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Old 12-23-2010, 05:56 PM
PetersCustomLeather PetersCustomLeather is offline
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I love the idea of a 44 special in this size of gun. I was all set to hunt one down and then.... I saw a picture of one with the cylinder flopped down and Oh My...... the forcing cone looks paper thin!

Now, I would not be loading up hot rounds really... It would be nice if i could load 1000FPS 255gr lead though.....

I'm wondering if that's risky in these or maybe that thin FC is nothing to worry about. What do you all think/know about these? Is there any worries with that thin area? Am I worried about nothing?

Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:28 PM
Dave T Dave T is offline
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Originally Posted by PetersCustomLeather View Post
Now, I would not be loading up hot rounds really... It would be nice if i could load 1000FPS 255gr lead though.....
I'm almost afraid to ask what you consider a "hot" 44 Special?

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Old 12-23-2010, 06:37 PM
Dale53 Dale53 is offline
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The best way I know how to answer this question is to state that if I run into one for a reasonable price I will buy it. I WILL use it, too!!

I have a number of .44 Specials and my most used load for them is the old Skeeter Load (7.5 grs of Unique behind a good 250 gr Keith). This will give you 950+ depending on which revolver it is shot in. I consider that an excellent field or self defense load.

Dale53
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:41 PM
PetersCustomLeather PetersCustomLeather is offline
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The best way I know how to answer this question is to state that if I run into one for a reasonable price I will buy it. I WILL use it, too!!

I have a number of .44 Specials and my most used load for them is the old Skeeter Load (7.5 grs of Unique behind a good 250 gr Keith). This will give you 950+ depending on which revolver it is shot in. I consider that an excellent field or self defense load.

Dale53
That's the load I use for my Ruger flattop and would be more than happy running that in a carry gun.

Ok... maybe I need to try and find one of these some place!

Thanks!
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:37 PM
Nick B Nick B is offline
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I ordered one when they first came out . One look at the FC was enough for me to trade it off . I shoot alot and just didn't feel comfortable with that thin cone .
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:05 PM
badbob38 badbob38 is offline
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I have 2 S&W 696 stainless in 44spl,and I have pushed 260 and 310 gr swc out of them. Both are mighty fine guns,with that 310 you better load hot so it will make out the other end, I have 6 S&W and they all are 44spl. they will do everything I need them to do. If Elmer would have left them alone they be top dog.I like to take both 696s and load them with 250 Black Hills (Keith) shoot them both at once and watch everyone on the line with eyes watering,cough the new ones that dont know me has brown marks donntyouknow. Ive been shooting here since 1972. Mommy burn the house down Ill built you another.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:38 AM
Joed49 Joed49 is offline
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I just posted this on another thread earlier but once again.

The 696 is a nice gun. Stick with standard .44 Spl loads and it will last you forever, try to mimic Elmer Keith and you can kiss it goodbye.

The problem is the forcing cone is thin. There's a reason S&W quit making these.

When the 696 came out I looked at them but went for the 686+ instead.

I don't own a 696 and probably never will at the prices they are going for. I do however own a Taurus 445 which is about the same size. It also has a thin forcing cone. It was made to shoot .44 Spl at standard velocity and that's all I shoot in it.

I have a few N frame .44 Spls, I have no regrets about shooting hotter loads in any of these but they are just built better.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:58 AM
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Jeroenw114 Jeroenw114 is offline
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Lately I have seen more discussions about the 696. Very interesting since I recently bought one.

The conclusion looking at all discussions is: the 696 is a great gun and fun to shoot. It's not meant for hot loads and the major reason is the forcing cone. The frame and cylinder is more delicate too of course.
For some the hot loads problem is a reason not to want this gun.
For others the fact that this is a smaller L-frame is reason to want this gun.

If you like a not to heavy gun, only a 3" barrel but accurate with lighter loaded 44's this is a gun for you. Otherwise choose a N-frame.

