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S&W 686+

Delta-3

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I've never been much of a revolver guy but as I age I'm drawn to them more & more. Decided I needed a magnum so I was able to pick up this 686+ (7 round cylinder) for a very decent price. For some odball reason I have a thing for 3" S&W guns.
I only own 4 now. A J, K, L & an N frame. The latest is this 686+ After installing a spring kit the action is night & day better than factory. I'm really going to enjoy this one.

S&W 3 inch 686-6 plus.jpg
 

Timber Wolf

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I have one of those with a 2 1/2” barrel, wish it was 3”. It is a nice blaster but these days when I strap on a Magnum it is usually a five-shooter, a sweet little 3” Model 60-10. Now there is a sweet packing piece of kit.
 

Colts4me

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I still own a 3 inch Smith 65 but haven't shot it in years. Put pachmeyer grips on it years ago and gives it a great feel. It's really too big for concealed carry and too small to hunt with. I should sell it.
 

hueyville

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Have one seven shot bought right set up for moon clips and set up for revolver class before realized had required reload every six shots (never an issue before so had to be "reminded"). Sent it off for the full deal, porting, tritium sights and it's one of my primary carry revolvers with three reloads on weak side in moon clips. I am still wheel gun crazy but nice wheel guns are $2,000 these days!!!
 

Wildcat

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FWIW, it seems that because of the variances in rims, only certain companies moon clips work with certain brands of brass. Seems costly & time consuming to try & match them up for reliability. I may just stick with speed loaders...maybe.
I thought so too at the time, but once the brass is sorted, its not to tough to keep it sorted. After the initial exercise is over, its not so bad.
If you don't already have a collection of 38 brass to sort out, this should be easier.

A cylinder that has been cut for moon clips can still use ammo without the clips, and/or ammo from speedloaders. Its just that there are very few options for refreshing the 7-round guns. The twist-lock speedloaders aren't all that fabulous.

For moon clip use, the concern is not so much rim thickness, which is a controlled dimension on the 38s cartridge specifications, but the relief cut that is made to assure that the rim is square where it meets the cylinder. That is the primary variable in moonclip compatibility.
1655327094018.png
The undercut, where the rim transitions to the body of the case, is left up to the manufacturer.
It can vary in groove width and/or diameter. Some brands don't have a groove.

I have an 8-shot and I bought a stack of .025" clips.
The clips work nicely with Remington, Federal, Fiocchi, PMC and older Sellier & Bellot.
The newer S&B brass is very tight, maybe too tight. The older brass fits a .025" clip very well.
I have these brands segregated for use in clips. R-Ps can be loaded by hand into the clips. S&B require a tool.
Occasionally, there is a stray piece of brass that has a different relief cut and it doesn't work (usually an oddball R-P). Those get pulled aside (into the Other mixed brass) and don't get returned to the "for moonclip" ammo process. This is ammo that can be used in any 38, clips or not.

The big headache for me was Winchester 38-spl brass. I accumulated quite a bit of it -before- owning the 627. Winchester had the narrowest relief cut and do not accept the clips. You can get .022" thick clips if what you shoot includes older Winchester brass. I think someone alerted them that they are an outlier and their ammo wasn't working well with moonclips, because the newer WIN brass I've found has a more generous relief.
I'm not going to try to sort through my Winchester 38s for new and old, its in a bucket that feeds my non-moonclip ammo process.
I like Winchester brass so its mainly used for some competition ammo where I shoot a 6-shot (or 5).
This brass works in every 38, it just doesn't fit into clips; the 627 can still use it as loose ammo.
If you are buying new Winchester 38s, it will probably fit the .025" clips.

Starline brass has adopted their own dimensions for the relief, not the groove width but the depth of the groove is different. TK Custom and Hearthco both make clips specific to Starline brass. Normal .025" clips sort of work but if you build up a collection of Starline brass to reload, you might consider dedicated clips.

Hornady also has their own groove size.
Blazer Brass usually does not have a groove at all.
Blazer Aluminum does not have a groove. No clip will work. Again, the 627 can use it as loose ammo.

The Starline, SPEER, Blazer, CCI, GECO, Magtech, Aguila, PPU, Hornady, etc, brands that I don't have much of are put into a bucket for non-moonclip use. Some of them will work with these clips but I have never taken the time to sort through and find out.
 

hueyville

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Working on a Smith 4" M19-5 bought when I was 13 years old driving my own car and using my own money to buy at the hardware store. It has a lot of rounds and was well cared for till my younger brother kidnapped it while I was in college and was returned with some rust and minor pitting. Oiled it up and been in the back of a vault for decades but finally pulled it out for some love. Had it bead blasted and blued to give it a nice mat finish and drilled front sight through middle of red ramp for tritium vial. Been installing new spring kit today and verified its still perfectly timed, rear tritium leaf in rear sight and glued vial in front. Added a Houge extended cylinder release and after glue cures overnight calling it done and ready for a new life. Running the Pachmyer grips I put on it in high school that fit my hand like they used me to make the grip mold.

