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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening all,

I'm new here, have long been interested in buying a S&W revolver, and am about to have an opportunity to buy one soon. I searched the forum, couldn't find an identical topic and would like some input from more experienced people. I'm interested in one of the two revolvers in the title, either one with a 4" barrel, but am having a lot of trouble deciding between the two. I'm leaning slightly towards the M69 because it's a .44 and that sounds fun, but 7 shots of .357 sounds great too.

I'd say I'm a pretty casual handgun shooter. I would probably put no more than 600-700 rounds per year through the gun, no more than 100-150 very heavy loads and the rest split between special and "regular" magnums. I've never shot a .44 magnum and don't own a gun in either caliber. In terms of experience with high recoil ammo, I've shot a cylinder of .45 Colt +P, a few hundred rounds of .357 magnum from snubbies (a few cylinders through a S&W airweight but mostly from Kimber's 2" K6S), and hot 10mm from a lighter 1911. I never found any of them painful except the K6S which stung after several cylinders because of the uncomfortable little wood grips.

I do reload. In terms of revolver experience, I currently own two, a 4" Ruger SP101 in .22 that I probably shoot more than all my other handguns combined and a reproduction 1858 New Army black powder with a .45 Colt conversion cylinder. I've gotten the chance to shoot many different revolvers, so I know I don't want to go larger than an L-Frame. That's as big as I can take a proper grip and have good trigger finger placement with.

It will primarily be carried with powerful stuff for hiking and hunting and see use as something to have fun target shooting and plinking with light and medium loads. I would like to eventually use the revolver to hunt deer <50 yards. Sight radius isn't a big issue because I want to throw a micro red dot on it sooner or later. There are also black bears (250-450 lbs) that are too comfortable with people where I hunt, but it's a lesser consideration because either choice will be better than my current .40 sidearm and worse than any long gun I'll have with me.

Thanks for your time and any input is much appreciated!
 

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i own and have owned several 686's They are a fantastic gun and probably the best Smith Wesson revolver ever made. The L frame is tried and true. It is certainly the most accurate revolver that smith Wesson ever made and a 686 still holds the best revolver accuracy record to date. . If you can find a 686 with out the Hillary hole!! more better !!.

I would opt for the model 686 over the 69 every time ..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your replies everyone. You all are pretty convincing in the direction of a 686, especially with those awesome pictures.
 

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If casual shooting for fun is your goal , the 686 can't be beat. .38 Spl. plinking ammo is cheap (even cheaper if you handload) , for defense the .357 Magnum is better than most , and you get one extra round to extend the fun.
 

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Good evening all,

I'm new here, have long been interested in buying a S&W revolver, and am about to have an opportunity to buy one soon. I searched the forum, couldn't find an identical topic and would like some input from more experienced people. I'm interested in one of the two revolvers in the title, either one with a 4" barrel, but am having a lot of trouble deciding between the two. I'm leaning slightly towards the M69 because it's a .44 and that sounds fun, but 7 shots of .357 sounds great too.

I'd say I'm a pretty casual handgun shooter. I would probably put no more than 600-700 rounds per year through the gun, no more than 100-150 very heavy loads and the rest split between special and "regular" magnums. I've never shot a .44 magnum and don't own a gun in either caliber. In terms of experience with high recoil ammo, I've shot a cylinder of .45 Colt +P, a few hundred rounds of .357 magnum from snubbies (a few cylinders through a S&W airweight but mostly from Kimber's 2" K6S), and hot 10mm from a lighter 1911. I never found any of them painful except the K6S which stung after several cylinders because of the uncomfortable little wood grips.

I do reload. In terms of revolver experience, I currently own two, a 4" Ruger SP101 in .22 that I probably shoot more than all my other handguns combined and a reproduction 1858 New Army black powder with a .45 Colt conversion cylinder. I've gotten the chance to shoot many different revolvers, so I know I don't want to go larger than an L-Frame. That's as big as I can take a proper grip and have good trigger finger placement with.

It will primarily be carried with powerful stuff for hiking and hunting and see use as something to have fun target shooting and plinking with light and medium loads. I would like to eventually use the revolver to hunt deer <50 yards. Sight radius isn't a big issue because I want to throw a micro red dot on it sooner or later. There are also black bears (250-450 lbs) that are too comfortable with people where I hunt, but it's a lesser consideration because either choice will be better than my current .40 sidearm and worse than any long gun I'll have with me.

Thanks for your time and any input is much appreciated!
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Also have a 686 (6") and it's spot on! Versatility and cheaper ammo is a plus. Post pics when you get yours.:)

20190127_112810.jpg
 

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I have the 686-6 and the Internal lock fell out the first cleaning. Very smooth action and as said that 7th shot may come in handy. Get the 686 and never look back.

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IMG_3743.JPG
 

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I bought a 69 not long after they became available. I don't sell many guns but the 69 is gone. I have never sold one of my 686s and I have room for a + when I come across one.
 

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I am the odd man in the group. I had and competed with a 686, 6” barrel and a 686-1, 4” barrel. I also have other S&W revolvers. The 686s were great and kept me at the top of my class. When I quit competition shooting it wasn’t long before the 686s were on the block and gone. Great revolvers but if I was going to carry that much weight, I wanted something more than a 357. And if I wanted to carry a 357, I did not need something that heavy.

If a 357 is what you want, the Model 66 is a very good choice.

However, a 4.25” Model 69 is very intriguing. A 240 grain bullet at 1000 fps would be my load of choice.

Kevin
 

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I am the only person in the world who doesn't care for the 686. No idea why, there isn't anything at all wrong with them. I just don't like them. I've probably owned at least three or four and just never developed any attachment to them, and they went on down the road.

In a 357 I'm a fan of the K-frame Model 19, specifically the current model 19-9. It's an improved version of the classic K-frame 357. A little smaller than the 686, it just feels better to me. It lacks the full length barrel underlug (which I like on the Colt Python, and nothing else...I'm weird that way) so it's less muzzle heavy. The -9 does away with the flat spot under the forcing cone of the older Model 19 which eliminates the concern about cracking the forcing cone when using hot 357 ammo (to be fair, the 686 also does not have that worry).

In short, in 357 I personally, just prefer the 19-9 to the 686.

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Now, the Model 69 is a really nice gun, but unless you're going to reload for it, I wouldn't recommend it, especially for someone with limited handgun experience. With 44 Magnum loads, it's got a pretty stiff recoil, so it's not a lot of fun to shoot at the range. You could use 44 Special ammo for practice, but that's expensive in factory ammo.

Stick with a 357/38, no matter which, would be my advice.
 
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