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Old 08-07-2018, 11:24 PM
bigshep85 bigshep85 is offline
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Default 696 a novelty?

Ok fellas. I have a chance to pick one of these up for a good price. What should I know, What should I look for?
Forcing cone? Check
Anything else?

Maybe there are better options out there, i dunno, I dont know if I am sold on the 696 yet.

I am attaching a picture. I havent seen it in person. Could be the light. The only thing I worry about is the top behind the cylinder, looks weird. Scratched or dented or something.

I have been wanting a 629 for the longest time. Maybe this would fill that need? I dunno

It would be a fun gun to shoot.

Everybody's thoughts?
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:44 PM
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Novelty or not, if it’s in good shape for anything less than a grand, it’s worth snagging.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:23 AM
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Not a dent, cutout for sight, normal. A grand is a lot for a 22.
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Old 08-08-2018, 04:41 AM
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I don't see any issues with the top strap in the photo. Just my personal opinion, but because of some reports of weak forcing cones in that model, I would probably lean towards a model 69 instead. Still a five shot L frame, only capable of firing magnum rounds if wanted, and obviously an improvement in the forcing cone area. Or for that matter, why not a 629 like you said you wanted? Lots of them out there with proven reliability. The "forcing cone issue" with the 696 may very well be overblown, I don't know, but why take the risk when a model 69 offers the same basic package without the baggage?

Larry
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:40 AM
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Why a 696? No lock, classic lock up, 1 piece barrel. If kept in good shape should increase in value as it was limited production. 44 specials are all you need for a 3" barrel.

Why a model 69? Heavier barrel shank, fires 44 mags, improved lock up, 2 piece barrel.

The added safety of the interlock??????? or added baggage?

I have an 696 no dash and an early model 69 with 4 1/4" barrel, both fine guns. But the older (wiser???) I get the less I care to shoot 44 mags.
Its not the recoil, I have a 500, I shoot a 325 and a 396 and they recoil. I am just not locked into the mystique of the "44 magnum" anymore. The 45 colt is another story for me.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:10 AM
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I'd be on that like white on rice!
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:14 AM
bigshep85 bigshep85 is offline
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I didn't mean on top. I was talking more on the inside of the cylinder housing. On the bottom of the top strap. Top right corner of the square.

Compare Snapping Twig's photo in post #62 here:

S&W model 696 .44 spl
in the area I am discussing and the photo I posted above. It definitely looks different but I guess I would have to look at it in hand to be sure.

I think it would be a good discussion piece and a good addition to any collection really.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:37 AM
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To me, a 3" L frame is an oddball. It weighs something like 3 oz less than a 629, carries one less bullet, and is still big enough it has to be belt carried. Also, for some reason the L frame trigger seems to be heavier than every other Smith revolver.

I'm just not a fan of the L frame.

Conversely, my 3" M629 Deluxe is my favorite gun, and I own a bunch. I carry it everyday.

There's a 3" 629 for $665 in the sales forum here (no affiliation). They are $727 Shipped from Grabagun, so that's not a killer deal, but you could offer him $625 shipped.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:22 AM
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I'd suggest reading through the comments at this earlier 696 post;

S&W model 696 .44 spl

Not many complaints and lots of praise. I have one and it would be one of the last guns to go. Where I shop anything under $800 would be a great price although they don't come up for sale all that often. Good luck.

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Old 08-08-2018, 10:33 AM
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I looked for a 696 for a while until I finally found one here on the forum, a ND for $800 seemed fair to me at the time. I think for $650 you should buy it and then decide how you like it. I'm past my magnum days pretty much as well (.357 & .41 excetions) and absolutely love a 44 special and the 45 colt. Only having 5 rounds never bothered me with a J frame, certainly not a problem with 5 44's at the ready.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:36 AM
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Great gun - .44 Spls are the best. However, while it is a little hard to tell from your photo, there are several marks on the gun that would make me question if Bubba has been at it.

The mark that you note plus those on the frame just above the top of the crane. Wonder if somebody had it in a vice and used something through the cylinder window to try and correct a barrel cant - or change barrels if the original had forcing cone issues. Secondly, there are marks on the end of the extractor rod like someone was holding it or turning it with pliers.

I don't mean to put you off this gun, but if it were me, I'd want to examine it in person before I made a buying decision.

Just my $.02

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Old 08-08-2018, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizza Bob View Post
Great gun - .44 Spls are the best. However, while it is a little hard to tell from your photo, there are several marks on the gun that would make me question if Bubba has been at it.

The mark that you note plus those on the frame just above the top of the crane. Wonder if somebody had it in a vice and used something through the cylinder window to try and correct a barrel cant - or change barrels if the original had forcing cone issues. Secondly, there are marks on the end of the extractor rod like someone was holding it or turning it with pliers.

I don't mean to put you off this gun, but if it were me, I'd want to examine it in person before I made a buying decision.

Just my $.02

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Pizza Bob
All of this. These were my thoughts exactly. I just wanted to make sure that I was not just being overly cautious. Thanks for the help for sure.

