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Education / Training Smith & Wesson 586 & 686 revolvers

Smith & Wesson 586 & 686 revolvers

by B.B. Pelletier

Every bit the Smith & Wesson revolver, this model 586 is a jewel!

I’ve often referred to these revolvers when talking about other models, so today I decided it was high time to give credit where it is due. The S&W 586 and 686 revolvers made by Umarex are the best CO2 revolvers that have ever been made – bar none! They represent the standard by which all other CO2 revolvers are judged. Yet because of their cost, these wonderful airguns are not as popular as the others, which is a real shame. Because it is my opinion that the S&W 586 and 686 revolvers are the absolute top of the Umarex pellet pistol line!

A soft spot for S&W
I have always gravitated toward S&W revolvers. Yes, I had a Colt Python that was as fine as any revolver I’ve ever owned and, yes, I currently own two Ruger .357 DA revolvers that I find very nice. But there has always been something about the S&W action that I liked better than all the others. So when Umarex announced they were coming out with the S&W 586, I was thrilled. I was in tight with the S&W European sales rep at the time the CO2 version of the 586 first came to America, so I got my hands on it about six months before anyone else. Was I ever impressed! The action that is so nice in S&W firearms was almost perfectly translated over to the CO2 revolver. It actually has a better double-action trigger and only a hint of creep in single-action.

Great finish, too!
Surface finish of the early Umarex blued pistols was sometimes flawed by hazy sections that didn’t respond to any treatment. Not all guns had the problem, but enough did that I always examined any new blued gun with a critical eye, and I have yet to see a 586, which is the blued version of the gun, with this problem. The grips are two-piece grippy rubber, very reminiscent of a pair of Hogues – so you don’t have that to buy.

10-shot pellet clips!
The 586 departs from the typical Umarex design in that it has a 10-shot pellet clip instead of the standard Umarex 8-shot clip. This clip is unique to this one model, and the cylinder crane swings out to receive each new clip. The clips are finished only in blue, and I have never understood why Umarex hasn’t made a matching silver clip for the 686! The usually style-conscious Germans appear to either not care about this detail (I don’t believe it), or else the addition of one more SKU for such a low-demand part makes REALLY POOR business sense!

The 10-shot clips swing out to the side on a real crane for removal. Blue (black) is the only color available.

Powerlet hides in the grip
The right grip panel is removed to reveal the powerlet. A lever at the bottom of the grip swings downward to releave tension on the expended powerlet that can then be easily removed. A thumbwheel adjustment compensates for length variation between powerlets. The grip panel is held on by both a clip that grabs the powerlet (so you have to really pull to get the grip off) and some locating features in the grip panel itself. As a result, the grip feels firm and solid when it’s on the gun.

Pop off the right grip panel for access to the powerlet. The lever at the base of the grip frame relaxes tension on the powerlet.

Power and accuracy
Although a revolver usually has a small gap between the cylinder and the rear of the barrel (a few guns have moving cylinders to compensate for this gap) through which gas can escape, the S&W exhibits good power. With the 6″ barrel, I got velocities averaging 410 f.p.s. with Hobbys and 370 with R10s. Though the gun was faster in double-action than single-action, the difference was just 3 f.p.s. with all pellets tested. Usually, a CO2 revolver is faster in the single-action mode, so this is a different airgun, to be sure.

I got group after group of 5 shots measuring less than one inch at 10 meters. That puts the 586 ahead of all other repeating air pistols, save the high-dollar target pistols such as the Drulov DU-10 and the like. Among the Umarex airguns, only the Walther lever-action rifle shoots better.

Is it worth the extra money?
Tough question. A glass of water means a lot to a man in the desert but not to a guy who just fell overboard! To me, it’s worth it. I liked the air pistol so much that I went out and got a 686 .357 to go with it. True story!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

39 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson 586 & 686 revolvers”

  1. BB,
    Excellent report. This is truly a fine piece. I like mine very much. I also went out and bought the extra barrels 4,6 and 8 inch. They all perform wonderfully. Yes it does compare to the real firearm, accuracy is great too. I would recomed this one to any shooter who wants a fine quality, accurate, replica gun. Thanks Umarex!


  2. TWE,

    I have both the CP-88 (2 of them) and the SW 586. It would be really hard to give up one or the other. Both are excellent replicas. If I had to choose just one, probably the S&W would win out. 10 shots vs 8 shots, better accuracy ( especially with the 8″ barrel) smoother action, and nicely adjustable sights.

    I’ve had a couple feed problems with the CP-88s. The clip is made of aluminum, and tends to wear at the ratchet, had to replace a couple. The S&W clip is steel (or similar), never had one get messed up. Feeding is as precise as the real thing – foolproof.

