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I seem to remember the 686 was the Distinguished Service Magnum, and the 586 is the Distinguished Combat Magnum. Is that correct?
Euc - yes, correct. The 586 of course is the blued and the 686 the stainless. Re 686, just to kick this off -

Approx history is -

686 ''dash nothing'' - 1980

686-1, 1986 - radius stud package and floating hand

686-M - 1987 recall stamping on earlier versions

686-2, 1987, hammer nose change, bushing and ass'd parts

686-3, 1988, new yoke retention system
1990 - 2 1/2" barrel introduced.

686-4 ........ 1994 thru 1998 - many changes including move to 7 shot, sight changes etc.

686-5 on is I think the change to MIM parts.


I have more info re 586 but need to go look it up when time.
 

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Actually Euc, and without transcribing the info - the 586 history reflects the 686 to a high degree!!!

If you want said info let me know and I'll copy it tomorrow. Gotta quit soon.
 

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Euc - before I quit - here is a scan - largish file I'm afraid but - gives the main history of each. From Std catalog of S&W edition #2. -



 
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