Just my opinion.
I shot only about 60 rounds trough my (before that) unfired 696 no dash but I was very disappointed that I only loaded 60 rounds! What a FUN gun to shoot.

Choose wise....



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Old 12-24-2010, 11:00 AM
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Take a look at the other thread on the 696 for some good info. Yes, the forcing cone is thin compared to a Ruger 44 Special Blackhawk or Vaquero, or a S&W Model 24/624. But it will be able to handle 250gr cast or swaged bullets at 1000fps if that's what you want to feed it. If you can, take a look at Brian Pearce's article that mentions it in Handloader #236. You can reach that with his 'category 2' level loads at 22kpsi.

If there is an issue with the forcing cone, it must be very rare or else those few who have had the problem aren't posting much about it because they tried to turn it into a 44 Mag and are embarrassed to admit it. I see more speculation than actual issues. There are many more substantiated reports of K-frames Magnums being damaged with standard 357 Mag loads but that doesn't seem to stop people for going nuts about them!
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:30 AM
jefats jefats is offline
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The 696 is a great gun. Seems if there was a forcing cone issue you'd see more of these models up for sale.

Used as intended you won't have any problems.
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:47 PM
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I have never seen a broken one, a photo of a broken one, or a first-hand account of someone who has broken one.

I would guess, absent information from someone authoritative at S&W, that they were discontinued because of slow sales, not fragility.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:06 PM
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The 696 has the thinnest forcing cone that I have seen on ANY revolver other than the 296. It is also fairly long. S&W was trying to shoehorn the .44 Special into a mid-frame revolver to make it more compact. They accomplished this but the thin forcing cone is the trade off. Every time a bullet is swaged through the forcing cone as it is fired the cone is hammered. The thin cone will be affected more by the pressure and gas more than a stouter one and it will crack sooner. Ask old shooters about their Model 19/66 experience with forcing cones compared to the Model 27/28 shooters. If you want to keep it around for a long, long time load it with swaged lead bullets (Speer, Hornady) and keep velocities at 800 fps or under. If you don't care about an abbreviated life span, load it up to what some are recommending here. If you want to shoot warm or hot .44s look at a Model 24/29 or a Ruger.

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Old 12-24-2010, 03:08 PM
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Why wouldn't these forcing-cone concerns also apply to the other L-frame .44s, the 296 and both varieties of the 396? Even with two-part barrels the forcing cone ought to be the same dimensions. I've never heard of split forcing cones in these models.

Mike the thinnest part of the forcing cone. Then mike the thickness of the cylinder wall to the outside of the cylinder. Looks about the same to me. How come I never hear about split chambers from hot loads? I suspect this whole conophobia thing is more a social concern than a consistently repeatable problem.

I don't doubt that extremely hot loads can wreck a gun, and accidental double charges can turn it into shrapnel. But commercial .44 loads should all be safe in an x96, including the warm ones. I have a 696 and a 296 and shoot any commercial loads I want in them, except that I am cautious about the 200-grain bullet limit on the 296. No problems yet. Nor do I expect them.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:21 PM
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Why wouldn't these forcing-cone concerns also apply to the other L-frame .44s, the 296 and both varieties of the 396?
Clearly you haven't shot any hot loads in a 296 or 396! With those guns, its not the gun having a short life span that worries you, its your hand and wrist being in a cast! Just like the J frame 357s, you can push a small and light 44 too far. They cease to be fun to shoot after the first or second cylinder full. The Ti guns might just be too light for a lot of shooting. They handle the same as the 696 because they're identical except for the weight.

You can shoot mild target loads for a while, but even those become wearisome over time. The same loads you can shoot the 696 all day will become unpleasant with the 396. I have 2 of them, and wouldn't even consider selling either. But for a full day of shooting, I prefer a full size N frame. Its a matter of matching your shooting and the gun. Even with mild loads, a 629 has its advantages. And at the end of the day you look forward to another. Not with dread.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:10 PM
RidgwayCO RidgwayCO is offline
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I'm a serious proponent of the .44 Special. I own (and have owned) several revolvers and lever guns in the caliber, and try to read everything available about it. I'm not an expert by any means, but merely a well-read amateur.

