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  #1  
Old 09-10-2010, 05:18 PM
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Default S&W 296 44 spl

I've searched and can't find a lot on this model.Anyone have one here? I can't find much on the auction sites concerning values, because there aren't many for sale. I've found one local to me and I'm trying to decide if it's a good buy or not.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:32 PM
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Check some of the auction sites. They are not very common and are spendy!
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:47 PM
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They' re good solid guns. I don't own one, but only because I somehow managed to find and buy 2 of the 396 cousins. They do most things pretty well. What they don't do, you probably shouldn't try. There is no way to turn it into a magnum. Don't bother trying. If you want hand pain, buy a 329. What the 296 does excel at is being a comfortable to carry 44 Special. They're light enough to be carried all day without causing you pain. You can even shoot them at the range for a while. Then you soon discover you can't shoot 100 times and not begin to feel the light weight transmitting the impact. Not a problem. Unless its the only gun you own and you want to shoot it more frequently.

Buy it.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:57 PM
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It's a cool revolver. Being a .44 SPL fan I bought the first 696 in town and ordered the 296 when I read an article about it. It carries pretty well, for an L-Frame, but at 18 oz. it can be kind of unpleasant to shoot with stout loads. I must admit I really don't like the way it looks. Kind of like a Bodyguard on steroids. If they had made it with the same profile as a J-Frame Centennial I think it would look really good, but I guess that would have been problematic for some reason.
Any .44 Spl. is cool. This one has it's own little niche, and although I rarely carry or shoot it I'm glad I have it. I think someday it will be worth quite a bit as it was only made for a short time. From what I have heard they are going for a pretty high price now, so if you have a chance to buy one you might want to do it. There's not many out there.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:24 PM
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I have one and like it, but agree that stout loads are really unpleasant to shoot in a gun this light. I went to softer loads and put a steel cylinder in it to bump the weight about 10 percent, and that makes it bearable to shoot. I still think I may put Pachmayr grips on it someday. If I had a CCW permit, I would probably have this gun on my person all the time. But the light weight is not really necessary for a home defense revolver; a gun in a nightstand doesn't weigh anything until you pick it up.

High marks for coolness, and I am one of those people who like the humpback lines of the old Bodyguard models. So this one is right down my alley.

Prices were higher a year ago than they are right now. Popularity has fluctuated with time. They were expensive when new, and stocks were liquidated after a couple of years when S&W couldn't get anyone to buy them. Then they got popular and expensive again, and now prices are sliding a bit.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:53 PM
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I like mine. It has a distinctive look, sort of Hunchback

If Quasimodo packed heat, this would be his gun.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:46 AM
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It is a tuff gun to beat as far as a carry gun, great round (speer 200grn gold dots) with the light weight frame. I guess I was lucky in the fact that I found mine at a local pawn shop for $380. I also lucked out and found its twin brother the Smith 242 7shot 38spl.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:49 AM
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Here is a pic of one.
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:41 AM
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Red face 296

Yes I bought one when they first came out. I love mine and carry it daily as my primary carry. Mine had an exceptional trigger pull out of the box but it is an N-frame Airweight which most SW fans call "butt ugly". Because of its size and the butt ugly tag, it really is a beautiful gun. However, its sales were dismal and I don't think it lasted a year. If you can find one it,ll probablybe cheap. But don,t wait too long as butt ugly and scarce have a way or making it collectible in a hurry. Me and BE are very close so mine isn,t for sale. GOOD Luck.


