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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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Default S&W 5-shot 44 Special

I've read where S&W did a limited run of the 696, an L-Frame 5-shot ~ why do you think they wouldn't keep it in production. Lack of interest? I would think they'd sell more of those than 10" X-frame .500 mags but then I'm not marketing guy either..

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I just read about the 396 liteweight .44 Spl S&W used to make~~that one doesn't sound like much fun..
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Last edited by Maquis; February 5th, 2011 at 10:11 AM.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

The S&W 696 was the right revolver at the wrong time. The demand in the 1990s was "bigger, faster, more powerful" and this 3" masterpiece of a large-bore carry gun was lost in the shuffle. The 696 is a great big-bore carry revolver in a medium-sized envelope, and with even moderate loads the 44 Spl is nothing to sneeze at. Note: Built on the L-frame, the 696's barrel forcing cone is quite thin, and higher-velocity loads should be avoided. Replacement 696 barrels are no longer available from either S&W or Brownells.

The 696 was produced for several years and went through three engineering change levels before S&W pulled the plug. Then around 2004-2006 the Model 696 was "discovered" by S&W revolver fans as the sweet medium-sized carry piece / "kit" gun that it is. That drove up demand and prices. I can recall purchasing my 696 used at the PGCA show in Monroeville from Bravermans in 2004 for $395. A uear later they were $550-$600, and a couple years ago the asking price on a 696 "no dash" was $700+. The 696 now enjoys a "cult status" perpetuated by owners posting about their revolvers on various forums, generating a "gotta get one" desire among the have-nots.

As an aside, I sold mine when I decided to clear out of 44 caliber rifles and revolvers, electing to stay with 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 38 Spl/357 Magnum, 32-20, 22 Magnum, and 22 LR in revolvers. I really didn't carry it much and didn't get any emotional attachment to it so I don't miss it. I had the opportunity to buy a second 696 a number of years ago solely to give it to a close friend who is a big fan of the 44 Spl cartridge. He was unaware of the 696 even being made and took an immediate shine to it. He is seldom without it as either the 696, a S&W 65LS, or a Makarov are his principal carry pieces.

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Old February 5th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

I guess at the end of the day 6 shots of 357 is better than 5 shots of 44 in the same frame size...
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Old February 5th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

They also made a 296. This is mine. Lighter than a 396 and hammerless.

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I found both triggers to be terrible to me so the triggers are on a scale to me.. The Glock was a crisper suck and the XD was a more mushy suck. They are in the same family, SR9 (heavy suck), Glock (crisp heavy suck), XD( lighter mushy suck), M&P(heavy mushy suck).
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Old February 5th, 2011, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

I bought one of these back in the 90's and had no clue what I was getting but thankfully I didn't get stupid and sell it. Not sure what all the hype is.......

and no you can't have it....It's mine, all mine!

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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

I stumbled upon a lew horton 624 w/strong holster a few years back and w/ the combat grips it's a pleasure. Also had a Taurus titanium snubby in .44 and and it would leave me sobbing after a range session. Never shot a 696 but I suspect it's somewhere between the two of mine mannerwise. Love the .44 special and also Elmer Keith!
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Old February 13th, 2011, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: S&W 5-shot 44 Special

Man you have to just love a .44. I used to do bail enforcement and my partner carried a .44 special with 3-4 barrel. I can tell you that it was a sweet gun at the range.
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