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The Better Gun: Colt Python or S&W 686?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Confederate, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    I know this is an issue that's been discussed many times, but trying to add a new dimension to it while avoiding points such as personal preferences, beauty, cost of manufacture, supply and demand, and concentrating only on quality, accuracy and durability.

    So which is it? The choices are simple. First, stainless steel or blued? Second, the Colt Python or the S&W 586/686? Three, 4-inch or 6-inch? Four, choice of grips? Wide latitude on this last point. Finally, if you choose the Colt, old model or new? Or if S&W, no-dash or latest release?

    Simply, of the above, which is the better, most accurate gun? The choice, a factory new gun which you can never sell or trade. And it will be the only .357 revolver you will ever own. No Rugers, Korths or any other gun. In fact, for the sake of argument, besides a .22LR pistol, it's the only revolver you will ever own for the rest of your sordid, insignificant little lives.

    I've read all I can about these revolvers. Both are accurate, well made, forged steel, beautiful, highly desirable .357s.

    The choice is yours. If you have any gunsmithing experience, which do you think is the better made?

    It's clear that S&W meant the 586/686 to be its iteration of the Colt Python. I'm just wondering if it succeeded.

    Colt-Python-002.png
    The fit and finish of the Colt Python is astounding.

    sW686-3.jpg
    The S&W 686 is beautiful, but imperfect in places. It's accuracy
    is legendary, though.




    ..
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
  2. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    You are going to get personal preferences here too.

    I like S&W revolvers so that would be my choice. Never cared for the Python personally.

    I like pre-lock and prefer stainless for hard working guns and blue in general.
     
    I6turbo and P5 Guy like this.
  3. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I guess I would need to shoot one of the new Pythons to compare it to my vintage 686, but I would choose the 686 over a vintage Python.

    That said, I still want a Python. :)
     
  4. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Yeah, I want a Python, too. Nothing wrong with that. But I wonder what drives the demand. I can understand people wanting a Python for its lustrous blue. I have a Browning Hi-Power with an amazing blue. It's so beautiful that I don't want to shoot it for fear of damaging it, but stainless steel Pythons are also in great demand, and that's a big question mark. If I were going to shell out a bundle for a Python, it would be a blued model, and some have purple-blue parts, which I personally find distracting as hell, but some people like them. Some of the first S&W 686s also have beautiful bluing jobs, and I have a S&W 36 that was made in 1968, and its got a superb blue.

    Browning-Hi-Power-001.jpg

    S-W-36.jpg

    So is it the vented rib on the Python that makes it so popular? If so, why didn't S&W put them in its 586/686s?

    I agree. The Python has an early 20th Century look around the cylinder that doesn't quite appeal to me. And as long as we're strolling down memory lane, I've always liked the counter-bored chambers and I'd pay the extra $$$ to get them. I'd also be willing to pay for the S&W logo to be stamped on the side plate. I don't care about the pinned barrel one way or the other, though.

    S&W_686_6in.jpg

    SW629_Emblem.jpg
    I've always loved the stamped side plates on S&Ws.

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
    EMC45 and THEWELSHM like this.
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Could have had a vintage Python any number of times (and owned several Troopers Mk.III and Mk.V), but when it came right down to it the S&W L frame was to me the perfect size and build quality in a .357 Magnum revolver. Is the new Python better than my older Model 686? Well that I can't answer because I don't have a new Python to compare it with but I'm here to tell you it would have to be something truly spectacular to make me choose it over my Model 686!
    7gdgU9i.jpg
     
  6. THEWELSHM

    THEWELSHM Member

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    I have the poor mans Python......

    thewelshm
     

    Attached Files:

  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Confederate

    Believe me it's not in the Python's ventilated rib. I don't even know if I would have considered the Model 686 as readily as I did if it had a ventilated rib on it (I actually think it looks much more substantial with the solid rib). There would have too much of a copy-cat look to it if it was ventilated. No, the Python owned that particular styling cue and anything else with it (even Colt's own Trooper Mk.V), appeared too much as a wannabe Python, trying to cash in on it's cachet.
     
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  8. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I much prefer Colt's other .357 Mag products to the Python. Ventilated ribs and underlugs just don't do it for me very much. I do own a nice 4" 581 "No Dash", but that is because I stumbled into an excellent deal at Cabela's, and not that I was seeking one out. After a bit of reflection, the underlug on a 4" isn't too obnoxious, especially on a gun with fixed sights, no red ramp, and no ventilated rib.
     
