader options for it as well.

BTW, check out the 686SSR (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_765786_-1_757895_757775_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y), too.

earlthegoat2
February 10, 2011, 01:14 PM
I would not buy any new S&W product. Having handled numerous samples new and old I can definitively say the pre lock and older ones are the only ones worth having.

The lock thing would not make a difference to me if I did not also associate it with Smith really cheapening their product as well. They happened right around the same time.

MIL-DOT
February 10, 2011, 01:29 PM
(edit) Sorry Hoosier, false alarm, I hope you didn't read the post I just deleted and get your hopes up. I thought I had a line on a nice Model 28 for you,for only $400, but it was re-listed and is gone. I was looking at it myself, but went with something else from a gunshow, but the pistol didn't sell,and I had the guys e-mail address,so I thought you might get lucky.
Still, check out Gunbroker, it may be your best bet if nice revolvers are scarce up there. A SWEET 1955 Model 28 recently went for only $506 !!

HoosierQ
February 10, 2011, 01:53 PM
MIL-DOT

Thanks man. Yeah I expect folks here hold on to their revolvers. I sold a couple (sadly) a few years ago to a good guy who has a little shop that sells pretty much all used stuff...lots of milsurps.

Anyway, I sold him 3 revolvers (all three of which I wish I still had but 4 kids in college will put a hurt on your pocket book) and his comment was..."You got any more revolvers? I get 10 Glocks a day but not many revolvers". I had sellers remorse and went back a week later thinking I'd just bite it and buy one back...the .357...and none were still there a week later.

Used revolvers are scarce as hen's teeth around here as far as I can tell. I have not found a pawn shop that sells guns here in Indianapolis. I am sure they can, they just don't I guess.

My buddy found a georgous 1973 6" Model 28-2. He put rubber grips on it which I am ambivilent about but what a gun. He paid about $450...small town LEO trade-in I believe. He won't part with it. So they are out there despite my whining.

Who knows, maybe I'll just by an AR:D (which I could for what used 29s are going for:eek:)

MIL-DOT
February 10, 2011, 06:55 PM
Check your PM's bro, I sent you another Model 28 deal !! :D

roaddog28
February 10, 2011, 08:00 PM
Hi,
I have a question. Do you want to pay $799 for a 686P with a internal lock hole on one side of the revolver and a heavy double action pull?
Seriously, there are a lot better choices out on the used market and you don't have to pay $700 to $800. I bought a used 686-2 4 inch prelock for $470 out the door. I bought a Ruger GP100 4 inch for the same price. Both of these revolvers in my opinion are better than what S&W is making in the medium frame revolver market now a days. Also the S&W 27/28 is a good choice too. I can go on and on but I think you get my point.

Good luck,
Howard

youngda9
February 10, 2011, 08:03 PM
I was patient and bought a like new 686-4+ Pre lock, Pre MIM, hammer mounted firing pin, and 7 shots...best of everything...for $600 (and that is overpaying, but I got Exactly what I want so I didn't care at all)...cost me much less than a new one that has all of the undesireables (MIM, lock).

Just watch Gunbroker and then buy the one that is exactly what you want, it might take a few weeks but so what.

Check out the Nappanee gun show in NW Indiana...best one around, lots of used guns, few black guns and gunstore tables. You'll see many smiths there.

Deanimator
February 10, 2011, 08:42 PM
I won't touch a lock gun. ALL of my S&W revolvers were purchased used.

Hit the gun shows, Gunbroker and places like Summit Gun Broker.

buck460XVR
February 10, 2011, 11:05 PM
I have prelock 686s and post lock. Don't use the locks, don't even notice the hole. New guns are as accurate and have the same great trigger as the old ones. Only shoot legitimate magnum rounds thru all of em. Best new production DA .357 out there. Gave one of the prelocks to my oldest son last month for his 18th birthday. Not because it was a prelock, but because it was a PP, and the one he learned to shoot revolver with. He started shooting it when he was 7 and wanted it instead of a new one. I now have room in the safe for that new 686SSR I've been wanting. BTW....the 686PP I gave to my son is worth more now than what I paid for it. Can't ask for much more than that. Odds are his kids will have the opportunity to enjoy it also.

cpirtle
February 11, 2011, 05:58 PM
I have a current production 2.5" 686+, lock, mim and all, paid $500 brand new from Gander Mountain believe it or not. Someone had it on layaway for a year or two and it had gone on clearance and several reductions. I walked in 5 minutes after they dusted the box off.

