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Old 08-10-2017, 05:36 PM
Chitownhoff Chitownhoff is offline
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Default 686 357 Magnum in 4" or 6"

I am looking to purchase a 686 with either a 4" or 6" barrel for use primarily on the range and maybe for some home security. Looking for opinions on which barrel I would be more happy with. I have shot the 6" barrel but not the 4". Loved the accuracy but sometimes thought the barrel felt a bit heavy. Would the shorter 4" be a better way to go?
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:57 PM
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The 6" full lug barrel L frames are pretty muzzle heavy, so the 4" sounds to be a good choice for you. Also a little less leverage for someone to pull the gun out of your hands in a defensive situation (unlikely to happen ). Good luck in your decision.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:05 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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I've got both and I think the 686 is the best gun Smith ever made for shooting. Both of mine are stupid accurate. I really don't see any difference in accuracy at 25 yards, so if for range only, I'd go with the 6" but for home use too, I'd go with the 4".
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:09 PM
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The guns with the full under lugs are heavy in the front more so the longer the barrel. I too really admire the 686/586 and like longer sight radius for the range. The best thing if possible is to try both at a lgs or something if you can. Otherwise pelrsonally I would stick with the 4 inch, its the best of both worlds.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:34 PM
Flash_80 Flash_80 is offline
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For what you've described, I'd say a 4". Myself, I've had a 4" since January 12, 1992 and I have wanted a 6" since before that time. At $295 that day and 17yrs old, I couldn't be too choosy with limited funds. And I don't have the heart to get rid of the one I've had all these years, nor do I want to spend the $$$ for a second one with a 6".

If the home use was out of the equation, I'd say 6 all day. But the 4 will be just fine.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:37 PM
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For me, the weight of the 4" 686 is all I can hold outstretched for the 150 round sessions I like to shoot.

There is another alternative you might consider to get a longer barrel without the associated weight. The 5" Performance Center Pro Series Model 686 Plus weighs less than a standard 4" 686 and brings target shooting upgrades.

Performance Center(R) Pro Series(R) Model 686 Plus | Smith & Wesson

It's in stock at Bud's.

S&W M686 Plus 7RD 357MAG/38SP 5" $785.00 SHIPS FREE
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:23 PM
Lostaro Lostaro is offline
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If you ever plan to carry it then the 4" all the way...plus I doubt I'm a good enough shot to realize the extra accuracy you might squeeze out of a 6"....

I have a 4'' 686 that conceals fairly well in a Remora IWB...and shoots better than I can hold it.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:28 PM
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4" for sure for all-around performance and enjoyment. IMO the 6" is a little large and muzzle heavy.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:47 PM
robvious robvious is offline
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I have 3, 5 & 6 inch 686's... buy either the 4 or 6 that comes along first... you will eventually get the other... it is just about the perfect 357...
my favorite is the 5 inch (half lug dealer special)
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:56 PM
45moonclip 45moonclip is offline
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The 4" 686 is the one to have. Back in the day when bulls eye shooting was the going game with a revolver, the 6" for the increased sight radius helped accuracy in competition. I would not give up my 4" . It can be holster carried and is great for informal target shooting and just plain old enjoying.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:38 PM
apollo99 apollo99 is offline
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The price seems to go up as the barrel get shorter, I would go for the 4".
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:47 PM
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I have been impressed with my 686-6, 5" Pro-Series. Have a 586, 4" no dash, and a 686-3, 6". Of course all are keepers! Bob
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  #13  
Old 08-10-2017, 09:01 PM
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The 4" for me, if I had to choose.

A 4" .357 is perhaps the perfect "all around" revolver, and a 4" 686 may be the finest of them.

But, of course, the correct answer is to buy both, and then a 3", then a 2.5", then a 5"........
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:05 PM
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Split the difference and get the 5"
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:11 PM
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As you probably know the 4 inch really has a 4 and 1/4 inch barrel. Every little helps. Except for hunting, I prefer the 4 inch.
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:00 PM
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I have the perfect solution for you. I placed an ad in classifieds for a 4" barreled no-dash 586 that was rebarreled at the S&W factory last year. It was a 6" barreled revolver. The original 6" barrel is included- so you can have both the 4 and 6" barrel.

Check it out.
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:41 PM
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A six inch is perfect for the range but can be a bit too much for home security if you have to confront someone and wind up grappling for the gun. I carried a four inch in uniform (issued weapon) and had a six inch for the pistol team that belonged to me (Model 19-3 I still have).
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:49 PM
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A 6" barrel has a longer sight radius than a 4" barrel, which might matter for strictly target use.

Mostly, though, I think a full lug on a 6" barrel is too front-heavy. It is a throwback to the days of off-hand shooting where "hang" was a cherished stabilizing factor. I much prefer the 4" 686, which seems more balanced to me. It is similar to the "hang" of a 6" K-22 or K-38, which have no extractor shroud.

For carry, 4" would would be the max for me. 3" or less is easier to conceal, faster out of the holster, and nearly as accurate. If you like .357 and the 686, sooner or later you'll own one of each.
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:57 PM
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The 4 inch gun is more versatile, as has been pointed out. I have a 2.5 and 4 inch 686-4+. Love them both.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DocB View Post
As you probably know the 4 inch really has a 4 and 1/4 inch barrel. Every little helps. Except for hunting, I prefer the 4 inch.
DocB, would that be the -6 version? My -4 is actually 4 inches.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:45 AM
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I like the 4". Get the one you want now, eventually you'll probably get the other one.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:53 AM
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If you're only gonna buy one, go with a 4".

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Old 08-11-2017, 07:12 AM
EricR EricR is offline
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My vote for the 4". Besides the looks going for the four, I have a 2.5" 686-3 and it is as accurate as I can shoot.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:23 AM
Glashaus Glashaus is offline
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I will agree with others, if you want a good all around 686, go with the 4". The 6" L frames can be a little bulky and maybe not the best choice if it is going to double as your HD gun. I have two L frames now, a 3" 686 CS1 and a nickel 6" 586. The 586 shines on the range and is just downright elegant to shoot. The CS1 is a fairly compact beast. I wouldn't feel undergunned with either one, but having the right tool for the job is always a great excuse to get more tools.
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