IMHO, the finest article ever written on reloading the .44 Special was written by Brian Pearce and published in the Aug-Sep 2005 edition of Handloader magazine (#236 as mentioned previously by VAdoublegunner). Pearce divides his loads into three Categories (15,500 psi, 22,000 psi, and 25,000 psi), with a possible fourth category of 36,000psi for the Freedom Arms Model 1997 revolver. I've chronographed several of the loads he lists in the article, and have found the listed velocities to be very close to the velocities I obtained in my guns.

The S&W M696 received special mention in the article, as Pearce relates that "The factory conducted some rather strenuous torture tests wherein the Model 696 easily endured pressures well beyond anything we will present here." To me, that states rather clearly that the M696 is easily capable of pressures up to 25,000 psi. Would I want to be hanging on to one when a 25,000 psi load was touched off? Not in this lifetime. But that is a completely different topic from whether the gun can handle it.

A 240-255gr lead SWC bullet of .430" diameter at 900-950 fps will do 98% of what I want done with a handgun. The M696 will handle this load easily. And so will my 18oz M396 Airlite Ti with its 3-3/8" barrel. The Airlite will recoil more, and I'll probably restrict the number of shots to 50 rounds (or less) per range visit, but that's a limit on me, not the gun.

I might feel differently about all this if I'd ever SEEN a picture of a damaged forcing cone on a M696, or even READ about someone's forcing cone cracking under strenuous use. But I haven't, and I won't believe it until I do. To simply look at the forcing cone and declare it "too thin" is ludicrous. Ever seen the wing of a T-38 supersonic trainer? Just looking at it, it's hard to believe that skinny/stubby little thing can support the weight of the aircraft and crew at supersonic speeds, but it does (and has for decades).


Note: Handloader #236 is still available from the publisher for $10. The web address is:

Wolfe Publishing Company
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:39 PM
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I'm in ridgeway's camp. I have yet to see a pic of a 696 with a split forcing cone. I've had mine for a long time.......CBN-xxxx.......a lower serial number than is noted in SCSW #3. I purchased this gun new and got it because I handload and was well aware of the potential of the 44Special in a compact platform. I've shot plenty of Hornady 180gr.XTP's that clock just over 1100 fps. in my gun. This is a load that pushes 500 ft/lbs. in energy. I can also tell you that this gun has tight cylinder throats..........429 in my example, which is typical of latter S&W .44cal. revolvers. When just plinking with this gun, I have found that lead bullets sized at .429 shoot just as accurately as bullets sized at .430. If you are concerned with forcing cone weakness, just shoot .429 bullets at typical 44Special velocities. Smith stopped making the L-frame 44Special due to LACK OF SALES! Not to mention, the only self-defense load that was commercially available was the Hornady Custom 180gr. followed latter by the CCI 200gr. GD..........Translation: not much public enthusiasm for the 44Special in a carry gun. Check the time frame when these were introduced.........the age of high capacity wondernines and 40's.........both of which were being continually downsized into more compact platforms. When my forcing cone splits, I will be right here with the pics!
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Old 12-25-2010, 12:49 AM
PetersCustomLeather PetersCustomLeather is offline
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I REALLY love the look of this gun! I too really enjoy the 44 Special and load for my Ruger Flattop. I load 7.5 gr of Unique to push a 255 grain SWC. That load just shoots super in my gun and I would be more than happy using it for SD in one of these Smiths. It sounds like it should be fine to use a steady diet of that load.
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Old 12-25-2010, 05:11 AM
alaskavett alaskavett is offline
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My 696 has been all over Alaska as it packs very well. Yes it has been fired with some heavy loads but it is fine. It makes one hell of a hole and is easy to control. Great gun but one has to remember it is not a .44 mag nor was it intended to be one. Kyle
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Old 12-25-2010, 09:18 AM
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Never had any problems with mine, but I didn't hot rod the loads either. 240 grs @ 800 fps was enough for anything I wanted it to do.

