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Thread: S&W 686 locking up

  1. #1
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    S&W 686 locking up

    Hey y'all;
    I have a 686 .357 Mag revolver with 8 3/8" bbl. I purchased this in the late
    80s used. I haved fired this gun periodically over the years and never have had a problem. Browsing the sites, I came across the lockup problem. Next trip to the range, guess what happened? Yep, locked up tighter than a drum.

    I understand I can send it to S&W, they repair it/upgrade, and then stamp with an "M". My problem is that I do not like the idea of sending it anywhere. My luck is it will be lost, etc, etc. Do I have any other options? Can I purchase the parts from Brownell's and do it myself? I am no gunsmith, however, I am mechanically inclined.

    Thanks for any advice,
    George

  2. #2
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    Look at the cylinder gap. lead build up on the forcing cone.OK?
    Remove the cylinder from the crane and lube.
    Remove the side plate and inspect for free movement of the pawl.

  3. #3
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    Thanks GunnySmith

    The gap looks good, tight tolerance no shake or wobble.

    That is left hand thread, correct?

    The side plate is tight. How best to pop it open without damage to it or other parts of the firearm?

    Thank you,
    George

  4. #4
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    When the cylinder is out, does it spin freely?
    Threads I can't remember.
    Remove the grips and all the sideplate screws, Then use a plastic mallet to tap lightly on the grip frame below the side plate. you should see it start to raise.

  5. #5
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    Did it lock up while loaded?

    Handloads?

    Could it be high primers?
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  6. #6
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    Spins freely.

    I have only fired factory rounds, 158gr mostly. I started sending some 38spl through it (even lighter of course) and that was factory as well. It was some Monarch, cheaper stuff. (I think Monarch is Academy Sports house brand) It locked up before all six were touched off. I had to jiggle, wiggle, etc the cylinder, trigger, and hammer a wee bit as they would hardly move until it finally released. Loaded, then would do it again, just not everytime.

  7. #7
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    No worries on removing the cylinder then.
    Did you get the side plate off?
    When you see the plate start to come out tap real light. Or else you'll knock the trigger parts loose.

  8. #8
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    Thanks. I got the side plate off, along with a peice that has a hollow loop at one end and "L" at the other. Read your post after it happened..... Nothing else seems to have come loose.

  9. #9
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    Thank y'all

    Well, After lookin for awhile, I figured out where it all goes and got it back together. I did not find anything broke, wore out, etc. Everything looked to function well and be in seemingly workable tolerances.

    I am going to eaze out to the range tomorrow, we will see what happens. Thanks again for all of the support.

    George

  10. #10
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    I don't know about that specific model, but I have two older S&Ws with a notch under the barrel by the forcing cone to clear the ejector rod/cylinder axle. I had a Model 19 lock up because this weak point started to split and spread out, binding the cylinder.

    Is this a possibility?

    Check to see if that part of the barrel is starting to spread out and is perhaps contacting/rubbing the ejector rod/cylinder axle at that point.

    Terry, 230RN

    ETA:
    On googling specifically for that model, I came up with this --see especially Brian Dale's post on shipping to and from S&W. I assume from your post that you have seen this about the recall, but I'm adding it as a benefit to any other readers:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/i...p/t-64124.html

    I agree with you on not wanting to have to ship it at all in the first place.

  11. #11
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    I can not see it bind on the cylinder at all. I see light as I revolve it. Perhaps about the thickness of a hair or so. I took it to the range today and put 60 or so rounds of 38spl and 357 and di not have one problem. Perhaps pulling it all apart last night did it. I might call the S&W 800 number on that link. If it is a week turnaround still, I may just go ahead and send it. I have lost trust in it.

    George

  12. #12
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    Binding 686

    I have both a 686 and a 629 that will bind after 75 rounds or so because the cylinder gap is less than .003. I have no problem with this as all they need is a thourough cleaning and they are fine. They both are extremely accurate.
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  13. #13
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    If your pistol is part of the recall I'd suggest that you let Smith rework it.

    Aside from the preceding ... when folks mix 38 special and 357 mag they sometimes get problems due to carbon build up in the chamber(s) from the shorter 38 round. If you haven't done so ... try thoroughly cleaning the chambers.
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  14. #14
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    The piece that has the loop and the "L" is the hammer block.

    Check to see if the ejector rod is loose - it has a left hand thread.
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  15. #15
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    I've sent departmental firearms back to S&W through the years and never had a single problem. Contact them and they will email you a FedEx shipping tag. It isn't a big deal. Just be sure to ship it through a FedEx Customer location and not a FedEx francised store.

  16. #16
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    I have a early 80's 686 which was returned for the mod. It started binding up with non barn burning loads. The mod fixed it. I believe, if I remember right, it had to do with the firing pin bushing. As already stated Smith has a fine rep and I would not worry about sending a pistol to them. I had a Sigma go back 3 times. In the end they made me very happy.

  17. #17
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    P-32 is correct. It's the firing pin bushing. If you look at where the firing pin comes thru the frame , it's surrounded by a pressed circular bushing. S&W discovered years back that under heavy reloads or hot factory loads , the bushing was working loose , and interfering with the cylinder revolving. I had one that locked up on me and I then found out about the recall.

    Any 686 that has the factory rework done to it has a "M" stamped thats visible when you open up the cylinder and look at the frame. The M should proceed the serial number.

    Don't WESCOG up your gun, ship it to S&W an let them repair their design flaw.

  18. #18
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    another issue?

    I've had the little spring plunger lock under the barrel freeze up. You could not push the cylinder release in. Take a small brass punch and see if it will move.

  19. #19
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    I had a different one happen to me. I use several 66 and 686 revolvers in classes. One day I had one hang up with the hammer half way back (fully loaded). Could not get it to move, so I taped a stick under the hammer and took it to my shop. Took it apart and found a grain of sand (quartz) under the rebound slide. Replaced the rebound slide, smoothed the frame where the rebound slide moves and everything has been fine.

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