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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 03-31-2021, 10:34 AM
mohrt mohrt is offline
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Default S&W 686, what can you tell me?

Hi,

My father passed and in his gun collection is a S&W 686 Revolver, SN AFJ8675. anything you can tell me about it? Is it a first edition model? Year? Value? Also, first post




TIA
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Last edited by mohrt; 03-31-2021 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:10 AM
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Nice gun hope you are shooting it. I have guns from dad and granddad good memories.
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:23 AM
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Looks to have a very desirable 3" barrel, but from a later time....take the stocks off, is this a square butt?

Open the crane, do you see a marking CS-1? or CS-3?
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:31 AM
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Manufactured approximately November, 1984. If that is a 3" unmodified barrel and also a CS Model, the sky is the limit in the condition it is in with those stocks. Probably $1500-$2000, depending on how bad someone wanted it. If it were mine these days with the outrageous pricing on vintage Smiths, I would take no less than $1500 for it. Good luck.
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAFireman View Post
Looks to have a very desirable 3" barrel, but from a later time....take the stocks off, is this a square butt?

Open the crane, do you see a marking CS-1? or CS-3?
More photos!


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Old 03-31-2021, 11:40 AM
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Your Dad had good taste! See if you can locate the factory grips and box.

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Old 03-31-2021, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swagmeister View Post
Manufactured approximately November, 1984. If that is a 3" unmodified barrel and also a CS Model, the sky is the limit in the condition it is in with those stocks. Probably $1500-$2000, depending on how bad someone wanted it. If it were mine these days with the outrageous pricing on vintage Smiths, I would take no less than $1500 for it. Good luck.
I found the receipt, he bought in 2016 for $850
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:48 AM
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How do I measure the barrel? The exact measurement from the seam to the tip is 2.25 inches.
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:09 PM
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from the face of the cylinder to the tip of the barrel
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
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from the face of the cylinder to the tip of the barrel
Ok yep 3" barrel
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:27 PM
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I'll give you $1200 for it.����

Nice piece. Enjoy it.
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:54 PM
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I was of the belief that 3" 686's from that era had a round butt. Being that it is a square butt, it may be a factory rebarrel, or perhaps a special run for some distributor. Someone with a little more knowledge will chime in soon.
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Old 03-31-2021, 01:26 PM
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I believe that revolver is re-barreled because the “.356 Magnum” is on the left side and “Smith & Wesson” is on the right side and for that era of 686, it should be the opposite.

The stocks are classy, but not original, they are Alatamont.

Also appears that this revolver is subject to recall but wears no “M” stamps which gives me the idea that it was not S&W that did the re-barrel work.
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Old 03-31-2021, 01:49 PM
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^^oops typo above should read “.357” of course.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:05 PM
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Probably one of the finest, if not THE finest, revolvers ever made. I bought a 686+ 2 1/2" bbl a few years ago and it is an awesome shooter. An absolute keeper.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:06 PM
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It sure is a nice revolver, shoot it and enjoy it.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:33 PM
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I have been shooting it and it is an absolute joy!
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:51 PM
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Very nice revolver. I have a 6 inch no dash and was looking for a snub-nose to match. I couldn't find one so I ended up with 2.5 inch 66-1. I think I like the look of the full under lug on the 686 a bit better, lol.
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Old 03-31-2021, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
I believe that revolver is re-barreled because the “.357 Magnum” is on the left side and “Smith & Wesson” is on the right side and for that era of 686, it should be the opposite.
Plus it has the larger barrel stamping that we see on the newer Smiths. All the older ones I have seen have the traditional smaller barrel stamping. Plus I don't recall any of that time period with a pinned red ramp sight.

Regardless , still a hec of a nice gun!!
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Old 03-31-2021, 04:12 PM
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Not a CS-1, and 99% certain that it has a later issue barrel. The barrel alone is probably worth 250-300 right now. It likely started life as 4" or 6" barrel gun.

It is missing the recall stamp, but I probably wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Neat gun BTW
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Old 03-31-2021, 04:14 PM
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Be aware that you are on a slippery slope. These L-frame guns come in sets: 2-1/2", 4" , 6", and 8-3/8" barrels. You have the 'rare' 3" barrel, now you need to get the rest.