    Don’t let the price scare you. (Both cost the same, $185 for the CP-88 6″, and $185 for the SW 586) You really do get a quality gun for the price. The Crosman 357 is not in the same league. Save up if you have to, you won’t be sorry.


    PS. Mine likes RWS Supermags (9.3gr), under 1″ at 10m (on a rest).

  3. I’m planning to buy one in the Spring. Unfortunately, with this gun as with many of the air arms mentioned here, I have no way to see or handle these guns for firsthand evaluation.

    So, here goes. Are the sights plastic or metal,and do they adjust to both windage and elevation? I read something negative about them at one time but can’t remember what? Another question: to what degree does the 8 inch barrel affect accuracy and muzzel velocity with this gun? Both finishes look great on the web but which gun looks most impressive in reality, blue or chrome, and which finish do you think is the more durable.

    Your blog is a great service and a pleasure to read, and it offers much more info than the web sites. Thanks.

  4. BB

I can’t remember where I read it, but you said something about gamo raptors changing the way gamo advertises their velocities; it looks like well they did. The new Hunter Extreme on its way at 1600 fps. It looks like the 1250 with some cosmetic changes, unless gamo made some amazing advancements overnight, they are now testing with raptors. Not to long ago I contacted them to ask them what pellet the tested with, and they told me they use there own match pellets I wonder what they would say today. 

The .22 cal air Shotgun/Rifle next to it looks interesting I hope to hear your take on it.

  5. Ed,

Good eye! When a company does something like this, look for the Hunter 1250 to be “phased out.” Then in a few months, look for a less expensive version of the Hunter Extreme to be released. It’s smoke and mirrors to cover the fact they they are now using the Raptor for their velocity testing. Good call, CFX-guy!

This policy can bite them if they’re not careful. People are not stupid, as this sort of advertising requires. Yes, there will be some inexperienced and gullible folks who won’t know the difference, but the majority of the buying public is not that dumb. O.J. Simpson may have been found not guilty, but that does not change the fact that he did it!


  6. good point bout the oj simpson trial lol.That is why I will almost never by any gamos now because they use the stupid raptor pellet which I would never use,so the advertised velocity lets say with a heavyier .177 pellet may drop velocity from an advertised 1100 with raptor pellets to 800 maybe les with 10.5 grain .177 caliber pellet.

  7. My *mother* got me the 686 for christmas with all 3 barrels. This is a wonderful gun! My other gun (my first pellet pistol) was (and still is) the Marksman 2004, which is all but in name the Beeman P3. I am getting very close to the same accuracy with the S&W as with the Marksman. Interestingly, I switched to a Beeman pellet that is a little over 11gr (silver something…). I did find in both guns a significant increase in efficiency of delivered power (i.e. it blasted through two more layers of cardboard-my only way to test at this point). I did some more testing with the S&W with this pellet and there is significant drop at 30 meters, but I think my CO2 was runing out, so I can’t be sure and the temp was going down when I got to the 30 meter box. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance this weekend.
    Now I have a serious question: With the S&W in double action, my trigger hesitates when it reaches the point where it would have been when cocked for single action. Is this normal for this gun? I think it has gone down a little bit, and I can get used to it-i.e. you use the trigger to cock the gun and then fire as if you were in single action. Should I send it back?

    Michael (zevtov@gmail.com)

  8. Michael,

    The trigger hesitation is normal for a Colt double-action revolver, but not as much for a Smith & Wesson. As for the CO2 revolver, I can’t say that I ever experienced what you describe.

    Perhaps some other owners can shed some light on this? I would say to hang on to your gun if this doesn’t bother you. The Colt tendency to do the same thing is actually marketed as a feature and taught in some self-defense schools – or at least it used to be. Today’s Colts are smoother and may no longer exhibit this tendency.


  9. My S&W is an excellent gun. I shot PPC with the fire arms version and did well. The pause in the double action mode actually gives the trained user a “staging” point before hammer falls. I like it as it is actually smoother than the single action.Would like to find some one really capable of doing a single action job on it w/o ruining gun.Ive been told it can’t be done.

  10. Follow up the previous comment. I will be purchasing another S&W with 6 inch barrel just to have a second frame and action. ‘That will give me 1 4″ barrels two 6″ and an 8″. This is an awsome revolver and deserving of respect and being taken seriously as a gun and not a toy.

  11. I agree on the merits of the S&W 686. I did,however,dislike the “roughness” on the inside portion of the grip. It seems that the moulding process could have been neater. Is it just me who is the “fussy” one?

  12. Hey BB and other. Thanks so much for all the great reviews BB. I have a Crosman 760 Rifle, and a Daisy powerline 693 CO2 pistol so I am too new to the BB gun scene. But now in terms of revolvers, I would like your help(and the publics veiws). I have read your reviews on the S&W revolvers, and the Crossman 357W. I am also looking at the Gamo R-77 6 revolver. I am wondering which of the three would be the best to buy. Is the S&W worth the cash? Or is crosman or gamo a better deal?