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Old 09-11-2010, 04:29 AM
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Agree with the comments above. You didn't mention how much the seller wanted for the one you saw, but a used one without the box and contents would be a good deal in the $450 range. There seem to be more NIB on auction or for sale than ones that have sold, so I can't recall a current price for one. If you buy it, be sure not to use any abrasives on the cylinder - the coating that protects the titanium is somewhat easily removed and the metal will be damaged with firing. Hope this is helpful.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:35 AM
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I think the price is high on this one. No box/papers, about 90-95% condition, $550.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:23 PM
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Dbracin: I'm not sure that price is unreasonable. I bought one to be a carry gun, therefore, I really didn't care if it was perfect or not. One in 90-95% for $550 would be a good buy in my book, and fair price in Central Oregon. If you were to buy %100 NIB as a collector, you would pay $700-$800. If you want a great carry gun, that will defend your life as well as any other, I would buy it. I lucked into a very nice one, I was thinking of safe queening it for future trade fodder, however, it is now my constant pocket gun. I am slowly going through a box of mellow cowboy action loads, when they are gone, I'll reload something mellow and reasonable. The 296 doesn't have to be loaded to the nuts to be effective. I have two 624's and I can get beefy with them if necessary. I really like the finish on the 296, I have not been very nice to this gun for two years of pocket, truck seat, guy purse, falling on the floor, etc. The finish still looks good. For its intended purpose, I feel the 296 is one of the best guns ever made. Light, powerful and beautiful. I love mine. bw
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:44 AM
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A quick check before buying. The cylinder stop is cast in place - and can be pared away with a 'Hollywood rap' or two of the ejector rod. The result is simple - the cylinder can fall out when you go to unload! Release the cylinder, swing it all the way open, and see if it will pass by that stop... if so, no thanks. If it passes this test, $550 for a good one sounds appropriate - they listed for over two hundred more when they were axed! Of course, some bargain hunters got them on closeout NIB fot $349.

I bought mine eight years ago this January - for $359 on 'closeout' - on the same day I bought my 696 for $439 (regular price) - both NIB from a local Ma/Pa gunstore. Buying both, they gave me another $10 off. I bought it to replace my AMT DAO Backups in .45 ACP - both of which had exhibited problems earlier that day (Never polish their feedramps!) at the range. I got $200/each for the pair - the last of my evil-bottom-feeders. Actually, the second Backup still had their closeout price of $199 on it! Sadly, while the Backups were carried in a pocket holster, the 296 had to ride - infrequently - in an OWB belt leather holster from OWL (Uncle Mike's). It also sported the rounded UM's combat grips off the 696 - while it found happiness in some Ahrend's cocobolo grips. The UM's padded that backstrap - making recoil a bit less painful.

I eventually found R. Mika and his pocket holsters. I had him make one for my 296 - the combo, with the 296's OEM boot grips back on, fit 3 out of 4 of my pants front pockets - and increased my 'carry'. I eventually ordered a 642 holster - bought a 642 - and that combo is a 24/7 carry. The 296 still gets the woods stomping pocket carry duties - with a 240gr LSWC first, followed by it's usual urban ammo - 200gr Speer Gold Dots loaded in new brass by Georgia Arms. After 1,800 similar, but AL-cased, Blazers in my various .44's, I had a case split - no more of them - and went to brass-cased only in the Ti cylinder.

I did shoot my 296 a lot more when it wore the UM's combats - probably has 2,400+ rounds through it - still tight as a drum. Not so many these days - 10 rounds/month or so. The 200gr GD's smart a bit with those teeny boots - and that bare backstrap & hump. It was initially stiff in the trigger. Taking that sideplate off and blasting some manufacturing grime out of it with aerosol RemOil - and sharing a drop of oil with the axles, etc, made the greatest difference imagineable. Smooth - like a trigger job had been done! I let RemOil or Breakfree soak on that Ti cylinder's front then use a nylon bristle M16 'toothbrush', accepting some vestigial carbon rings.

Some find it ugly... I guess it's an acquired taste. I like the Ti atom symbol on the side. I'd love a 242, too. The 296 does have it's quirks - mainly ammo restrictions, ie, 200gr or less, clad only, and no short cases (.44 Russians) due to the light weight and that Ti cylinder. That's easy here - mostly 200gr Gold Dots - with an occasional first round of 240gr LSWC. Incidently, I tested mine with my own 240gr LSWC's - the fifth round was checked after each shot - and grew in OAL - to the point where it had completely straightened it's crimp after the fourth shot - it would have certainly jammed by bullet pulling with lesser crimps than I use. Mine has seen some 180gr SJHP's, too - but mostly that Speer 200gr Gold Dot - which, my reloads, Georgia Arms in brass, or the Blazers all use - and I've chrono-ed between 800 - 805 fps. They do a job on a 2L pop bottle full of water, too - small entry & backside is gone! I no longer fear bands of marauding pop bottles full of water!