With the three 3" five shot 44 specials, the seven shot 357 (not messing with any of my snake guns or Dan Wesson swap barrels) and some older semi custom wheel guns realize have a fleet. Till broke foot had been chasing local IDPA matches to shoot wheel gun class to tune my wheel gun skills. Found an old IDPA holster that is a perfect carry rig for the 4" M19, five Safariland speed loaders, two pouches that hold two for carry (Velcro covers so don't fall in the floor of supermarket) and one single. Discovered my daily work belt works great with a two loader pouch on side just far enough back does not ram into truck seat or office chair and single right at front belt loop super handy. When get through my fire marshal inspection at work and get to put the bullet traps back out and re-institute my range (fire marshal uses my range but said since videos the premises for fire plan better to move traps to loading dock till he gets my inspection done) between daily shooting at work and a local IDPA match per month think I may switch back to wheel gun carry except for Atlanta and church security.

Figure if in the grocery store and three gangbangers come in with their Glocks held sideways and life goes loopy only thing the news will talk about is the hillbilly mowed down three impoverished youths with same gun Delta Force or Navy SEALs use if snake out one of my big SIGs or SIG 1911 Tacops. It was unfair as the privileged man had such an evil gun that instead of wounding them smote them like fire and brimstone from the Heavens. Instead of entitled with high dollar pistol from the SIG Custom Shop will be an aging cripple guy going to work with a forty year old rusty wheel gun, pocket full of bullets and dusted them up.

Have been working on my wheel gun skills indoors and two IDPA shoots since covid and honestly have run the same courses in production class with a 1911 then same at an IPSC match shooting unlimited, production and revolver against the timer and if shoot all in "slow and smooth, lets get A zone hits and no stray hostages shot) the aggregate time difference between the wheel gun and a 1911 for a short course is not enough different to matter. Of course when have a long stage where have to engage a dozen or more zombies the revolver can't touch my compensated 2011 race gun but in a three zombie stage or if just count the splits from first two or three zombies the wheel gun is fast enough. I don't see the movie scenario where six guys come in as counting down the registers at Walmart (do it same time every night, pull every drawer and have to wait till they reset for new shift if in line to pay) to rake the evenings till.

When we still had Winn Dixie grocery near us they had every teller pull drawer and count them down at 10:00 pm sharp while the assistant manager watched. On Friday night I could count with at least two or three tellers to realize between five or six lines it was a mid five figure take if three men rolled in and demanded it all go in a bag. Mentioned it to the assistant manager one night how dangerous having six teenage girls counting down the drawers right at entrance and exit doors same time every night and they called the cops on me. Manager took my concern as a threat but luckily one cop knew me well, told manager I was best person they could have in store and agreed their method was a bit risky. Manager said it was only way one person could watch all tellers count down their drawers as finished the busy shift and went to a single checkout till closed at midnight.

I don't go out late at night anymore but local Walmart used to change over their "day" at around 11:30 pm if remember correct and every line shut down, every drawer was pulled at same time and all the tellers would line up as one manager led them off and another escorted the new shift with their drawers with enough cash to make change. Thus had every full drawer from busy shift and new drawers with a few hundred in ones, fives, tens and twenties to make change passing each other. Had to be six figures in cash on the floor right at front doors same time every night, especially weekends. Don't hang out at Walmart to see if stocking ammo between 10:00 and 11:30 pm anymore like they did during Sandy Hook and all us vultures were waiting to see what they may stock.

Guy who ran the local electronics repair shop (spent a lot of time there in the CB days getting radios tuned and amps repaired, etc) daughter got a job at Winn Dixie, told him about how they counted down the drawers at 10:00 pm every night and thought it was a huge potential mess. He watched it that night as dropped his daughter off and picked her up every evening she worked as only a teen and told manager same thing I did, was too risky and they should change it as endangered his daughter. Said manger got rude and was the last night his daughter worked there. Think now its mostly self checkout and armored cars picking up cash every few hours at Walmart and Kroger as not seen that but again mo longer shop late night but senior hour before open to others early mornings.

Have been in pharmacy three times when tweaker tried to get rowdy when they would not fill a suspicious prescription. Every time I stepped behind the counter and swept my cover shirt back but pharmacy is owned by personal friends. Have since installed ballistic barriers in counters for them and pharmacists have lock boxes for pistols if choose to stage one. A pharmacist has the same powers of arrest and carry as a DEA agent on the job was told and both pharmacists that are owners keep a pistol staged but not on their persons. One is capable the other is like Barney Fife and more likely to make a mistake if tried to use his gun. If in store I just take control (wife and I both have lots of scripts like old sick people do now) of the situation and the upset folks leave soon as I step behind counter.

Like not going to Walmart or grocery close to late night shift change now use drive thru at the pharmacy. Risk management is as important as tactics and skills... But now many doctors require patients (especially elderly) to bring in all their prescriptions since seeing a half dozen doctors want to make sure not getting too much or having scripts that are dangerous to take together. I refuse now but had one doctor for a while that just would not understand my concern so took him my previous months empty bottles. One practice we use in Atlanta is in building with over fifty practices in big high rise and parking deck will have dozens of elderly walking around with bags full of their monthly supply at any one time. Consider that parking deck a high risk area and made doctor give us a pass to park in employee parking which does not use the patient parking deck.

That part of Atlanta has three hospitals in three blocks and thousands of doctors with over 100 random shootings in earshot per year as gangbangers come to prey on rich elderly either going to doctors or all the other businesses that have migrated to areas that cater to more affluent crowd seeing high dollar specialists. Will go carrying my kit wear working church security but honestly considering wheel guns for EDC in the near future.
 
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