Look very carefully at your bore. Or better yet at a recovered bullet fired from your gun. The rifling used is not standard button cut rifling. I also have a 696 ND and every other one I have seen has this type of rifling. I do not know how many other models they used it on or why. S&W changed a large number of manufacturing operations and bought new CNC mills right before the 696s were introduced. The extractor is completely different also. Every one of these guns I have seen also shows a very slight bore constriction right where the barrel is threaded into the frame which causes bullets to get "sized down" slightly as they pass through. Some owners have complained about accuracy problems with some bullets due to this and sent them back to S&W and had them fixed. Mine shows the constriction but accuracy is fine on mine with my handloads and cast bullets. Both the new rifling process, the new extractor design, and the bore constriction were well documented in the gun mags when the 696 was first introduced. I have trimmed .44 Mag cases down to Spl. length but can see no difference between them and modern made Spl. cases. I think they are the same case except for length.
Last edited by drail; December 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM.