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Old April 14, 2015, 10:40 PM   #1
mikemyers
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S&W 686 or Dan Wesson 715 for target shooting

I recently had a long phone call with the people at Sand Burr Gun Ranch regarding my S&W M28 Highway Patrolman. I thought they might be able to fix the remaining roughness in the trigger. What I was told was that it really didn't make a lot of sense to put hundreds of dollars into an $800 gun, for which it is getting more and more difficult to find parts, and that a smarter idea would be to get a modern revolver.

I shoot several guns. the M28 I shoot almost every time I go to a range, with or without another gun. I've finally gotten to where I can shoot it reasonably well both SA and DA (thanks in no small part to all the help I've gotten in this forum!!!!). It's probably the single gun I most enjoy out of all the guns I've shot with. (I suspect I would do better if I put all my guns away but for one, and concentrate on only that single gun, but I'm 71 and enjoy shooting, and while I do want to continue to work at doing better, I very much enjoy shooting all the guns I own....)

Following the advice from Sand Burr, I have been looking into a new revolver. I know I feel more comfortable with a gun like my M28. It will only be used for target shooting, and it will almost certainly only be used for 38 Special loads.

I've come up with two choices:
S&W Model 686
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

...or the Dan Wesson Model 715
http://cz-usa.com/product/dan-wesson-715/


Both seem to be wonderful guns. They have a similar barrel length, like my M28. The S&W I understand, but I know nothing of the Dan Wesson guns. Both should be extremely accurate. The S&W has a top rail that accepts a red dot sight, if I ever want to use one. The guns are not that far apart in price. For the sole purpose of target shooting, can anyone here suggest reasons why one might be better than the other? I plan on thinking about this for two months, and then placing an order.

(There is yet another option. Sand Burr told me that the S&W could be purchased through them, and they would improve it, before it was shipped to me. If I do go with the S&W, which is already a Performance Center gun, I'm wondering how much of a difference this would make? .....which is only relevant, if I pick S&W rather than Dan Wesson.)




S&W also makes the "Classic Series", but I think they're made more for collecting, than competition:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y
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Old April 14, 2015, 10:58 PM   #2
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Tough choice. I owned an original DW 715 which was the most accurate handgun I'd ever shot at the time. Unfortunately it shaved lead among other things. I have no idea if the CZ-made DW 715s are up to par in the accuracy department, the last one I considered came with two barrels; one that could not be installed as it didn't fit.

The only revolvers I own now are S&W mostly because I can afford them, find parts for them, and and do most of the work on them. And, they are more accurate than even my imagination allows for.
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Old April 14, 2015, 11:51 PM   #3
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Have both. Like both. That said, I don't own a new one, so there might be differences from what I've experienced.

Both of them ARE great revolvers and will last you a lifetime. They are both accurate. If you are looking for a boom-stick, I'd say that the DW might have a little heavier mechanism. If you're looking for a svelte shooter, the S&W would be a great choice. Either way, I'd take whichever one you deem "the lesser gun!"
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Old April 15, 2015, 12:27 AM   #4
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The 686 is a great revolver. Pre-lock is more desirable. I run the 686 and would love an older DW. The newer ones are not quite as good.

On northwest firearms.com there is a 6" 686 for sale if you are looking for a 6
wheel gun. you can also try smith-wessonforum.com for sale section.
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Old April 15, 2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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I believe that there is more inherent potential accuracy in the Dan Wesson design, with a tensioned barrel and front cylinder lock up. In addition, you have the option with the Dan Wesson to shoot a variety of barrel lengths, unfortunately, CZ fails to actively market this feature.

It's gonna be hard to choose between two great revolvers!
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Old April 15, 2015, 09:43 AM   #6
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I had a Dan Wesson Pistol Pak years ago and found it to be very accurate as well as being extremely versatile. I liked that you could fine tune the barrel fitting so that you could optimize its performance. Currently I have a Model 686 no dash and it was the most accurate and had the best trigger over the two other .357s I had at the time.
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Old April 15, 2015, 10:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers
What I was told was that it really didn't make a lot of sense to put hundreds of dollars into an $800 gun, for which it is getting more and more difficult to find parts, and that a smarter idea would be to get a modern revolver.
Sand Burr Gun ranch is lighting up my spidey senses.