Anyway, it shoots just as good as my 6" no dash 686.

I wouldn't hesistate to buy either if I was in the market. They are fine guns.

billybob44
February 11, 2011, 09:42 PM
Check your Mail Box for some GOOD info....Bill..:what:

vsteel
February 12, 2011, 12:39 AM
I have a 4 inch 686 about a year old. I think it is a great weapon. I think it has a great fit and finish and a smooth trigger.

I wonder how many of the older ones that people love are smooth because they have been shot and worn in a little. The machining marks have been worn down and smoothed out with use. Maybe had a little gunsmith love sometime.

CNC machines do go out of spec, but hand fitters also have bad days. Not saying they didn't make great guns back in the good old days, just that things weren't always perfect back then either.

halfmoonclip
February 12, 2011, 12:55 AM
Hoosier, a quick education. M27 & M28 are large frame (N) guns in .357 mag, while the M29 is the same large frame in .44 Mag..('...do ya feel lucky, punk...')
The M27 was the original .357, tho' it predated the current numbering system.
The M28 is a bargain way to get the original; same big, beefy frame but a bead blast finish that is very durable, and less expensive.
Because the N-frame magnums were large and heavy, Smith developed a .357 on the smaller K-frame that was light and handy by comparison. Reputedly, a steady diet of full house loads would loosen them, so Smith developed an intermediate frame (L) that was smaller than an N but could handle full power ammo. The 686 that you inquired about is an L frame. I shot the hell out of a couple of them, now departed, and they always worked well. I seem to recall a recall on the earlier ones, but Smith took care of it.
I would not be afraid of current production Smiths nor the older ones; they make a great product. Pick what suits you best.
I have a 340SC with the lock, which actually comes in handy if there are kids around and you can't always have the gun under your direct supervision. The lock has never given a bit of trouble, and it's hard to imagine anything that could shoot parts loose more than the flyweight Ti guns. In terms of modern revolver strength, keep in mind these tiny J-frame guns are expected to take the same .357 beating as their bigger, older brothers. Of course, your hand will wear out long before the gun does.
Have fun spending your money; there's a lot worse things to spend it on than Smith revos.
Moon

.45FMJoe
February 12, 2011, 12:58 AM
MIL-DOT

Thanks man. Yeah I expect folks here hold on to their revolvers. I sold a couple (sadly) a few years ago to a good guy who has a little shop that sells pretty much all used stuff...lots of milsurps.

Anyway, I sold him 3 revolvers (all three of which I wish I still had but 4 kids in college will put a hurt on your pocket book) and his comment was..."You got any more revolvers? I get 10 Glocks a day but not many revolvers". I had sellers remorse and went back a week later thinking I'd just bite it and buy one back...the .357...and none were still there a week later.

Used revolvers are scarce as hen's teeth around here as far as I can tell. I have not found a pawn shop that sells guns here in Indianapolis. I am sure they can, they just don't I guess.

My buddy found a georgous 1973 6" Model 28-2. He put rubber grips on it which I am ambivilent about but what a gun. He paid about $450...small town LEO trade-in I believe. He won't part with it. So they are out there despite my whining.

Who knows, maybe I'll just by an AR:D (which I could for what used 29s are going for:eek:)
The S&W Model 29 is a .44 Magnum. The 27 is the other N Frame .357 Magnum. ;)

cpirtle
February 12, 2011, 01:46 AM
Hoosier, I set up a custom search for you on Gunbroker that will show you only used Smith & Wesson revolvers in Indiana. Sign up for an account and start emailing the sellers who have guns you like (and are willing to drive to) and ask if they will do a face to face transaction with an Indiana resident.

Currently there are 66 waiting for you ;)

Good luck!

Used Smith revolvers in Indiana (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/SearchResults.aspx?SearchType=0&Timeframe=0&Keywords=s*+w*&Cat=2325&Condition=3&Region=IN&Items=50)

PS: HERE's (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=215828672) a beautiful 28-2 for $400 in Auburn. I'd drive to Indiana for that one and I live 3 hours from the border.

