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S & W 686 Recall

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Russ, Feb 9, 2004.

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  1. Russ

    Russ Member

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    I read the recent post regarding firearm recalls and warnings. My S&W 686. which I bought in 1986 was apparently recalled in 1989 due to cylinder binding if one shot .357 loads through them often. I never knew about this recall and have never had a problem. I haven't shot the gun too much, maybe 2000 rounds total in the 18 years I have had it. 99.999% .357 loads with very few .38 specials.

    Question is, what is cylinder binding (I can guess) and is it a big enough problem to send it back to S&W for work?
     
  2. shooter.45

    shooter.45 Member

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    I just bought a 686 that was mftg. in 1983 and Called smith and they told me it was light primer strikes and or misfires. I have shot it with no problems. So they told me just to shoot away and if ever a prob to send it back but will probably not have any problems.. :D
     
  3. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Nah, it just means some of them were made with the cylinder to frame tolerance too tight, so that the cylinder was too close to the front of the frame and stuck after being fired a few times due to grime. If it doesn't stick on yours, you have nothing to worry about! :)
     
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    The M marking recall of the 586, 581, 686 and the 681 was that the cylinder would bind due to soft primer material, the primer would flow into the firing pin hole on firing and cause the gun to lock up. S&W replaced the firing pin, AKA the Hammer nose, and the firing pin bushing in the frame.
    The problem really was due to the primers in some ammo and the Ammo Manufacturers have changed their primers so using modern ammo you should have no problems.

    If you have a tight cylinder at the front it has nothing to do with the recall but needs to be looked at either by S&W or a competent Gunsmith.


    Here is the recall notice:
    From here
    http://www.firearmsid.com/Recalls/F...1-1, 586-1, 681-1, 686-1 & 686CS-1, REVOLVERS


    SMITH & WESSON
    MODEL 581, 586, 681, 686, or 581-1,
    586-1, 681-1, 686-1 & 686CS-1, REVOLVERS

    RECALL: Reports have been received from the field where the combination of a SMITH & WESSON L-FRAME 357 MAGNUM REVOLVER and some .357 Magnum ammunition has resulted in unacceptable cylinder binding. L-frame revolvers bearing model numbers:

    581, 586, 681, 686, or 581-1, 586-1,
    681-1, 686-1, 686CS-1

    Cylinder binding can cause a failure to fire. Mishandling a revolver while freeing the cylinder can result in accidental discharge.

    Cylinder binding can result from a number of causes, including characteristics of an individual revolver or the use of ammunition, which does not conform to industry pressure specifications or is particularly fast burning. Recent developments in ammunition manufacture emphasize the production of .357 Magnum ammunition with increased velocity and greater primer sensitivity.

    Although there have been very few reported incidents of cylinder binding, in view of our concern for our customer's safety and the reliability of Smith & Wesson products in all circumstances, we issue the following warning:

    In a situation where a failure to fire can be critical - such as law enforcement or personal protection - do not use .357 Magnum ammunition with an L-frame revolver bearing model numbers 581, 586, 681, 686 or 581-1, 586-1, 681-1, 686-1, 686CS-1 without an "M" over the model number until you have had the revolver modified.

    Those who need to use their L-frame revolver under these conditions prior to modification can safely fire .38 Special caliber ammunition.

    Smith & Wesson has developed a modification to improve existing L-frame revolvers. This improvement enables them to fire all .357 Magnum ammunition, without cylinder binding. Shipments of L-frame revolvers from our factory after August 21, 1987 already include this improvement.

    You can check if your revolver includes this improvement by looking at the left side of the frame when the cylinder is fully open. If your revolver has been stamped either with a "2" or higher number after the basic three-digit model number or with an "M" above the model number, your revolver includes this improvement and does not need modification. If your revolver bears the model number 581, 586, 681, 686, or 581-1, 586-1, 681-1, 686-1, 686CS-1 without an "M" over the model number, it does not include this improvement and your should have your revolver modified.

    Smith & Wesson will modify your L-frame revolver free of charge to eliminate the possibility of cylinder binding with .357 Magnum ammunition. Law enforcement agencies wishing to arrange for modification of L-frame revolvers should call 800-458-8469 between 9 A.M. and 6 P.M. Eastern time (MA residents call 413-734-8244). Other users should send their revolvers to a Smith & Wesson Warranty Service Center, specifying "L-frame improvement program" and enclosing their name and return address.

    One of the modifications to improve the L-frame revolver is the installation of a new hammer nose. This obsoletes all old L-frame hammer noses (part numbers 4702 and 7513) and all old L-frame hammer assemblies (part numbers 3366, 3378, 3380, 3382, 3391, 4722, 4723, 4726 and 4728) in field parts inventories. Superseded parts should never be fitted into a modified revolver as this may result in malfunction. It is essential for safety that you return these obsolete L-frame hammer noses and obsolete L-frame hammer assemblies for a free exchange to:

    Smith & Wesson
    Service Department
    2100 Roosevelt Avenue
    Springfield, MA 01101

    Do not return L-frame hammer-nose bushings from your spare parts inventory inasmuch as they are useable in J, N and K-frame revolvers, which are not included in this Product Warning.

    We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Smith & Wesson's first concern is the safety of its products and the protection of its customers.
     
  5. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    I stand well corrected. :D
     
  6. Russ

    Russ Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have had zero problems with mine. I really like it and I didn't relish having to send it back to S&W for something that hasn't or likely never will affect me. I appreciate the comments and the reassurance. I don't have the M marking, I checked. I guess I don't have to worry now anyway.
     