I haven't seen your gun, but if your M28's generally in good shape, they're overstating things a bit, IMO. I'm all for buying a new toy, but you shouldn't need to buy another gun just because there's a little residual roughness in your M28's trigger (which wouldn't cost "hundreds of dollars" to fix). As far as replacing parts, most parts can still be replaced, but you shouldn't need any replacement parts for the type of shooting you're doing. And replacement parts shouldn't be needed for fine-tuning the trigger, either.

Between the S&W 686Comp and the DW 715, I'd opt for the S&W. The rail and tunable weights are a good feature. On top of that, you'll likely find it harder to find someone who tunes DWs. DWs have a reputation for excellent inherent accuracy, but AFAIK, their actions tend to be rougher from the factory even be a little stagey.

BTW, are new DWs 715s even available yet? I know CZ announced they've resumed production, but I've not actually seen any anywhere.

From what I've seen, PC guns no longer receive any additional tuning over their standard line-up, so the 686PC would still likely benefit from a little action work, and it'd be nice to have a platform that everyone's familiar with. Aftermarket support (e.g. grips, etc) also favors the S&W.

Before I let Sand Burr work on it, though, I'd find out what exactly they'd do to it and whether they're actually capable of tuning a revolver well. Just slapping aftermarket springs in it isn't an action job. And there's more to a good one than stoning a few pieces, too. If they're not able to smooth our the residual roughness in your M28, they're not likely to tune your new high dollar PC revolver too well, either.

My recommendation would be to shoot it for a while in stock form before having anything done to it. At that point, you'll have a better idea of what you'd like (instead of what Sand Burr would like) improved.
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Old April 15, 2015, 11:02 AM   #8
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Mr. Borland is far more qualified to advise you than I, but having owned a pre-lock 686 and a Monson DW Mod 15 I have an impression.

My Mod 15 may or may not have a lot in common with a new 715 but its rep for accuracy with the nut tensioned barrel was as deserved as it's rep for rough (by comparison to the incomparable Smith action) non-linear trigger pull. The pure potential accuracy factor was the only place the DW edged the 686 for target, and I'd hate to live on the difference. AND this potential is only realized when the interchangeable barrel is mounted and adjusted precisely (and periodically re-adjusted). It is a bit fiddly.

By my experience the 686 would win in a walk, especially if I was also going to have it professionally tuned or buy a Performance Center version. Balance and action are huge factors to me in the type use you envisage. The DW is a wonderful revolver whose high point for me lay in the field as a hunting sidearm, partly due to its immensely strong frame for hot-rodded loads.
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Old April 15, 2015, 01:29 PM   #9
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Same as above. Smith makes a good gun. The new smiths have a tensioned barrel and shroud, so the accuracy is the same. As previously mentioned, the action on the older DW is rough compared to the uber smoothness of a smith.
My DW has always been finicky and prissy. Smiths always work.
I have no opinion of the new production DW as I don't have one. The DW price seems high.
Add to that, the smith is a performance center, the choice would be easy for me.
I would shop around for a used vintage smith in good shape. They're out there. Screw those 'modern guns'.
I would also mention that there is not much you can do to work on the DW action IMO, I wouldn't entrust it to a gunsmith that doesn't have a stellar reputation.
The performance center would be good out of the box. Don't let anybody touch it until you shoot it. If you aren't happy with it, send it back. It's covered.
If you buy a DW, they work on it, and you aren't happy, you can't send it back because you voided the warranty with action work.
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Old April 15, 2015, 07:08 PM   #10
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>this..
I haven't seen your gun, but if your M28's generally in good shape, they're overstating things a bit, IMO. I'm all for buying a new toy, but you shouldn't need to buy another gun just because there's a little residual roughness in your M28's trigger (which wouldn't cost "hundreds of dollars" to fix). As far as replacing parts, most parts can still be replaced, but you shouldn't need any replacement parts for the type of shooting you're doing. And replacement parts shouldn't be needed for fine-tuning the trigger, either.*



I own a bunch of tuned ppc smiths

I don't think any are model 28 as a base but I find it hard to believe they have run out of options or can't get it to where u want it other than spending more for a new gun??

