Thoughts on the 681?


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Tophernj
October 30, 2013, 04:34 PM
I've recently become aware and intrigued by this revolver. I figure 6 rounds of 357 with fixed combat sights should do almost anyone right. However I don't know a lot about them. Any quirks they are known for? Issues?

As always the advice is always appreciated and politely presented opposing opinions welcomed.

C

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P5 Guy
October 30, 2013, 04:58 PM
Assuming you are talking about the Smith & Wesson 681.
There was an issue with the firing pin bushing and softer primers flowing back in the gap and locking the cylinder.
Look on the frame under the cylinder yoke/crane where the model and revision number is stamped for the letter 'M'. That means the recall modification has been done, other wise no 'M' means the bushing is factory. While this may not present a problem in your revolver it does depend on the type and pressure of the ammunition you use.
Take your find to the range and blast away. I have a S&W 681 and shoot it often. A fun gun for shooting 357MAG.

pokersamurai
October 30, 2013, 05:20 PM
My 681 Performance Center is my favorite firearm I own.

It has a fantastic trigger pull, fixed sights, 3-inch barrel, unfluted 7-shot cylinder that's cut for moon clips, and a two-tone Green/Black finish.



http://i543.photobucket.com/albums/gg478/pokersamurai/DSCF6259_zps5b3c96b9.jpg (http://s543.photobucket.com/user/pokersamurai/media/DSCF6259_zps5b3c96b9.jpg.html)

Tophernj
October 30, 2013, 05:42 PM
Yes. Sorry. Smith and Wesson 681.

C

jmr40
October 30, 2013, 05:51 PM
The recall only effected very early L frame guns made in the 1980's. Most all would be modified by now and if not it is a simple easy fix.

Never owned one of the 681's, but it is one of those guns I wish I had bought. I remember seeing a few with round butts and 4" barrels in the early 90's at a very good price. I foolishly passed because I thought adjustable sights were important at the time.

SharpsDressedMan
October 30, 2013, 07:28 PM
I don't know about everyone else, but the L-frames never got me excited. I always considered the Model 19/66 to be a perfectly balanced weapon, but it WAS too small to adequately handle a lot of full .357 loads. The L-frame could have been perfect, had they not added the full length lug on the barrel, but rather keeping it light like the Model 19. They thought it would attract the Colt Python fans, but without the vents, bright polish, and superior finishing of the Python, it was just less expensive, heavy and strong .357. I think the 4" L-frame was even heavier than the S&W 28 or 27 N-frames. But I DO respect the 581 and 681; strong serviceable guns, and really nice when given a custom action job.

il.bill
October 31, 2013, 12:16 AM
I have a GunBroker S&W Model 681-1 Revolver coming by UPS for me to pick up from my local FFL transferring dealer on Friday. If it shoots anything like my 65-3 it will be one of my favorite handguns.

Needless to say, the title of this thread caught my eye.

Deaf Smith
October 31, 2013, 12:22 AM
Well I have a 4 inch 681,

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=186049&d=1373153408

Shoots fine.

I'd be tempted to have it made into a 3 inch but I already have a 3 inch 65 'Ladysmith' as well as 3 inch 686 Custom Service CS-1 version. So that kind of makes any conversion pointless.

Deaf

Jaymo
October 31, 2013, 12:24 AM
I NEVER liked the L frames, until I fondled mine in the LGS. After trying the trigger, I was sold.
I like the underlug. It makes it distinctive looking.

4D5
October 31, 2013, 12:35 AM
I sure like mine.

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb198/photos25/Blasters/SW681.jpg

jmfc606
October 31, 2013, 02:07 AM
The New York State Police were issued them in the mid Eighties. If you're lucky enough you'll come across one of them. They were marked on the side NYSP. I shot my buddies when he first became a trooper, very nice handling gun even with full power loads. Good luck with your search!!

Radagast
October 31, 2013, 03:18 AM
The recall only affected the 681 & 681-1. 681-2 through to 681-5 are fine.

lowercase
October 31, 2013, 09:02 AM
My 681-1 (hasn't had the recall work done) has been a good gun.

I like stainless, fixed-sight .357s, so it was right up my alley.

Great trigger, and looks kinda cool with the full underlug.

http://imageshack.us/a/img824/614/izhz.jpg

19-3Ben
October 31, 2013, 09:11 AM
A mid frame .357mag with fixed sights that is strong enough to handle a serious pounding is going to be a winner. I love the 681, although I think my heart still belongs to the Speed Six.

Deaf Smith
October 31, 2013, 06:20 PM
A mid frame .357mag with fixed sights that is strong enough to handle a serious pounding is going to be a winner. I love the 681, although I think my heart still belongs to the Speed Six.
But of course!

