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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 05-20-2020, 09:29 PM
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Default 586 no dash no "M"

I picked up a 586 no dash with no "M" a little while ago. My question today is about whether I should have the recall work completed. Unfortunately, I dont have time to shoot my guns as much as I should, so it probably wont get a ton of rounds through it? Thoughts?

Also, the serial prefix is AFV. I think it shipped around 1985. Does that sound right?

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Old 05-20-2020, 09:45 PM
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Why don't you call S&W customer service and see what they think? While you probably won't see it happen, it would only take one round to have the firing pin bushing pop out...that's what the M is.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:50 PM
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S&W would probably say to send it in. If it was mine, I wouldn't unless the problem occurred. It is not universal and there are a lot of non-M guns out there with no problem. If it were a carry/SD piece that would be different.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:01 PM
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Put a few rounds through it - by report ammunition with the softest primers (Federal) tended to have problems, but if the brand you use doesn't tie up the gun and you don't rely on it for defensive purposes the modifications would be completely optional to me.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:07 PM
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The issue was that with some hot ammo, like the Remington 125 grain bullets, the primer would flow back into the firing pin bushing hole enough to cause a the gun to tie up. The M update replaced the hammer nose and hammer nose bushing.
What I did was to get some American Gunner 125 grain ammo and fire it in my non M stamped 686. Gun jammed!! Sent it back. Fixed and returned. No charge.
As stated many guns did not have this happen and I had another 686 that did not jam. But I sent both back at the same time, and had it updated anyway.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:07 PM
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I got this 586 no dash a few years back and it may be my favorite range gun. Top five anyway. I'm a sucker for nickel and it shoots like a dream. Lots of .38 spec downrange, but lots of magnums too. I think the L frame is the sweet spot.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:19 PM
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This is something that gets repeatedly asked and discussed when someone buys an early 585/686 and becomes aware of a recall.

The issue was with a specific brand and loading of .357 Magnum ammo, even though it was not specifically called out by name by S&W, probably due to legal reasons:

1) It was Federal ammo (which is known for having the softest primer cups, and why Federal primers are the choice of Jerry Miculek (and others) for reliable ignition in the target hand loads he uses with the lightened actions on his competition revolvers).

2) The loading was 110gr bullets, at high velocity and pressure, than with standard weight loading.

The combination of the two resulted in reports of primer cup flow back into the the hammer nose bushing hole, causing the cylinder to completely bind up.

The number of incidences was not wide spread, but it came at a time when S&W LE handgun sales were beginning to feel the pressure from Glock (and semi-auto pistols) making inroads.

S&W had to go into damage control and nip a potential PR disaster in the bud by issuing the recall, rather than continue to have reliability issue trickling in from LE agencies, which is where the initial reports came from to begin with.

The language of the recall was quite clear: Firearm Recalls and Safety Warnings- FirearmsID.com

These are some of the key points.

"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."

Most owners never experienced an issue, they are largely unaware of the existence of the recall unless they're read about it in a forum.

I have 2 586's and 2 686's, only one of the 686's has been back for the "M" mod. I've had no issues in any of them.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:14 AM
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I have a 586 no dash non-mod and haven't had any problems with it, I don't shoot any really hot ammo with it and it sees mainly .38 spl.
I don't think I'll ever send it back to S&W and if I want to shoot hot ammo I'll use my model 27 for that.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:03 AM
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Default 586 no dash no "M"

Gunhacker described the situation perfectly.

This is also my understanding of the situation - the original 586/686 revolvers left the S&W factory with a longer hammer nose (and different hammer nose bushing).

This is also a "Safety Issue". I've been all about "firearm safety" since 1965 when the Weapons and Marksmanship Instructors at Parris Island drilled it in to my "brain housing group"!

As described, the problem occurred when unmodified (original) revolvers were being fired. The hammer fell, the primer was only partially punctured (flow back), and the round did not fire. This sequence of events concurrently caused the cylinder to bind and could not be opened. This must have been a really thrilling situation attempting to clear a revolver with the primer partially punctured and not knowing if the round would fire during the clearing process. From the recall notice:

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

The recall modification involves replacing the original long hammer nose with a shorter version, and also replacing the hammer nose bushing. The factory probably also checks out the functioning of the revolver, including test firing. I can't confirm this fact.