I say ,if u want a new gun, either are fine. If u have an attachment to that 28 get another opinion
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Old April 15, 2015, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBorland View Post
BTW, are new DWs 715s even available yet? I know CZ announced they've resumed production, but I've not actually seen any anywhere.
My LGS has had one for five or six months. Its tag reads $1000.
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Old April 15, 2015, 07:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JudgeHolden10 View Post
My LGS has had one for five or six months. Its tag reads $1000.
I've seen one languishing for over a year at a LGS. It's really disappointing, I thought for sure CZ would bring back the great DW revolver. The few new one's I've handled felt like version 1.0 guns. Oh well, maybe some day.
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Old April 15, 2015, 11:39 PM   #13
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Lots of random thoughts, that may add to this discussion.

Regarding Sand Burr Gun Ranch, here's a video that shows a bit of who they are:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi1_qtXwqjQ

Here's a page for what they can do, and how much it costs:
http://sandburrgunranch.com/gunsmithy.php

Regarding my gun, they've never seen it; all they know is my description. I spoke to the lady you'll see in the above video for quite a while, and she told me they can do whatever I want to the gun, explained the costs, and that any replacement parts are additional.

When I told her I use the gun the most of any guns I own, her advice was that it would be better to put the cost of repairs and tuning into a new gun, which I think would cost around $800 for the "classic" series. She said some parts are already getting more difficult to find, and that this will just continue to get worse.

I'm the type of person who jumps to conclusions far too quickly, and what she was saying made a lot of sense to me. I've always wanted to buy a Python, but I would probably never find someone qualified to work on it. It's already so difficult to deal with these issues on my High Standard 103 series. To me it does make more sense to just buy a more modern gun, in the same way that I prefer driving my Mazda MX-5 than were I to buy another MGA like the one I grew up with.

Anyway, that's all just background information. A lot of people here have reinforced what MrBorland wrote, and the S&W seems to me to be the better choice. It helps that I'm already familiar with S&W. Next week I'm leaving for two months in India, and it's looking more and more like I'll be ordering the S&W when I return.

I used to think that PC guns got all sorts of special attention, but I guess that's all just in the past. Other than their name on the gun, anybody here know what, if anything, makes the PC guns preferable to the non PC guns? I'm not really thinking that the PC guns aren't good enough, but more so that ALL the new S&W guns are supposed to be excellent nowadays. I suspect that all S&W guns lack the TLC that "hand-assembled/fitted" guns got in the past. Or, should I compare parts that were individually fitted, with the precision that computer design and manufacturing provides.

.........and to be honest, I also need to think about comparing a "shiny new toy" to my existing M28. I guess I'll just think about this for two months. I would hate to spend all that money, only to find out that a 1980's M28 was a better gun.
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Old April 15, 2015, 11:54 PM   #14
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I have two 686 guns, a pre-lock 8 3/8" and a recent production 7" seven shot. The 7" is my favorite. My buddy did a trigger job that is basically incredible. I have shot about 2k magnums thru it in the past two months....I really like it....I think the fit and finish is as good as my 686-1...Actually the new gun is better if you consider it left the factory with the barrel on straight. My 686-1 left the factory with a canted barrel.
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Old April 16, 2015, 08:00 AM   #15
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When I competed, I used a variety of S&W handguns. The 686 both 4" and 6" were used in the stock category and a Davis custom M64 in the Open category. All of my S&Ws fired many 10s of thousands of rounds and never needed ANY parts replaced. I prefer S&W. If you are wanting a great stock 38 Special, look for a Model 14. If you want a custom revolver, look for an old PPC shooter that is selling his revolver.

