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S&W 686 4 in. Barrel Stopping Power

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jake Benson, Aug 28, 2011.

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  1. Jake Benson

    Jake Benson Member

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    Just purchased a S&W 686. Should be here in about two days. I got the 4 in. barrel because it just felt better in my hand and I also liked the looks better than the 6 in. That was the advice of most people in this forum.

    I have read many threads saying that .357 rounds from a small barrel gun, such as the S&W 649 which I also happen to own, are not that much more effective than .38's because of the short barrel. But what about the larger 686 with 4 in barrel? Basically, what I am asking is will I get my money's worth in a self defense situation using my 686 loaded with .357 ammo over .38's? I realize greater recoil, and all that, I just need to know that the .357 round is going to have superior stopping power over any .38 round.

    My thinking is that surely there must be because an awful lot people buy them and they were carried by law enforcement for years.
     
  2. nebraska_farmer

    nebraska_farmer Member

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    It will have plenty of stopping power, just make sure you shoot what you're aiming at.
     
  3. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    Jake,
    YES, the .357 has "more" stopping power than the .38 Spl., just as it was intended to do. Without a chrono, you won't be able to tell the difference, in the 4" VS the 6" models, they'll take care of anything you can hit with them{ within reason}. Be safe and enjoy!
     
  4. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    Those that say a 357 out of a short barrel is no more powerful than a 38 dont know what they are talking about. A 357 is much more powerful than a 38 no matter what platform its delivered. Ballistics by the inch is usually mentioned, not their own data or chrony experience.
     
  5. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Member

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    The considerable track record of the best "street" .357 loads was racked up largely out of 4" tubes. IMHO, you can stick just about any reputable defensive JHP from any major maker in a 4" 686, and blithely move on to more pressing issues around self defense than ammo and platform concerns; that's the least of the problems once one is thusly equipped.
     
  6. splithoof

    splithoof Member

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    Nebraska farmer said it best.
    After that, practice, practice, practice.
     
  7. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    The 6" full lugged barrel is too front heavy for my taste. You made the right choice.
     
  8. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Anybody who ever took a round of .38 or .357 between the shirt pockets was completely out of the fight after one shot.

    That is all.

    Brakes have "stopping power."
    Projectiles achieve effect on animate objects by making holes in organs.

    I once achieved a one-shot stop on a mugger by ramming the muzzle of a Model 10 into his nostril. You want to talk about stopping power. He did a complete back flip, and landed head-first in the bushes. And I never even pulled the trigger. There's your stopping power.
     
  9. Jake Benson

    Jake Benson Member

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    Thanks for the input. Appreciate it.
     
  10. 357Shooter

    357Shooter Member

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    Jake,
    I just returned from shooting my Model 60, 2.125" (649 w/Hammer) and my 686+ 3" (which I love). Shot about 300 rounds, light, medium and near full house loads. Trust me, when you get the 686, you will not look back. A friend was shooting 38's in a 642, same 3/8 metal 8" targets, I can promise if you could get him to tell you, there is a HUGE difference. Sleep well on your purchase, you will love the gun.
     
  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Most of the printed ballistics you see published are from longer test barrels. When shooting from shorter barreled revolvers you will get a lot less velocity than what you see in print. A 4" 357 mag has proven it is more than capable however. I wouldn't care to go any shorter than 4".

    Get down to the 2-2.5" barrels and you really are not any better than 9mm +P. I can get 1200 fps with my 9mm pistols with 124 gr bullets. My 4" 357 is only slightly more than 1300 fps with 125 gr bullets. The printed ballistics say it should be 1500 fps, but that is from a 8" test barrel with no cylinder gap.

    There is some truth to what you have read, but for your uses 4" is just fine. If I were using a 357 to hunt with where I really needed every fps I could get I'd want more barrel.
     
  12. jimniowa

    jimniowa Member

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    686

    My wife completed her CCW test on site, she used a 686 4" and was the only wheel gun shooter. She had no malfunctions as a opposed to many auto shooters. I had loaded 148 HWC with 2.6 of bullseye, she shot 100 rds all on the paper at ave 15 yds. While I don't consider it a carry gun for her it is one great gun.
    Jim
     
  13. 357Shooter

    357Shooter Member

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    How does a 9mm+P enter into a question about 38's and 357? Just asking ... cause there are also a whole bunch of other calibers to confuse him.
     
  14. pendennis

    pendennis Member

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    If you compare reloading tables, you'll find that the four inch barrel will lose about 100-200fps, compared to a six inch barrel. No one can really tell the difference in that velocity difference.

    The .357 magnum is a real stopper, and when loaded for correctly, is perfect for self defense, and for hunting, if that's your intention.

