We analyzed the competition kinetics of quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) and QNB methiodide enantiomers on human NB-OK1 neuroblastoma (M1), rat cardiac (M2), and rat pancreas (M3) muscarinic binding sites. The association rate constants of the four drugs depended on the receptor subtype studied and were lower with pancreas (M3) (1-9 x 10(5) M-1 sec-1) than with cardiac (M2) (1-5 x 10(6) M-1 sec-1) and NB-OK1 (M1) (1-5 x 10(6) M-1 sec-1) binding sites. At each receptor subtype, we observed no significant difference between the association rate constants of the R- and S-enantiomers of either QNB or QNB methiodide. Receptor stereoselectivity, when present, was associated with differences in unlabeled drug dissociation rate constants. The dissociation rate constant varied much more than the association rate constant, when either (R)-QNB dissociation from the three subtypes (half-life, 77 min to greater than 340 min; best fit, 40 days) or dissociation of the four drugs from each receptor subtype (half-lives varying from 1.4 min to 4 hr at M1 receptors, 1.1 to 77 min at M2 receptors, and 3.5 min to greater than 340 min at M3 receptors were obtained by competition kinetics analysis) was compared.