Umarex S&W 586 Stocked Part 2 Part 1
Lock, Stock, and Barrel
By Dennis Adler
The S&W licensed Umarex S&W Model 586-6 is a hefty CO2 revolver based on S&W’s centerfire Model 586 Distinguished Combat Magnum, which was manufactured from 1981 to 1999. Just as the 586 Distinguished Combat Magnum was being phased out of the Smith & Wesson lineup, it was being introduced as an S&W licensed Umarex CO2 model. While this is counter to today’s manufacturing strategies which have centerfire and matching CO2 model at the same time for training purposes (or simply to make the airgun more desirable), this was seldom a driving force behind CO2 models back at the end of the 20th century. In fact, it was more common for a discontinued centerfire pistol to be resurrected as an airgun, but times change. And that occasionally leads to more interesting products. Such is the case with the Umarex S&W Model 586, a near 20 year-old design that is getting a new lease on life with the availability of an adjustable shoulder stock.
Back in 1999 the Umarex S&W 586 was a comparatively expensive air pistol with an MSRP around $300 while a .357 Magnum model sold for less than $200 more! The CO2 version of the S&W 586 still delivers a lot of gun for the current price, which is still higher than many other CO2 models but the 586 still feels and mostly handles like the centerfire revolver it was based on. The 586 also has an S&W style windage and elevation adjustable rear sight and interchangeable ramped front blade sight in three different widths to best suit the target shooting needs of the operator. And it has the balance and heft of the real centerfire pistol, weighing 45.4 ounces compared to 46.3 ounces for the .357 magnum.
The original Model 586 centerfire pistol was resurrected by S&W as the “Classics Distinguished Combat Magnum” in 2012 and retails today for $839. At least now there is a more realistic price difference between the centerfire and CO2 models.
Lock, Stock, and Barrel
That’s an old reference dating back to the 19th century and referring to the parts of a gun, which were usually made by individual craftsmen (though some gunmakers did it all and some still do), but over time it has become a figure of speech meaning “everything” or “in total”. Back in the 1800s it referred to one craftsman making the lock (a flintlock or percussion lock mechanism), another producing the barrel, and a third crafting the stock (rifle stock or pistol grips). Thus the whole gun was the lock, stock, and barrel.
The original .357 Magnum S&W 586 was a grand old design which introduced the L Frame in 1980 with full lug barrels, red ramp front sight and white outline adjustable rear, a semi-target hammer, and target trigger. In 1994 the grips were changed from traditional S&W checkered walnut to contoured rubber synthetic grips to absorb a little more recoil. Umarex took all of this into consideration in making the first S&W Model 586 as realistic looking as possible.
Aside from the use of a 10-shot rotary magazine, kind of groundbreaking at the time, there is little hint of the Umarex being a CO2 pistol. It has a full-size muzzle (the 4.5mm barrel is recessed 7/16ths of an inch). The barrel shroud bears the SMITH & WESSON name and the left side of the frame has the S&W trademark emblem under the cylinder latch thumb release. The one quick tell is the separation line between the swing out pellet cylinder magazine and the front of the fixed (non-rotating), narrow-fluted cylinder portion, which is cast with the frame. This is the Old School design part of the pistol that truly dates it as newer designs have actual swing out cylinders that load individual BB or pellet-firing cartridges. So, how do you update a near two decade old design that still delivers great handling and accuracy without a total redo? Give it something that no current CO2 revolver has; a detachable shoulder stock. Shades of the 19th century!
The Umarex S&W 586 model is marked Made in Germany (one of the key quality features of this gun is being built at the factory in Germany and not outsourced to Taiwan). Even the new adjustable shoulder stock is made in Germany, so the quality remains consistent (not that airguns made in Taiwan or Japan are not quality products, but there is a certain expectation that comes with a gun made in Germany and the S&W does not disappoint).
The barrel has the caliber markings, and the S&W license trademark is stamped on the barrel lug. Aside from the bold warning text, the rest of the markings look typical for a firearm.
First we’ll go over the Lock. The S&W has a comparatively light double action trigger pull of 9 pounds, 15 ounces, compared to a DA/SA or DAO centerfire revolver. The single action trigger press averages 7 pounds, 6 ounces; it is firm but deliberate. A short pull and the hammer drops. The hammer also consistently stages if you pull back until you feel resistance. From there the pull is close to single action. The distinct difference between the German made Model 586 and an S&W is the actual hammer release which is independent of the trigger. The trigger pull first rotates the rotary magazine (cylinder) and begins to cock the hammer.
Traditionally, pulling the trigger the rest of the way firing double action releases the double action sear allowing the hammer to fall. The CO2 model uses a sear release that projects forward from the frame and is struck by the back of the trigger causing the the hammer to drop. The design is actually 163 years old, and was developed by the Starr Arms Co. of Yonkers, New York in 1855 with improvements patented in 1860.
The black hard rubber grips are slightly elongated to accommodate the internal CO2 mechanism, but if you have large hands, the grip profile is excellent. The right grip panel comes off to load the CO2 and the seating mechanism is a variation of the design used for the Umarex Walther CP 88 with a pull down lever in the base of the grip frame and a threaded seating screw. Once the CO2 is inserted the screw is turned up until tight and the seating lever pressed closed with the palm of the hand.
The new adjustable shoulder stock adds an entirely new level of handling and shooting with the Model 586. Unlike the 19th century shoulder stock designs that used a brass yoke with forks that fit into cuts in the recoil shield, and a cut in the buttstrap to catch an adjustable hook used to tighten down the whole apparatus, the Umarex S&W takes a very pragmatic approach. The entire stock is part of the pistol grip, so mounting the shoulder stock is simply a matter of removing the left side grip and screwing on the new grip with stock attached. Amazing what you can accomplish with injection molded plastics.
The S&W’s barrel shroud is just shy of 6-inches in length, a total of 5.94 inches from the front of the cylinder to the muzzle and the 4.5mm rifled steel inner barrel is recessed 0.44 inches, so technically it is a 5.5 inch barrel.
With fully adjustable sights and a shoulder stock that adjusts from 12.75 inches (front of the grips to the shoulder rest) out to a maximum of 14.25 inches, and an adjustable cheekpiece with a total rise of 0.5 to 1.75 inches, you have a Carbine-Pistol that can be custom fit to your shooting needs. This CO2 model may have been around for almost 20 years, but it is one old dog that has learned a new trick!
In the Part 3 conclusion we’ll find out if this new stock addition turns the 586 into a modern day S&W Model 320 (with a somewhat shorter barrel).