Don't worry about dash numbers, just find the other barrel lengths, my wife and I have 3 sets of barrels with frames -- M-19, M-586, and M-686. Good luck in your quest.
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Old 03-31-2021, 04:26 PM
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I am not really a collector, but a SHOOTER!(:>))
When the CS-1's overruns hit the market, I was at the Indianapolis 500 Gun Show. I took one look and reached for my wallet. A distributor had a few and it looked to me like a "Pefect Packing Pistol" (as per Taffin). I took it home and that double under lugged barrel holds so well for me, that I was able to shoot that revolver better than any other .357 I had tried (and I had a few). I did a Jerry Michulek trigger job but kept it so it would reliably fire any current primers at the time (and after). After all, this was to be a "Practical Revolver" and it certainly has been for all of these years. It will shoot well under an inch at 25 yards off a rest, and I have come to call revolvers I own that seemed to about half shoot themselves, "Owner Friendly". I liked the CS-1 so well and bought a six inch 686 later and still have both.



I have taken a bushel basket of edible small game with my handguns and the 686’s do an excellent job!

FWIW
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Old 03-31-2021, 07:21 PM
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Condolences on the passing of your dad, but congratulations on the acquisition of a wonderful revolver. That series has many many aficionados and I gather that you also are in that camp! By the way, a warm welcome to this great forum for the exchange of information and knowledge.

May you enjoy many years of shooting pleasure with that, and have the opportunity to acquire yet other examples of such fine craftsmanship to enhance your joy of ownership.
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Old 03-31-2021, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Be aware that you are on a slippery slope. These L-frame guns come in sets: 2-1/2", 4" , 6", and 8-3/8" barrels.
Funny but true. I have a 2.5", 3", and 4" 686+ and a 6" 586. Then I learned to control myself................for now, anyway.........
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:47 PM
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While an incredibly nice gun it also appears to have a square butt frame so I'd guess a rebarrel. I also inherited a 686 from my late father in 1992. He bought it new in Sept. 1981, still has the receipt with it. I've shown it many times before here

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Old 03-31-2021, 10:19 PM
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In my completely unscientific estimation, the 686 and its variants are the most popular revolvers in the S&W line - certainly on this forum. Yours is certainly no exception. Shoot it safely and take care of it, please.
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISCS Yoda View Post
Funny but true. I have a 2.5", 3", and 4" 686+ and a 6" 586. Then I learned to control myself................for now, anyway.........
Ok I am intrigued. Where might I find the other barrel configurations for this revolver? And are they easily swapped?What are the reasons for each length? I assume the longer the barrel the more accurate the sights and bullet travel?

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Old 04-01-2021, 12:16 AM
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It takes proper tools and knowledge to swap barrels properly without damaging the frame and setting the correct gap between the cylinder and barrel.
You can keep an eye on the classified section here to look out for other 686s. There are also a lot of online options to look for other revolvers. If you’re friendly with a local shop let them know what you’re looking for and hopefully when they get one in they’ll set it aside until you can see it and decide if you want to get it.
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Old 04-01-2021, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohrt View Post
Ok I am intrigued. Where might I find the other barrel configurations for this revolver? And are they easily swapped?What are the reasons for each length? I assume the longer the barrel the more accurate the sights and bullet travel?
I am uncertain what you mean by "find". But this should help:

This is what S&W offers now:

Revolvers | Smith & Wesson

©2021 Smith & Wesson

Just clicking on the Model 686 Plus shows you all of the available barrel lengths:

Model 686 PLUS | Smith & Wesson

©2021 Smith & Wesson

2.5", 3", 4.125" (most folks just call it 4"), 5", 6", and 7".

In a 686+ I have these:

2.5"



3"



4"



And for a size comparison this next is an older 6" M586:




I'm no expert on barrel interchangeability but the old Dan Wesson revolvers were designed to do just that and often came with 3 different barrels that could be unscrewed and changed. I think you need a gunsmith to remove these S&W barrels, you don't just pop them off by unscrewing them BICBW.

There are two answers for the "reasons" for the different barrel lengths. The fun answer is "because". Because folks like these guns and collect them and want them.

But the technical answer is that they do have different uses but even that depends on the users. Technically, the shorter barrels are more easily concealed/easier to carry/easier to wield indoors as house guns or in the field. The longer barrels are more appropriate for hunting and long range shooting because bullets travel faster and farther from longer barrels. And they are more accurate, especially at long distances.