I did find a way to really lessen my 296's recoil:



Yeah, the Hogue made-for-S&W .500 Magnum grips, although they fit perfectly and really tame the recoil, are a tad absurd in size - certainly takes the combo out of 'pocketable' size - other than a huge overcoat. My 296 will be here when my 696 is long gone - it's a keeper.

Stainz
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:20 AM
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Two years late, my bad....mine was 505.oo new, of all my pistols, this one in a shoulder rig is tha ticket....recoil? realy? it's a .44, for deffencive purpose, little slap on tha hand but a 200gn CCI "Flying-ashtray" on tha other, if you need more than one round, you need more range time....I still have mine.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:02 PM
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I have one and it is my favorite carry gun. I didnt like the ti cylinder and had a Nightguard cylinder installed. This is my second one. I love the look and would actually buy any new one built as a humpback. Mine will never be for sale.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:18 PM
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I have had mine for about 10 years and it has been carried enough that it no longer looks new.

It is loaded with Winchester ST 200gr. When we tested it in calibrated 10% Vyse covered with 4 layers of denim, it opened up to 0.71 and penetrated 14".

It is an 'always with me' gun when I plan a automobile trip. Carried cross draw in a Hume JIT. Also has CT installed.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRA UR2 View Post
Yes I bought one when they first came out. I love mine and carry it daily as my primary carry. Mine had an exceptional trigger pull out of the box but it is an N-frame Airweight which most SW fans call "butt ugly".

These are L frame, right?
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:09 PM
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I've got one shooter grade 296 that stays in the nightstand and then a lnib safe queen that goes along with a lnib 242 7 shot. I think they are L frame but I'd have to check SCSW before I'd bet my life.

Here's the safe queen.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:30 AM
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They are L frames. It is a niche gun, but in that niche, just great.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:42 AM
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One of the many discontinued guns S&W should be reintroducing. Sign me up for one of these and another 696.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:40 AM
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I have a 396, the bigger brother, with a 3 " + barrel and a hammer, that is my carry gun. I have spent a lot of time in the southern woods at all times of the year and a 44 special with shot shells have taken many a slithery varmint life over the years. I love my 396, its a great carry gun as I can carry all day and never know its there on my belt. I use 200 gr reloads to Cowboy Action specs for shooting at the range. Yes, you do not want to run 50-100 rounds thru it at the range, but it has a purpose. It is always in the car with me when I travel. I did change out the grips to a set of Decelerators to cover the back strap and enjoy a few rounds in practice. Go buy the gun, if you carry, you will love the gun, yes, they are a specialty gun but look a what you are pumping out the barrel when compared to a 38/357. Its not a 44 mag, but a lot of the time, all you need is that 44 special case.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:21 PM
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Something to look for on used 296's:

The cast in place Al alloy cylinder stop, just above the back of the trigger, has reportedly been sliced off by the squared Ti cylinder backside and a few good 'Hollywood-style' raps of the ejector rod. A subsequent push of the ejector will put the cylinder in your hand - if you are lucky!

Another thing to look at is the topstrap above the b/c gap. Normal .44 Specials are low pressure - very little topstrap erosion - maybe some lead spatter and carbon. A few of Harold's homebrew hotloads, and things change. "Well, Elmer shot them in his gun!" doesn't provide much solace when you're looking at the pieces your revolver explosively disassembled itself in to when you tried them.

The general condition of the Ti cylinder front face and chambers should be checked, too. Some permanent carbon exit rings are far better than steel brush marks.

My 296 is a keeper - and would be difficult to replace.

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380, 38spl, 624, 642, 696, airweight, bodyguard, ccw, centennial, cocobolo, combats, crimp, ejector, hogue, leather, m16, model 16, n-frame, pachmayr, s&w, sideplate, titanium

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