If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you have seen my long barreled Smith & Wesson 686. It had that cool long stainless steel barrel and those horrible black rubber grips. The grips were too thin and never did feel right in my very large hands. I was getting tired of it and took it to Bud’s Gun Shop to see what I could get in trade. I drove over to Bud’s with my dad and the two of us went up to the counter to see what was in the cases and see how much they’d offer me for the gun. I handed the gun to one of the guys behind the counter and he took it to the back room for several minutes. I estimated the revolver’s value at around $700.00 and figured they’d offer me about 70% of that as a trade value. A 30% mark-up seems about right to me for used gun sales. I was expecting an offer of around $490.00 to $500.00. When the guy came back he offered me $400.00 for it, I asked if he’d go a little higher. He was quick to say ‘no.’ I said to my dad, “If they’re going to give me only $400.00 I might as well keep it.” It was then my dad said “If you’re going to keep it, I’ll give you an old pair of Smith and Wesson target grips I have.” He never told me he had a pair of old target grips for a Smith and Wesson! You’d think a father would share that kind of information with his son!
After a short car ride to dad’s to pick up the grips, I was soon back at my home to put the grips on the 686. Once the grip panels were installed and the grip screw tightened it was like the clouds parted and the sun shone on the revolver for the very first time. My ugly revolver now was looking like a revolver should. Once I picked the gun up and held it as if aiming at the wall of my shop, a love affair had begun. Those old target grips fit my big hand as if they were made just for me. They filled my hand allowing me to grip the revolver like never before. The long barrel suddenly became less nose-heavy. My aim was more steady. I knew I would love shooting this gun with its new feel and looks. After a quick trip to the range, my thoughts and feelings were confirmed. Recoil was lessened. Aim was improved. Accuracy increased. Love level heightened.
The gun that I was so ready to trade is now in the ‘keeper’ category. Two pieces of walnut have transformed my ‘ugly’ gun into one of my favorite pieces. The grips fill my hand and give the gun a much better feel with improved control. Lesson learned:think about changing a gun before trading a gun.