I owned it for several years, but when it's value got up to the level of the set of Michelins that my truck needed a couple years ago, I decided that I'd let someone else enjoy it.
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Old 12-25-2010, 09:46 AM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is online now
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I ordered mine when they were first announced. Prior to that I was shooting (the other 3" ss .44 spl). A Rossi. The Rossi came several years before the 696. Its essentially the same size gun. 5 shot, 3" bbl. etc.. Point is I have and still shoot both. All they get is a 250 gr. cast swc pushed by 7.5 grs. of unique. I believe they will outlast me.
Now as to Charter's 44's I wouldn't have one if they were free.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:43 PM
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PCL, I know the picture of what you speak.

I did not know that this model had a thin forcing cone. That would certainly explain the particular issue we're familar with.
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Old 12-26-2010, 06:43 PM
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<Now as to Charter's 44's I wouldn't have one if they were free.>

That's what I traded in toward the purchase price of my 696. I liked the concept of the light weight frame of the "Bulldog", but mine shot slightly off point of aim with ho-hum accuracy. My 696 will shoot tighter groups at 25yds. than that Bulldog would shoot at 25ft. I would not hesitate to take a head shot in a hostage situation at 25yds. with my 696. Mine is spot on with my handloads.
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:19 PM
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Perhaps we need to look at this another way. Has anyone here ever owned a 696 that they have had this issue with? Has anyone ever seen a 696 that had a cracked forcing cone? Where is the proof of a problem? Kyle
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:03 PM
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I've never owned one, but know a gentleman who's 696 forcing cone has spread out like a bell.

My guess is from fairly hot reloads and perhaps improper heat treat. That's just a guess. Irregardless, the gun is going to S&W to see what they say.
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:09 PM
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Any chance of posting photos of this animal before its return to S&W? I know I would like to see them as well as others and the response from it's mother. Kyle
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Old 12-26-2010, 11:31 PM
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Yes, I'd like to see photos of that one too!

Everytime a 696 thread comes up you hear about how thin the forcing cone is and what a bad engineering design it was and how S&W dropped it because they knew it was weak and how they will all peel open like a tangerine, etc. etc. Yet you don't seem to hear that from any 696 owners who use and enjoy shooting them, even with "hot" loads in the 250gr @ 1000fps range (not hot for the gun, btw -- easily achievable at 22kpsi, but definately a 44SP +P level). And we don't seem to have an internet full of pics, testimonials, and horror stories of them disintegrating. Not that most owners shoot them that hot all the time anyway, but they have the capability if they so desire. Now, true, it's not a 44 Mag and no one should try to make it one. But that's a handloader/user issue, not a gun issue.

However a lot of those same concerns about the 696 are easily applied to K-frame 357 Mags, with a known history of damaged forcing cones and shooting loose when being used with the specific cartridge they were designed to fire. Not just anecdotal, or even "this guy I know who knew this guy who said.." type of stories but well documented occurrences. So much so that S&W developed the L-frames to address the issue. And a lot of those same folks will go gaagaa over Model 19s and 66s, etc. But may rarely shoot them with full power loads for the cartridge they were intended to handle, and few subject them to a long steady diet of them for fear of damage. But that's a gun issue, not a handloader/user issue. Strange that there isn't the same kind of apopolexy about the beloved K-frame 357 mags. I unfortunately don't own any, just L- and N-frames, so may not have an exactly accurate opinion of them. I hear they come apart easily with full power loads and S&W could discontinue them... (sarcasm meant all in good fun; with just a dash of truth)
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:18 AM
Jimmymac46 Jimmymac46 is offline
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I have always been a strong believer that there is no such thing as a bad dog......just bad owners. Rotties, Pits and the like are born into this world to be just as wonderful as any other. Owners abuse, poorly train, miss handle them and consequently 'create' mean and agressive dogs.

