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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 06-27-2020, 05:23 PM
Captain Skip Captain Skip is offline
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Hello all, new to the forum but not new to S&W. I was issued a M-19 4" when I went into the police academy in 1975. I carried that for 15 years before switching to a 659, both of which I still own. After 20 years I went to a different LE agency and carried a Glock for 20 years and kind of ignored my Smiths. They're safe queens at this point as they have a lot of sentimental value to me and will never be sold, they're going to my son eventually.

That being said, I'm in the market for a 686, 6 shot 4". I want to get back to the simplicity and fun of a revolver. My local gun store can get me a brand new 686 4" 6 shot for what I consider a reasonable price. The only thing I don't like is the Hillary hole lock. I've been reading up online about them and other than looking ugly, there seems to be a number of claims about the lock activating on it's own. As the 686 would be a combination target shooting/hiking-woods protection/home defense weapon the possibility of it not going bang when it's supposed to concerns me. I'm sure there are probably a few thousands posts on the forum about the lock but I wanted to get some input from those of you who have the Smiths with the lock, particularly the 686 model, and what you think about them, problems, etc. Thank you.
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:31 PM
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I have a M60 with the lock. When I cleaned my gun I had a part left over..
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:39 PM
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Welcome! The lock is a matter of preference, but the lock is not a deal breaker for a gun that I otherwise want. Also six shot Model 686's can be found without the lock. There are obscure references to lock induced failures, but these, even if correct, are very rare. Some of us do not really care about the lock, others consider it a sign of the apocalypse and tool of the devil. Who am I to say they are wrong? Fortunately, you are free to choose what you like, and you can always plug the hole or deactivate and bypass the lock later if you choose. The greater danger is that you wil not just buy one. Happy, safe shooting.
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:43 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

I got mine before I ever heard from this forum that I shouldn't like them. I've never had a problem with mine after several thousand rounds, and I plan on getting the new 5" PC 686, without concern.

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Old 06-27-2020, 05:47 PM
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Take your time and find a 686 from the 80s.........
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Old 06-27-2020, 07:00 PM
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I have a six inch 686 and four inch 686 plus with the lock. Absolutely no trouble out of either of them. The 686 plus may have the best trigger of any Smith I own. Good luck with your decision. I own Smiths both with and without the lock ranging from 1958 to the present. I love them all. Up to you to decide what you prefer. Hugh


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Old 06-27-2020, 11:52 PM
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I have quite a few of the newer S&W's with the lock. Never had a single problem with any of them.
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:25 AM
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Mine is a -6 plus (7 round cylinder) ... but in thousands of rounds Iíve never had an issue with the internal lock. Would I rather it not exist? Sure, but it doesnít really bother me.

Itís a great revolver and exceedingly accurate. If I had to buy it all over again, I would not hesitate.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:29 AM
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Mine is a 586 (same gun but in blue) that is a vintage 1983 model. NO Hilary Hole - never had one. They are still out there is you look hard enough.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:56 AM
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Most of the reports about Smith revolvers with the lock self actuating were made when the locks were first introduced in the early 2000s. Also they seemed to occur in the small J frame revolvers. I have never had a problem with my Smith revolvers with the lock whether they are J, K,L or N frames.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:04 AM
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Welcome Captain Skip. Since soon after the L-Frames were introduced, I've owned several and they are a favorite of mine. Only one, a new 686-6 SSR had the hole/lock. It had to go back for a warranty issue unrelated to the lock. The gun was otherwise trouble free. Most of the lock issues reported appear to involve the smaller, lightweight, J-Frames. Still, I just never trusted the lock, and soon sold the -6. I'd examined the lock mechanism prior to selling the gun. It appeared to me that a tiny hair spring kept the gun unlocked, and should there be an issue with that tiny hair like spring, the gun would default to the locked position. Perhaps I misinterpreted the lockwork, but that's the way it appeared to me. One might think that an issue with the lock mechanism would cause the gun to default to a functional condition, but it appeared just the opposite to me. I realize some otherwise desirable S&Ws are only available with the lock, but I've not bought any with the lock since the -6 some years ago.

