6 Smith and Wesson 686 Problems: A Must-Read Guide

The Smith and Wesson 686 is famous for its versatility and reliability, whether at the range, during hunts, or for self-defense.

However, some users have noted Smith and Wesson 686 problems.

These include jamming and spring issues, carry-up failures, and a sometimes finicky trigger. Also, timing and cylinder lock problems have been reported.

These problems highlight potential machinery downsides. But reliable solutions are necessary for the fantastic performance of this hardware.

In this blog post, you will explore all available solutions to these problems.

Let’s Go!

Issues and Fixes at a Glance

6 ProblemsTheir Quick Fixes
Jamming IssueProper cleaning and maintenance.
Spring ProblemWork those flat surfaces on the bolt and the hammer.
Carry Up FailureSeek assistance from a professional.
Trigger LockFocus on the side locking plate.
Timing IssueDisassemble your revolver and replace the worn-out hand with a new one.
Cylinder IssueCheck extractor rod, exercise the cylinder repeatedly.
Smith and Wesson 686 Problems

Smith and Wesson 686 Problems and Their Practical Solutions

1. Jamming Issue:

First, a common problem that users have encountered is jamming. This revolver, known for its solid build, sometimes faces trouble due to unburned powder accumulating under the star ejector.

I detected the trigger wouldn’t go bang as expected, indicating a jam. This often happens when the gun gets dirty from frequent use. This causes the ejector to stick.

Trust me, it’s a pain that pops up often.

Read More: Smith and Wesson 460 XVR Problems with Effective Solutions


The solution often comes down to proper cleaning. Regularly cleaning your gun can work wonders in preventing jams caused by unburned powder and debris.

Start by focusing on the star ejector, as buildup here can hinder its function. Using basic cleaning tools and gear. This ensures that the entire firearm is thoroughly cleaned.

Pay special attention to removing spent casings and cleaning the barrel upwards to minimize debris falling into the action. The result? Yeah! Jamming issues disappear.

This has been tested multiple times and remains a reliable trick for keeping my revolver happy and minimizing jamming issues.

2. Spring Problem:

Let’s dive into a common problem with the Smith and Wesson 686: the spring issue. Picture this: You’re at the range, enjoying a shooting session. Suddenly, your revolver starts acting up.

The cylinder isn’t locking properly. The brass isn’t falling out. Huh, there’s a failure to carry the next round. It’s a pain, especially during an extended-range day.

After some digging, you find the culprit: the teeth on the extractor star are worn or dirty. This tiny detail can cause a lot of issues.


The fix? Well, it’s all about moderation. Instead of going for a whole new set of parts, try a gentle peening procedure.

Carefully work those flat surfaces on the bolt and the hammer. Don’t go ham on it. Just a little tap will gently solve the issue without creating a whole new set of problems.

It’s all about finding that balance, right? And with a bit of careful attention, your Smith and Wesson 686 will be locked into place like a dream.

3. Carry Up Failure:

Now, let’s talk about carry-up failure. It’s an annoying problem many shooters encounter.

Picture this: You’re at the range, ready to fire, but the cylinder won’t rotate after pulling the trigger. You try hammer breaks and shrug off the problem, but it persists.

It’s not just a one-time thing; it happens frequently, and it’s a real headache. So, what’s causing this failure?

It could be due to wear and tear over rounds of usage or a mechanical issue. Either way, it’s frustrating.


What’s the solution? While some repairs might be straightforward, others require professional help. Even with the right parts, getting your Smith and Wesson 686 back in working order can be a challenge.

But with the right hands and some patience, the problem can be solved.

So, if you can’t find a solution on your own, it’s worth seeking assistance from a professional.

4. Trigger Lock:

Let’s talk about trigger lock issues with the Smith and Wesson 686. It’s a problem that can ruin your shooting experience.

Picture this: You’re at the range, all set for some practice sessions. But when you’re ready to pull the trigger, it just won’t budge.

You check the hammer and the lock; everything seems fine. But the trigger remains stubbornly engaged. This internal malfunction can put a damper on an otherwise good time.


Fear not; there’s a solution that doesn’t involve panic or rushing to find a fix. Instead of diving straight into a hands-on approach, try this trick: focus on the side locking plate.

Sometimes, a little manual unlocking of this internal mechanism can do the job. It’s a simple procedure that can save you from the usual hassle of removing and reworking the trigger lock.