And that is why I also have a few Speed Sixs to!

Deaf

bluekouki86
November 1, 2013, 09:03 AM
Always wanted one, but refuse to pay $500 for a beat up service revolver. For that kind of money I'll get a 686.

kellmark
November 2, 2013, 02:49 AM
I have the early 681 bought new in the 1980's. Great trigger and balance, Never a problem.

mlw270win
November 2, 2013, 09:56 PM
I have a couple of 681's and they are my favorite revolvers. They both have 7 shot cylinders in them now and shot great. You just can't beat a older S&W trigger and the L frames will handle all the 357 mag. you can feed it.

golden
November 3, 2013, 12:24 AM
I carried a 681 for about a year before going to the GLOCK 19. I prefer autos, but if you want an outstanding self defense revolver, the 681 is it.

My has been MAGNA-PORTED and had the action slicked. I use HOGUE grips and consider this the best combat revolver I have ever had or shot.

One down side is the weight. You will notice it at the end of a 8 or 10 hour day. Other than that, I recommend it highly.

Jim

ArchAngelCD
November 3, 2013, 01:57 AM
I'm a little surprised S&W doesn't have a current K/L frame .357 Magnum with fixed sights.

No more M13, M65, M581, M681 or M619... What's up with dat?

WJR
November 3, 2013, 01:54 AM
If I really wanted a 681, I would in turn look no further than a Ruger GP100 3" barrel with fixed sights.

Ruger makes the pistol that all 681 fans wish S&W would make, without silly locks.

WJR

Oro
November 3, 2013, 04:19 AM
Ruger makes the pistol that all 681 fans wish S&W would make, without silly locks.

WJR

S&W made very, very few 681's with a lock. 97% of them or more don't have it. I've owned several Rugers; liked them. But they are not forged steel S&Ws and won't ever be batting in those leagues.

I have had a 681, and two 686s - one 2.5" and one 4". Of the three, only the 4" 686 is still in my house. And it gets pride of place in the home as it and a full-house Novak Custom Colt 1911 are the only two guns I keep as nightstand guns. Lots of others can do the job just as well, but those are the two that get the honors.

The 681 is fine, but the sights are just not as quick or accurate as those on a 686. And the S&W adjustable sights have proven plenty durable and rugged over time, no reason to worry about them on a carry, duty, or field gun.

As to the 2.5" 686, it's just too bulky to me for a cc gun, and for a light-use weapon like that (e.g, not a lot of rounds down range typically vs. amount carried), the 19/66 just shines for that.

The 4" L frame will "out shoot" a 4" 19/66 or even a 27. The L frame has more weight than the K, but the full lug makes it so much more softer shooting. the K is of course handier, so it depends which you value - quick pointing or softer shooting/faster on 2nd shot. Weight is the same between a 686 and a comparable N (3.5" or 4" 27 or 28), but the weight is lower and more compact so it handles a bit better and has better recoil characteristics.

For flat-out shooting, pick a 4" 686. For sexiness, a 3.5" 27. For carry, a 2.5" 19/66. I've got one of each and two of the latter. The 681 is a fine gun, and if you can get one at a good price, go for it. But if prices are narrow in difference, I prefer the 686 for the sights.

K, L, N:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3NN7g_a6Tg0/UnYJRDWHf2I/AAAAAAAABT0/gJBF6qJARdk/s640/IMGP5071.JPG

This photo may be more illustrative. All that weight under the barrel makes it less handy than a 19/66, but it still enables it to be, as it quite literally was, a "Python Killer."
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-kpVmzslQce8/UnYJSNPD9QI/AAAAAAAABT8/j4UqOxRvG0c/s640/IMGP5072.JPG

Snake Plisskin
November 3, 2013, 06:21 AM
I too prefer sights on my revolver just a personal thing for me so the 686 4" has a warm spot in my heart and on my night stand. Good of luck on your journey to find what suits you best, you can't wrong with a Smith.

http://i857.photobucket.com/albums/ab138/bsufan1103/e91782df-066f-437b-929a-5653749cd585.jpg (http://s857.photobucket.com/user/bsufan1103/media/e91782df-066f-437b-929a-5653749cd585.jpg.html)

il.bill
November 3, 2013, 02:07 PM
The adjustable sights on a 686 sure are sweet, but I find something elegant in the simple look of the 681 revolver.

Now if I had just received a 686 in hand I might have a slightly different outlook!

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=733627&p=9184915#post9184915

Deaf Smith
November 3, 2013, 05:49 PM
GP-100 as well as 2 1/2 686 and 2 1/2 S&W 66, 3 inch 65 'ladysmith', Ruger SP101, Speed Six, and Secularity Six are on this photo of my guns (and a few others.)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179089&d=1359948436

You can see the size difference

Deaf

clang
November 3, 2013, 08:29 PM
The 681 was the final iteration of the uniformed police sidearm revolver. It was the last of it's breed and arguably the best version of an open carry sidearm revolver. LE changed to Autos, so I doubt we will ever see any more refinements in the development of these types of weapons.

