Smith & Wesson M686 SSR

Smith & Wesson’s enhanced M686 SSR design brings custom-like features to a production-line model, raising the bar for quality in the .357 service revolver market. Martin D. Topper tested the M686 SSR for the May 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS and came away impressed with the revolver’s aesthetics and performance.
“Even though the SSR is made on the regular production line, it has chamfered charge holes, a custom 4-inch barrel with a recessed precision crown,
 a bossed mainspring and an ergonomic wood grip that is designed to give a high hand hold for better recoil control,” notes Topper. “There were no obvious defects in workmanship on the exterior of the SSR, so I took it home and gave it a detailed bench examination. A close examination for tool marks and conformity indicated that all surfaces were thoroughly finished, markings were crisp and evenly impressed, and there were no uneven lines or sharp edges.”

At the range, Topper put the M686 SSR through a series of tests, including a “bullseye” match at the Flagler Gun & Archery Club. Noting the gun’s grip-heavy balance, Topper says, “This makes the SSR quick to bring on target when drawn from a holster, and it also makes it swing with little effort. A smooth, effortless swing is important when engaging multiple targets.”

He continues, “Given the gun’s good fit and finish, it was no surprise that it functioned well. Timing was dead-on, and the bolt locked on all chambers well before the hammer was at full-cock. The double-action (DA) and single-action (SA) trigger pulls were very smooth…. The action was very good for a stock revolver, and at least some of this fine performance can be attributed to the use of a bossed mainspring.”

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  • Fred H

    I have been a fan of smith & wesson revolvers my whole life. When I was a kid my dad bought me an old used Model 10 .38 that I fired thousands of rounds through. I would handload ammo for it and take it out to the range in our backyard and run that gun as long as I had bullets to shoot. I had a lot of fun with that gun. When I got a little older and had some money myself, I bought a Model 66 .357 and shot that gun almost as much as the model 10. I shot mostly 38s in it. When the 686 L frame came out, I wanted one badly but did not have a lot of money at that point and was not able to get one. Well, now that the 686 is back, I am definitely going to have to get one.And, I have a little more money now, so I think I am going to get one of these SSR ones reviewed here. Great review. Now, I just have to find one here in Kentucky that I can buy! Keep up the good work and the great reviews.