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A Detailed Guide: Disassembling and Cleaning the Smith & Wesson Model 686

In this article, you will learn how to disassemble and clean the Smith & Wesson Model 686. We will provide you with a video tutorial and step-by-step instructions to ensure that you are able to successfully disassemble and clean your firearm. Additionally, we will provide you with some historical context about the Smith & Wesson Model 686 to further enhance your understanding of this particular firearm. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly disassemble and clean your Smith & Wesson Model 686.


The Smith & Wesson Model 686 is a popular and reliable revolver that has been widely used by firearm enthusiasts and law enforcement agencies for years. Known for its sturdy construction and impressive accuracy, the Model 686 requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. In this detailed guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of disassembling and cleaning the Smith & Wesson Model 686, along with important safety precautions and maintenance tips.

Safety Precautions

Before we proceed with the disassembly and cleaning process, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Handling firearms requires responsible conduct and adherence to safety guidelines to prevent accidents. Here are some important safety precautions to follow:

  1. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, even if you believe it to be empty.
  2. Always point the firearm in a safe direction, away from yourself and others.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris and cleaning solvents.
  5. Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhalation of fumes from cleaning solvents.

It is also recommended to have the following safety equipment on hand during the disassembly and cleaning process:

  • Nitrile gloves to protect your hands from solvents and oils.
  • Ear protection to minimize exposure to loud noises during disassembly and cleaning.
  • Cleaning mat or padded surface to protect the firearm from scratches and surface damage.

A Detailed Guide: Disassembling and Cleaning the Smith Wesson Model 686

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Tools and Materials Needed

To properly disassemble and clean the Smith & Wesson Model 686, you will need the following tools:

  • A small screwdriver or hex wrench to remove any screws or pins.
  • A cleaning rod with appropriate-sized brushes, patches, and jags for barrel cleaning.
  • Gun cleaning solvent and lubricating oil specifically designed for firearms.
  • Nylon or brass brushes for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas.
  • Cleaning patches or cotton swabs for applying solvent and removing debris.

It is important to note that the Smith & Wesson Model 686 is a modern firearm and does not require specialized or rare tools for disassembly. However, using proper tools designed for firearms will help prevent damage to the revolver and ensure a smooth cleaning process.

Step-by-Step Disassembly

  1. Clearing the firearm and ensuring it is unloaded: Before starting the disassembly process, make sure the firearm is not loaded. Remove all ammunition and visually inspect the chambers to confirm they are empty.
  2. Removing the cylinder: To remove the cylinder, push the cylinder release latch located on the left side of the frame forward. Swing the cylinder outwards, then lift it out of the frame.
  3. Taking apart the frame: With the cylinder removed, locate the takedown pin under the barrel of the Model 686. Push the pin in and rotate it counterclockwise to unlock it. Once unlocked, pull the pin out and set it aside. With the pin removed, the barrel assembly and frame can be separated.
  4. Disassembling the barrel and slide: To disassemble the barrel and slide, push the ejector rod forward until it is fully extended. Rotate the cylinder crane counterclockwise to release it from the crane yoke. The barrel and slide can then be removed from the frame.
  5. Disassembling the internal components: With the barrel and slide assembly removed, you can now disassemble the internal components. This includes removing the rebound slide assembly, hammer, mainspring, and sear. Refer to your firearm’s user manual or consult a detailed guide for specific instructions on disassembling these components.

