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  #1  
Old 08-26-2011, 08:12 PM
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Default Model 646??

I thought I knew a little about Smith revolvers, but I was surfing GB today and ran across a model 646, .40 S&W for sale, and must confess I had never heard of it. Did a little research on the Board, and also the Smith book, so I now know what it is, but it seems it must be really rare.

I'm more into the classic stuff than the more recent PC revolvers, but find any of the "moon clip" revolvers intriguing. I love my 25-2 and wondered what folks know or think about the 646? Again, it must be a fairly rare gun to have escaped my knowlege so totally.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:24 PM
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Default Model 646

I think it is an idea that is kind of intriguing in a way.
I have often wondered why not auto cartridges in revolvers ?
I have several styles , both Smith and Colt in the 45acp , I also have 610's and 547's.
But , I know I am the exception , not the rule, my thought about the advantage is the much lower cost of cartridges for those that do not reload, I do , so not a big deal for me.
But, compare the cost of 40 S&W and 357 Mag or especially 41 Mag !!!
Now, I know the 610 will shoot both as 357's will shoot 38 specials so maybe that is the way it should go .
I do not know, I just like revolvers !!
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:33 PM
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Like you I really didn't know too much about the 646 until I saw one advertised in a local paper while I was on vacation in my home state...of course it followed me home. It fits into my collection. The one I have is not the PC version. More than one "expert" has been surprised when I have shown the 646 to them...they didn't know they existed.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:46 PM
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Do you mean one of these? This is one of the non PC revolvers. I bought it right because the dealer/store thought "It is silly to chamber a revolver for an automatic cartridge". SCSW 3rd edition states that 300 of the non PC revolvers were produced.




Last edited by 625smith; 08-26-2011 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:10 PM
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A few years ago I was roaming a small gun show looking for Smith revolvers and was a bit surprised to find a 40 cal revolver. For $475 I snatched it up quick. I was happy when I got to a computer and learned that I had purchased a gem. The 646 is a very fun revolver. If you ever have a chance to get one, you wont regret laying the money down.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:12 PM
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625-is that a 4 or 5 inch? Neat gun with the round butt, never saw / knew they even made them with RB. Nice. Flapjack.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 625smith
What is the U shaped plastic gizmo in the case with your 646?
Just so I add something to the thread, 646s were made with two types of rifling. When non-PC 646s quietly appeared on dealer shelves I looked at two, one with a broach cut barrel and one with a barrel rifled by EDM. I wanted to stick with more familiar broach cut rifling so I paid $20 more for the one that had it.
Does anyone know if the barrels on PC 646s were all broached?
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:19 AM
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First time I have seen this too, very nice looking. I would take it if I didnt just buy a 686 SSR yesterday
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GO NOLES!!!
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:20 AM
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That's the "wedge" tool for installing/removing the Hogue monogrip.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
625-is that a 4 or 5 inch? Neat gun with the round butt, never saw / knew they even made them with RB. Nice. Flapjack.
It is a 4" barrel.

k22fan as -db- stated the wedge shaped tool is to remove the grips.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:02 AM
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The S&W 646 was intended for IDPA competition. Unfortunately IDPA changed the rules as the Model 646 was introduced. That change in IDPA rules basically spelled the death of the 646. I have both the S&W 610 and 646. I use the 610 for steel plate shoots and the 646 for ICORE shoots. With it's light weight I would not want to shoot full power 40 S&W loads in that 646 for any length of time.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSQUARED View Post
The S&W 646 was intended for IDPA competition. Unfortunately IDPA changed the rules as the Model 646 was introduced. That change in IDPA rules basically spelled the death of the 646. I have both the S&W 610 and 646. I use the 610 for steel plate shoots and the 646 for ICORE shoots. With it's light weight I would not want to shoot full power 40 S&W loads in that 646 for any length of time.
IDPA was the reason I purchased this 646. The K-krame sized grip fits my hand a bit better than the N-frame, and it's light for an L-frame so it seems to get on target a little faster.



Decided to run some random ammo out of it the other day. "Draw and fire" double action only at 25 yards.

These loads did better than the other rounds shot, but I couldn't tell you what what in the clips except some bullets were pointier than others.

Less "pointy"


More "pointy"


Recoil wasn't as noticible as remembered. A pleasant surprise to shoot what's been more or less abandoned for 10 years or so. Too bad it's the only .40 caliber I own.

Last edited by jaymoore; 10-30-2012 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:32 PM
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I found that bigger grips worked better for me with my 646 - Herrett's in this case:

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Old 10-31-2012, 12:00 PM
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I had never heard of the 646 either until early 2008 I was browsing a gun show and came across a .40 Lframe. Without even questioning what it was I picked it up for $475. It had the aluminum case and all paperwork. The only flaw on the gun was someone had stippled the backstrap. Ohhh well I love it. I would buy another in a heartbeat if I came across one for a reasonable price. I modified some targets to fit the round butt.
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:11 AM
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Mine was one of the original Performance Center 646 "race guns," designed for the run and gun games. I've seen conflicting stories on how few hundred of the original guns were made. 400 or 800 seems to be how many, IIRC.

The skeletonized barrel was made to increase speed from the holster, and also speed swinging the gun from target-to-target during fast, double-action matches. The titanium cylinders reduced weight too . . . again, for draw speed.

