S&W 642 and 686

S&W 642 and 686

This is a discussion on S&W 642 and 686 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm getting interested in a different type of carry gun, and am considering the 642 -- am I correct in saying that the 642 shoots ...

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Thread: S&W 642 and 686

  1. #1
    Member Array Zach and Holly's Avatar
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    S&W 642 and 686

    I'm getting interested in a different type of carry gun, and am considering the 642 -- am I correct in saying that the 642 shoots only .38 and that the 686 shoots both .38 and .357mag? It's hard to tell from the pictures, and I've only held the 642, but are these guns essentially the same size (snub barrels only)? Are there any other s&w snubs the size of the 642 that will shoot the .357's?

    I'm also confused on all these different "special releases". As I understand it (and have read), one
    has an exposed hammer, one has a shrouded hammer and one has the enclosed hammer. Only that the enclosed hammer version is currently being produced without the internal lock (ughh). I've read several places that a lot of folks don't like this internal lock, thus the reason Smith making these new one's without it. Thoughts on the internal lock? I'm not familiar with it at all, and really only understand that it's a safety feature you lock/unlock with a key....

    Sorry about all the questions. I'm just not sure about all the hammer types, and was hoping for some guidance and reasons why one might be better than the other.

    One more question when it comes to revolvers, what is ported/unported?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach and Holly View Post
    I'm getting interested in a different type of carry gun, and am considering the 642 -- am I correct in saying that the 642 shoots only .38 and that the 686 shoots both .38 and .357mag? Yes. It's hard to tell from the pictures, and I've only held the 642, but are these guns essentially the same size (snub barrels only)? Are there any other s&w snubs the size of the 642 that will shoot the .357's? No, not really. The 686 is a much bulkier gun with its 6 shot cylinder vs. the 5 shot 642. It is also a steal gun vs. the lighter alloy 642. Grip size on the 686 is also larger.

    I'm also confused on all these different "special releases". As I understand it (and have read), one
    has an exposed hammer, one has a shrouded hammer and one has the enclosed hammer. Only that the enclosed hammer version is currently being produced without the internal lock (ughh). I don't know about the 686, but the 642 is available without the lock. I've read several places that a lot of folks don't like this internal lock, thus the reason Smith making these new one's without it. Yes and no... these guns are assembled from parts S&W had in inventory. Thoughts on the internal lock? It doesnt bother me other than the political factors. I'm not familiar with it at all, and really only understand that it's a safety feature you lock/unlock with a key....

    Sorry about all the questions. I'm just not sure about all the hammer types, and was hoping for some guidance and reasons why one might be better than the other.

    One more question when it comes to revolvers, what is ported/unported?
    Ported means the same thing in a revolver and a semi. Its vents cut or drilled in the end of the barrel to help with recoil and muzzle flip. I'm not a big believer in it at all, and its a bad idea for a defensive gun IMO.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array tankdriver's Avatar
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    I own the 642. It has a harsh recoil with 38 +P, believe me shooting a 357 in the 686 will not be a fun thing to do. My 642 is the gun I carry more than any other, although I have several Sigs, I have been spoiled by pocket carry, drop it in and go. Always covered, and always there.....

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach and Holly View Post
    Are there any other s&w snubs the size of the 642 that will shoot the .357's?

    Thoughts on the internal lock?
    S&W makes several J frame, 5 shot .357 revolvers with lightweight frames. They all have the number "340" in the model number, and weigh about 12 ounces:

    S&W 340PD web page

    They are notoriously difficult to shoot with .357 ammo because of their huge recoil. I personally would just go with the .38 special model 642 which weighs 15 ounces and is the same size. It recoils enough, but at least it won't hurt your hand. Here is my 642, which is a great pocket or ankle gun for close in defense.



    With regard to internal locks, I have no use for them and my 8 S&W revolvers are all prelock.

    If you want to shoot .357 magnum in a defensive revolver, I recommend a steel gun that weighs about 25 ounces, like the S&W 640 or the Ruger SP101. Personally I also use even heavier .357s, the steel S&W model 66 (stainless) or model 19 (blued) snubbies which weigh 32 ounces but conceal easily. A used one costs about $500 and it easily handles .357 recoil so you can fire several fast shots and hit your target at some distance.



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    The Model 686 is an L-Frame, listed at 40 ozs. weight in a 4-inch barrel, so I'm guessing the 2 1/2-inch barrel model weighs in at about 37 ozs. give or take. It will be slightly larger than the Models 66-3 and 19-5 that pogo2 posted (they are both K-Frames). .357 recoil will seem to be much less in the L-Frame than in a J-Frame. Plus, you can still drop to .38 Special +P if you wish. For years, the FBI carried 158-grain .38 Special +P lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoints in their 3 1/2-inch N-Frame Smiths (Model 27 .357 Magnum). Like these: http://www.remington.com/products/am.../remington.asp product number R38S12

    You are certainly not going to be able to conceal an L-Frame as readily as a J-Frame, but it can be done. People do it all the time. I carry a K-Frame Model 15 snubnose on occasion, and it conceals very readily IWB (but the speedloaders don't).
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