686 - 6 shot / 7 shot

This is a discussion on 686 - 6 shot / 7 shot within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; while looking for deep cover guns, im looking awful hard at the 2.5" smith 686. i own a 4" 686 and believe it to be ...

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Thread: 686 - 6 shot / 7 shot

  1. #1
    Member Array NaturalSelection's Avatar
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    686 - 6 shot / 7 shot



    while looking for deep cover guns, im looking awful hard at the 2.5" smith 686. i own a 4" 686 and believe it to be amongst the best wheel guns available. even the 2.5" version is probably a little big for deep cover, but i think i can make it work.

    in comparing the 6 shot 686 to the 7 shot 686, the cylinders appear to be the same diameter, with thinner cylinder walls on the 7 shot model because they shoved 7 holes in a 6 hole cylinder. the 6 shot model has nice thick walls that would no doubt stand up to anything i would ever throw at it. the 7 shot however, appears to be about half as durable. now i know that smith wouldnt put out weak cylinders, but the difference is so obvious that i have to question if the 7 shot version cylinder would withstand a regular hammering from 180 grain corbon hunter loads (over 640# muzzle energy!).

    are my concerns unfounded? the 7 shot version would sure be nice (im big on capacity), but not at the expense of durability.
    thanks,

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    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    The 7-shot is just as durable as the 6-shot, and maybe more-so in one important area. On a revolver with even numbers of chambers the action lock right on top of the chamber thus necessitating creating a weak spot right above the chamber. This is really minor but it is a consideration. On cylinders with odd numbers of chambers the action locks between the cylinders, which is arguably stronger than on top. That is one of the reasons why you will see a lot of custom shops converting 6 shot revolvers to 5-shot, specially when converting to a hotter caliber like the .475 Linebaugh
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    Member Array NaturalSelection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p8riot View Post
    The 7-shot is just as durable as the 6-shot, and maybe more-so in one important area.
    looking at them, the walls on the 7 shot are about half as thick (literally) as the walls on the 6 shot. how can the thinner walled cylinder be equal or better?

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Really curious about the "thinner walls"- IIRC, that is actually a 629 (44 mag) cylinder, that allowed them the room to get that extra chamber. They may have gone to (again, IIRC) 17-4 ss, which is supposed to offer greater strength for the size.

    I sure haven't heard any reports of blown cylinders.......

    Only other thought I would have is that for "deep concealment" a Para Ord LDA has the 686 beat, all kinds of hands-down. That's not subjective- the Para (by design) is less bulky and more snag-free. Just my $.02......

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    Member Array NaturalSelection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob72 View Post
    Really curious about the "thinner walls"- IIRC, that is actually a 629 (44 mag) cylinder
    i compared two yesterday, a 7 shot right beside a 6 shot. the overall diameter appeared to be the same, with less spacing on the 7 shot version causing thinner sidewalls. im going back to look again (and to possibly buy something) and ill see if i can take pictures. the walls between the cylinders are literally half the thickness on the 7 shot.

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    Senior Member Array CombatEffective's Avatar
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    I had one for a short time and regret that I gave up a nice GP100 to get it. The only loaders readily available for them are the HKS loaders. I put a Wolff reduced by 1 pound mainspring in it as I have done in other revolvers, and the 686+ would give me nothing but light strikes.

    I sure miss that GP100.
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    Member Array Jungle Work's Avatar
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    I have lots of Smith Revolvers. I was raised with six shooters and I can't see any reason for changing.

    Jungle Work

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    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    I have the 7 shot 2.5 inch 686+.
    It appears quite strong to me- I too thought some about the cylinder wall thickness issue, but with the modern steels it isn't a problem. The L frame was designed for continual full pressure 357 ammunition, so frame-wise the gun is very strong, almost like the Ruger.
    Part of the issue is the following fallacy-thicker walls do of course equal stronger chambers, other things equal. But guns need completely adequate strength, not more. So the question is: is the 686+ cylinder strong enough to be completely durable by revolver standards. I plan to shoot mine until I find out. If it fails, I will post about it.
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    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    While I only own one (4" Model 10), and the wife has one (642 with CT grips), I have always been fascinated by revolvers. They have a solid construction and with that comes durability, simplicity of operation and reliability.

    Anyway, I've often thought about a 686, but never took the plunge. Had a 629 Classic for deer hunting and regret that I ever sold it; it was a great shooter.

    You may want to look for opinions at Smith & Wesson forum as well: http://www.smith-wessonforum.com/

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    Member Array Trebla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefs-special-guy View Post
    I have the 7 shot 2.5 inch 686+.
    It appears quite strong to me- I too thought some about the cylinder wall thickness issue, but with the modern steels it isn't a problem. The L frame was designed for continual full pressure 357 ammunition, so frame-wise the gun is very strong, almost like the Ruger.
    Part of the issue is the following fallacy-thicker walls do of course equal stronger chambers, other things equal. But guns need completely adequate strength, not more. So the question is: is the 686+ cylinder strong enough to be completely durable by revolver standards. I plan to shoot mine until I find out. If it fails, I will post about it.
    God Bless
    do you carry your 686+ for self defense or is it a range gun?

  12. #11
    Member Array Kimo's Avatar
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    I think the 7 shot would be perfectly safe for any round in that caliber are they would not sell it.
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  13. #12
    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    Trebla-
    the 686+ is just for home defense/bedside table and for plinking. It is too heavy for me to carry concealed, but I do have a really nice milt sparks owb holster for it. It might be okay in winter..
    I carry a, guess what, Chief Special for CCW.
    But the 686 is much more fun to play with.
    God Bless
    Six for sure...Uh, I mean Five. Five for sure..

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    Those 686+'s are nice indeed, one is on my "to get" list....
    "Ray Nagin is a colossal disappointment" - NRA/ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.


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  15. #14
    Member Array Trebla's Avatar
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    I am picking one up this weekend. I can't wait. It will serve the same purpose home defense/bedside gun. But before it gets the priviledge it must pass the 200 rds. test.

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