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Rising Phoenix: Smith & Wesson Model 586 Review


Rising Phoenix: Smith & Wesson Model 586 Review

Like a phoenix out of the ashes, Smith & Wesson’s classic, double-action, blued-steel, full-lug-barreled, .357 Magnum L-Frame Model 586 revolver has risen. Okay, maybe that’s a bit overdramatic, but I for one am thrilled that the 586 is back. Except for my .22 LR S&W K-Frame Model 17, which was my first-ever brand-new gun and has lived with me for 35 years, the Model 586 is my all-time favorite Smith & Wesson. Why? Because it’s made to last, it’s extremely accurate, and it’s a real pleasure to shoot.

Built for Hard Use
The original Model 586 with adjustable sights was brought to market in 1981, and S&W introduced several new features with it. It and the Model 581 (fixed sights) were the first L-Frame guns, and they were specifically designed to stand up to the hard effects of shooting full-power .357 Magnum rounds. Back then the high-pressure 125-grain .357s were some of the hottest ammo available, and so S&W beefed up the frame, the forcing cone, and the cylinder with the L-Frame. The models were given a full-length barrel underlug to add weight to help counter the sharp recoil and abrupt muzzle jump of those magnum loads. The 581 and 586 immediately appealed to law enforcement (remember that this was before the era of the “wonder nines”), and they spawned the stainless-steel S&W Models 681 and 686, which were announced to the public at the same time.



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  1. Silas Longshot

    October 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Wow! Mommy, can I buy that?
    As a old school revolver nut, it’s a pleasure to see a renewed ‘old school’ model on the market. And my favorite caliber as well.

  2. medivac

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Well put on the revolver that I have had for about as long as it has been around !! My 6″ is one classy shooter and I have loved it ever since I got it !! I have also considered switching back to a .357 for CCW since I am more concerned with shot placement rather than spray and pray if confronted but lacked a snubby in the .357. I’ll be looking into a snubby if it is made in the 686 The frame size dictates it is a low recoil weapon for someone wanting a caliber that will put down someone if needed. After all, why carry if you aren’t willing to go all the way with a weapon ??

  3. Stephen N Russell

    October 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    new base model for 454 Magnum S&W & std 44 Magnum

  4. jerry sweet

    October 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    i have a very early 586 6 in barrel, late 1982.this 357 magnum has been a jewel.but they did have a recall on them.some early 586 and 686 guns would freeze up with a high pressure magnum load.S&W sent me a postpaid return and replaced the firing pin bushing to a larger one.believe it or not decades after the recall S&W still honors the free repairs.its my carry in both a shoulder or cowboy holster,either cross draw or hip.depends on weather and clothing so i don’t print

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