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Old 08-04-2011, 09:44 PM
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Default OPINIONS OF S/W M396

LOOKING AT THIS 44 SPECIAL. CAN OWNERS OF THIS REVOLVER GIVE THE POSITIVES OR NEGATIVES OF CARRYING OR SHOOTING THIS REVOLVER. ALL INFORMATION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:14 AM
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I have a 3"+ 396. I bought it as a backup for bow hunting elk in the Montana Rockies. As such it is loaded with 260gr WFNGC at a chronographed 1,000 fps. With that load, recoil is to me, is greater than the 329 PD with magnum loads -- painful with the Hogue Bantams -- mine is equipped with Hogue 500s. It is an absolute delight to carry however.

Here's a picture along with a 3 1/2" round butt Freedom Arms .45 Colt. The pictured gun is a 386 but my 396 looks exactly the same.



Paul

Last edited by Paul105; 08-05-2011 at 11:17 AM. Reason: correct error
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:22 AM
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I owned a 296 "hump back" -- a pleasure to carry -- uncomfortable to shoot. If they had made it like a Bodyguard (with a shrouded hammer) rather than a Centennial, I would have never parted with it. Anything heavier than a 200gr bullet was not advised because it would jump the crimp during recoil. I carried the CCI Blazer Gold Dot 200gr in it as a self defense load.

Given the choice, I would buy the 329 rather than the 396 -- just for the flexibility to carry Magnum loads if desired.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:03 PM
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Default 396 Mountain Lite

I absolutely love to carry mine. It's my woods/hunting backup gun. It rides on a belt holster and I don't even know it's there. I've had it on my belt doing some pretty heavy work, and never a problem. I keep 200 gr HP's in the gun, and .44 snake shot in my pocket.

It isn't a whole lot of fun to shoot, and I'm not able to shoot it like a target pistol, but it's really good for what it's intended for. I keep the rubber grips on it.

I have a 696, but it's so much heavier I never carry it around. I was happy to see they brought the 396 back out.

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Old 08-05-2011, 12:37 PM
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I bought a 296 & 696, both new, over 8.5 yr ago. The 696 is a fun plinker - but a 4" 629 weighs only 6 oz more - and is likely cheaper and much easier to find, not to mention much more capable. Still, the original 296/396 - with their Ti cylinder - made a lite weight .44 Special possible. My 296 - in a Mika pocket holster - is a bit larger than my 642 so-carried - but it is viable in many of my pants' pockets. When woods bumming, I carry a 240gr LSWC first, followed by four 200 gr Gold Dots loaded by GA Arms, in that holster in my pocket. For normal urban carry, they are all GD's. They barely break 800 fps from the 2.5" barrel - make 830+ from the 696's 3" (... and, likely, from the 396, too.). The recoil is substantial in the OEM boots - a requirement for pocket carry. If it's in an OWB holster, even the recoil absorbing '.500 Magnum Hogues' will fit any of the L-frame .44's!



Yeah, my 296 looks silly so gripped - even if it is a lot less uncomfortable to shoot those brass-cased 200gr Gold Dots with so-gripped. I expect the similar original 396 would behave similarly, while the now no-longer-available 396 Night Guard, weighing 5+ oz more due to the black SS cylinder in place of the original models' Ti, likely recoils a bit less. It was up to an MSRP of $1,079 in the '09 S&W catalog. If you want it to plink with, get a 4" 629... to CC, get a 329NG. They are fine '.44 Special' revolvers... with a bit more power capability, too.

Stainz
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:39 PM
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Had a 396 new back in 2006, Nice to carry, holster fit was iffy due to the FO front sight, sticks way up, holster drag.

Kicks like a bay mule and has bullet creep with lead bullets. At the time I had 5 44 Spls, let it go to a friend. He carried it on his person on a 4 wheeler. Holster wear took off the finish. He sold it.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:38 PM
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Default 396 OPINIONS

THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR OPINIONS. KIND OF THOUGHT THAT THOSE WERE GOING TO BE THE RESPONSES GIVEN. I OWN THE 386 MOUNTAIN LITE AND THE 386 PD. LOVE THEM BOTH. NOT BAD WITH THE 357'S FOR A 18 OUNCE REVOLVER. 44 SPECIALS WITH 18 OUNCES WOULD BE A DIFFERENT ANIMAL.................THANKS AGAIN.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:00 PM
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As stated by others, a rough ride with an open backstrap grip. The big 500 grip makes it much more manageable. Doesn't do much for concealability though, but a lightweight 44 Sp is a great gun if you can learn to shoot it well and tolerate some discomfort. Had one, sold it.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:16 PM
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Love my 296. Best staged DA trigger I've ever owned. Can't stand rubber grips for concealed carry; way to sticky to pull from holster or clothing in a defensive situation. Comfortable enough to shoot with these grips and sane loads that are still good enough for serious social work like Winchester Silvertip defense loads and better than 357s. My added SS cylinder adds slight weight but also dampens recoil.
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629, 642, 696, bodyguard, centennial, colt, concealed, crimp, hogue, m39, model 39, round butt, winchester

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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present Thread, OPINIONS OF S/W M396 in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; LOOKING AT THIS 44 SPECIAL. CAN OWNERS OF THIS REVOLVER GIVE THE POSITIVES OR NEGATIVES OF CARRYING OR SHOOTING THIS ...
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