  9. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I would NOT trade my 686 no dash 4 incher for a vintage or new Python IF I had to keep it.
    If I could sell the Python after the trade and replace my 686 then maybe.;)
     
    P5 Guy likes this.
  10. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    In a new gun, I'll take the Python hands down. IMHO, the quality of the Colt is much higher than that of any modern S&W. In an older gun, I think the 586 gives you a lot more for your money and would easily choose it over the insane prices people are getting for older Pythons.
     
  11. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    Make mine a 686

    sxpoT1D.jpg

    for the price of a python. you could get a 686, tune it up smoother, and buy a GP100 for a beat around gun.


    7CyTZXl.jpg
     
    jag1954, gotboostvr, nick22 and 11 others like this.
  12. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I have owned both. The Python is gone. The 686 no dash (1984) remains. I would not buy either new today. Pre-1982 Smith & Wesson revolvers are my preference, but this 686 was inherited, so it stays.
     
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  13. UncleEd

    UncleEd Member

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    Since it'll be the only .357 I'll ever own, I'll take the
    Python in blue, 6-inch barrel with standard checkered
    stocks. It's a classic and its value seemingly will
    never go down.

    And since I hardly ever shoot a .357 round, I'll
    own lots of S&W .38s.

    Is that a "gotcha" answer? :evil:
     
  14. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Depends on what you want to do with it. The Pythons were considered a bit more accurate, the Smiths had better DA triggers.
     
  15. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I own vintage Pythons and both a vintage 686 and a new model. Theres no doubt the Pythons have better fit and finish. My 8 3/8" 686 is the most accurate revolver I own. In unmodified form, I believe the Pythons have better DA and SA triggers.
     
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  16. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to Shoot my 4" 686-4 and my buddy's new production 4.25" Python back to back. They both shoot extremely well and have great triggers, I honestly can't say that one is better or more accurate than the other. I like the Python a lot but it is just not worth 2-3 times the price of the 686 in my opinion. I'll agree with CraigC that the current Python is nicer and higher quality than the current 686. But I'd still probably gamble on a newer 686 as all the Pythons I'm seeing are at $1700-2000 vs ~$800 for a 686.


    Also...... I think Pythons are ugly... the lines just don't appeal to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
  17. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

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    I, too have had a Dan Wesson, accuracy is second to none. IMHO, if comparing Colt to
    S&W, I think a better comparison is the Python vs the Model 27. If you've never had the chance to shoot a 27, more's the pity. I believe it is at least the equal to the Python.
     
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  18. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    I'm not a s&w hater but I've had a terrible ride with their revolvers , scared me off of them probably forever.
     
  19. no.5enfield

    no.5enfield Member

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    If I could hand pick the gun, checking for QC slip ups, I'd take a modern 4" 5/686 over both a new amd vintage python. The money saved would buy me a first class action job, grips and a few other custom touches from a gunsmith. The Colts are beautiful, but the Smith L frames are work horses. Multiple tests have shown the new S&Ws to be mechanically superior to the old ones, despite the cosmetic challenges.

    I'd also like to point out that Jerry Miculek chose to shoot for S&W because he prefers that action over all others....
     
    J-Bar likes this.
  20. THEWELSHM

    THEWELSHM Member

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    You must be a real Timid person, Smith and Wesson are quality firearms.. put on your man pants mate..

    Thewelshm
     
    DR505 likes this.
  21. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    Not so much the guns themselves but if you must know, the customer service was horrid. In the end one was never fixed but deemed good enough, the one that was fixed was loose and out of time again after a couple thousand rds. To me, unacceptable. If you like that sort of thing, more for you.
     
    chicharrones likes this.
  22. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    Not a big sample size. I shipped two (at same time) to S&W; a 657 that had a cylinder issue and a 629-4 I bought that had an incorrect trigger job that resulted in push-off. Both came back quickly and well repaired, only charge was for the 657. So my sample size equals yours and they were superlative.
     
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  23. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    Right, different strokes. The point of my reply was that for my money, I've had a bad time. I know the majority prefers s&w and I'm good with that. Like I said, not a hater at all- I love guns! I got a bad taste from one and then the next one too, just turned me off on getting another
     
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  24. 375supermag

    375supermag Member

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    Hi...
    I have owned and shot a 686 for many years as well as a Trooper III and V.
    No complaints with any of the three.
    I recently looked at a new stainless Python in a gun shop for $1600. I told the clerk that it was a very nice revolver but I didn't think it was superior to my 686, so I passed on buying it.

    FWIW...my 686 is the most accurate handgun I own out of dozens of handguns.
     
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  25. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Python, no doubt for me. I have had one ordered since they came out. Then I could have one I could shoot every day.
    Had my doubts at first but they look like a Muscle Car. I prefer Royal Blue but it is what it is.
    Probably never get one now.
     
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