Current production 686 life?


December 26, 2012, 08:48 PM
How many rounds do you think a current production 686 (standard 6 round model) will withstand before needing to be overhauled or discarded/replaced with Full-house 357 Magnum loads (14.8g 2400 158 grain reloads)

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December 26, 2012, 08:53 PM
Really tough to say. Maybe 30K rounds. Maybe 50K.

My fairly recent production 629 has somewhere between 15K and maybe 18K and seems to be approaching a rebuild in no hurry whatsoever.

'Course, I don't put many teeth-rattling rounds through it, so you can probably wear out a gun a lot faster if you're trying to knock dishes off the neighbors' walls with your muzzle blast.

December 26, 2012, 09:10 PM
I've fired 1000s of hot reloads through my 686+ from 125 to 158 grn bullets using Winchester 296 and Alliant 2400 powders. It still looks and functions as if brand new.

December 26, 2012, 10:15 PM
It is completely dependent of what kind of loads are fired in the gun. 110 - 125 gr. max loads can trash a barrel's forcing cone in less than a year. I say that because I have seen it done. So have a lot of other smiths. There are quite a few photos in Jerry Kuhnhausen's Ruger DA revolver shop manual. With moderate loads you won't wear one out in your lifetime unless it came with a defect from the factory.

December 26, 2012, 10:18 PM
You will likely not wear it out. After a few tens of thousands of rounds you may have to have the barrel set back, though.

December 26, 2012, 10:27 PM
How old are you now?
Do you shoot in the back yard, or rent range time?
Do you ever clean your guns?
Do you have to drive 30 miles into the desert to shoot?
If so, Average Gas mileage of your vehicle?
How much money do you make?
What percentage of your after-tax income do you plan to spend on ammo in your shooting lifetime.

So many unanswered questions!
So little time!

Bottom line?
If you can afford to shoot often enough, and long enough, to wear out a S&W 686?

S&W's Lifetime Warranty will repair or replace it for you free.

SO, Fuggedaboutit!
Worry about something that is worth worrying about.

That right there isn't it!


December 27, 2012, 12:30 AM
It will very likely last far longer than certain members of this forum hate to admit.

Zekest Crowe
December 27, 2012, 12:40 AM
rc has it right.
Your wrist and elbow joints will wear out before the S&W 686 does.

December 27, 2012, 06:54 AM
The only S&W I've ever work out is a Walther P22. But like RC said, S&W's got a replacement for if you ever do wear it out. Just like they did when I wore out my P22.

Lucky Derby
December 27, 2012, 07:34 AM
More than most will ever shoot them.
If something does happen, the warranty will cover it.
FWIW, I own and shoot a S&W .44 Hand Ejector made in 1921, and it is in excellent shape. Now granted, I don't often shoot heavy (read Kieth) loads, but I don't go out of my way to baby it either.

December 27, 2012, 04:16 PM
With 158gr bullets...even if you're pushing them to a max velocity in the loading manuals....that gun will easily last 250,000 rds in my opinion ...before I'd even think about worrying about it.

I shoot close to max power reloads...all 158gr all of my .357 mag S&W revolvers....model 19's, 27's, 686's, 28's....and while I shoot the model 27's probably more than half the time...I shoot them all / and I go thru about 5 cases of montana gold bullets ( 158 gr JHP ) a yr or just under 15,000 rds a year in .357 mag ... thru my guns...

I keep a rough log on each gun ...mostly to keep track of if, or when, I've had any parts replaced...stripped them down to a bare frame...etc...and my 686's are well over 20,000 rds in the last 10 yrs...( I didn't keep very good records on my guns before that )...they're both 1986 mfg I'll put both of my 686's a 4" and a 6" at 40,000 rds + ..../ I shoot more now than I used to ....more time, more disposable income, but more guns too ...

I know the newer versions have more MIM parts in them than any of my guns...but I doubt that's going to be a factor / and shooting a 158gr round is more fun in my view - and way less wear on the gun than the lighter and faster bullet options some guys seem to prefer. I'm old school ...I like the Montana Gold 158gr JHP bullet...

December 27, 2012, 08:29 PM
I stopped keeping a log on my guns after they all went over 50,000 about 20 years ago. I am still trying to wear them out but I don't really think I will live long enough. But I'm trying.

Ky Larry
December 28, 2012, 12:35 PM
It will last at least as long as Old Fuff and that's a loooooong time.

December 28, 2012, 06:32 PM
Thanks guys, I kinda thought it's tough to wear a gun out LOL.

December 28, 2012, 08:32 PM
It's VERY hard to ever wear one out, even with heavy use in practice using standard ammo.

BTW, lets say you DID wear one out after only 50,000 rounds or so. Assuming you pay $15 per box of 50 rounds: $15 x 1,000 boxes of 50 = $15,000 worth of ammo.

ALWAYS, the handgun is the CHEAP part of this sport, and if I ever wear out any of my S&W revolvers, I'll just replace it. So far, at age 61, I haven't done this even once yet, although I shot competitions for years, putting tens of thousands of rounds through some of them in practice.

Just avoid the 125gn. stuff and, if you want to see maximum life as a competition shooter who shoots hundreds of rounds per week into a revolver, do what virtually all competitors do . . . invest into reloading equipment to save tons of ammo money . . . and also "download" your hand-loaded ammo to lower velocities vs. combat/self-defense velocities. It is easier on the gun . . . and easier on the shooter too!!!

Enjoy your 686 and shoot the snot out of it. They'll almost certainly still be running long after someone inherits it from you!

December 28, 2012, 11:29 PM
I own a M686-2 and I have no idea how many round are through it because I bought it used 8 years ago but it's still tight as a drum.

A friend has a M686-no dash and bought it new. He has well over 20,000 magnum rounds through it and it's still tight but does show a lot of wear. I'm guessing a M686 will last the common shooter a lifetime. A competition shooter will probably fine the time to wear one out.

December 29, 2012, 09:08 AM
686+ is an amazing gun ... I've been shooting mine pretty steadily for about five years (not all .357 rounds tho) and it looks and shoots like new ...

December 29, 2012, 09:27 PM
Bought mine over 20 years ago more or less, don't recall exactly but still shoots good.

December 29, 2012, 10:20 PM
The gasses cutting the top strap is what varies the life expectancy of your revolver. Most will outlast you, so like rc said "forget about it" and just go shoot it!

December 29, 2012, 10:23 PM
Flame-cutting on the top strap only goes a small distance, and then it stops.

NOBODY has ever cut a top strap in two from flame-cutting.

Its a cosmetic concern only.

January 2, 2013, 12:25 PM
One thing I've wondered if all that pressure is on the steel, over and over, why it doesn't crack after a few hundred rounds...must be VERY tough steel.

January 2, 2013, 01:53 PM
why it doesn't crack after a few hundred rounds...must be VERY tough steel.

My guess is that it's because steel has pretty good fatigue limit, meaning so long as it doesn't bend beyond a certain point (it's fatigue limit), it can cycle (i.e. bend within this limit) indefinitely. Aluminum, on the other hand, has a very low fatigue limit, so every little bend continues to weaken it, so after some number of cycles it'll fail.

January 2, 2013, 10:15 PM
If you manage to wear one out...brag about it.

January 3, 2013, 05:37 PM
i count myself a very , very lucky man if i ever gonna wear out my 686-3
4" smith revolver.

by then i would be a very, very old man...:D

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