Were I currently in the market, I'd look around for a clean pre lock version........YMMV
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:58 AM
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I've never purchased a gun from an online retailer - yes, I know, it gets delivered through an FFL. Any recommendations for online dealers that are reputable? I've seen Gunbroker, GunsAmerica and a couple others but after being burned a couple times on ebay I'm a bit wary of purchasing online sight unseen. I've checked all the LGS in my area, none of them have any used 686's in stock - for that matter none of them have any new ones in stock but they can get them.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:23 AM
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I prefer buying in person too, but that is not always possible and if you snooze, you lose. Not that they currently have what you are looking for, but I would also watch and not hesitate to buy from CDNN Sporting Goods and Bud's Gun Shop. Like everything else their service times may be COVID impacted. Good luck in your hunt.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:44 AM
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I've bought a bunch of guns through Gunbroker including my 686 Plus. I use a well reviewed seller with a large number of transactions. Below link is a good example.
Smith & Wesson 164222 686 357 Mag 6 Round 4.13” Stainless Steel... - Revolvers at GunBroker.com : 872037390
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Skip View Post
I've never purchased a gun from an online retailer - yes, I know, it gets delivered through an FFL. Any recommendations for online dealers that are reputable? I've seen Gunbroker, GunsAmerica and a couple others but after being burned a couple times on ebay I'm a bit wary of purchasing online sight unseen. I've checked all the LGS in my area, none of them have any used 686's in stock - for that matter none of them have any new ones in stock but they can get them.
In this forum, you will find a " Want to Buy " section ( WTB ). Place your ad here, and do business with a fellow forum member that may have a spare, is looking to get something else, or just needs cash in these less that stellar economic times.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:18 AM
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I'm always a little worried when buying a gun, sight unseen, but have yet to be burned. The internet opens up a whole world of guns you might not otherwise see; so, I'll take the chance, if it's a gun I really want, and can't find locally.
Make sure the seller is established, with great feedback. Gunbroker lists their number of transactions and feedback, and even has Top10, Top 100 dealers. When the gun arrives, at your FFL, give it a rigorous inspection (end-shake, lock-up, no push-off, no frame cracks, timing, no rust, check BC gap, bore, etc.). If the gun doesn't check out, refuse the transfer. This is where it's important to use a reputable dealer, who will refund your purchase price, although I've never had that issue.
Good luck in your search!
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:29 AM
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Howdy Captain...

Can't go wrong with a 686, I have 1 with a lock hole and I removed its guts and plugged the hole. With a 158gr pill its the most accurate revolver I can shoot with. I have other older ones that I would consider more collectable to me, they don't see much backyard range time.. I've put about 1k rounds strictly .357 and she keeps trucking, with very tight lock up!
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:59 AM
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Welcome Captain Skip. You beat me into the LE game by two years. My adventure started in 1977. The PD issued me a 4” HB model 10 and since then I’ve added many to the collection.

JMHO I perceive you may be a purist. Having said that I believe a 686-4 would fit the the bill. It has a broach cut barrel like your 19 and no lock so they would have similar appearances.

I have had a trouble free -4 for years.
The L frames are Fort Knox strong and will give you and your son years of enjoyment.
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:08 AM
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I have one gun with the lock, a Model 629-6, and have had no problems with it, of course I removed all the lock parts, installed the stainless piece to fill the hole, and then epoxied over it, and threw the lock parts in the trash where they belonged.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:48 AM
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Guys, I made the plug so that people would buy the new Smith's and use them. I love the 686 revolver dearly, it is the best that was ever made ( my 2 cents ) .
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:15 PM
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686 no dash & 686-1 had recall for firing pin bushing. 686-M indicates recall performed.
I believe lock started with -6. Others will post up if that's incorrect.
So if you want a non-lock, -2 thru -5.
There's nothing wrong with waiting till you find the one you'd be happy with.

What state are you in ?
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
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686 no dash & 686-1 had recall for firing pin bushing. 686-M indicates recall performed.
I believe lock started with -6. Others will post up if that's incorrect.
So if you want a non-lock, -2 thru -5.
There's nothing wrong with waiting till you find the one you'd be happy with.

What state are you in ?

New Hampshire
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:11 PM
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consider put a WTB in the Forum's classified
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:43 PM
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We each want what we want but I have three 686+s and two have the lock and the 3" is my "nightstand" gun. I don't worry about the lock but YMMV.

