What makes a S&W 686 CS1 special?


September 23, 2011, 02:28 AM
I know that they were made for the Customs Service, but other than that, why are they so sought after?

If you enjoyed reading about "What makes a S&W 686 CS1 special?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 23, 2011, 06:24 AM
Only produced in one year in limited numbers, one of the last revolvers issued to a US Agency, so popular with collectors. The three inch barrel version is also a little different, the Standard catalog of S&W only notes one other special run of 2500 guns with a three inch barrel for the domestic market.

So its a little rare and has a bit of interesting history.

Thaddeus Jones
September 23, 2011, 11:04 AM
Well, it is claimed by some S&W folks that the CS1 686's had to meet stringent accuracy and durability requirements.

On another board a fellow who claimed he was a retired customs service inspector told of picking random 3" and 4" CS1's and having to fire "tens of thousands of round through these revolvers.." then checking the accuracy.

If the CS1 failed in any way it was returned to S&W and replaced. I have also heard that the CS1 barrels were air guaged by S&W. I can tell you from personal experience that my 3" CS1 is a 2" gun at 25 yards from a rest.

Free hand standing it is easily more accurate than my 4" 686-4+ . The trigger rivals my PC pre lock 586-5 L-comp.

Another thing that makes the CS1's "special" is that there are not many left in existance. The figure that seems to be most accurate is around 1500 issued 3" CS1's and 1500 4" issued CS1's surviving. The attorney general at the time, Janet Reno, having ordered the remainder to be destroyed, along with many other rare and exqusite federally owned firearms such as the FBI's Colt 38 supers.

There are a few hundred CS1 overuns that were sold to the public during the same timeframe as the Custom Service order. There were also CS3's and "Security Specials" - esentially "civilian market" CS1's - that were produced. But these days a genuine 3" CS1, in it's original box with markings showing customs service issuance, is a scarce and valuable sixgun indeed. :)

September 23, 2011, 11:08 AM
Having admitted to hoarding a whole 1/1500th of the available supply you should now cleanse your sin by posting a range report with pics. :)

Thaddeus Jones
September 23, 2011, 03:01 PM
No photo capability here. The ex-wife had a better divorce attorney. ;)

I will however attempt to do a range report in the near future. It has been quite some time since I shot my CS1.

September 23, 2011, 04:11 PM
These revolvers were ordered by the then comissioner of Customs Von Raab. Customs actually gave their specs. to S & W and they were met. All of the guns had to go back to S & W as the b/c gaps were too tight locking the guns up from heat when fired. There were other problems as well due to very tight tolerances. I saw an overrun nib cs-1 and should have bought it. I remember when the inspectors were issued these guns (prior to that only the agents were armed). They immediately complained about having to qualify and the extra weight they had to carry. Some of the inspectors couldn't quality and were assigned to desk duty denying them overtime which was a pretty big chunk of their pay.

S & W really had to step up to the plate to meet Customs specs.

September 24, 2011, 04:15 PM
I need to get my 3" lettered to see if it is a overrun or agency issue. If anyone has lettered them maybe they could post a serial #.

The Lone Haranguer
September 24, 2011, 09:23 PM
For only a little added length, the three-inch barrel has a major advantage over the 2 1/2-inch usually found on S&W medium-frames - a full length ejector rod. You will appreciate this when reloading magnums quickly.

If you enjoyed reading about "What makes a S&W 686 CS1 special?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!