Blackhawk or S&W 686

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lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
A budy and I were discussing which is stronger the Blackhawk or S&W 686 both of course in 357mag. I was thinking Blackhawk (fewer parts, bigger cylinder). What do you guys think?
 

GhosT

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
556
Location
North East Ohio
Owned both.....it is an unfair question.

Single action VS double?
Apples to oranges.


My first handgun ,early 1980's was a Blackhawk .357.
Owned a "FEW" SW..357's over the years.

"STRONGER"..If mean,can handle the harder(non factory) loads...the Blackhawk wins.

But get,
The 686 is an L-frame...not a K-frame Smith and Wesson.
It can handle the ass kicking factory.357 rounds out there.
FAR from a fragile design.

As far as JUST STRENGTH goes...The Blackhawk is stronger.
JMHO of course.
 

Revolver-Time

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
216
Location
Savannah, Georgia
I have both. The MN Blackhawk is overkill for the .357 where the 686 is a beefed-up K frame which is more than acceptable for the.357. I always ask myself if I needed to sell one what would I keep. I would keep the Ruger.
 

btrumanj

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
490
Location
Louisville Ky
They are both darn nice guns but as Ghost said "apples to oranges". As far as the question of strength, it kind of a moot point since there aint no "Ruger Only" loads for the .357 except maybe in the minds of some of our more adventurous reloaders :lol:
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
1,097
Location
Kansas
I've owned both too. I'd take the BH, but that is personal preference. Both are great shooters. I've never seen a SA Ruger with a factory trigger on par with my 686. But with a little work a NM BH can have just as nice a trigger. You can't lose either way.
 

leejack

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
278
Location
The Alamo!
Both are great guns, but apples and oranges.

I am a Blackhawk fan myself. It is my favorite gun. :wink:

lee
 

drew76

Bearcat
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
78
Location
Sacramento, CA
I don't own a 357 blackhawk but do have a 6" 686. It handles all the top end H-110 and WC 820 loads I've put through it with no issues so it certainly has adequate strength. That and it has a very smooth trigger. It had very tight cylinders and did not like cast bullets. I had the cylinders opened to .3585 and does very well with cast now.
 

Ruger1441

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
618
Location
Lehi, UT
I owe several examples of both. My favorite gun is a four inch 686 that has seen more rounds down the tube than I care to count. But I feel that the blackhawk is stronger. The 686 is plenty strong enough. :)
 

Old Judge Creek

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Messages
320
Location
1881 Ranch, Nv & Northern Ca
There's an easy test for any of you as an individual to decide this question:

If you could have one and one only for now and forevermore to serve every possible handgun purpose; between the two, which would you choose?

Although I believe I'd rather have a truly indestructable 686: indestructable 686??? t'aint so, McGee. In a heartbeat, I'd pick the Black Hawk as the one to ride the river with: built like an anvil, fewer parts, easier to work on, etc.

About 10 years ago I delevoped arthritis in my thumbs. The lower Bisley hammers helped with that, but I eventually started carrying S&W DAs in the desert. Since then, I have great respect and admiration for those revolvers. They've never failed me, but for strength and reliability I don't believe they hold a candle to a SA Ruger.

YMMV
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,190
Location
51st state of Jefferson
John Linebaugh: "When we fire one of our .475 or .500 caliber revolvers we hit the Ruger frame with approximately 5 tons of pressure, (thrust). This duplicates the thrust of a .458 Win Mag. In testing and building over 200 major caliber revolvers on Ruger frames we have never yet had a frame move,stretch or bend. They are very tough"..."Nuff said.....Dennis :wink:
blowup.jpg
 

roaddog28

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
260
Location
Winchester, CA
lfpiii":29uyiwoo said:
A budy and I were discussing which is stronger the Blackhawk or S&W 686 both of course in 357mag. I was thinking Blackhawk (fewer parts, bigger cylinder). What do you guys think?
Like others I have both. And like others pointed out they are apples vs oranges. New model Blackhawk 357. Built on a 44 magnum frame. Brute strong. I have not seen any ammo that can blow it up. You would have to get a Redhawk 357 to beat a Blackhawk. The 686 by Smith and Wesson came out to handle the short comings of the model 19/66 K frame magnums and to compete against the Security Six. Strong and able to handle 357s within reason. But the Ruger GP100 is stronger than the 686 and will handle even hotter ammo. I love my 686 but I will not compare it to my Blackhawk. The Blackhawk is clearly stronger and would hold up better to constant 357s no matter what kind of load they are.

roaddog28
 

lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
Thank you all for the responses. In my discussion I was not trying to compare single action to double action just the strength of the gun. My buddy is a city boy that has never lived more than 5 minutes away from a police response. He just married a Vet and they are moving out to Colorado. He can work from home while she is out working on sick animals. I suggested that they get a gun for protection. Since they are not "gun nuts" I suggested the Ruger Blackhawk. I should mention that a local store has 2 NIB stainless in 357 for $300.00 each.
 

kelbro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
329
Location
NC
For 3 skins, no question. Blackhawk!

I prefer my 586 over the 686 that I replaced.
 

JHRosier

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
116
Location
New England, USA
Like a lot of others, I have both the 686 and the Blackhawk.
I agree that they are both great guns and the Bleckhawk is unquestionably stronger.
I like to shoot the Blackhawk more than the 686 because the extra weight makes it more comfortable.
However, for personal protection, I would go with the 686 every time.
You can reload it pretty quick with a speed loader, and that just isn't possible with a single action.

I got an up close and personal lesson earlier this year when I broke an arm.
The ONLY handgun that I could load and fire with one hand was a double action revolver.
I had frankly never given it a thought before.
BTW, I would not turn my nose up at a GP100 either.

Jack
 

greener

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
132
Location
Glen Allen, VA, USA
kelbro":d946p2qo said:
For 3 skins, no question. Blackhawk!

I prefer my 586 over the 686 that I replaced.

I'd be all over a $300 stainless.

Think I'd go with the Blackhawk, especially at that price. I'd do it because I enjoy shooting SA revolvers. If I were looking at DA revolvers, I'd get a GP100 before I got the 686. For just home defense only, I'd go with something like a Model 65. But I can't say any are a bad choice.

-----------------
Blackhawk .357/9mm convertible
GP100
S&W 65-4
S&w 686
 

VAdoublegunner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
459
Location
Virginia, USA
I shoot some monster 180gr .357 Mag handloads in my Blackhawk. While my 686 (or 586 or 681) will handle them, I wouldn't want to shoot a whole lot of them in the L-frame.

It's not that I think the L-frame is weak in that regard. It's just that monster level loads are likely to wear on it sooner. The substantial cylinder mass, frame, bearing surfaces and lockwork of the BH seem better able to withstand continued use of heavy loads. Plus there is that single action ruggedness.

For standard level .357 Mag loads, the L-frame will handle all you want to shoot for as long as you want to shoot it. It was designed to overcome the weakness of the K-frame .357s. However, I wouldn't hesitate to use anything in my Model 27 N-frame that I would use in a Ruger BH. The N-frame is a very robust revolver. Early .357 Mag loads that were developed for use in the N-frames make todays hot loads look like plinkers.

And for $300 for a stainless BH, it's a no brainer (although I did get a really great condition S&W 681 last year for $250 -- yep, that was a no brainer too!)
 

Kanook

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
1,123
Location
FL
If it's gonna be used as self defense, go with a double action. Long story short, I had a single six stolen and when I finally tracted down where it was the jerk that had it sold it for $50 because it was broke. He didn't know about single action.

If the firearm is going to do a lot of sitting, go with something simple.
 

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