With this workaround, you can get back to enjoying your Smith and Wesson 686 without any panic.

5. Timing Issue:

Let’s talk about the infamous timing issue that some owners of the Smith and Wesson 686 have encountered.

Picture this: you’re at the range, enjoying your shooting session. Suddenly, the hammer is cocked, but the cylinder isn’t in the proper position. You’re left puzzled and worried.

This situation can be frustrating, but it’s not uncommon. Over time, wear and tear can start affecting the rotation of the cylinder.


There’s a straightforward solution.

Start by disassembling your revolver and replacing the worn-out hand with a new one.

  • Use a punch to remove the stock hand.
  • Then carefully install the new hand in its place.
  • Make sure it fits snugly in the slot and provides proper tension.
  • After reassembling the gun, it’s time to check the timing.
  • If you notice any issues, such as the trigger not aligning properly, you may need to file down certain parts for a better fit.

With this simple job, you’ll notice a significant improvement in the timing of your Smith and Wesson 686.

6. Cylinder Issue:

Last but not least, yes, I’m talking about the cylinder issue. It’s unexpected and downright annoying.

Sometimes, the cylinder system itself can struggle. It seems like no matter how much you try, it just won’t shut properly.

After some research, I found that breaking into the revolver can help. Another culprit could be the spring-loaded plunger tip.

Sometimes, it feels like a chore just to get everything working smoothly, as in Ruger Blackhawk 357 Convertible problems.

Trust me, this solution can become a great headache for you!


There’s a simple solution. First, check the extractor rod to see if it’s loose. If it is, tightening it might resolve the issue.

Sometimes, after firing many rounds, the cylinder can become stubborn in its opening and closing motion.

In such cases, it helps to exercise the cylinder repeatedly to ensure it moves smoothly.

This simple exercise often works like a charm to alleviate the problem, restoring your revolver’s functionality.

Smith and Wesson 686 Problems

My Final Conclusion:

Let’s wrap up this discussion on the Smith and Wesson 686. As a revolver, it offers versatility and reliability that many gun enthusiasts appreciate.

However, it’s not without its flaws. Some users have reported jamming and spring problems, while others have experienced cylinder drama and timing inconsistencies.

The good news is that most issues seem to be fixable with a little TLC or mechanical savvy. In cases where problems persist, customer service is usually responsive and willing to understand and care for their customers.

Despite its drawbacks, the Smith and Wesson 686 continues to serve many shooters well.

My Friends Feedback:

So, my buddy recently got his hands on the Smith and Wesson 686 and is excited to take it to the range. But after a few rounds with Norma 357, it started acting up.

The trigger felt off, and the cylinder wasn’t rotating smoothly. It turns out, it was having timing issues, causing malfunctions.

Even dry firing didn’t give any insight into the problem. He suspected it might be related to the factory setup, maybe the firing pin bushing or the recoil shield.

Plus, there were issues with clearance between the case rims and the extractor. After a thorough cleaning, it seemed fine, but then the same issues cropped up.

My friend, who’s a bit of a revolver aficionado, suggested it could be like the M29 problems he had in the past.

It’s frustrating, especially when you’re out on the range enjoying shooting.

He might have to take it to a professional or look into some aftermarket fixes.

Common Questions Asked About Smith and Wesson 686 Problems:

What is the difference between the 686 models?

The 686 comes equipped with a 6-round cylinder. Its counterpart, the 686P or Model 686 Plus, boasts a 7-round cylinder. Meanwhile, the 686PP, denoted by PP for PowerPort, sports an integrated compensator. It is also recognized as a muzzle brake.

Is 686 a square or round?

The 686-6 model features a round butt frame, yet it’s equipped with Hogue grips straight from the factory. These grips effectively transform the round butt frame into a square butt grip profile.

Which pistols don’t jam?

Revolvers typically do not experience “jams” in the traditional sense because spent casings are not ejected until manually done so after firing. However, they can still experience malfunctions. Similarly, derringers do not “jam” as the cartridge seating and shell ejection are manual processes, but they too can malfunction.

Why is spinning a revolver bad?

This maneuver is just as ill-advised as flipping the cylinder and potentially even more harmful. Closing the cylinder while it’s still spinning can cause significant damage. The cylinder stop risks taking a beating, and the stop notches on the cylinder may become peened and damaged. Additionally, other parts such as the yoke, center pin, and more could also be compromised.

I worked hard on this post to help the shooters community. Spread the love

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