The same can be said of some gun owners. Smith and other companys design weapons for a specific purpose and when they are used as designed, they function exceptionally well. However, there is a tendancy of some to 'magnumize' a non-magnum. We see it in rifles as well....get that extra couple hundred feet per second and it will shoot flatter, reach out longer, and knock down better. In rifles, the cost of such is fried barrels, poor accuracy, and blown actions. In handguns, it equates to lose actions, end shake, and....split forcing cones.

The solution.....if you want more performance in your rifle than designed, sell your 308 and get a 458. In handguns, specifically the 44 Special, if you want more performance, get a 44 Magnum. Simple concept.

And, I have never ever heard, read, seen, or even dreamed that Smith ceased the manufacture of the 696 because of a 'thin' forcing cone. As with most company decisions, sales and profit dictate.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:50 AM
RidgwayCO RidgwayCO is offline
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Jimmymac46, I agree with you about trying to make a round something it's not. If a certain caliber doesn't have enough power for you, then get a bigger caliber.

IMHO however, the .44 Special has been hobbled since its inception with artificially weak factory rounds. Heck, the .44 Special was originally loaded to the same specs at the .44 Russian, even though the .44 Special has a longer case. That the "standard" factory round in .44 Special is a 246gr LRN bullet at an advertised 750 fps (which often won't chronograph close to that number), is bordering on criminal. The thought is that these rounds are kept weak due to the numerous old guns out there with questionable steel and/or heat treatments.

But for a modern gun, with modern heat-treated steels, there's no reason to accept such pitiful performance. Elmer Keith and others ("The .44 Associates") showed the promise of the .44 Special, and Skeeter Skelton, John Taffin, and Brian Pearce have kept the flame alive. I've loaded thousands of .44 Special rounds in the 250gr/950fps class, and my revolvers haven't been damaged in the least. For the record, they range from an 18oz S&W M396 Mountain Gun to a 45oz Ruger Bisley Flattop.

Keith asked S&W and Remington for a .44 caliber round that would power his 250gr bullets to 1200 fps (within SAAMI specs), performance he could obtain from his 4" .44 Special revolver. The .44 Magnum produces even more performance than this, but at the cost of heavy revolvers with substantial recoil. I've touched off some "full magnum loads" in a 25oz M329, and that's just more "fun" than I care to endure. There's a reason that most of the rounds fired in .44 Magnums have performance levels much closer to the .44 Special...
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:43 AM
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On the "other" S&W forum there are pics and a lengthly thread showing one with a humongous belled forcing cone but no real explaination as to how it got that way.
Like I said both my 696 and my Rossi 720 will probably outlast me.
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  #30  
Old 12-27-2010, 11:31 AM
Centenniel Centenniel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefats View Post
The 696 is a great gun. Seems if there was a forcing cone issue you'd see more of these models up for sale.

Used as intended you won't have any problems.
Yup, that has been my experience with the 696 I bought new in December 1996. She ain't for sale.
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  #31  
Old 12-29-2010, 12:07 AM
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The reason I posted that particular gun on the other forum was that I was trying to find out why this would have happened and if it had happened to others.

I wasn't looking to start a thread that got sidetracked into safe loading habits and whatnot. I simply wanted to see if this has happened to others before.

I looked at the actual gun last week and the owner said it was alright for me to post a thread about it.

The rounds in question were reloads. He drops his own 250 Keith's and puts 'em in front of 16.5gr of 2400. Yeah, they're hot and he knows they're hot. Apparently hot enough to bell the forcing cone.