Mine was made in August of 2001, just a few mere months before S&W went to the dang locks, and I believe they were all made w/o locks, including the later non-PC models with conventional 686-type looking barrels you've seen pictured above.

Mine is pictured here in the typical aluminum Performance Center case, and came with the gorgeous S&W rosewood stocks + (6) thin moon clips and (6) thicker moon clips.



As someone mentioned, the gun game crowd changed the rules and thus killed demand for this new model.

OTHER PROBLEMS

1. .40 S&W brass was not standardized for thickness and such . . . so S&W included the two thicknesses of moon clips. STILL the cartridges would flop around in the moonclips, thus killing the speed of slamming the fresh clip's ammo into the gun without the .40S&W bullets not "sailing" in the holes easily like our .45ACP Model 625s would do in competition. The lack of roundnose bullets also slowed reload times vs. a .45ACP round with hardball bullets. STRIKE ONE

2. It turned out that the extraction of the spent brass became problematic also when performing "at speed." STRIKE TWO. Of course, under any other conditions besides a competitor going full speed in a match, this was not a problem.

I shot mine in ONE MATCH . . . and the extraction got so tough that in frustration I finally slapped the tip of the ejection rod forcefully . . . and it gashed open my hand, which bled. No, it didn't hurt the gun . . . but it hurt the shooter! STRIKE THREE.

I thus returned to my tried and true Model 625 revolver with the huge cylinder holes and .45ACP round nose "hardball" bullets for a decidedly faster times . . . and retired the PC 646 to the safe. Alas, in 2007 a collector contacted me and wanted it a lot more than I did so I sold it to him in the decent four figure range.

POSITIVES . . .
1. Very fast from the holster
2. Very fast swinging the gun during recoil to the next target
3. Wonderful trigger
4. Outstanding accuracy
5. Incredible looks . . . and a very rare revolver.

Alas, the extraction and floppy moon clip problems + the competition rule changes doomed this great new revolver. THE PROBLEMS WOULD HAVE BEEN WORKED OUT, WHICH IS SAD.

The remainder of parts for the PC646 were then used to build the remaining and final non-PC 646s ever made . . . and that was the short and sweet end of the S&W .40 S&W caliber revolver. All were built on the L frame, of course, but using the standard 686-type profile full underlugged barrels and standard size hammers (vs. the smaller thumbpiece type on the PC model)! I suspect they thought (and probably correctly) that the average shooter would much rather have the conventional barrel profile. Sadly, the non-PC 646 revolvers were the end of the line for the 646, and ALL Model 646 revolvers are rarely seen for sale today.

I've always felt a great revolver like these would be a great addition to the S&W lineup with the bugs worked out, but it hasn't happened. I would think the addition to a steel cylinder with the 686 barrel profile would be a great seller, since so many have gravitated to the easy to find .40S&W ammo.

Hope this helps . . .

Last edited by tom turner; 11-01-2012 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom turner View Post
Mine was one of the original Performance Center 646 "race guns,"
Had one of those as well. Bought it at the S&W store at the factory in Springfield. The GCG told me Jerry Miculek had been there the week before and bought the serial number previous to mine (not sure if that was supposed to help sell me on it!).

I was really excited about it, as I was very into .40 S&W at the time, with 2 Glocks and a Hi-Power in the caliber.

I was very disappointed very fast. It was incredibly ammo sensitive, would not run reloads at all. When it shot it was phenomenal, great to handle and accurate as all get out.

It took over a year to sell on consignment, and I lost money on it. Probably would have been a collector, but if I can't shoot it I don't keep it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:03 PM
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I have both a PC 646 and one of the later full-lug models.

My PC 646 was purchased new shortly after they were released. I never experienced the extraction problems that many others have with the PC model. I replaced the stock grips (did not fit my hand and stung a bit after a hundred rounds or so) with Uncle Mike's rubber boot grips.

I don't know if the PC guns were supposed to have an action job; but the action on mine was fairly gritty. Had an action job done by Clark Custom. Vast improvement.

Have used RIMZ polymer moonclips since they were first available for the 646; that made the loading/unloading much more pleasant.

The PC 646 became my favorite (because it was accurate and light) and I kept my eyes open for another reasonably priced one because I liked the one I had so much. Found a NIB full-lug model ( I've still never fired it; though an empty fired cartridge was included in an envelope from the factory) for $500 and grabbed it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:19 PM
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I enjoy shooting mine, full power loads are a bit snappy. Also, these came with a hammer that is notched for the internal lock which is slightly visable in the below picture.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:26 AM
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Default 646's....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 625smith View Post
It is a 4" barrel.
Actually both of mine are 3 7/8". The earlier "Performance Center" guns with the beveled barrels were known to have ignition problems due to head-spacing. Variations in .40 S&W case dimensions were blamed and several thicknesses of moon clips were offered. The later 300 "Non-PC" guns were a parts clean up and were the last L-Frame guns S&W shipped with out the ignition switch. They were cheap. Five years ago I sold one that was unfired for more than what I paid (Dealer List) for the three of them new.

Drew

PS: Be careful of the finish on the Titanium cylinders. There is a coating applied that if removed, will no longer prevent flame erosion.
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45acp, 547, 610, 686, cartridge, colt, hogue, idpa, model 625, round butt, scsw

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