S&W 686 trigger/hammer issue?

Centella

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Joined
Jan 21, 2023
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101
Hi there friends. I've owned my 686 for about a couple of years and I love this gun. However there is one issue I noticed after about the first 300 rounds. In single action, after cocking the hammer all the way back, sometimes the mechanism will freeze in place there. It feels like the action is "stuck" in this position and the only way to release it is to squeeze the trigger with extra pressure/force. When in double action, this will sometimes happen when the hammer is about to get all the way back. In general, I experience this issue maybe about once every 60 rounds or so. I've tried replicating this issue when dry-firing (both with snap caps and without), but it never happens in that situation. If it will happen, it's only after firing a number of live rounds. I also own a Ruger GP-100 and I've never experienced that issue with that one.

Has anyone else here experienced the same problem? I'm about to send the gun to S&W, and the only reason I haven't is because I don't wanna be without it for a couple of months. I take this gun to the range every other week or so, and the issue is not getting worse, it's just what it is.

Let me know your advice, thanks!
 
I'd check first for excessive carbon buildup on the cylinder face causing rubbing on the barrel extension. This will usually manifest itself as a problem when the gun gets hot. Look for gunk and grit under the ejector star as well.
Likewise, but unlikely in a low mileage 686, if the B/C gap is too tight due to excessive endshake/thrust, the two may rub when hot.

Also, if you fire a lot of .38s through it, a carbon ring may develop in the charge holes, preventing Magnum cases from seating fully. They will then rub/bind against the blast shield when the cylinder tries them carry up into battery. Once again, this may be more apparent when hot.

If you are using reloaded, stretched, out-of-round, or bulged cases this may happen too.
 
Send it in to S&W. If it is new, don't assume it is good to go. The D/A sear on mine was not correct. After 2 trips back to the mothership, it is perfect.

Do not assume the problems you tell the person on the phone or email will get to the tech. Put a piece of paper in the case with the description of the problem. The first trip mine made, they went off of a 2 word description of the problem that the CS rep wrote down. So the real problem didn't get fixed. The next time, the CS rep said always put as specific description of the problem as possible in the box. It came back golden. I had it for 4 years before it ran right. My Taurus 66 kept me occupied in the meantime.
 
Don't send it in right off. This would be like taking a vehicle that isn't performing right in for warranty work before determining that the air filter isn't clogged.
If you're not comfortable removing the side plate and having a look inside try this:
Take the grips off and hose the insides liberally with brake cleaner or carb and choke cleaner; cycling the action occasionally.
Spray the excess out with compressed air.
Oil liberally with the oil of your choice (NOT WD40), cycle the action several times, and blow the excess out with compressed air.
If that doesn't resolve the issue then send it in or take it to someone who is familiar with the innards of a revolver.
 
I've had several 686s come across my bench in the last year. The actions have been uniformly crappy with lots of tool marks and frequent metal shavings and polishing compound left in the guns.
I seems that S&W has decided that it's cheaper to skip the quality control step and just deal with repairing guns sent in for warranty work.
One 617 I got was running 20-80% misfires depending on the ammo. The factory fixed it and the list of repairs and parts replacement was incredible.
Send it back and let them figure out what's wrong. It's not your responsibility to fix their gun.
When I ran QC for a big medical equipment company, my policy was, "Nothing goes out the door that isn't perfect".
That was for medical equipment where lives were at stake, but lives might depend on having a properly functioning gun, too.
 
I've had several 686s come across my bench in the last year. The actions have been uniformly crappy with lots of tool marks and frequent metal shavings and polishing compound left in the guns.
Curious as to whether those 686s were new production guns with MIM hammers, triggers. Where were
the ''lots of'' tool marks. Polishing compound, never seen that before.
 
Curious as to whether those 686s were new production guns with MIM hammers, triggers. Where were
the ''lots of'' tool marks. Polishing compound, never seen that before.
On one hand, any revolver I bought new (or even used) got a deep internal cleaning before shooting. IME, there’s a surprising amount of (likely abrasive) stuff inside the gun when it leaves the factory.

On the other hand, a Bud asked me to do an action job on his minty all-forged no-dash 686, and when I got in there, it looked like the parts were made and assembled by drunk monkeys.
 
UncleEd: The guns were all new. I'm assuming the stuff was polishing compound. It was black gooey stuff - don't know what else it could be.
 
Revolvers need virtually no lubrication to work properly. A tiny bit
of Rem Oil occasionally is all that's needed. And what's nice
about Rem Oil is that it is so "watery" that a few drops into the
insides, without removing the side plate, gets the job done.

(Modern autos like the Glocks also require almost no lube.)
 
Years ago, I started using a synthetic oil called BiNak Pro in my S&W revolvers. It wasn't made for guns, but for brass instrument valves.
It's very light-weight and doesn't evaporate or break down. It's been in the 327 I use in competition for about 7 years and the gun still has an amazing DA action.
The only problem with it is, it doesn't play well with other lubes. The gun must be totally clean before you apply it. Mixing with any other oil produces a thick, sludgy mess.
I'm not recommending it, if only because getting every trace of old oil out of a revolver is a pain in the butt. To me it's worth it.
 
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