In any case he's sending the gun to S&W and will see what they say.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:56 AM
amazingflapjack amazingflapjack is offline
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Hi all-I'm very fond of the .44 Spl round, and I buy into the idea that it has "inherant accuracy" at least for me. I also echo the question as to what the gentleman would consider a hottie in a .44 spl (?) I have 2 revolvers that are chambered specifically for this round and neither is a S&W. I have been looking at S&W's in this caliber for some time, but haven't landed on anything yet. There is the 624 cylinder recall thing that keeps me away from them, but I have been watching some 696's lately. I have been carrying a Charter Arms Bull Dog 44 for about 20 yrs. It is a 2 1/2 brl and is accurate, dependable and light-21 oz un-loaded. I also have a Taurus 441 4 inch that has one of the nicest out of the box double actions I have ever experienced, and it is very accurate. I put some custom grips on it-which most all Taurus's need badly-and it made a fine revolver into a gem. Both of these are 5 shots. I bought them both from a dealer I had known a long time-same range- for very little. I think he sold the Taurus just because that's what it is, and never fired it, or I wouldn't have been able to buy it! I load my own range stuff-240gr SWC's over 6 1/2 - 7 gr's of Unique. I find it to be a good all around load. I shoot some of this out of some of my N frames-nice accuracy and pleasant. When you compare a .45ACP's numbers to those of a standard load .44 SPL I'd have to ask why push it any more than about 850-950 fps? Flapjack
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:19 AM
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Hendel,
I checked the other forum photos and that is truly a weird looking thing! I would concur with a lot of posters that it was either a case of improper heat treating (likely) or someone who didn't know what he was doing bubbasmithed the cone with a reamer to "improve" it. It likely would have cracked rather than belled in that case if it had been properly heat treated. Which could be why someone tried to bubbasmith the cone ... it exhibited poor accuracy very early in life if too soft.

The loads, while hotter than a standard 44SP, are not that particularly hot for the gun. Should only be around 22.5kpsi or so.

Going to be interesting to hear what S&W has to say!
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:39 AM
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In years past there was a forum member that bought a 696, and specifically asked about shooting heavy lead loads. He was warned, but tried it anyway. If memory serves, he indicated his forcing cone was damaged. Can't remember if it split or what. The gentleman from Alaska was found of heavy recoiling revolvers, and very familiar with custom pistols and reloading.

By the way, there is a difference between being able to handle "pressure" and being able to handle "force". A cylinder may be able to handle a higher pressure, but the forcing conce handling the "force" from an larger diameter lead bullet with a greater bearing surface, may be an entirely different matter.

Have 3 696's, and if desiring to shoot heavy loads i use a N-frame. The 696 seems very well suited to 200 jhps at about 900 fps, or 180 jhp's at 1000 fps.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:20 AM
notsofast notsofast is offline
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Ok, you damage a forcing cone on a mod 696 or a mod 19, can it be fixed? and what does the repair entail? Does forcing cone damage ever render a gun “unfixable” ?
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  #36  
Old 09-14-2018, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendel View Post
The rounds in question were reloads. He drops his own 250 Keith's and puts 'em in front of 16.5gr of 2400. Yeah, they're hot and he knows they're hot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VAdoublegunner View Post
The loads, while hotter than a standard 44SP, are not that particularly hot for the gun. Should only be around 22.5kpsi or so.
23.4K psi actually. Handloader #221 had Speer's ballistic lab test this exact load in 2002; 250gr LSWC, CCI-300 primers, & 16.5gr/2400 = 23,413 psi. It was fired in a SAAMI piezo-electric P/V (pressure/velocity) barrel.

.

As with the M19's, lead accumalation in the forcing cone has been stated as a prime reason for damage to there thin forcing cone/barrel breach.

.

notsofast: If the barrel breach gets split that normally requires a new barrel, as long as it didn't damage the frame. If that barrel is no longer available then it's unfixable.

.

Compare these two .44 L-frame forcing cones.

.

M396NG forcing cone/barrel breach
.


.
.

M69 forcing cone/barrel breach


.
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  #37  
Old 09-14-2018, 05:26 AM
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Good photos, but did you mean the red arrow in the photo of the 396NG to point at the "breech" (opening) or at a "breach" (an opening defect)? I can't see a crack there.

Also, before we get carried away, the OP hasn't been here for 6 1/2 years...
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  #38  
Old 09-14-2018, 08:47 AM
HamHands HamHands is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUFF View Post
I have never seen a broken one, a photo of a broken one, or a first-hand account of someone who has broken one.