Why do you not want a 7 shot? There's scarcely any difference....to me, anyway. Another YMMV moment.

Welcome to the campfire.............






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Old 06-28-2020, 09:12 PM
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ISCS Yoda, I'm a knucklehead...kinda old fashioned about stuff. To me a revolver is 6 shots. Just like pickup trucks should only have 2 doors, everything else is a car!
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Skip View Post
ISCS Yoda, I'm a knucklehead...kinda old fashioned about stuff. To me a revolver is 6 shots. Just like pickup trucks should only have 2 doors, everything else is a car!
ROTFLMAO!!!! Quite literally - that's the funniest thing I've read on this Forum in quite awhile and there are often some funny remarks. WELL DONE CAPTAIN!!! That made my day!!!!
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:56 PM
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OK, I'm all set. I found a 686-5 4" barrel in mint condition on Gunbroker. It's ordered so now all I have to do is wait for it to get to my FFL. Thanks for everyone's input I appreciate it. I have learned several things, the lock is not an issue, the MIM parts are not an issue - in fact from what I've read several people claim they shoot smoother - we'll see, and as Smith is only using MIM parts from here on, if I need replacement parts they'll be available. I'm looking forward to getting back into a revolver. My 45 year old model 19 is going to be jealous. One additional question though, is it safe to dry fire with the floating hammer? I actually dry fired my 19 years ago so much that I pushed the bushing out of the frame and had to make an emergency run to S&W in Springfield for repairs. I don't want to do the same thing to the 686.
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:28 PM
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I have several guns with the lock, and many that don't. And they have all been equally reliable. Even my 340PD and 329PD. I have bought dozens of guns on line with no problems. Just scrutinize the sellers record and pics. Ask questions and when in doubt don't buy it.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:33 PM
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Dry firing empty shouldn't hurt any center fire gun, but a pack of 6 snap caps is reasonably cheap for the peace of mind they bring.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:45 PM
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Dry firing on empty chambers puts stress on the firing pin or hammer nose, and eventually it will break. With the hammer nose, they are no longer made by S&W and will get scarcer as time goes by.
Use snap caps, the revolver be better off.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:10 AM
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My two guns with the 'Plug' . It's the hole in a fine S&W gun that is so ugly.



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Old 06-29-2020, 01:30 PM
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I have one gun with the lock, a Model 629-6, and have had no problems with it, of course I removed all the lock parts, installed the stainless piece to fill the hole, and then epoxied over it, and threw the lock parts in the trash where they belonged.
If you need to send your gun in during your lifetime warranty, you will pay a hefty charge to put that lock back in before S&W will send it back to you.

Keep parts just in case.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:38 PM
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The current guns are likely the best every made... CNC machinery and all that. However, the purists want the pre-lock, pinned and collectible guns. Some scream about the liability of deactivating the lock but if you take it out and plug the hole, the liability (hole) no longer exists so nobody locks something that has no lock guts.
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:58 PM
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If you need to send your gun in during your lifetime warranty, you will pay a hefty charge to put that lock back in before S&W will send it back to you.

Keep parts just in case.

I have no intention of sending the gun back to S&W. I can do any & all maintenance on it myself. I was an Armorer and have most of the tools needed.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:29 PM
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I vomit in my mouth a little when I read the term, "Hillary Hole". The connotations are simply too much to bear...
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
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If you need to send your gun in during your lifetime warranty, you will pay a hefty charge to put that lock back in before S&W will send it back to you.

Keep parts just in case.
They did not charge me jack. They just put new lock parts in it.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:46 AM
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I have a 7 shot 686 with the lock. I removed the lock. After several range trips the cylinder hand start to fail. It went back to S&W. They replaced the hand and the rest of the MIM parts. They also replaced the lock.
They had it back to me in 5 business days. No charge. I left the lock in this time. It has been good in a couple thousand rounds. John!
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:15 AM
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I have four S/W revolvers and all have locks. Lots of rounds through them with no lock problems. Stop wasting time and grab yourself s 686or 686+ with or without the lock and get to the range. If you donít like it you can sell it here on the forum in a heartbeat. You wonít regret it.
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