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Changing my 686 Barrel Length

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by alrutzz, Aug 3, 2011.


Which barrel length?

  1. 2.5"

    2 vote(s)
  2. 4"

    13 vote(s)
  3. Leave it like it is!

    9 vote(s)
  4. Something else, I'll explain on the thread.

    6 vote(s)
  1. alrutzz

    alrutzz Active Member

    Hey all,

    Looking for input on the first gun I ever bought myself. Got it from an online estate auction and ended up sinking over $600 into it by the time auction and transfer fees were paid. It didn't come with a box or papers or anything else. Just the gun itself.

    So my question is the following: I'm not big on the after-market porting. While the gun is a dream to shoot, it just isn't very practical outside the gun range. I called S&W and they quoted me around $225 to replace the barrel, including the parts and service (does this sound right?).

    Anyways, I'd like a more versatile gun. It would be nice to not have the porting for SD reasons, and also nice to be able to carry it if I wanted.

    So what do you think? Vote above, explain below.

    Oh and here she is:

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  2. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Well-Known Member

    You're better off selling that and getting what you want. If you don't want to sell it, you're better off just buying whatever you want and keeping that as is. Otherwise you'll have $8-900 in a gun worth a bit over half that.
  3. GCBurner

    GCBurner Well-Known Member

    If it's not what you wanted, why did you buy it in the first place?
  4. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    All guns get sold eventually--unless we're going to consider this gun destined to be a treasured family heirloom.

    In .357, there is nothing more versatile than a 4 inch. See what makes most financial sense: rebarrel, or sell yours and buy a 4-inch...or just keep yours and buy a new one.

    To me, that last makes the most sense, but I'm not you.
  5. Mr. Happy

    Mr. Happy Well-Known Member

    You've got one of the finest handguns of all time - get it drilled and tapped for a scope or a red dot for increased fun. If you need a carry piece, get a J-Frame with CT Laser Grips, in a Mika pocket holster, and load it with Hornady 38 special Critical Defense. And practice, practice, practice.
  6. alrutzz

    alrutzz Active Member

    As I stated, it was the first gun I ever bought. I didn't know what I wanted at the time, but it was a great starting point.

    Also, if you have nothing useful to add, why did you post in the first place?
  7. alrutzz

    alrutzz Active Member

    Potato and Loosed, that makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately if I was to sell it at the prices most shops/individuals are offering me, I'd probably end up spending more than the $225 difference to buy a new one.

    Though I suppose I could keep my eyes out for a used 4" and later sell this one to make up the cost (assuming that the difference is <225).
  8. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    I see 4" used 686's for $400-450 fairly often.

    My suggestion: you always need something that is a dream to shoot at the range. That's where most of your shots are. If you like it, keep it. If you need to carry something you can pick of a 9mm keltec for 200-250 that will be much easier to pack around than a 4" full size revolver. you can always get a 4" later, they're all over the place. Ported 686 is a rarer animal. or you can get a smith police trade in for less than 300 http://www.jgsales.com/index.php/sm...sson/revolver/cPath/16_211_431/page/1/sort/4a
  9. alrutzz

    alrutzz Active Member

    If that's the case, it would definitely be better to just buy another in a different barrel size. I just hadn't been looking since I already had the 6" one.

    I can definitely see your point about having a good range gun. It is fun, low recoil, low muzzle flip, and certainly more accurate than I am.
  10. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    Sell it

    Get a 4 inch 686

    Last year I picked up a 4 inch police trade in as a "hack around" gun. $400.

    It lives on my current wife's desk and is easily replaced if it were to be stolen.

    Is a great trail gun. Tough and accurate.

    I recommend them highly (if they are pre-MIM)
  11. GCBurner

    GCBurner Well-Known Member

    Just curious, yours is about the 6th post I've seen on various firearms forums today from somebody who paid full retail for something, and immediately plans on spending more big bucks to make it "better", by changing stocks, or barrels, or finishes, or tacticool accessories. I think a lot of them were bought at auctions, or Gunbroker. People seem to get obsessed with "winning" a bid, whether or not it's what they really wanted in the first place. I wound up with a S&W shotgun at an auction, that I don't particularly want, just because it was in a lot with another gun that I wanted.
  12. alrutzz

    alrutzz Active Member

    Well it's not exactly "immediate". It's got about 1k rounds down the tube since I got it, most of which I loaded myself. No clue as to how many it had before that, since the guy who originally owned it is no longer with us.

    I don't think a barrel made and installed by S&W is very tacticool, just more practical for my purposes.
  13. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Well-Known Member

    Do you like the looks of the gun?
    Do you like the grips, does it feel right to you?
    When you shoot it is everything fine except for the porting and barrel lingth?

    If I was positive about all those issues I'd send it in to S&W and pay the $225 to get the barrel length you want and then shoot the heck out of it.

    You won't find another with a 4 " barrel for $225 and you'll probably loose that much if you sell this one outright. If you really like this gun...go for it. I probably would.

    If down the road you were to sell it, I expect the 4" barrel will sell quicker and for more money than the longer ported barrel, but that's just me.
  14. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Well-Known Member

    You might be able to have the barrel shortened just behind the last port and a new sight mounted on it for less than the $225.

    Or you could list it on GB and see if you can recoup most of your money. Some may like the porting for a falling plate gun or a hunting arm. I don't care for porting myself and it would be a deal killer if I wanted that type of gun.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  15. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    I have a M10-3 in the same place. Tomorrow, it will be my former wife's desk. :fire:

    And I recommend the S&W 4" 686 - it's my favorite of all the 357s I've owned, fired or fondled. The bbl is short enough that you can carry it, and long enough that you don't have a muzzle blast and flash worthy of the 16 inchers on BB-63 (The Mighty Mo). But I would also recommend keeping the one you have & looking for a "beater" 686. More is merrier and better... :D
  16. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Were it my gun, I'd seriously consider a five-inch Magnaported barrel.
  17. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    Terrible news!!!

    I know you hate to lose a classic Model 10 :neener:

    (Sorry dude...it had to be said!!!)
  18. Walking Dead

    Walking Dead Well-Known Member

    4" is the perfect size.
  19. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Well-Known Member

    Not to change the subject, but I'm gonna jump in to defend the 6in barrels. For my uses and YMMV, I want a long barrel for a range/hunting gun in a full size frame for the obvious reasons. I want one revolver to be small enough to drop in a pocket. I figure the 6in is fine for bedside duty (I don't necessarily subscribe to the two extra inches being the cause of someone grabbing the gun from me). The only rub in this case is the porting- indoors. Ouch, and even greater permanent hearing loss compared to a solid barrel. I think the best argument for modification is to remove the porting for potential indoor use, though the shorter barrels will be louder they're likely less damaging than porting.

    I'm not a gunsmith, but removing, cutting, crowning, and milling the barrel for a new front site blade (and buying the new base) with reassembly may cost just as much as having a new barrel put on. Not sure which is the proper way to do that work- barrel on or off frame. On the frame likely being cheaper.
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    S&W also offers the M686 in a 3" barrel version. I know there isn't much of a difference between the 2.5" and 3" model but it's a real difference none the less. If you decide not to sell it and buy the one you really want I did vote. I voted other because you didn't list 3" in the choices but I truly feel a 3" barrel would be best if you want to carry that revolver concealed. If you aren't going to carry it concealed I would switch my choice to 4". (I have a 4" M686 and it's a really great shooting revolver)

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