I have an old 686 - purchased in 1984 - with 4in barrel. The front sight on early 686's was a machined part of the barrel rib and cannot be changed. I am considering replacing the barrel with a 2.5in so I can use XS Express sights and would like the gun to be more carry friendly.
My question is will the 2.5in turn the gun into a flamethrower with typical defensive 357 ammo?
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September 3, 2012, 05:52 PM
Yep, you could say that.
September 3, 2012, 06:05 PM
Sure, the front sight on the 4" can be changed. A swipe with a milling machine will delete the old sight and adjust the height of the ramp. Another will produce a cross dovetail for installation of a Novak size XS sight.
The 686 is a big gun at any barrel length, I don't think substituting a 2.5" barrel will make it a whole lot more "carry friendly."
September 3, 2012, 09:33 PM
Guns that size with short barrels tend to be “top heavy” in the holster. They don’t ride as well as the 4” would.
Even a 4” can be pretty impressive with the right load.
Points well taken. I've never fired this gun in low light. The photo shows it may be a lot more of a flamethrower right now than I realize.
I really hadn't considered milling a groove to accept a dovetailed sight. I guess it would be possible to mix the rear XS notch with a dovetailed front dot and get the height right.
Any suggestions on a machinist who's experienced with that?
September 3, 2012, 10:34 PM
If you go below 3 1/2 inches you may have a problem with the extractor rod and underlug. :uhoh:
September 3, 2012, 10:44 PM
Any suggestions on a machinist who's experienced with that?Heres an interesting concept!
September 3, 2012, 11:26 PM
I have a 4" 586. Didn't like the front sight. A gunsmith milled it off and cut a dovetail as described above. He then installed a good quality fiber-optic sight. Worked out very well.
I don't see the point of a 686 snubby. Even with a short barrel, the gun will be big and heavy. If it's a snubby you need, then get a J-frame Smith, an SP101 or a LCR.
September 3, 2012, 11:36 PM
I like rc's find looks like more of an upgrade
September 4, 2012, 02:34 AM
If you have an older 4-inch 686, my own view is that it would be a tragic mistake to mess with it. I sold mine and have always regretted it. The 4-inch barrel is ideal to my way of thinking, and if you want a smaller .357, find a mint Ruger Speed-6 with a 2.5 or 3-inch barrel. Or get an SP-101.