  13. SainT,

    “Is it worth the extra money?
    Tough question. A glass of water means a lot to a man in the desert but not to a guy who just fell overboard! To me, it’s worth it. I liked the air pistol so much that I went out and got a 686 .357 to go with it. True story!”

    That’s how I feel.

    The Crosman runs second, in my book, with the R77 a distant third.


  14. OK. Thanks for your advice BB. I think im going to try to save up for the S&W. But know i am stuck on yet another problem. On the site, the 6″ S&W revolvers are listed as differnt FPS:

    (Nickle) 686-6: 458 FPS
    (Blue) 586-6: 426 FPS

    From anyone’s experience with both guns, is this true that the FPS varies? And if so, how is that possible for a a gun to get more FPS with the only differnece being the Nickle finish?(Or was there more modifications to the 686-6 other than just the finish?)

  15. Thanks B.B., I found the link. 6″ blued not in stock at the moment, but when it comes in it will by my PPC trainer. Awesome!

    Btw. can I ask a quick question about seal rings? I have put about 500 pelets through the SW78G we discussed a few weeks ago. My 2700 score crept up a bit thanks to the excellent practice. However, sometimes the seal on the piercing unit (a #11 or #12 o-ring) swells to seemingly double or triple its size. I have to forcefully pull the piercing unit out without the seal, and get the seal out. If I rinse the seal with water and leave it overnight, it shrinks back to normal size and can be used again!

    What causes this o-ring swelling? I am using Honda ATF until I get some pellgun oil, could that be the problem? Is this a good thing that the seals swell? Is it just the Co2 pressure (I do leave the gun charged between use, the manual says to do so)?

    Lastly, what do I do with the dozens of co2 caplets? Abstract sculpture? 😉

  16. melchloboo,

    The o-ring swells because it is made from a gas-permeable compound. That tells me it is an old one. Modern o-rings don’t swell.

    The solution is to exhaust the gas and leave the gun sit for two hours. The gas will be gone and the cap will remove easily.

    As for the old cartridges, they make good plinking targets because they tinkle when hit.


  17. Thanks, actually they are “new” from the plumbing department at HomeDepot. I will try a different brand if this becomes a major inconvenience. Once I have the 586, I can just switch to revolver practice and reload co2 the next day for the 78G.

    Is there a particular brand/material of o-ring that works best…or did I just have bad luck with this brand?

    Thanks again, melchloboo

  18. Thanks again!

    PS My friend does have the Crossman/Blaser 455 I mentioned to you about reviewing (the .45 co2 conversion model). When he gets back in town he and I will talk more about tanking some pictures and doing a review. He says it was manufactured by Blaser, but sold by Crossman. He also said he spoke with a Blaser rep who said they don’t believe there is enough demand for it now. In any case, he uses it and loves it!

  19. BB,

    Being new to air guns and to your blog, I’ve been reading through many of your older posts, including the Umarex SW 586. I purchased a Daisy Avanti 747 based on your review and love it. Sounds like the 586 would make a great choice for adding a CO2 repeater to my collection.

    One question: in a March 2006 post, you said that a customer trigger was an unmet need for the Umarex 586/686 pistols. Since then, has anyone emerged to fill this need?


  20. I finally ordered one from pyramydair yesterday.

    I plan on using it to train double-action mostly, but just curious does it have a single-action mode?

    Thanks again,

  21. I ordered the Umarex SW586 model from Germany about six months ago. And the first thing that caught my eye when I got it was the finish varying quite a bit from the pictures I had seen. The blued version – or at least the one I have – is not really blued, but more of a black satin. Personally I had hoped for a shiny, blued Dirty Harry look, but what really bothers me is how vunerable to scratches this powder-like coating is. The very first time you fire a clip it will get a permanent scratch from the little tab revolving it. Generally you just haft to be extremely careful with this gun because it will scratch up in a heartbeat. Also the plastic sights and clip release is kinda disappointing. That being said it is a really fine gun though. It has a really good weight, for a co2 gun it is quite accurate and in compare with other umarex models I have tried the trigger is very nice and smooth. Also with the 8" barrel it delivers a serious punch – it banged up my metal target holder pretty bad after shooting a clip of ballistic alloy pellets at it.

  22. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comments on the SW 586. You posted them to a blog that was written in March 2006. B.B. writes a daily blog where alot of folks solve problems, give advice, and generally help each other out. Come join us at/blog// Looking fwd to seeing you there.

    Mr B.

  23. I shoot the real thing in competition. Wanted something to get a little extra practice with. My particular gun absolutely sucks. Sent back to Umarex for repair, maintenance, tuning, something. Still sucks. I am stuck with a pile of junk metal.

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