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S&W Barrel swap

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dashootist, Jan 23, 2011.



  1. 1 six pack

    1 vote(s)
  2. 2

    0 vote(s)
  3. 3

    2 vote(s)
  4. 4+

    6 vote(s)
  1. dashootist

    dashootist Well-Known Member

    A friend said he knows how to do a barrel swap. And I want to replace my 6" 686 barrel with a 4" barrel so I can shoot IDPA. How much work is required to do the conversion? So that I know how many six pack to buy. Is there a how-to article on S&W barrel swap?
  2. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Well-Known Member

    It can be a quick job or it can take a skilled machinist with a lathe...It all depends on how the barrel lines up and the cylinder gap. I always thought the pinned barrels were easier. Most of the time it is fairly simple tho, just make sure you have a lot of support to keep from tweaking the frame, I use vise blocks made for the revolver frame I am working on.
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    You'd better check and see if that 686 has the barrel pinned through the front of the topstrap. If it doesn't the barrel was crush-thread fitted, and changing barrels is (or should be) done at the factory. This is not a "screw one out and another one back in" sort of thing.

    It might be cheaper to sell what you got, and use the proceeds to buy what you want.
  4. dashootist

    dashootist Well-Known Member

    I bought my 686 brand new last year, and it has the internal lock and MIM. So I think it's got the crush-type barrel.

    My friend said he would do it for free. So it doesn't cost me anything but a six pack of beer or two.
  5. 788Ham

    788Ham Well-Known Member

    You'd best send it to the factory! Old Fuff knows of what he speaks.
  6. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Sell the 6" and buy a 4". Six packs and barrel changes do not go together.
  7. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Though it'll cost more than a six pack, another option is to have your 6" barrel shortened to 4". If you see yourself getting serious about IDPA, you'll likely want to get it tuned eventually anyway (action job, chamfer, etc). Once shortened, a Weigand interchangeable front sight base can be installed.

    If you're just checking out or dabbling in IDPA, though, I'd wait to do anything to the 6" gun and buy something like a Model 10. Better yet, go to some matches and start chatting with some revolver shooters - it's likely someone would be more than happy to bring an extra rig for you. Wheelgunners tend to be a pretty friendly group. I myself have an open invitation posted here on THR.
  8. CajunBass

    CajunBass Well-Known Member

    Sell your gun. Buy another. No six-packs required.
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    No pin = crush-fit barrel, but more then that it probably has Smith & Wesson's recent two-piece construction with an inner rifled tube an an outer sleeve. Try to unscrew that and you'll find out what trouble really is; and since the inner tube is also held by a threaded nut at the front I wouldn't recommend shortening the barrel.

    At S&W things are not done as they once were. :uhoh:

    You need a new friend. If he tries to do "his thing," you'll need a lot more then the six-packs... like enough money to buy a new gun to replace the one you now have.

    Either live with it as it is, or sell it and use the money toward getting what you really want or need. If you want a revolver for competition go see what the other competitors are using - especially the winners. A little research could save you a lot on wrong-way spending.
  10. springfield30-06

    springfield30-06 Well-Known Member

    You best not try and save money by having your friend change out that 686 barrel. I have a feeling that if you let him work on it you will be in for much more money than you would have been if you just had the factory do it, or buy a different gun.
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't trust a friend with my PINNED barrels, let alone a new one. :uhoh: I'd sell it and buy a new gun or keep it and buy a new gun for IDPA and add to my collection. :D
  12. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    ......yep, what he said.
  13. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Well-Known Member

    A (suposedly) reputable gunsmith attempted this on a 629 I had, and he bent the frame. Don't do it.

    HGUNHNTR Well-Known Member

    I think he meant the six-packs would be enjoyed after the work was completed. Anyway, if you are talking about nasty beer ie. Bud Lite, Busch, Miller etc. I think I would be offended if you offered any at all. However, if you were to show up with a couple 4 packs of Great Divide Hercules, or some other nice Double IPA I'd do it for you. On a serious note, ask him what his time is worth and pay him in cash or reciprocate by changing his oil or something. Just an idea.
  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I hope you take all the good advice posted here and don't let your friend try to change the barrel. BTW, where are you getting the barrel? Was that free too??
  16. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    As was posted, changing barrels is not like changing your oil. If the rib doesn't line up properly or the shank is too short, you'll need a lathe and the skill to use it.

    You'll be money ahead to just cut the sucker and install a Weigand interchangeable front sight, as was suggested.
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Somehow I don't think so... :uhoh:
  18. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong, but I don't think 2-piece barrels were put on 686s. The X-frame, some k-frames (e.g. 67, which just went back to 1-piece), and the 620 got them, but not the 686.
  19. dashootist

    dashootist Well-Known Member

    Free barrel. I also have a 4" 686P. The original idea was to swap the barrels on my 686 and 686P. But since the concensus seems to be to sell the revolver and buy a shorter one, I think I'll make the weekend into revolver shopping.
  20. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    If it's a two-piece barrel then obviously what I said is not relevant. Then again, if it's a two-piece barrel you're better off selling it and getting an older model in the desired length anyway.

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