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Old April 16, 2015, 09:17 AM   #16
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You know where I stand Mike, based on your last thread. Just a few comments on the Competitor:

The trigger is fantastic. It's the second nicest trigger of any gun I own or have ever shot, but to be fair, my friends who shoot are frugal and don't spend extra money on triggers or fancy guns, so most of my experience is with guns I've bought. I'm sure it could be improved further with custom work, but I've never felt handicapped by it. A PC trigger is smooth and crisp, no doubt about it.

The best trigger I have is a Wilson Combat Tuned one on my Wilson/Beretta Brig Tac, but that's besides the point.

I have had to send my Competitor back to the factory. I was getting failures to fire in DA shooting. The factory put in a longer firing pin as a fix, and it seems to be working properly again. The turn around was about 30 days.

This is only one example of course so take it as you will. I would definitely buy another PC gun like the 8 shot 5" 627, but alas, my days of buying a gun or two each year are behind me. I know nothing about the DW's, but based on a few comments here, it sort of sounds like they aren't on par with the old guns.

Good luck man.
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Old April 16, 2015, 09:27 AM   #17
MrBorland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers
When I told her I use the gun the most of any guns I own, her advice was that it would be better to put the cost of repairs and tuning into a new gun, which I think would cost around $800 for the "classic" series. She said some parts are already getting more difficult to find, and that this will just continue to get worse.
If you're using your M28 for serious runNgun competition (e.g. IDPA, USPSA, ICORE), I'd agree with her. This type of competition is hard on revolvers, so rather than hammer an old classic, most competitors opt for newer guns.

I gather your M28 is seeing pretty standard target use with target loads, though, so I don't see it accumulating wear and tear to the point things will have to be repaired and replaced. Assuming your M28 is on otherwise good shape, and it fits you, the most cost-effective route to go is simply find someone who can smooth out the remaining roughness in the action. 'Course, if you just want a new gun, by all means do so. I like new toys as much as anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers
I used to think that PC guns got all sorts of special attention, but I guess that's all just in the past. Other than their name on the gun, anybody here know what, if anything, makes the PC guns preferable to the non PC guns? I'm not really thinking that the PC guns aren't good enough, but more so that ALL the new S&W guns are supposed to be excellent nowadays. I suspect that all S&W guns lack the TLC that "hand-assembled/fitted" guns got in the past. Or, should I compare parts that were individually fitted, with the precision that computer design and manufacturing provides.
PC guns used to get all-forged internals and extra tuning attention, but hose days seem to be in the past. IMO, what you now get in a PC gun is simply a configuration not available in their standard line-up. If you want a 686 with barrel weights, or an 8-shot with a 5" barrel, for instance, you hafta go PC.

As far as new vs old, newer guns lack the fit and finish of the older guns, but they typically shoot as well or better than the older ones. Regardless, if you're fussy about the quality of the action, your new gun will still likely benefit from a good action job.
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Old April 16, 2015, 09:46 AM   #18
mikemyers
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Originally Posted by MrBorland View Post
.......I haven't seen your gun, but if your M28's generally in good shape, they're overstating things a bit, IMO. I'm all for buying a new toy, but you shouldn't need to buy another gun just because there's a little residual roughness in your M28's trigger (which wouldn't cost "hundreds of dollars" to fix). As far as replacing parts, most parts can still be replaced, but you shouldn't need any replacement parts for the type of shooting you're doing. And replacement parts shouldn't be needed for fine-tuning the trigger, either.......

I'm glad I posted this here. I called Sand Burr because I'd like my M28 to feel like a Pro Center gun I checked out last year, which was sooooooo smooth as I pulled the trigger. That gun was a 9mm, and as i recall, had a 4" or 5" barrel. Anyway, thanks to everyone here for your advice. Maybe the smarter move is to simply keep my M28, for a lot of reasons.


