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Range Report: S&W m686 SSR Pro Series

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Firearm tested
    .357mag S&W m686 SSR Pro Series

    Ammo used
    100 rounds - 130gr Winchester FMJ

    The report is on the Smith & Wesson m686 SSR (Stock Service Revolver). I needed another .357mag revolver like I needed another hole in my head, but when I saw this gun I just had to have it.



    I am a huge revolver lover to begin with and I was immediately drawn to the looks of this gun the second I saw it on the wall at my local gun dealer. The slab side barrel and dramatic lines of the gun really drew my attention. I was even further attracted to the gun by the very nice silverwood grips, which bear the "SSR" initials, it was sporting. This gun has a very unique look to it. The ramped underlug and "peek-a-boo" cutout for the plunger are quite dramatic looking.

    The specs are as follows...

    Model: 686SSR
    Caliber: .357MAG/.38+P
    Capacity: 6 Rounds
    Barrel Length: 4"
    Front Sight: Interchangeable
    Rear Sight: Adjustable
    Grip: Wood
    Frame: Medium
    Finish: Satin Stainless
    Material: Stainless Steel Frame and Cylinder
    Weight Empty: 38.3 oz.


    This is a standard DA/SA revolver for the most part. It has all the normal features of a S&W m686 revolver. The major differences are the appearance and the level of fine tuning. It does have the added benefit of coming from the factory with the very nice silverwood grips I mentioned above.

    The front sight is interchangeable and the rear sight is the standard S&W adjustable rear.

    This is a newer gun so it does have the infamous and controversial internal lock. I am not a person who is bothered by the locks on S&W guns. I have them on a few of the newer S&W revolvers in my collection. I had recently decided to only buy older, pre-lock models for awhile but that plan went out the window when I saw this gun.

    Some of the noteable features are as follows...

    * Forged Hammer
    * Forged Trigger
    * Chamfered Charge Holes
    * Custom Barrel with Recessed Precision Crown
    * Bossed Mainspring
    * Ergonomic Grip to Force High-Hand Hold, Tuned Action


    This gun is top notch. It is a "Pro Series" gun, which places it just above Smith's standard production line and just below the custom shop, but I could have sworn it was a custom shop gun when I first handled it. The tolerances are a true example of precision craftsmanship. Every line is crisp and perfect. Every gap is uniform.

    Gone is the standard brushed stainless finish of the production guns and in it's place is a beautiful "pearlescent" bead blasted finish on all the stainless parts. Every inch of this gun just screams "high quality."

    Another finish detail that I feel deserves mentioning is the fact that the S&W logo on the side of the gun is an actual roll mark and not the standard laser mark on the new pistols. This is really a nice thing in my opinion. True engraving gives a gun an added touch of class that laser etching/marking is missing.


    If you think the quality of this gun shows through when looking at it, you should try shooting it. That is when this gun really shines.

    The trigger on this gun has to be the finest revolver trigger I have ever had the pleasuring of firing. The mechanics were like fine clockwork and the DA pull was smooth and consistent. It broke like glass each and every time. The SA was light but still had a nice tactile sense to it. It required no effort to fire, but was not going to go off by breathing on it (a trait I dislike in some of my SA revolvers). The mechanics of the gun were so smooth you did not even feel that "click-clack" feel that is sometimes present in most revolvers when repeatedly firing DA.

    The gun is also a tack driver. The very first shot I fired out of it, while resting my arm on the bench, at 10 yards hit smack dab in the center of the bullseye. The rest of the day I had no issues getting 2"-3" groups with it off-hand at distances up to 25 yards. This is no small feat for a mediocre shot like myself. I am completely confident that a crack shot could be making single jagged holes at 25-30 yards with ease.

    The gun pointed very naturally and the grips fit my hand wonderfully. It felt like an extension of my own arm. I do not think I have ever held a more comfortable S&W revolver.

    Here are a couple examples of targets from some off-hand shooting with this revolver. These are not even the best groups I got today.




    There are only two issues with this firearm.

    The first being the looks. It is such a dramatic look that you are probably either going to fall in love with it (like I did) or you are going to hate it.

    Secondly, it has the internal lock. That is almost a non-issue with me...but not for some people.


    Exciting looks, precision build, fine finishing, and top notch performance...what more could you ask for in a revolver?

    I never thought I would find a revolver to match the performance and beauty of my S&W m66 no-dash...at least not until today. This gun easily equals the m66 in looks and performance. It may even beat it a touch in the later.

    It is a dramatic looking gun that really performs. No matter how you feel about the looks of this gun, you will not be able to help but respect it because of the way it performs at the range.

    This gun is easily in the running for "King of the Revolvers" inside my gunsafe. I know I would hate to have to choose between it and my first run m66.
  2. Old Dog

    Old Dog Kitsap County, WA Member

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    Nice review. I've a love/hate relationship with the 686 and am considering re-entering the world of The Lock (still kicking myself for selling off my 5-inch, half-lugged 686+) ... I also am intrigued by the look of some of the new Pro models ... Regardless of how one feels about The Lock (and MIM), my experience has been that some of these newer Smiths have the tightest lock-up ever, superb accuracy and fabulous triggers ... Soooo ...
  3. uscsoldier

    uscsoldier Salem, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    nice write up:thumbup:
  4. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking grips, they vaguely resemble old bill jordans.