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Old 07-11-2010, 09:35 PM
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Default No love for the 296 Airlite?

Never heard of this gun before now (I was out of the gun game for a while, during the time this gun was produced). Sounds, ummm, interesting. What little I've found out about it so far, seems to have been a sales dog due to only 1 or 2 loads suitable for it and looking at old Internet postings seems like there were a lot for sale for such a "rare" gun. Was recoil merely stout or is it just downright brutal? Does anyone like this gun or was it one that should have been left on the drawing board?
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:50 PM
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I have one that I like a lot, though the gun makes absolutely no sense as a primary home defense firearm. I just like the humpback styling. If I ever have justification to get a carry permit under Orange County procedures, this would be one of two or three I'd be likely to carry.

It is definitely a hand stinger to shoot Cor-Bon rounds in the original configuration of this revolver. I put a steel 696 cylinder in mine to give it a little extra mass, and that opens up the possibilities for different loads as well. Heavy bullets can be inertially dislodged from the case under the heavy recoil of this lightweight, so the factory specifies lighter bullets. With a little more weight in the gun, you can increase the weight of the projectile without running the risk of jumping crimp and tying up the cylinder.

I put a big dot sight on mine, too.



Better grips would also help with the slap, but I haven't done anything about that yet.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
I have one that I like a lot, though the gun makes absolutely no sense as a primary home defense firearm....If I ever have justification to get a carry permit under Orange County procedures, this would be one of two or three I'd be likely to carry.
Thanks for the reply. It seems to me like an excellent carry weapon (except for maybe the recoil). Lawyer proof DOA trigger, snag-free concealed hammer, .44 cal punch. Sure the 640 and Airweight/Airlite guns (38/357) are great carry guns, but "darn", a .44 Centenial rocks!

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Heavy bullets can be inertially dislodged from the case under the heavy recoil of this lightweight, so the factory specifies lighter bullets.
I read that elsewhere, and was (am) confused b/c I read with the Airlite 38's/357's you have to use HEAVIER bullets for the same reason (???).
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:18 PM
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"No love for the 296 Airlite?"

Some may think she's a mite homely, but mine's not going anywhere...
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:32 PM
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Default 296 Airlite ti

I had one for awhile and even had a IWB holster made for it. Not an easy holster to buy off the shelf. I had a box of 200 grain blazers and these are what I carried in it. They seemed more appropriate than brass. The recoil was sharp but the weapon tended to "roll" in my hand albeit rather sharply. Follow up shots were slow as a result. I got rid of mine due to its size rather than its recoil. No matter how you stack it it's an L frame with a hump and I carry IWB appendix and we just were not a good fit. With that being said a holster maker I know told me he once made a pocket holster for a 296 for a very large Indy police officer who carried his as a BUG in the front pocket of his cargo pants.
I on the other hand felt like I had a salad plate pressed against my side when I carried mine.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:04 PM
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I found one for sale about 6 months ago and feel it was the "buy" of my S&W collecting career, out the door of a gun shop, brand new, boxes and papers, for $505. I intended to keep this gun as a safe King, for future trade bait, UNTIL I STUCK IT IN MY POCKET. It had found a home. This gun carries in any pocket of any pants/shorts/dress I wear and meets its designed function perfectly. The recoil with 200gr. cowboy loads I got from Lee is insignificant. I have not tried to horse this gun up to snot blower and probably will not. I will reload for it when the cowboy loads are gone, but no heavy loads, it doesn't need it to put holes in things at 20' or less. I think it is one of the best carry guns ever made. No safeties, no levers, no widgets, no nothing, just pull the trigger. I love it, and carry it everywhere. Lastly, the finish on this gun is pretty tough. I have not been very nice to it at times, and it seems to resist scratches etc. quite well.
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Last edited by Beaver; 07-11-2010 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:25 PM
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Wink 296

I bought mine new when they came out. It is one of my favorite carry guns when shooting moderate 200 gr loads. I know it looks like a "fat walrus", but its light and throws a big bullet. Remember what Clint Eastwood said,"You've just got to know its limits."
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:15 AM
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DC Wilson Looking Good!! Like the looks of the stainless cylinder plus the extra weight would be a benefit with some hot 44spl loads..
The M242 & M296 were the only L Frame Centennials ever produced by S&W & being they use the standard leaf style mainspring their triggers are very nice alot better than most any J frame that are DAO..
BTW I saw a M242 7 shot 38spl +P one today at the gunshow on Mitch's table in Somerset.. He wanted $495..
I won't ever make that trip again but my buddy did pick up a Minty Colt 1911 MKIV series 80 for $675..
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
It is definitely a hand stinger to shoot Cor-Bon rounds in the original configuration of this revolver. I put a steel 696 cylinder in mine to give it a little extra mass, and that opens up the possibilities for different loads as well. Heavy bullets can be inertially dislodged from the case under the heavy recoil of this lightweight, so the factory specifies lighter bullets. With a little more weight in the gun, you can increase the weight of the projectile without running the risk of jumping crimp and tying up the cylinder.

I put a big dot sight on mine, too.
(snip)
Better grips would also help with the slap, but I haven't done anything about that yet.
DC, that looks great with the steel cylinder!

I've got the 242 and won't be changing the cylinder (.38s aren't that bad even in this light a gun), but the grips have to go. Probably be looking for a set of magnas, myself.

Question: did you do the BigDot yourself? That's probably the #1 change I want to make on my 242, since the black blade is almost invisible to me. Which dot is the right one?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:46 AM
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Default 242

Yes the Big Dot is nice, Mine came with this one.
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1911, 38spl, 640, 696, airlite, airweight, colt, concealed, crimp, j frame, l frame, model 40

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