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Old 11-03-2004, 06:34 PM   #1
Twitch
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Default Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

My parents presented me with my belated college graduation present, a stainless 6" S&W 686. My question now is how do you tell the difference between the L,K,N frames when trying to order bases for a scope... I've held the L next to an N and see no difference

I found a Redfield base I really like, but its for the N model... but specifically calls for the tapped sight screws my L has. Will they fit?

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Old 11-03-2004, 07:51 PM   #2
Ryan Pultz
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

I dont know about the scope base but it sounds like one heck of a cannon. Rp
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Old 11-03-2004, 08:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

The 686 is an "L" frame.

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Old 11-03-2004, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

The 357mag 686 is an L frame.
A 44mag 629 is an N frame
The 38 five shooters are J frame
The K frame is the Model 10/65/66.
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Old 11-03-2004, 08:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Yes it should. The dimensional differences between the K, L, N and X frames have nothing to do with the rear sight mount. Remove the rear sight and the new base should fit just fine in the factory drilled holes (3 of them).

FYI - most grips are also interchangeable between the K,L,N.

Great present and enjoy!!!
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Old 11-03-2004, 09:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Quote:
I've held the L next to an N and see no difference
Don't worry there IS a difference!

The genesis of the S&W guns goes like this...

The small "J" (.32) Frame could be fitted for .38 Spl cartridges, but the small diameter cylinder could only accept 5 shots. Later frames have been stretched to accept .357s, best a mild diet of them!

Then there is the "K" (.38 Spl, but sometimes fitted w/.32 or .22LR cylinders & barrels-K-32 & K-22) Frame, which S&W put some .357 cylinders on to make a lighter weight .357 carry gun-actually originally for the Border Patrol (Mod.s 19, 66 & 67). But again, because of factors like frame stretching under prolonged use with magnum ammo etc. these only wanted a mild diet of the powerful loads.

There has, for a long time, been the large or "N" Frame. This was the frame that the big .44s and .45s and later the original .357 Magnum revolver was built on after having the heavy duty ".38/44" out for awhile. This one is BIG, Heavy and Strong! It's the basis for the Models 24, 25, 27, 28 & 29.

So what Smith did was to make a larger, heavier frame, especially for prolonged use of .357 Magnum rounds but WITH a "K" Frame sized grip. That's the "L" Frame.

It's NOT as big/heavy as the "N" Framed guns, but not as light duty as the "K" framed guns either.

BTW, if you really want to get your eyes "opened up", get a copy of Jerry Miculek's DVD on "Advanced Ultimate Revolver" Shooting. You WON'T believe what this guy can do with a revolver! He shoots his S&W 686s and Mod. 25s faster than most competitors can shoot a semi-auto! He shows you HOW he does it and how to set up your own revolver for fast, accurate shooting.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Wow, great feedback, thanks all. So billc, one last question. Will a scope bracket that says "S&W model N" fit on the frame of a model L? WHile they are different in the overall mass/construction, does the tapping pattern of the sights match up between models?

Oh yeah, my friend has that DVD, it is truely amazing!
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Twitch,

Hmm...while I know (and have a few examples of each frame size, not many of them very new) about the history and size details, I truly DON'T have an answer for you on that!

However I do know that there's a very active S&W Talk Forum that has a "Gunsmithing" section that could probably easily answer this question.

Also, the tried and true supplier of gunsmithing supplies, Brownell's (who you'll easily find via a search engine online and their 1-800 number) will DEFINITELY be able to give you the correct answer!

One other thought for you here...depending on exactly WHAT, and the range/s you plan to shoot, I might suggest you consider looking at "Dot Sights" as an option to a scope on your new revolver.

Having pistol scopes on several barrels for my T-C Contender, setup with scopes, I would suggest that while they enhance the long range accuracy of any gun, on a pistol or revolver they are slow to use and require precise eye relief (long) and critical alignment to work (even "getting a picture"!).

Often, out to "medium" shooting/hunting ranges, a Dot Sight or Heads Up Display style (C-More and similar) Sight are much quicker at sight aquisition, eye alignment (which isn't critical) and overall speed and ease of use.
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Old 11-04-2004, 06:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Quote:
Wow, great feedback, thanks all. So billc, one last question. Will a scope bracket that says "S&W model N" fit on the frame of a model L? WHile they are different in the overall mass/construction, does the tapping pattern of the sights match up between models?

Oh yeah, my friend has that DVD, it is truely amazing!

Read my previous post.

Just to be safe, go to the S&W website and you can purchase a scope base that fits the K, L, N. Or you can go here and get this one as well.

The differences between the K and L series are very slight and you can find holsters that fit both. The 2 biggest differences on the L over the K was the full underlug and the beefed up cylinder.

As I mentioned before, the rear sight factory tapped holes are the same on the K, L, N, and X frames. The only way it wouldn't fit is if the rail is too long for your overall barrel length. If you are over 5.5 inches - then you should be good to go.

(edited for having a really bad morning)
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Old 11-05-2004, 12:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

I used to have a 6" 686 but now have a 4" old OSP issue gun......great guns, built to last forever. The L frame was made especially for 357 mag.....to fill the gap between the whimpier J frame 38s and the big N frame 357s, like the highway patrolman. Just use whatever is for a L frame and u wont go wrong :smile:
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Old 11-05-2004, 07:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Quote:
I used to have a 6" 686 but now have a 4" old OSP issue gun......great guns, built to last forever. The L frame was made especially for 357 mag.....to fill the gap between the whimpier J frame 38s and the big N frame 357s, like the highway patrolman. Just use whatever is for a L frame and u wont go wrong :smile:
Never heard of a J frame as being whimpy. Maybe you meant the K frame.

The L frame was actually designed to provide added strength to the K frame. The K frame (M19, M66, etc.) would not hold up to a steady diet of magnums. S&W beefed up the cylinder and frame but retained the medium size frame and grip of the K's.
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Old 11-05-2004, 08:18 AM   #12
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Default Re: Smith & Wesson 686 Question...

Quote:
Never heard of a J frame as being whimpy. Maybe you meant the K frame.
Whimpier than L or N frame
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