Unless the situation has changed, the S&W factory still has replacement parts available, and there is no charge for the modification, including shipping to/from the factory.

I have several of these revolvers. All have been modified. The 586/686 is an outstanding revolver for virtually any purpose - hunting, marksmanship, personal defense, etc.

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Old 05-21-2020, 12:25 PM
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"2) The loading was 110gr bullets, at high velocity and pressure, than with standard weight loading."

My gun would lock up with ANY Federal .357 factory load.
I bought one of the initial (no dash) 686s new ,and it immediately locked up with Federal158gr 357 mag factory loads the first time I shot it.

I took it back to the dealer , who returned it to S&W, who did the mod, replacing the hammer nose and firing pin bushing. I still have the gun, and it has been flawless ever since the mod.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwadley1 View Post
I picked up a 586 no dash with no "M" a little while ago. My question today is about whether I should have the recall work completed. Unfortunately, I dont have time to shoot my guns as much as I should, so it probably wont get a ton of rounds through it? Thoughts?

Also, the serial prefix is AFV. I think it shipped around 1985. Does that sound right?

Gratuitous photo below.
I have a 4" nickel no-586 that I bought new. It did and does shoot fine. I never sent it back. Shoot yours first......No need to fix something that is not broke.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:40 PM
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Default Well, not exactly......

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Originally Posted by flintsghost View Post
Why don't you call S&W customer service and see what they think? While you probably won't see it happen, it would only take one round to have the firing pin bushing pop out...that's what the M is.
Good advice but the problem is the primer flows around the firing pin on hotter loads and locks up the cylinder.

I had the M work done on mine and it still locks up and I need to determine if it's my reloads or a problem with the gun.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:08 PM
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Seems to me that the "M" modification makes it a better gun. Why not do it? It's free.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:51 PM
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I have had it done all all my no dash 5/6 86guns. Remove the stocks if you send it back.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:17 AM
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Seems to me that the "M" modification makes it a better gun. Why not do it? It's free.
I think it boils down to the question: Do you trust the current S&W CS and its shipper to do the job right and without any collateral/incidental damage to the gun, cosmetic or otherwise.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:20 AM
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Remove the stocks if you send it back.
At an absolute minimum, yes.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:36 AM
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I purchased an original M586 (first or second year production) and had no issues with it what-so-ever (shot it plenty). When they did they recall for modification I did send it in just in case and they did stamp it with an M. So would it have developed the loose bushing problem? Who knows - but if they will still do it and pay the freight, I'd probably send it in.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:19 AM
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I bought my first 686ND mid-1986 and had the "M" done in Jan.1987.
A couple of years ago I picked up another 686ND without the "M" modification. I sent it back to S&W for the "M" and got it back with a new hammer & bushing, HOWEVER they forgot to stamp the "M" on the frame.

So my second 686ND still looks like a non-"M" 686, but I have before and after images of my 686ND, so I know that the "M" modification was actually done/completed. I guess that I can call it my "stealth" 686ND...
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:17 AM
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HorizontalMike's experience makes me think you should call S&W first to see if they can tell you if the modification was already done to your gun. If so, then you know. If not, then I would suggest sending it in to have it done. There's no down side IMHO.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:27 PM
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Thank you for the discussion. I think I will shoot it and see how it goes.

It will be a range gun and will see mostly 38s and few standard pressure 357s.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:26 PM
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humph. well I never...bought Old Betsy in 92 (4" blue 586), lost her to burglars in 94, gotter back from the police in 96!, added laser around ought 3, and generally can hit what I aim at with her, like no other gun I've used or owned. ahem...

what's this about a plogged long nose and a frozen wheel and the Mark of the M? never heerd of it. say, just what century are we talking about?
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTSH View Post
I think it boils down to the question: Do you trust the current S&W CS and its shipper to do the job right and without any collateral/incidental damage to the gun, cosmetic or otherwise.
Bingo.... that is the main reason why I haven't done the recall mod on the rest of my 586/686's.

