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.
If you’re looking for a .357 Magnum revolver the Smith & Wesson 586 (686) would certainly be suitable for most needs and will remain that way for some time, as the company announced that they will be re-releasing it. However, if it’s not in your interest to buy it at the new asking price, the used models are still certainly a viable option.
Back in late 1980, I heard about a PPC gunsmith in California who was grafting Colt Python barrels onto Smith & Wesson and Ruger revolvers for the dedicated revolver competition crowd. The idea was to achieve Python-like accuracy with a full-underlug, vented-barrel profile without having to spend Python prices. The results were called by such names as “Smolts” and “Cugers,” and for a while they were popular.