Question for some of the wheelygun experts... S&W 686 problem?

This is a discussion on Question for some of the wheelygun experts... S&W 686 problem? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I bought a S&W 686 2.5" .357 a few years ago used from a local dealer. I have since sold it to a good friend ...

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Thread: Question for some of the wheelygun experts... S&W 686 problem?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array gddyup's Avatar
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    Question for some of the wheelygun experts... S&W 686 problem?

    I bought a S&W 686 2.5" .357 a few years ago used from a local dealer. I have since sold it to a good friend of mine who is new to firearms and he and his wife became serious about protection after their first daughter was born. They took the NRA In The Home Protection course this past weekend and ran into some issues with the gun.

    According to him, his wife ran into some problems where the gun wouldn't fire when used double-action. This happened a few times but otherwise the gun worked ok. He mentioned she had brought the trigger pull through almost 3/4 of the way and then backed off on a number of occasions. My thought was maybe the timing had gone off some how. He had the instructor check it out and he verified that the primers on the non-fired round(s) had no strike marks and fired fine the second time through. He checked out the pistol and mentioned to my friend that he may want to send it to S&W to have it repaired. He found that in single-action mode, with the hammer cocked, that he could push the hammer forward with thumb pressure without pulling the trigger.

    Not being a revolver expert I was hoping some of the revolver guys/gals might be able to offer some insight as to what might be the possible issue. I know the instructor and have taken quite a few classes with him so I have faith that he's not just trying to put one over on anyone. When I owned that firearm I put hundreds upon hundreds of rounds through it without any issues at all so I was surprised when he mentioned it to me this past weekend. I never had any work done to the gun and afaik, the dealer I bought it from was unaware of anything also. Not to say there hasn't been any work done, but I am unaware of any at this time.

    Anyone have any ideas? Is there something I should visually check? I can remove the hogue grip and take a peek if someone could direct me to what I may want to look at. Any help, ideas, or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!!
    Firefighter/EMT
    "You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know" - T.R.

    <----My LT was unhappy that I did not have my PASS-Tag at that fire. But I found the body so he said he would overlook it. :)

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Not being a revolver expert
    STOP!

    Insert gun into box and ship directly back to S&W for repair.

    Revolvers are more complicated in their internal mechanisms than Autoloaders and it's too easy to botch something if you do not know what you are doing.

    Being that you have admitted to "Not being a revolver expert" I would urge you to not mess with the gun at all. Leave the stocks on and ship it back is my vote. More good revolvers have been made into "junk" by the Garage Tinkerer than I can count. Don't let this revolver be one of those.

    Biker

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array gddyup's Avatar
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    Thanks Biker. I wouldn't touch the thing at all. I was just curious if there would be anything that I could see that might give me a hint as to whether or not someone else had messed with it before I bought it intially. The only thing I did with it was change the boot grips that were on it for a hogue monogrip. I didn't touch and/or manipulate anything when I did that.

    Any ideas as to why the hammer acts the way it does in single-action mode? Should you be able to push it forward with medium to heavy thumb pressure without a trigger depress? I'm just curious so I can learn more about them and put that in my mental rolodex for the future when I go to purchase another revo.

    Thanks for your input!
    Firefighter/EMT
    "You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know" - T.R.

    <----My LT was unhappy that I did not have my PASS-Tag at that fire. But I found the body so he said he would overlook it. :)

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    I would get the friend to let me take the gun and test it myself. You have stated that he and his wife are new to firearms. If you determine there really is a problem take BikerRN's advice and get the thing to a gunsmith or back to S&W.

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    "He mentioned she had brought the trigger pull through almost 3/4 of the way and then backed off on a number of occasions."

    One may pull the trigger back far enough to advance the cylinder but then release it before the hammer drops and fires the revolver. This would certainly advance the cylinder to the next cartridge in the chamber where it would rest in the firing position yet remain unfired. Any additional cycling of the action would advance the cartridge out of its firing alignment, leaving it unfired. This is normal and any double action revolver may be manipulated to duplicate such an occurrence.


    "He found that in single-action mode, with the hammer cocked, that he could push the hammer forward with thumb pressure without pulling the trigger."


    This is never a normal condition and most likely indicates that someone monkeyed with the action. This is always an unsafe condition. Parts replacement, preferably by the factory, are the remedy.



    One of my early "grail guns" that I wanted to acquire was a Smith & Wesson Model 14 K-38 Masterpiece .38 Special with the long 8 3/8-inch barrel. They were in production at the time but uncommonly found. I finally did locate a brand new one for $209 which indicates how long ago this was. I was so tickled to have it.

    I was in my early 20s at this time and we had a local bullseye and silhouette competitor whose regional reputation as a top notch shot was well warranted. He also fancied himself as a Smith & Wesson action "whiz." He knew I liked Smith & Wesson revolvers and that I had several so offered to do an "action job" on the new Model 14 for me. "Action jobs" were very popular at the time. He said he'd do my first one for free but would charge $50 for any thereafter. I thought " no harm in that" so let him have the revolver. I should have been warned by his comment that he never allowed anyone to watch his work because some of his "special techniques" appeared a "little harsh" to the "uneducated."

    I got the revolver back and it had the lightest, wispy-smooth trigger I'd ever seen. Single action was frightening light and the double action pull felt like a piece of limp spaghetti. His line of bull convinced me that this now strange feeling revolver was just what I needed in a Smith & Wesson action.

    After I got home I continued to manipulate the revolver, trying to get used to its unfamiliar feel. Somehow I discovered that I could push the hammer off when it was in full cock. Next time I saw him I asked him about this and he said: "oh, it's alright. That is desirable for a target gun."

    I've actually seen this statement several times since that day long ago, both in print and on forums.

    I was skeptical so took the revolver to Colonel Snodgrass, a gunsmith of some renown in the Fort Worth area, now sadly deceased. The moment he examined my revolver he exclaimed: "What town did you say you drove from?" When I told him he asked: "Did ____ work on this? I see a lot of these ____-worked guns. I get a lot of repair work from your town, fixing his action jobs."

    It took $45 and a new hammer and trigger to bring my revolver back to factory specifications and $45 was harder to find in the household budget back then.

  7. #6
    Member Array puffer's Avatar
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    Sounds like a "worn" part. ( due to the "fact" no previous prob.s )
    Also could be "some "crud" interfering. ( can be hard to "clan & not recommended for them. )

    IMHO have them write a complete discretion of the "prob.s", & send it to S&W to fix. ( as is ) S&W is GREAT in "handling "prob.s ( often free)

    IMHO,DO NOT have a "gunsmith" work on it.

    Also they will, most likely, have to send it through a "gun dealer" ( usually under $20.00 + frt. )

    Puffer

  8. #7
    Member Array Blue Jacket's Avatar
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    You say it's an used Smith. I wonder if it's had a trigger job. I had one done on my 686 by a local gunsmith. At first the trigger pull was so light the primers had no dimple mark. Sometimes it would fire the round and other times it would just go click. The gunsmith readjusted the internal Wolff spring kit. He also replaced the factory main spring back into the grip handle. I was there during the additional tune up and we fired a bunch of rounds. It is clean, light and crisp now and has never failed since. Also remember, S&W normally holds the original owner to a life time warranty of free work. Since you purchased it used, they may or may not honor the free work. I've dealt with S&W CS many times and found it depends on who is on the other end of the line regarding "free" service work.

    PS: I'm not a gun expert, I just relaid my 686 story in hopes it may benefit your situation.
    May we never forget those in uniform who protect us night and day in lands far away. And those in all wars who paid the supreme sacrifice in defense of our country. May God Bless our Troops and First Responders.

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