The one 686 that does have the "M" mod, was sent back when the recall was first issued. The others are acquisitions I made during the last 5 years, and I have a no confidence vote for either risking them to UPS/FedEx or the current S&W service department, which is now a far, far cry from what it used to be.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:09 PM
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In Sept. of 1981 my dad bought a new 686 (AAB prefix), it was fine initially but after a few years he started having the binding issues with a variety of magnum ammo. He carried that gun whenever he ventured out in the desert around Tucson and was always within easy reach at all other times.

The dealer (now long out of business) sent it in for him when the modification became a fix, yes it has a M stamp. He also had the action slicked up by Frank Glenn after it came back. When he passed in '92 it came to me. I used that gun to teach both my sons how to shoot. It won't ever leave the family-at least not for a few more generations.

I fall in the group that says if there aren't any issues I wouldn't send it in but if it binds then I would.

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Old 05-23-2020, 08:26 AM
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Bingo.... that is the main reason why I haven't done the recall mod on the rest of my 586/686's.

The one 686 that does have the "M" mod, was sent back when the recall was first issued. The others are acquisitions I made during the last 5 years, and I have a no confidence vote for either risking them to UPS/FedEx or the current S&W service department, which is now a far, far cry from what it used to be.
Yeah, the days when dear old Dad would simply drop off whatever needed fixing at the Smith & Wesson plant gate and pick it up the next day fixed perfectly for free are all behind us now. Gotta mail it in now and that's half the risk of loss or damage.

I own three pristine perfect 586/686 no dash revolvers, none of which have gone back for the recall and probably never will... not after I saw what S&W CS did to the only brand new S&W revolver that I had bought in 35 years. It wouldn't work right out of the box, so it had to go back. When it came back from S&W CS, it was functional, but cosmetically it was pretty bad. Must have taken a lot of tries to fix it. Even the screws, including the grip screw, were over-tightened and stripped.

No thanks. I sold it off at a big loss and never again will I ever buy a brand new S&W revolver... nor will I send a gun back to S&W CS that I intend to keep.

The odds that I'd ever want to use Federal 110 gr .357 soft primer ammo in any of my .357 revolvers are zero anyway, so why should I risk anything?

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Old 05-23-2020, 09:31 AM
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I've got an early 1982 586 no dash 6". Likely the first one to arrive at a dealer in Memphis. It went back to the factory twice for accuracy issues. First time they did nothing. Second time, after much complaining and a really nasty letter, they changed the barrel and went entirely through the gun. What I finally got back after almost a year of complaining and waiting is the best .357 I've ever owned.
When the recall came out, I had no intention of going through that mess with CS again. Never sent it in, never had a problem.
If it were a defensive gun, I'd consider the recall. But for a range gun, no way.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:56 PM
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The S&W Service folks had a nasty tendency to remove the trigger travel adjustment assembly once they got it. That's the little semi-circular 'wheel'-like gizmo above the trigger in that narrow cut that's adjusted at the factory. I naively sent my 586-686-no dash's in for the recall and upon return found they had removed the assembly.

They claimed it was a safety hazard, as the tightening screw might work loose and rotate down, tying up the trigger. This did happen with some duty 19's at one department; Bubba-adjusting seemed to be the problem, but other departments followed suit and had their armorers remove the assembly.Such a hangup never happened to me in my many decades of shooting, but then I don't have to duty carry. Begs the question as to why they even added it to the 586-686 early no-dashes,

If you do send your's in for the "magic fix" you'll need to tell them to leave it alone if you wish to keep it absolutely pristine, at least from a collectors perspective. I suggest you first shoot it with some hot loads and see if the bushing and hammer nose modification is really necessary.

Happy trails,
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Old 05-24-2020, 01:37 AM
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I am in the “leave it alone” camp. I have a no dash 686 and 681 and have never had a problem.
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