CDawg
February 12, 2011, 04:27 AM
There's no getting around the fact that the older S&W revolvers (and in my opinion the auto's too) are better weapons. You get better materials and better craftmanship. If that doesn't matter to you, that's fine. Just know before slapping your dollars down, that the current weapons are not the same quality that built the S&W reputation for excellence. The used market can offer some very fair deals on some truly fine weapons. Please don't take my word for it. Make some calls to people who work on weapons for a living, ex. Teddy Jacobson of Actions By "T" in Sugarland, TX or Bill Laughridge of Cylinder and Slide in Fremont, NE. There are many other knowledgeable people in the business and on this forum who can tell you the truth too. I'm not saying the new guns are junk by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just saying they are not the equals of the older Smiths.

finfanatic
February 12, 2011, 07:33 AM
Keep looking.

I have always wanted a Model 27 but the prices are always sky high and/or the condition was bad.

But at my last gunshow, I found one for a "reasonable" price. And it was in great shape.

http://i244.photobucket.com/albums/gg40/finfanatic88/Guns/SW-Model27-2_one.jpg

So you can find what you are looking for, but it may take some time.

Water-Man
February 12, 2011, 07:52 AM
If you want new, buy the Ruger GP-100. If your heart is set on a 686 buy an older model.

MrBorland
February 12, 2011, 08:54 AM
Make some calls to people who work on weapons for a living, ex. Teddy Jacobson of Actions By "T" in Sugarland, TX or Bill Laughridge of Cylinder and Slide in Fremont, NE. There are many other knowledgeable people in the business and on this forum who can tell you the truth too. I'm not saying the new guns are junk by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just saying they are not the equals of the older Smiths.

Some time ago, I did, in fact, ask 2 other top revolver 'smiths their opinion of new vs old. Their replies are pasted below. Not quite as cut and dry as "old guns rule; new guns suck". Fit and finish aside, both clearly think the newer ones work & shoot just fine.

Revolver 'smith #1:
"The new guns certainly don't have the fit and finish of the old models, and many people deride them for that fact. Of course, nothing made today has that level of craftsmanship, and most of the complainers wouldn't pay the amount of money it would take to duplicate it!

The new guns shoot just fine; they seem to be as accurate as they ever were, though of course you can always find an example that doesn't (in any vintage.) Bottom line: if you're concerned about future resale value, or if hand craftsmanship is really important to you, buy an older gun. If you just want to shoot it, the new ones do that very nicely."

Revolver 'smith #2:
"I wouldn’t have any concerns about MIM vs forged, lock/no-lock, frame/hammer firing pin – it just isn’t that big a deal. Any of them is not a deterrence to having a good running revolver."

edit: Oh, yeah - I forgot this gem when a 3rd was asked about the lock:
"I don't think the whole lock issue is a big deal. I have never seen first-hand a failure of the ILS and consider it to be a generally reliable (although unnecessary) mechanism. All the lock ranting on those purist S&W collector sites is mostly just a bunch of noise from a flock of clucking old hens."

halfmoonclip
February 12, 2011, 02:26 PM
Mr. Borland, good post and I entirely concur. Materials are a hard call. Modern frames and cylinders are arguably stronger than the older ones, but the forged steel action parts of the older guns are likely better, especially if they have to be modded by a 'smith.
Don't quite understand the spasms over the lock. I'll allow that simpler is better, and that fewer small parts are to be preferred. That said, the hand and other small parts make a Smith tick, and they aren't usually troublesome.
As I said, the lock in my 340 SC has never given any trouble; one sample does not a statistic make, but that thing will loosen your fillings.
Maybe we can make a distinction between classic Smiths and modern ones, depending on their intended use...naah, that's too simple. Nobody would buy that. :)
Moon

cpirtle
February 13, 2011, 12:24 AM
the lock in my 340 SC has never given any trouble; one sample does not a statistic make, but that thing will loosen your fillings.

+1

I have the M&P 360 and the thing rattles every bone in your body. 500+ SD loads later it's as tight as it ever was.


Aside from the back and forth that shows up in debates over new vs old the bottom line is there are a couple of dozen models &/or configurations that plain old didn't exist prior to the lock or MIM. Unfortunately some people are depriving themselves of some fantastic guns, life's too short.

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