OTOH, you'll get comments that differ from mine from so many lovers of these guns that my advice is fasten your seat belt and pay attention to all of the comments because you'll learn something every time. There are some real experts on the Forum. I'm just a journeyman, lifetime shooter and lover of all things in the world of firearms, mostly.
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Old 04-01-2021, 12:36 AM
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Deepest condolences for your loss

Nice piece, but it has definitely been re-barreled with a much later production barrel. To my knowledge all 3” 686s are round butts and it has the newer font. Since it’s not original it’s hard to valuate it, so basically worth what someone wants to pay for it. I think $750 to $850 is a safe price range, but it could go higher to the right person. Nevertheless, it’s a great shooter that’ll last several generations.
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Old 04-01-2021, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
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It takes proper tools and knowledge to swap barrels properly without damaging the frame and setting the correct gap between the cylinder and barrel.
You can keep an eye on the classified section here to look out for other 686s. There are also a lot of online options to look for other revolvers. If you’re friendly with a local shop let them know what you’re looking for and hopefully when they get one in they’ll set it aside until you can see it and decide if you want to get it.
I see, so when you guys say "collect all the barrels", you mean collect all the 686 revolvers with different barrel lengths, not just collecting barrels by themselves, as they are not really interchangeable without a gun smith.
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Old 04-01-2021, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohrt View Post
I see, so when you guys say "collect all the barrels", you mean collect all the 686 revolvers with different barrel lengths, not just collecting barrels by themselves, as they are not really interchangeable without a gun smith.
Well, not ALL of us have to collect all barrel lengths. I bought my first 4in 686 in August 1986 and still have all the OEM paperwork plus handwritten and register receipts, box, OEM stocks + pachmayr grips with that receipt also.

A few years ago I bought another 686 4in in order to take the load off of my first! Plus this second one has the same alpha prefix "AUExxxx" . I spent some $$$ on it to get the "M" modification though they forgot to stamp the "M". I also took it to a LGS to have the B/C reduced from 0.009" down to 0.003". Did my own trigger job and stoning. What a great shooter!

I guess the bottom line is to absolutely decide if you are going to collect shooters or pieces of art. IMO, there is NO in between. I chose my OEM 1st purchase to keep as pristine as possible and picked up a same era 4in 686 to shoot the **** out of! I love it/them!

You will notice that I updated my grips on both:
  • Top-Left is my 1st and I use/used CTC grips for dry-fire practice
  • Lower right is my 2nd 686 with Hogue grips

Now that I have my 1st 686 preserved, I put the original Congalo Alves Target grips back on it. BTW, the only time the original grips were on it was for photo-ops only...

AGAIN is....... pick your own poison! This stuff is indeed addictive!
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:05 PM
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I think if there was one opinion that every member of this forum could agree on, it would be that the 686, regardless of configuration or dash #, is
one sweet handgun.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:09 PM
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Hey CH4 Bill already offered him $1200.
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Old 04-02-2021, 12:48 PM
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S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me?  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug44 View Post
Hey CH4 Bill already offered him $1200.
I was just being hyperbolic, that's what every one of them I see on gunbroker is listed for.
Forgive my bad manners, yes, sorry for your loss and since it was your late father's gun, no matter WHAT it is, its priceless. Again, enjoy that puppy. My 686 is like everyone else has already said, a shooting machine.
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  #36  
Old 04-02-2021, 01:47 PM
357 shooter 357 shooter is offline
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S&W 686, what can you tell me?  
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Originally Posted by mohrt View Post
I see, so when you guys say "collect all the barrels", you mean collect all the 686 revolvers with different barrel lengths, not just collecting barrels by themselves, as they are not really interchangeable without a gun smith.
Yeah collecting complete revolvers in different lengths. In the 686 I have the 2.5" and 6" with a 4" 586 thrown in too. The 8 3/8" is one I've rarely seen in person. Would be a great hunting 357. My 4" 586 and 6" 686 are two of the most most accurate centerfire handguns I have ever owned in 30+ years of handgun shooting.
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:49 PM
wetdog1911 wetdog1911 is offline
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S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me?  
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Quick question.

Everything else being equal (same bbl length, etc), how much of a $$$ difference would there be between a M586 and a M686?

Just curious, and thanks!

Rob

Looked on GB and there was zero M586s listed.
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  #38  
Old 04-03-2021, 10:27 AM
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diecidecimi diecidecimi is offline
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S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me? S&W 686, what can you tell me?  
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L frame .357 Smiths are the excellent reply to the Colt's bestseller, the Python, that had an unbelievable success with his look of the full underlug and the vented rib.
Please check the left side of the frame under the stocks (grips, if you like better): the black area in your pics ( post #5) is the phone's shadow I guess, but that S shaped irregular line is disturbing my fanatic eyes.... I hope it is only crud, not worn steel
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