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S&W 686 Barrel Change

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Southern But Mobile, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. Southern But Mobile

    Southern But Mobile Member

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    I have an old 686 - purchased in 1984 - with 4in barrel. The front sight on early 686's was a machined part of the barrel rib and cannot be changed. I am considering replacing the barrel with a 2.5in so I can use XS Express sights and would like the gun to be more carry friendly.

    My question is will the 2.5in turn the gun into a flamethrower with typical defensive 357 ammo?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yep, you could say that.

    rc
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Sure, the front sight on the 4" can be changed. A swipe with a milling machine will delete the old sight and adjust the height of the ramp. Another will produce a cross dovetail for installation of a Novak size XS sight.

    The 686 is a big gun at any barrel length, I don't think substituting a 2.5" barrel will make it a whole lot more "carry friendly."
     
  4. Japle

    Japle Member

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    Guns that size with short barrels tend to be “top heavy” in the holster. They don’t ride as well as the 4” would.

    Even a 4” can be pretty impressive with the right load.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Southern But Mobile

    Southern But Mobile Member

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    Points well taken. I've never fired this gun in low light. The photo shows it may be a lot more of a flamethrower right now than I realize.

    I really hadn't considered milling a groove to accept a dovetailed sight. I guess it would be possible to mix the rear XS notch with a dovetailed front dot and get the height right.

    Any suggestions on a machinist who's experienced with that?
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    If you go below 3 1/2 inches you may have a problem with the extractor rod and underlug. :uhoh:
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  8. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    I have a 4" 586. Didn't like the front sight. A gunsmith milled it off and cut a dovetail as described above. He then installed a good quality fiber-optic sight. Worked out very well.

    I don't see the point of a 686 snubby. Even with a short barrel, the gun will be big and heavy. If it's a snubby you need, then get a J-frame Smith, an SP101 or a LCR.
     
  9. lobo9er

    lobo9er Member

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    I like rc's find looks like more of an upgrade
     
  10. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    If you have an older 4-inch 686, my own view is that it would be a tragic mistake to mess with it. I sold mine and have always regretted it. The 4-inch barrel is ideal to my way of thinking, and if you want a smaller .357, find a mint Ruger Speed-6 with a 2.5 or 3-inch barrel. Or get an SP-101.


    [​IMG]

    This 3-inch Ruger Speed-Six is an astounding gun.


    [​IMG]

    This 2.75-inch Security-Six has adjustable sights.


    [​IMG]

    The 2.25-inch SP-101 is a very discreet handgun.
     
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