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686 SSR First Impressions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by def4pos8, Jun 22, 2008.

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  1. def4pos8

    def4pos8 Member

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    Having put off purchase of an L-frame for twenty-five years, I decided that the SSR version might be tolerable. The first revolver I ever fired was a Model 15. A few K-frames and various N-frame pieces covered my needs. I thought of L-frames as the option for those who couldn't quite nail down their wish list and settled for a compromise.

    I was pleasantly surprised.

    The L-frame, especially the SSR, does fill a valid gap in the product line. Here are the most interesting things I noticed after the initial range session:

    -- it shoots well; excellent accuracy with each of the four loads used.

    -- the extra mass, compared to a Model 66, sits just forward of the grip. This helps with felt recoil while maintaining good ability to place the sights on target quickly.

    -- perceived recoil is less than a Model 66. It digested warmer loads with less bother than my ported 66.

    -- traditionalists will love the forged hammer and trigger and just have to ignore the lock.

    -- "out of the box" trigger feel is very good; far better than the average new Smith. The "bossed" main spring, similar to a Wolff, likely has something to do with it. ALL NEW SMITHS SHOULD HAVE TRIGGER FEEL THIS GOOD!

    -- excellent hammer spur shape; rounded off enough for snag-free draw while retaining sufficient surface area for trouble-free cocking.

    -- trigger overtravel stop is nice touch. Some human actually spent time filing it to proper length.

    -- the barrel shape is, uh, different but I think the engineers won that argument and it works, likely with less bother than barrel/shroud combinations.

    -- the muzzle crown is NOT what I'd describe as a "target" crown. Rather, it is a "protected" crown. Nothing wrong with that! It's a good idea on a duty gun.

    -- the grip is the best factory, laminated grip I've fondled. Smith did well in providing a cheap, durable, one-size-fits-all grip that feels this good. I like wood and will replace this grip with one that fits my hand a bit better. Most folks will be amazed at the original.

    -- interchangeable front sights are a good feature. I have several, including a tritium dot, on order.


    My Model 66 will continue to be my primary duty sidearm because of the weight (I walk three to five miles per shift.) and its broken-in action is so stupendously smooth. If I decide that I need additional power while retaining good front sight control, the 686SSR can slip effortlessly into my holster.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  2. 461

    461 Member

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    Thanks for the write up. I'm pretty interested in the SSR and like to see what others are thinking about it.
     
  3. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    The new Smith & Wesson model 686 SSR design is far too radical look'in
    for me; as I prefer the traditional looking revolvers~! :eek: ;)
     
  4. ClemY

    ClemY Member

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    I have the set: 627PC, 686SSR and 60 Pro. I like the look and feel of them.

    The 627 came with a terrific trigger. The 686 trigger wasn't that great, but has smoothed up greatly with a little work. The 60 also has a good trigger. All are very accurate. I also really appreciate the removable sight blades on the 627 and 686.
     
  5. def4pos8

    def4pos8 Member

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    Y'all are welcome!

    Sad, but true: at my age a new revolver is better than the ol' lady!

    Ala Dan: I agree that the barrel, uh, contours are "abby-normal" but they bring to mind Corollary #7639 of Murphy's Law: "If it looks stupid but it works, it ain't stupid!"

    Without a doubt, the cutting tools of the CNC 'bots drive the shape but it provides the desired rigidity with minimal weight -- keeping the easy swing/point characteristics of an old "pencil" barrel. On the down side, minimal/strange area at the muzzle precludes a traditional, "eleven-degree", target crown. --but it works! I may have the thing ported at some point but it doesn't "scream" for porting like a K-frame.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I kinda like the look myself. :p

    I drooled over one in .38 Super, but let it alone.
     
  7. jfh

    jfh Member

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    I'll vote with Ala Dan. Walkalong must be morphing into a new fart.

    Jim H.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Gosh, I sure hope not. :D
     
  9. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Sounds good; thanks for the write-up. I *really* want an L-frame in .45 colt, 4.5" bbl. I'll say please..??? If Taurus can put a 5-shot .44 maggie into the Tracker frame, why not an L frame in .45 colt?
     
  10. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    The L-frame's front frame thickness is tested with the .44 Special family 296, 396, & 696. They have a power/life limiting forcing cone already. Enlarge the bore another .022+", and it'll be nearly non-existent. It made me sad when I mic-ed my 696 years back, but it answers the question.