I would guess, absent information from someone authoritative at S&W, that they were discontinued because of slow sales, not fragility.
Truth on all accounts! I've seen a pic of TWO 696's that the FC was either bulged or cracked. And we never did get the facts as to what "really happened" with said examples.

In fact, I've seen way more "K" frames cracked beneath/around the forcing cone and stretched top straps from shooting the dreaded 125grain warmed up .357's; and even then... it's not all that common to see a ruined "K". We run the snot out of my brothers vintage K frame with juiced up 158's and 180's. I'd own one but .357 is just a caliber that I simply don't shoot well.

OP, the .44Special is a relatively low pressure round. I would have zero problems running factory Underwood, 255grain "Keith" loads rated @ 1,000fps and it's equal reloaded on my bench to the same spec, no more, no less. That said, that particular load is as hot as I would go because anything more and you essentially are trying to "Magnum-ize" the caliber/gun. Truthfully, you don't need anything harder hitting than that load in a .44Special in my experience; I've used it for my go-to "Woods Load" for years in my 3" barreled M29 and M629. The Gold Dot 200grain load @ 900fps is a near perfect street/suburb load.

I've been on the hunt for a 696 for over a year. Nobody is turning them lose for any reasonable price because they are so awesome! .44Special is a "Come back Kid Caliber" that has a resurgence like no other I've seen in my lifetime over the last 2 years.

Should I ever be blessed enough to purchase a 696 that isn't as costly as a 3" Lew Horton Special.. then I'll certainly pic one up and fire/enjoy the snot out of it with the aforementioned loads and have absolutely zero concerns about it!

ETA: I just realize that this thread is from 2010..... Ugh.... Still interesting though!

Last edited by HamHands; 09-14-2018 at 08:51 AM.
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  #39  
Old 09-14-2018, 12:01 PM
RoyM52 RoyM52 is offline
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Looking at the Hornady 9 th edition {I don't have the 10th} The top load for a 240 SWC {lead} is only reached with one powder {Blue Dot} and it only makes 900 FPS. Top loads with most powders are at 800 FPS. Appears as thought you have already been loading a thin forcing cone too hot. I don't think I would be posting this combination for new loaders to follow with their 696 . This is a good combination....but for a Model 69.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyM52 View Post
Looking at the Hornady 9 th edition {I don't have the 10th} The top load for a 240 SWC {lead} is only reached with one powder {Blue Dot} and it only makes 900 FPS. Top loads with most powders are at 800 FPS. Appears as thought you have already been loading a thin forcing cone too hot. I don't think I would be posting this combination for new loaders to follow with their 696 . This is a good combination....but for a Model 69.

My mistake...your loading for a 629 {has a thicker forcing cone} and it's a Magnum so your load is not over book for that, but for a 44 special it does appear to be over book.
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:44 PM
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Part of the appeal of a 44 spl is the ability to significantly improve on factory ballistics with handloads. A 44 special with factory loads is horribly anemic in my opinion. With that in mind, I do not understand the infatuation with the 696 as you are restricted to factory level loads. Earlier this year I passed on one for 700 or 800 hundred.A model 69 is the ultimate in versatility . Load heavy, light, whatever you want. My 3 inch 624 ain’t bad either.

Last edited by dogdoc; 09-15-2018 at 08:36 AM.
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  #42  
Old 09-15-2018, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
I can't see a crack there.
No crack, just over illustrated.

I've shot quit a few rounds thru it in the 22K psi range & some near 25K psi using Power Pistol & LongShot. All jacketed bullets, mainly 180gr & 200gr Hornady XTPs. In fact, I've never shot a standard pressure handload in it.

.

I agree the M69 snubby is a far more versatile revolver, albeit heavier (34oz vs 24oz), but you can pound away on it & not have any worries.

The M396NG is just a cool fun gun & I'd never think about getting rid of it. It's special because it's a Special.

.



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