    The real edge of your 686 over J frame, is that the L frame will feel much better when you touch off the round. I realize that S&W redesigned the J frame accept the .357 magnum, but it's still much too small.
     
  15. Jake Benson

    Jake Benson Member

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    Once again, thanks for the input. You guys have greatly encouraged me. On some of these forums, these guys start quoting theoretical stats that may be true in a perfect world, etc. but I can sense at times they are just quoting what they have seen or read somewhere. All I was wanting was to be assured that I made the right purchase and having the .357 was not a mistake. From what you guys have written, it appears I made the right purchase. Thanks especially Scott.


    I am not wanting to play Dirty Harry or anything, I am almost 60 years old and way past that. But this world is a much more dangerous place than it was when I was young. That world is gone. I feel its time to be armed for the purpose of self defense, and I wanted to know that the .357 is going to have superior stopping power over lesser ammo. I realize being accurate and placing the shots where they need to go is of utmost importance. That said, I just wanted the most effective round possible.

    Thanks again. You guys have been a bigger help than on some of these other forums where people just wanted to lecture.
     
  16. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Here are the chrono numbers of the same load shot out of the same make of gun in 4" and 6". That extra two inches made little difference. I wish I had chrono pics from a 2" gun to post up...A .357 round out of a snub is superior to a .38...Sure, it's got extra muzzle blast and sound, but it also has extra performance.

    [​IMG]

    And yes, for you eagle eyes, there is a flyer under the trigger on the 6" gun...LOL.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  17. sig228

    sig228 Member

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    One of the best revolvers ever made

    I will say this again: in my opinion, the 4" 686 is one of the best all purpose revolvers ever made. You will never have a concern about having enough firepower. Ditch the grips though. Get some like these from Ahrends:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    All else being equal, a .357 will be more powerful than a .38. However when fired from a short barrel, the difference is often offset by the accompanying recoil and muzzle blast. By that I mean that as the barrel get shorter, recoil and blast increase. Many people feel that the shootablity is compromised to the point that any benefit in power is not worth the increased difficulty in shooting. Therefore the recommendation for .38s out of a shorter barrel.

    I do feel this way. I personally do not bother shooting .357s if the barrel is shorter than 3". By the time it gets to 4", the benefits of the .357 outwieght the downside by a good margin, IMHO.
     
  19. MR.G

    MR.G Member

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    I have owned and shot a lot of revolvers and the S&W 686 with a 4" barrel is my favorite. Shoot both 38 special and .357 magnum from it and I don't think you will have any doubt about which one would be more effective. A .357 revolver would be my first choice against a single attacker.
     
  20. Tony_the_tiger

    Tony_the_tiger Member

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  21. Jake Benson

    Jake Benson Member

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    Sig228,

    Those grips look very sharp. I love that wood grain color. But wouldn't the rubber grips absorb recoil better than the wood? If all things are equal, I would much rather have the grips you have posted.
     
  22. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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  23. 357Shooter

    357Shooter Member

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    Sorry, but this is ridiculous, Have you read the guy's question????
    Jake Benson
    Member

    Jake Benson
    Member


    Join Date: August 19, 2011
    Posts: 17
    Sig228,

    Those grips look very sharp. I love that wood grain color. But wouldn't the rubber grips absorb recoil better than the wood? If all things are equal, I would much rather have the grips you have posted.

    Today, 10:13 PM #22
    ColtPythonElite
    Member


    Join Date: January 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,747
    Quality, beautiful grips here:

    http://www.badgercustomgrips.com/smi...stol_grips.php



    Join Date: August 19, 2011
    Posts: 17
    S&W 686 4 in. Barrel Stopping Power
    Just purchased a S&W 686. Should be here in about two days. I got the 4 in. barrel because it just felt better in my hand and I also liked the looks better than the 6 in. That was the advice of most people in this forum.

    I have read many threads saying that .357 rounds from a small barrel gun, such as the S&W 649 which I also happen to own, are not that much more effective than .38's because of the short barrel. But what about the larger 686 with 4 in barrel? Basically, what I am asking is will I get my money's worth in a self defense situation using my 686 loaded with .357 ammo over .38's? I realize greater recoil, and all that, I just need to know that the .357 round is going to have superior stopping power over any .38 round.

    My thinking is that surely there must be because an awful lot people buy them and they were carried by law enforcement for years.

    I'll sign off tonight, it is not about what You like in grips, sorry but...rude
     
  24. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    Here you go. You could get 1600fps with a 4"bbl, and they disclose which real life gun was used.

    DoubleTap.

    I'm partial to their 158gr load at 1400fps from a 4" tube.
     
  25. Smokey in PHX

    Smokey in PHX Member

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    Like everyone has stated it is hard to beat the 4" 686. You made a good purchase.
     
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