Here is my NYSP marked 681:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v641/clang444/SW681Left.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/clang444/media/SW681Left.jpg.html)

About the only further improvement I can think of is a 7 shot version (I don't know if S&W ever made a 7 shot 681, but they did make 7 shot 686s).

Hondo 60
November 4, 2013, 02:25 AM
I don't know why, but the fixed sighted revolvers just sing to me.

My buddy, an ex-deputy sheriff, just sold me his blue 3" GP-100.
I've been jonesing over that one for a while.
I told him I'd kick his butt all over town if he ever sold that one w/o giving me a chance to buy it.

A 681 is a VERY nice revolver in my estimation.
Personally, I'd prefer blue vs Stainless, (581 vs 681) but I wouldn't say no to either.

And I think S&W has classic beauty lines that Ruger can't touch.
But Rugers are more robust.

Just my 2 worth.

WJR
November 4, 2013, 11:30 AM
S&W made very, very few 681's with a lock. 97% of them or more don't have it. I've owned several Rugers; liked them. But they are not forged steel S&Ws and won't ever be batting in those leagues.

I have had a 681, and two 686s - one 2.5" and one 4". Of the three, only the 4" 686 is still in my house. And it gets pride of place in the home as it and a full-house Novak Custom Colt 1911 are the only two guns I keep as nightstand guns. Lots of others can do the job just as well, but those are the two that get the honors.

The 681 is fine, but the sights are just not as quick or accurate as those on a 686. And the S&W adjustable sights have proven plenty durable and rugged over time, no reason to worry about them on a carry, duty, or field gun.

As to the 2.5" 686, it's just too bulky to me for a cc gun, and for a light-use weapon like that (e.g, not a lot of rounds down range typically vs. amount carried), the 19/66 just shines for that.

The 4" L frame will "out shoot" a 4" 19/66 or even a 27. The L frame has more weight than the K, but the full lug makes it so much more softer shooting. the K is of course handier, so it depends which you value - quick pointing or softer shooting/faster on 2nd shot. Weight is the same between a 686 and a comparable N (3.5" or 4" 27 or 28), but the weight is lower and more compact so it handles a bit better and has better recoil characteristics.

For flat-out shooting, pick a 4" 686. For sexiness, a 3.5" 27. For carry, a 2.5" 19/66. I've got one of each and two of the latter. The 681 is a fine gun, and if you can get one at a good price, go for it. But if prices are narrow in difference, I prefer the 686 for the sights.

K, L, N:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3NN7g_a6Tg0/UnYJRDWHf2I/AAAAAAAABT0/gJBF6qJARdk/s640/IMGP5071.JPG

This photo may be more illustrative. All that weight under the barrel makes it less handy than a 19/66, but it still enables it to be, as it quite literally was, a "Python Killer."
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-kpVmzslQce8/UnYJSNPD9QI/AAAAAAAABT8/j4UqOxRvG0c/s640/IMGP5072.JPG
Oro,

I did not realize that any 681s were made with a lock. Interesting. My point is that the 681 would be a great current production revolver which Ruger is making a nice version of in the GP100 with fixed sights. However, I would not buy one with the silly lock.

Thanks,

WJR

ArchAngelCD
November 4, 2013, 08:19 PM
The 681 was the final iteration of the uniformed police sidearm revolver. It was the last of it's breed and arguably the best version of an open carry sidearm revolver. LE changed to Autos, so I doubt we will ever see any more refinements in the development of these types of weapons.

About the only further improvement I can think of is a 7 shot version (I don't know if S&W ever made a 7 shot 681, but they did make 7 shot 686s).
They did make a 7 shot version but it was marked the Model 619. The M619 had fixed sights and the M620 had adjustable sights, bot carried 7 rounds. I mistakenly sold my M619 to finance another purchase, huge mistake IMO.

Here is a few pics of the one I sold: (I was so stupid)

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN1998.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN1996.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN1995.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2079.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2077.jpg

slick6
November 4, 2013, 10:43 PM
Here are some pictures of my 681(No dash#)which has the M-stamp modifications:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050117.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050117.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050111.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050111.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050110.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050110.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050108.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050108.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050107.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050107.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050118.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050118.jpg.html)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/shootit/P1050130.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/shootit/media/P1050130.jpg.html)

pittspilot
November 5, 2013, 11:04 PM
I believe there was a run of 681's that were square butt, full underlug and 7 shots. Special order for the Border Patrol. I have seen one, but understand that they are super rare.

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