After reading MrBorland's comment on Sand Burr, I did a few searches for "S&W Model 28 parts problems". I found a few problems, and how to fix them, but nobody complaining about not being able to get parts. I also found a whole lot of praise for the M28, such as:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_5_33/11...Patrolman.html

I'm leaving on my trip in a week, so I think I'll quit thinking about this. Thanks, everyone.
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Old April 16, 2015, 09:57 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MrBorland View Post
.....I gather your M28 is seeing pretty standard target use with target loads, though, so I don't see it accumulating wear and tear to the point things will have to be repaired and replaced. Assuming your M28 is on otherwise good shape, and it fits you, the most cost-effective route to go is simply find someone who can smooth out the remaining roughness in the action.......

Your response snuck in while I was typing. No, I'm not using the gun for competition, just target use with 38 special loads, and I think it's in excellent condition, other than the "roughness" which is mostly gone now. I guess your suggestion makes far more sense.

I haven't yet found a good gunsmith in the Miami area. The video I linked to up above prompted me to call Sand Burr, which led to this discussion. My gun is MUCH better than it used to be. The work you guys helped me through long ago changed it from feeling like it was broken, to feeling great. I will try to find some way of showing what it's doing now, and post that.

Until yesterday, I was sure I was going to buy a "new toy", but wasn't sure of which one. I think I'm back to trying to find a better gunsmith.
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Old April 16, 2015, 10:05 AM   #20
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AFAIK, the one part that's well-nigh impossible to replace is a square butt strain screw, so don't lose it and definitely don't trim it down, or let anyone else do so.


Safe travels.
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Old April 16, 2015, 10:42 AM   #21
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I have lots of Smiths and 3 Dan Wessons; a 715, a 22 and a 40. The Dan Wessons are very accurate but they have a short hammer fall compared to a Smith and so I never thought the DW felt as smooth in double action. The spring ramps up a lot quicker due to the short travel so the Dan Wesson just does not have that slow, progressive rise in trigger pressure. Not really so much that one is that much better, more that they are just different.
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Old April 16, 2015, 07:30 PM   #22
mikemyers
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AFAIK, the one part that's well-nigh impossible to replace is a square butt strain screw, so don't lose it and definitely don't trim it down, or let anyone else do so......

........."or let anyone else do so". Maybe an alternative is for me to buy some extra parts for my gun, and learn how to polish them properly. Purchase the lube, and the stones, and have at it. I've already got the blue marking fluid, and an extra "cylinder lock" which is the part I suspect the most, as the little work I did on it way back when made the gun so much better. I don't want to start practicing with the actual parts in the gun, but if 'Old Fuff' approves of what I do, maybe I can try out the new parts in my gun? This is months away. As soon as I get back, I'll be ordering the Gunsmithing book I started to read last week (The Gun Digest Book of Pistol Smithing by Jack Mitchell). Lots of good info.


Strain screw.... I will treat mine like 'gold'. :-)

Is this the part, and might it be "coming soon"?
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/179...tt-matte-black

I found a thread all about this, with some ideas people had for substitutes, but this is from long ago....
http://thefiringline.com/forums/arch...?t-431743.html


By the way, the more I read, the more I start to think the Model 28 is pretty much indestructible as long as people don't do stupid stuff to it. There was even a rumor that it was made for police use, the smiths at S&W spent extra attention on them, making them perfect.
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Old April 17, 2015, 03:10 PM   #23
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^more like they developed a cheaper Model 27 for police use.

There simply is no such thing as a Smith and Wesson with more attention paid to manufacture than a Registered Magnum/Pre-27/ or vintage Model 27. They are (IMHO) the true "Cadillacs" of U.S. .357 mag., Python notwithstanding.
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Old April 18, 2015, 12:42 AM   #24
reddog81
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Hmmm. The gun store wants you to buy a new gun rather than just keep your M28. That's surprising...

I haven't had to buy any parts for my M28 but I'd guess they are just as easy to find as parts for a 686.
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Old April 18, 2015, 04:42 AM   #25
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Yeah, me thinks they want your M28. I had one in the '70's. First handgun I bought day after I turned 21 in 1977. Traded it for a M19 when I went to work for PD in '79 as they were the "approved" firearm.
I too am fond of the M686. Prefer it over the M27,28 square butt as it has K-frame size grip frame.
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