    I like the 627 Pro - same bucks as the 686SSR. Besides, my pusher 'ordered' a 686 SSR for me a year ago last March/April, when I learned of it. When it finally arrived, he put it in the case at a price. I happened to see it - grab it - and started writing a check for it. The owner ripped his tag off - and raised his price $80. I balked - I am an old customer - he was steadfast - me too - I left - didn't return for months. The one he had was blessed with a nasty trigger - sour grapes. I eventually went back - and bought two S&Ws in two plus weeks - but it was a long time. That 627 Pro I bought was a deal - great trigger, spring loaded front sight, eased charge holes, and moonclip ready. The same price as the 686 SSR. I love the 627 - of course, I've had an 01-02 era JM PC627 V-Comp for years - fantastic revolver - my best trigger. Sadly, at 5" plus the Comp of blank, it feels 'bigger' - also, it has a dovetailed front sight even S&W's PC shop doesn't have other choices for (I like the HiViz searchlights!). My two 627s are below:

    [​IMG]

    The Pro now has the square conversion Ahrends that the JM 627 sports. The JM finally has another set of proper Jerry Miculek grips on it!

    I still look at the forlorn 686SSR in the pusher's case - surely it's another one by now...

    Stainz
     
  11. MyMonkey

    MyMonkey Member

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    Nice review. Just picked up a 686SSR myself. Action was smooth as buttah. Had to try it. :)
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Welcome to THR.

    Now all we need is a pic and a range report. :)
     
  13. MyMonkey

    MyMonkey Member

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    Will do. Might be a bit though. :)
     
  14. L-Frame

    L-Frame Member

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    I've shot revolvers almost exclusively for many years now. I love the older smiths. But...... I must admit that I really like the new pro series guns. I think they look very cool.

    It really ticks me off that S&W, over the last few years, has made guns I have longed for, but now when they finally get around to producing them they have the lock. I was lusting over the thought of a L-Frame 7 shot model 66/65 copy forever. Then, post lock, the 620/619 was born. Damn.

    Anyway, I own a 627 Pro and really like it. Perfect house gun. 8 shots, revolver reliability, and night sights (aftermarket). The SSR and 60 Pro are equally cool looking.
     
  15. MyMonkey

    MyMonkey Member

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    Agreed about the lock. I looked for a 66 pre lock and found one just could not get there in time. Local sale. Found a 581 as well from the late 80's. Nice shape but was blued.

    Wanted a little shine on this one. :)
     
  16. krs

    krs Member

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    Nice looking, I think. I do know that the black versions are catching my eye.....Are the shroud and barrel separate parts, like a two piece barrel, or do they machine them with that elaborate crown because it's the big bucks?
     
  17. Johnboy53

    Johnboy53 Member

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    I like the looks of all three and when I get back to work I will get all three. The 627, 686, and 60 are hot looking. Nothing shoots like a Smith.
     
  18. MyMonkey

    MyMonkey Member

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    I think it is a two piece barrel. (Looks like it is to me) Allegedly the barrel is designed to be more accurate. Not sure how that's possible but I hear great things about the accuracy of this model.
     
  19. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    I like it, but I'm not giving up my dash one. Good write up.
     
  20. nosoup4u

    nosoup4u Member

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    Moon Clips

    I have come across a few threads regarding moon clips. Does the 686SSR or the Pro Series 627 use moon clips? I have contacted S&W and they stated that only PC guns have moon clips. Please advise!
     
  21. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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  22. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The guns are GREAT!

    I have a 686, first generation. Six-inch barrel and a stamped side plate. NEVER fired. Best trigger pull of any gun I've ever shot. Also have a 629 (stamped plate, counterbored chambers, pinned barrel), also never fired. Outstanding trigger pulls on that one, too.

    Don't think I'll ever fire either. If I wanted to shoot a .44 mag, I have an outstanding Astra stainless .44 mag (also counterbored/pinned). Pachmayr grips, too. Can't believe that these guns didn't eat into S&W's market. Had one years ago that I shot and it shot every bit as good as my Smith 29.

    If I had it to do over again, would have gotten a 4-inch 686. The extra weight on the barrel is just too much for quick line up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Although I like the new designs, they just don't have the "class"
    of the older designs. Probably just showing my age....



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Astra (above) and the S&W 629.
     
  23. Wolfy

    Wolfy Member

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    def4pos8 Great review I also have the 686SSR and not a negative thing to say. I loved it so much I bought a 60 Pro and a 1911 9MM Pro. The 1911 is the BEST gun I have ever owned. The 627 Pro is on my short list as well.
     
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