A Detailed Guide: Disassembling and Cleaning the Smith Wesson Model 686

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Gun Cleaning Supplies List

Cleaning Procedures

Now that the Smith & Wesson Model 686 is disassembled, it’s time to clean each individual part thoroughly. Here are the recommended cleaning procedures:

  1. Cleaning the barrel and bore: Attach a bore brush to your cleaning rod and soak it in gun cleaning solvent. Insert the rod into the barrel and scrub back and forth several times. Follow up by running clean patches through the bore until they come out clean. Apply a light coat of lubricating oil to the bore to prevent rust.
  2. Cleaning the frame and trigger mechanism: Use a nylon or brass brush dipped in gun cleaning solvent to scrub the frame and trigger mechanism. Pay special attention to the internal surfaces, removing any dirt, carbon build-up, or debris. Wipe off excess solvent with clean patches or cotton swabs.
  3. Cleaning the cylinder and ejector assembly: Soak the cylinder in gun cleaning solvent to loosen any residue. Use a nylon or brass brush to scrub the cylinder, especially around the chambers and the ejector assembly. Rinse the cylinder with clean solvent, then dry it thoroughly.
  4. Cleaning and lubricating internal components: Clean the internal components, such as the rebound slide assembly, hammer, mainspring, and sear, using a nylon or brass brush dipped in solvent. Make sure to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. After cleaning, apply a thin film of lubricating oil to the moving parts to ensure smooth operation.
  5. Inspecting and cleaning the slide assembly: Examine the slide assembly for any signs of wear or damage. Clean any dirt or residue using a brush and solvent. Apply a small amount of lubricating oil to the slide rails to facilitate smooth movement.


After cleaning and inspecting each part of the Smith & Wesson Model 686, it’s time to reassemble the revolver. Follow these steps:

  1. Putting the slide assembly back together: Align the barrel with the frame and slide it into place. Rotate the cylinder crane clockwise until it engages with the crane yoke. Push the ejector rod back in until it seats flush.
  2. Reassembling the barrel and frame: Insert the takedown pin into the frame and rotate it clockwise until it locks into place. Ensure that the pin is fully seated and secure.
  3. Reinstalling the cylinder: Align the cylinder’s rear protrusions with the corresponding notches in the frame. Insert the cylinder into the frame and swing it back into place. Push the cylinder release latch forward to lock it in position.
  4. Final assembly and function check: Ensure that all parts are properly seated and that the revolver operates smoothly. Perform a function check, including testing the trigger pull, cylinder rotation, and hammer operation. If everything is functioning correctly, proceed to the maintenance tips section.

A Detailed Guide: Disassembling and Cleaning the Smith Wesson Model 686

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Gun Cleaning Supplies List

Maintenance Tips

To keep your Smith & Wesson Model 686 in optimal condition, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Frequency of cleaning for optimal performance: It is generally recommended to clean your firearm after each use or at least every few hundred rounds. Regular cleaning helps prevent the build-up of dirt and debris, ensures smooth operation, and prolongs the lifespan of the revolver.
  2. Proper storage and maintenance practices: Store your Model 686 in a cool, dry place, away from humidity and extreme temperatures. Use a gun safe or locking device to secure the firearm and prevent unauthorized access. Regularly inspect and clean your firearm even when it is not being used to maintain its reliability.
  3. Common issues and troubleshooting tips: In case you encounter any issues with your Smith & Wesson Model 686, consult the manufacturer’s manual or seek professional assistance. Avoid attempting complex repairs or modifications without proper knowledge or training.

Historical Background

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 was introduced in the early 1980s as an improvement on the popular Model 586. Chambered in .357 Magnum, this stainless steel revolver quickly gained popularity due to its durability, accuracy, and versatility. It gained a reputation as a reliable choice for law enforcement officers and civilians alike, thanks to its robust construction and smooth double-action trigger.

A Detailed Guide: Disassembling and Cleaning the Smith Wesson Model 686

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Video Demonstration

For a more visual understanding of the disassembly and cleaning process, we recommend watching this detailed video tutorial: Smith & Wesson Model 686 Disassembly and Cleaning Tutorial.


Regular disassembly and cleaning are essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of your Smith & Wesson Model 686. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and adhering to important safety precautions, you can ensure that your revolver continues to function reliably. Remember to perform regular maintenance, store your firearm properly, and seek professional assistance if needed. With proper care, your Smith & Wesson Model 686 will provide you with many years of shooting enjoyment and satisfaction.


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