Been carrying a 696 daily since they first hit the shelves. Do not subject it to any kind of +P heavy loads and avoid light bullet high velocity loads. The forcing cone is very thin and won't tolerate much high velocity stuff. If you trash the barrel there are no more available and S&W isn't going to make any more. A 200 to 215 gr. bullet moving at 850 to 900 fps is perfect in this gun and easy to achieve in a 3 in. bbl. Almost identical ballistically to the .45 ACP. I use the Speer 200 gr. Gold Dot over 7 to 7.5 gr. Unique. The rifling is a type of polygonal rifling and will be not stabilize some cast bullets. The 215 gr. cast SWC that is offered by a lot of casters works very well if it is sized at .430. It is a great carry gun. You is a lucky man.
Last edited by drail; December 20, 2012 at 09:20 AM.