  7. guy sajer

    guy sajer Member

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    Your choice Russ , however S&W will pay the shipping . You really have nothing to loose . We have sent back atleast 100 of them for recall . Just sent one 2 weeks ago . They turned it around in 1 week and paid shipping both ways . That's customer service !

    I have seen this malfunction happen once . The firing pin was stuck forward into the primer . The spring tension wasn't enough to force the hammer back into position . Had to use a leather mallet to free it up .
     
  8. Kestrel

    Kestrel Member

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    So, if you have a 686-2 or higher, it doesn't need to be sent in?

    Steve
     
  9. Josey

    Josey member

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    S&W isn't telling the WHOLE story. The facts are that some LEOs were killed or severely wounded when their duty weapons failed. A group of survivors sued S&W and therefore the recall. These were early 80s manufacture and S&W had a real QC problem then. I would return it to S&W to be safe. One officer fired his 686 and it locked up after one round. One dead LEO. S&W had to be forced to make the corrections and issue a recall.
     
  10. guy sajer

    guy sajer Member

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    Can you direct us to the documentation of the WHOLE story ?
     
  11. Russ

    Russ Member

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    Thanks Guy.

    I would rather be safe than sorry. If S&W will correct the problem, pay shipping and turn in around that fast, I really don't have anything to lose. As far as shipping goes, do I need to have an FFL ship it? When I lived in the PRK it seemed to me you did. Now that I'm in KY, maybe the rules are more relaxed.

    Russ
     
  12. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Give S&W a call 1 800 331 0852 and tell them what you have and they will send you a Fedex label and you ship it direct and they will ship it direct to you.
     
  13. jar

    jar Member

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    It's a simple change and involves the no dash and dash one models. Why take a risk if it's not needed.
     
  14. mity2

    mity2 Member

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    Sorry for digging up the old thread.

    I've recently came in to position of early 686 (serial# AFP25xx), and while it shot .38special beautifuly, it locked up after shooting 3rds of Remington UMC .357magnum 125gr JHP.

    Hammar would not pull back, cylinder would not release, trigger won't move.
    after wiggling it, banging it on wooden table, as suddenly as it happened, it worked again - for about 4rds, which at that point, only to lock up again.

    I gave up shooting .357mag, and just shot .38special - which worked fine, and it shot increadibly accurate might I add.

    Is this the basic symptom of this perticuler recall?
    And if so, is S&W still honoring the recall which was issued in ....1987?
     
  15. Jon Coppenbarger

    Jon Coppenbarger Member

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    I sent a 686 back to them about 2 years ago and it was no cost to me to and from and was back to me in about 2 weeks for that problem.
     
  16. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    mity2--
    While I am not an expert, it sounds as if your problem might be something else.

    It is likely that after shooting 38s, a ring of carbon and powder builds up in the cylinders, and the longer .357 cartridges have a hard time seating fully. If the cartridge fails to seat fully, it will drag against the breech, and may cause the cylinder to lock up. A thorough cleaning of all chambers should fix this.
     
  17. guy sajer

    guy sajer Member

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    See my post #7 above .

    The malfuntion mity2 describes is exactly the reason they were recalled . The hammer nose (firing pin) is too long and can stick into the primer when firing magnum loads . With the hammer stuck forward , the cylinder will not rotate .

    S&W continues to handle the recall at no charge . We sent another back last month . 2-3 week turnaround . No good reason I can think of not to send it in .
     
  18. 357_mag_mama

    357_mag_mama Member

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    686 Recall

    By accident yesterday, I found this site and was interested because I have a 1983 mod 686 4" and noticed that it had no "m" above the SN. I just called Smith & Wesson and they told me my gun hadn't been modified by S&W, yet, but that since I was shooting it with no problems, they didn't want to modify it. They told me if it ever jams with 357mag rounds, then give them a call and they'll fix it! So much for the recall. :confused:
     
  19. pmbiker

    pmbiker Member

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    If you press the issue with S&W customer service, they will do the work and cover shipping both ways.
     
  20. 357_mag_mama

    357_mag_mama Member

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    686 recall

    I just went to Smith & Wesson's site and sent them an email about the recall on my 686 and how customer service told me they didn't want to deal with it, until my gun screwed up and THEN they would deal with it. I quoted from their recall notice and asked them if they were going to modify my gun for me now or WAIT until I was hurt, maimed or dead before they dealt with the problem? I am waiting for a reply, I'll post their answer.:cuss:
     
  21. pmbiker

    pmbiker Member

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    If they continue to balk at the idea of doing the modification, send me an email or PM through this site. I'll fix 'ya right up.
     
  22. 357_mag_mama

    357_mag_mama Member

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    686 recall

    Thanks! I'd appreciate that. I haven't heard back from them yet.
     
  23. texas bulldog

    texas bulldog Member

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    i have so far not sent in my 586 no-dash. haven't had a misfire, and the cylinder hasn't bound up. i may send it in one day, but only so that they can tighten up the cylinder gap at the same time. in other words, if i otherwise wear out the gun, i'l let them fix the recall at the same time that they do other work. for now, it's fine.
     
  24. Oro

    Oro Member

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    1) Before opening long-dead threads, it's generally better to just start a new one.

    2)
    The gun can't blow up or harm you. The recall covered several thousands of guns to find a very small percentage of affected guns. If the gun has operated this long and not malfunctioned, it is not affected. Their response is sound.

    I have not had any of my "no dashes" modified as they don't need it and clearly weren't affected. I think if you realize what this recall was about you'll not worry so much about it. Did you read through this whole thread you re-opened?
     
  25. 357_mag_mama

    357_mag_mama Member

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    Gee whiz Oro, nice to meet you, too! This old gal didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. I'm new to this site and didn't know about the proper thread "etiquette". :scrutiny:
     
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