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Old December 26, 2012, 10:22 AM   #26
drail
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They definitely had some problems when they changed the manufacturing process (and still are having problems) but most of the ones I have handled were good. The barrel constriction seemed to range from barely measurable to "you gotta be kidding". If considering a used 696 make certain to look at the bore and the forcing cone VERY carefully. They are without a doubt kind of picky about what type of bullet is used. Most will fire jacketed bullets with no problem. I shoot almost nothing but cast bullets so I guess I got lucky. I do consider the 696 to be one of S&W's better ideas. But by 96 everyone was switching to alloy/polymer 9mm guns.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:15 AM   #27
Ozzieman
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I hate this thread, every time I come back to it!
It’s the one 44 Special I have been looking for, since I heard S&W built it.
I have so far only seen one but it was engraved to the point of being ridiculous and 2500$.
Not to hijack this thread, but I have been sending monthly requests to Ruger to build a 5 shot 44 special on the 100 or 101 frame. I keep getting nothing more than a “thank you for the request”.
If you think this is a good idea please ask Ruger to build one at the following location.

http://www.ruger.com/footer/contact.html
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:00 PM   #28
drail
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While a .44 cal. cylinder could be fit into the GP frame the barrel is the problem. Sticking a barrel with a bore that big through the GP frame leaves no room for a normal sized forcing cone, which is the weak point on a 696. On an SP frame, forget about it. I don't believe that Ruger will build a big bore revolver with a forcing cone that is that thin and fragile. S&W found out that consumers, for the most part, are not really too intelligent and will try to run extreme loads in their guns. I have seen 696s with cracked and flared forcing cones from owners trying to make a .44 Magnum out of it. Ruger builds guns that have special load data in most manuals. (for Ruger only). If you want to shoot a bullet that large you have to design the frame around it or else you will have to compromise on strength and service life. And the stupid people will return them to your service department after they tear them up. I wouldn't offer any kind of warranty on a proposition like that. Taurus and Rossi built some medium frame .44 Spl. 5 shot revolvers. Look around, they're out there. It is a shame because the .44 Spl. is one of the best self defense rounds we have ever come up with.

Last edited by drail; December 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM.
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Old December 28, 2012, 06:48 PM   #29
Ozzieman
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drail I agree with your point about numnuts shooting Keith loads through something like a Charter bulldog. But I disagree with not being able to build one out of a SP.
I have one of the mid framed Taurus 44 special’s (445) and it’s not as big as a Ruger and it has a small forcing cone. For normal NON Ruger loads the SP frame would work fine.
Also the 696 frame which was built on the L, I was under the impression that it was larger than a K (19) but still smaller than a Ruger.
Then again to protect themselves at Ruger, their lawyers could put a 12 line disclaimer on the OTHER side of the barrel.
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Old December 28, 2012, 08:02 PM   #30
drail
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You are correct. Personally the forcing cone on the 696 never bothered me because I only shoot 200 - 240 gr. loads @ 900 fps. or so. If I need more than that I'll grab another gun. But there seems to be a significant market for the Buffalo Bore/Corbon type stuff and lots of handloaders try to reach those levels. Not me. I am amazed I haven't heard more accounts of people "grenading" the Charter Bulldogs since I have seen plenty where they got pretty close. I only wish I would have bought 2 696s when they first hit the stores.

Last edited by drail; December 28, 2012 at 08:07 PM.
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Old December 30, 2012, 10:53 AM   #31
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I only wish I would have bought 2 696s when they first hit the stores.

Sir, you get my vote for understatement of the week.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:16 PM   #32
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I bought a no-dash back in the early 2000s...almost didn't get it, however. It had been sitting on the shelf at my local gun shop for about a year, and I'd stop and look at it every time I went in. I was intrigued by it, but it was priced at $425, and I thought that was a bit too much. Finally, after I had looked at it for about the tenth time that year, the owner of the shop said "Look if you really want the gun, I'll sell it to you for $375. It's been sitting here for ages, and I just want to get it out of here". Even then, I hemmed and hawed for a while (I'd have to get 44 special brass since I didn't have a 44 special...), and finally took him up on his offer.

That was one of the few times I got what turned out to be a good deal on a gun...
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:10 AM   #33
zeke
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Have not seen a 696 for sale up here in years. The only ones i ever chanced across were immediately purchased, and paid max of $350. Way before they got desirable.

Excellent balance of size, power and control. Very fond of 200 grainers at 900 fps, and very easy to load for. On one, the accuracy improved by smoothing up the barrel and forcing cone.
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Old December 31, 2012, 03:45 PM   #34
drail
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$375 for a 696? As Anton (the bad guy) said in "No country for old men" - "that's the best deal you're going to get."
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Old January 11, 2013, 10:08 PM   #35
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I finally went and picked mine up, It is a little dirty and will need a good cleaning but she is all mine. I already swapped on the Ahrends I had waiting for her. Pics to follow this weekend.
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Old January 12, 2013, 08:30 AM   #36
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Pictures, we don’t need no stinking pictures! We want the gun!
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Old January 12, 2013, 03:58 PM   #37
DFrame
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Superb gun. FAR lighter and handier than a 29. That L frame makes it feel like a much smaller gun. And there just isn't a better calibre than 44 special. I regret not buying one a friend had for sale a couple of years ago.

"Penny wise and Pound foolish" is what my grandmother would have called me!
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