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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I recently purchased an S&W M686 3" bbl. .357 revolver that is reportedly made for the Customs Service in 1988. These are marked on the frame beneath the yoke with "CS-1". Supposedly, a total of 3281 such revolvers were made before they went to 4" guns. They have a round butt rather than the usual square; at least this one does.


The gun was not new and had Pachmayr grips on it. I replaced them with these Eagle Secret Service Grips. The gun was almost like NIB. I'd estimate very few rounds having been fired through it. The front sight is narrower than the usual 1/8". It appears to be about 1/10".

I would appreciate any information on this model or personal experiences that members might have.

Thank you in advance.

Best.
 

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Hi Steve,

Man, those things are super-popular over at the S&W Forum. I'm sure you've already asked there, and I'm sure you're hearing great things from everyone.

No personal experience here, but I've read enough good reports that I'd immediately pick up any decently priced one I find. I'm sure you'll enjoy yours. It really seems like a perfect gun for you, given sorts of other guns you have. It certainly looks great with the Eagle stocks . . .

cheers, erich
 

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Wow, Stephen, that is a super gun. A 3 inch, stainless, round butt L-frame .357 -- maybe the gods of war will send me one some day! I am also a fan of the Secret Service grips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello and thanks for the replies. I'll get around to shooting it as soon as I can; too many irons in the fire this weekend.

Best.
 
G

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Stephen,

I have owned two of the 3", and one of the 4" CS-1s. In my opinion, they are one of the best revolvers S&W ever produced. I managed to find a new 3" CS-1 barrel a few years ago and have had it squirrelled away. My intent is to marry it up with my 7-shot, non-MIM 686 and have the ultimate CS-1. One thing to watch out for on the CS-1s is that they were one of the first models of S&W with the "floating hand". Some people have had problems with them. Lou Ciamillo of Maryland Gun Works installed a standard hand on my last one when he did an action job for me. It may not be an issue, but it is something to be aware of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello. I took it out to the range nearly to late this evening to get to shoot. Managed to shoot only a few groups from a rest at 15 yards before darkness just go to be too much. Couldn't take any decent pictures but brought the targets home and will try and get some photos made in the near future.

In short, the gun's sights seem to be dead on, or very, very close.

As I say, it got dark and then came the mosquitos. They were large enough to stand flat-footed behind a cow and have their way with her!!!!...so I quit and went and ate a late catfish supper.

Best.
 

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Hi there Mr. Camp,

I have owned 4 S&W 686's, but none as nice as the one you have pictured! Unfortunately, most where traded off when the 1911 bug bit me in the '90's. (I was foolish and younger!)

We are all looking forward to one of your excellent articles featuring a range report!

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello. Not a full range report to be sure, but I did shoot the gun a bit last evening, but didn't get to the range until late and light was fading fast.


Initial shots with the revolver were using the inexpensive black nylon "Hide Out" grips I recently purchased from Brownells.


I did no sight adjustments and all groups were fired at 15 yards from a seated position and in slow-fire, single-action, and using a 2-hand hold. This one was fired using Remington 125-gr. SJHP .357 magnums.


These two groups were fired the same way as for the magnums above. The group on the left was fired using a mild handload (Rainier 158-gr. plated flat point over 6.0 grains Unique. WSP primers set it off and the .357 cases were Winchester. This is about a thousand feet per second load in most 3 and 4" revolvers.) The group on the right was with Federal 147-gr. +P+ .38 Specials.

Again, I got to the range pretty late so this is not a very detailed report, but it does appear that the gun will shoot and that any sight adjustments will be very minimal.

Best.
 
G

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Did you ever have one of those moments where you saw a gun for the first time, and knew that somehow, you had to get one?

I've had this image in my mind, for the past year, of a revolver that I wished someone would make, and, except for the adjustable sights, that's it!

Has there ever been a similar gun with fixed sights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello. The closest I can think of is the old 4" 581/681 which did have fixed sights. I had one and foolishly let it slip away. It was dead-bang "on" with Winchester 145-gr. STHP's. IF you can find one, S&W did some .357 N-frames with fixed sights for the NY State Police. I'm not real sure on this, but I THINK it was the Model 520 or something like that. I would LOVE to own one of those.)

I am not aware of any other fixed sight L-frames than what I mentioned above.

Best.
 
G

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The CS-1 came with either a 3" and 4" barrel and all were round butts. I have one that I bought in the early 1990s.

I have backissues of SWAT and Combat Handguns that have articles on the guns.

guyfawkesonlineATyahoo.com
 
G

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I've tried looking at every auction site I can think of, and I can't find one of these. Does anyone think that there might be a chance that a surplus dealer, somewhere, would have one?
 

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Stephen and all,

I like the looks of the 3" CS-1! I'm wedded to a M19 2.5", but would love to have one of these.

Still, all in all, I'm pretty much an auto guy for self-defense. Field guns are a different story.

Have a Colt Anaconda 4" .44 Mag, S&W M-57 4" .41 Mag, and my M-19. Also, two original Ruger "Bearcats".
Figure that'll take care of my revolver needs.

The CS-1 looks like the gun I should have had last time I qualified with a revolver a few years back. Used a S&W M65 3" to take high shooter in our academy class. This against mostly Glocks. The tupperware crowd was amazed. Guess being an old fart that grew up with revolvers has some benefits... ;)

Wes
 
G

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Old or young, trigger squeeze, front sight, and a strong, steady grip will win out over a fancy gun and no control, any day.
 
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