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NEW Stainless 4" S&W 64 or 686 or USED Nickel 586?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by lvflyer, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. lvflyer

    lvflyer Member

    Hello - I have 3 questions:

    1. I would like to know which stainless steel I should buy. I do not plan on ever really shooting 357 ammo BUT I people seem to like the option of 357 or 38 in the 686. It costs about $138 more for the 686.

    2. Can I polish either one to look "nickel-like" in finish?

    3. If I want a "shiny" appearance and I can not one from polishing either the 64 or 686, should I look to buy a used nickel finished 586 for almost the same price as a new 686?

    Thank-you in advance for your answers
  2. joed

    joed Well-Known Member

    You can't beat the option of having a choice of 2 cartridges to shoot. For that reason I've gotten rid of most of my guns chambered in .38 Spl.

    You can shine stainless to look like nickel if that's your desire. I use Flitz and have put a nice shine on a few of mine.
  3. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Well-Known Member

    Hi and Welcome,

    If your sure you won't shoot 357 magnums I would go with the model 64. Its one of the best shooting revolvers ever. In my opinion the model 64 or the blued version the famous model 10 are the best handling, best balanced and natural pointers in a revolver I have ever experienced. I have a 686 4 inch which is a fine revolver but its not as well balanced and tends to be muzzle heavy. My two model 10s are much better for shooting. I have a suggestion. Why not try to find a model 13,19,65 and 66. All of these revolvers are built on the same frame as the model 64. All of the above revolvers are chambered in 357 magnum. They handle as well as the model 64. The advantage is you can shoot any 38 special round plus if you want to try shooting 357 magnums once and awhile you can do this.;)

    Just thinking out loud.
  4. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Well-Known Member

    If you are not much interested in using .357 ammo, and are willing to consider a used gun, you have lots of affordable choices. So long as they are not abused, almost any of the stainless .38 S&Ws will be a good option. You might consider Rugers as well.

    To get an idea of what's available, go here:


    Search for "stainless 38" in the "revolvers" category. Specify "used grades" and check the "title and description" box.

    Keep in mind that guns purchased here still need to be shipped, and need to be transferred via an FFL. This typically adds $40 or $50 to the total price.
  5. Olympus

    Olympus Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of threads available about polishing stainless steel to give it more of a shine. With a little elbow grease, it can be done. I've seen pictures of a lot of stainless guns that have been polished to look extremely nickel-like.

    I would personally rather have the stainless than the nickel. You can polish the stainless shiny and make it look like nickel or if you want to go back to the original satin finish, you can have the stainless beadblasted. With nickel, you're stuck with it always being shiny. And if the gun isn't handled properly, your nickel finish can start flaking off which would require the gun to be completely refinished if you wanted it to look new again.

    Just my opinion, but nickel guns look really good and are best kept as safe queens. All of the nickel guns I've seen that are daily shooters have finish that is wearing due to use.
  6. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Well-Known Member

    I would suggest the nickel 586 - from your choices.

    Well made, everything you need on a revolver, nothing you don't.

    Should you not care for it, you will get your money out of it - which is unlikely with a new production model. Good luck! :) TJ
  7. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    I've never even seen a nickel 586 in person, so I'd jump on that one.

    If you aren't going to shoot .357's , a nice .38 special makes a lot of sense.

    The stainless Model 67 is a cool option that you don't see every day as well.

    A nickel model 15 would be even better.
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    Unless you find a deal on a near mint nickel gun that you really like, get stainless. Nickel is pretty and fairly durable, but once the finish is scratched or starts peeling, there is no reversal other than a refinish...With stainless, if you scratch it you can polish the scratch out and blend the spot back in using just the right abrasive. Also with stainless, you can polish it out to look like a mirror. Sure, some guys get a "shine" using some sort of compound and a rag, but for a true high gloss shine you will need some sort of power equipment....I don't have a S&W, but have polished out a few stainess guns to look like chrome/nickel. I also have a couple of factory polished ones that are pretty eye catching.
  9. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Mother's Mag Polish in the paste formula is outstanding for giving stainless steel a high polish that looks like it was nickel plated. Any of your three choices would make for a great revolver. The stainless guns have the advantage over a nickel plated gun as the plating can eventually begin to flake off or wear through on certain parts of the gun.

    Still the nickel Model 586 would be interesting because you really don't see too many available these days; same thing for the blued version. The nickel plated version was discontinued in 1991 while the blued model was discontinued in 1999. Book value on the nickel plated 586 is also somewhat higher than a comparable blued Model 586 or the stainless Model 686.
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that if you shoot .38 Special ammunition in a .357 Magnum chamber (especially with lead bullets) you have to keep the longer chambers scrubbed out because if you don't, and then fire a Magnum, extracting the fired case will likely be very difficult - and I have seen a fair number of bent extractor rods that came about when someone used a hammer :banghead: to pound on the rod to eject a full cylinder of fired cases.

    For that reason I prefer to shoot .38 Special ammunition in revolvers chambered to use that cartridge - or handload lighter loads in .357 Magnum cases when I want less then full Magnum performance.

    Also, since I am a world-class cheapskate I don't believe in spending the extra money usually required to buy a Magnum, when I have no intension of using .357 ammunition in it.

    At one time nickel plate was a popular finish because it was more corrosion resistant then blue. In this context stainless steel has become more popular, and the finish won't peel, as nickel sometimes does. If you plan to shoot your new purchase very much I would opt for stainless.
  11. lvflyer

    lvflyer Member

    I have "DECIDED" on the 686 SS BUT which one??

    Thank-you all for your responses - I really appreciate it. I have decided to buy the 686 stainless steel and follow people's directions on polishing it. Now I have some more questions:

    1. Should I buy the 686 or 686+ ?
    2. Should I buy the 4"or 6" ? - I held both of them today (686+ - that is all the dealer had) and I "seem" to prefer the 4" for dual purpose - home defense and carry

  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    I have a 4" Model 686. Like it a lot, mainly because it had one of the nicest DA I have ever found on an out-of-the-box S&W revolver. Haven't tried a 686+ so I can't say if the extra round in the cylinder is that big of a deal to me. I have always preferred a 4" barrel over a 6" barrel because for me it provides better balance and handling. Go with the one that feels the best to you.
  13. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    Im one of those people that thinks a 357 is made for shooting 357. I have owned 357s but I do not now.

    IF it were me I would opt for the 64. They can be polished to look nickel though I usually polish to a nice sheen as opposed to mirror like. Stainless does scratch easier though so you better keep your Mothers Mag polish on hand a lot.

    Secondly, I am biased to the K frame. Go 64.
  14. Uteridge

    Uteridge Well-Known Member

    Can't go wrong with a 686 SSR unless you hate the internal lock with a passion that won't allow you to own one of the newer Smith and Wessons.
  15. buttrap

    buttrap Well-Known Member

    I tend to prefer the 4 inch types. Better balance to seems that way to me plus they are less hassle to carry.

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