I will check out the classifieds here. See what I find.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:38 AM
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Why an L frame 44? Those of us with smaller hands get a better fit. Lower bore axis reduces muzzle flip.
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Old 08-08-2018, 01:33 PM
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I really can't see any flaws based on the picture that couldn't just be image artifacts. Priced correctly I'd readily buy the gun. It should be a great shooter.

As for the comment about the model 69 having to be belt carried I have to strongly disagree. I have the 2.75" barrel 69. I bought a relatively inexpensive Don Hume H715 MS NO. 7-3 for it and put Hogue Bantam Boot Grips on it. I was afraid the small grips would make shooting it harsh but that's not the case. Aesthetically I don't like the grips but they work very well, and are cheap. With those grips and that holster I carry it IWB appendix in comfort and WITHOUT showing. I don't tuck my shirt but I'm in hot humid S. FL so clothing is light. The only issue is the clip is a bit high so I bypass my belt and clip it on my jeans. It has a strong clip so it holds well. It is as easy to access as most any gun carried IWB appendix. My 629-4 3" Trail Boss is not near as easy to carry. The Trail Boss is noticeably more pleasant to shoot but not by much. The Trail Boss is ported.
---------------------
IMHO the 696 is not a 629 replacement but is a very nice gun. I'd be inclined to buy it, shoot it and enjoy it but keep the 629 on the wish list.
---------------------
PS: I wonder if any of the holster makers on this forum could duplicate the Don Hume H715 MS NO. 7-3 holster but with a slightly higher clip. If not I can live with it the way it is.

PS#2: I wonder if any of the grip makers on this forum can duplicate those Hogue Bantam K/L frame round butt Boot Grips out of something else, a little better material, but also grippy like G10 or something. I guess my biggest complaint about these grips is that you have to pry them on and off. How many times will they survive that?

Sorry, I wandered off topic like usual.

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Old 08-09-2018, 01:15 AM
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Default 696 -vs- 69

If all you need, & want, is the power of a SAAMI spec 44 Special, then grab a 696.

If you want the option to up the power to something between a 44 Spcl & a 44 Mag (or higher) then a snubby M69 would be my suggestion.

The 396/696's have thinner forcing cones that are subject to damage if you try to make a magnum out of them. I've loaded my 396NG 44 Spcl to 22K psi handloads, & a little higher, without issues, but I reserve hot loads for the stronger 44s.

.



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Old 08-09-2018, 09:30 AM
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While I don't own one due to price v perceived need issues (While they were in production I didn't appreciate the 44 Special like I do now) I think the 696 is a fine general purpose revolver especially if you handload. There is probably a 696 or a 69 or a GP in 44 Special in my future when some other "I wannas" are taken care of first.

Next it isn't hard to carry a 3 inch L frame. Good IWB holster and a good belt. Buy pants that fit YOU and the gun.

As for condition of this 696 I'm working on a tablet and the limits on photo size keep me from an opinion. In general though I could and would use a 696 as a carry gun assuming weather appropriate for a covering garment.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post
PS#2: I wonder if any of the grip makers on this forum can duplicate those Hogue Bantam K/L frame round butt Boot Grips out of something else, a little better material, but also grippy like G10 or something. I guess my biggest complaint about these grips is that you have to pry them on and off. How many times will they survive that?

Sorry, I wandered off topic like usual.
I'm with you on the grips. I have several sets but thik it's the dumbest design ever with the pry on pry off system. I like to remove my grips for cleaning every so often.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:57 AM
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This is an old debate: If you forego the power of anything hotter than SAAMI 44 Special, why not just go 357? The choices of guns and ammo are so greatly numerous in the latter.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
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This is an old debate: If you forego the power of anything hotter than SAAMI 44 Special, why not just go 357? The choices of guns and ammo are so greatly numerous in the latter.
Muzzle blast, recoil impulse and an extra 10 decibels from the 357 Mag.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:18 PM
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I passed one up ten years ago for 400.00, wish I had bought it. Bet the next one I see will be double that, or more. Unless it's stupidly big money, I doubt you would get hurt , if you didn't like it and wanted to move it along. Might even be a desirable trader- better than mere money- for future reference...
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH4 View Post
Novelty or not, if itís in good shape for anything less than a grand, itís worth snagging.
With recent prices for a 696 around here... I'd say up to 1100 would be snag worthy! These babies have become quite the hoarders special here and online @ GB...
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
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While I don't own one due to price v perceived need issues (While they were in production I didn't appreciate the 44 Special like I do now) I think the 696 is a fine general purpose revolver especially if you handload. There is probably a 696 or a 69 or a GP in 44 Special in my future when some other "I wannas" are taken care of first.

Next it isn't hard to carry a 3 inch L frame. Good IWB holster and a good belt. Buy pants that fit YOU and the gun.

As for condition of this 696 I'm working on a tablet and the limits on photo size keep me from an opinion. In general though I could and would use a 696 as a carry gun assuming weather appropriate for a covering garment.
100% correct. I carry a 3" M29 and sometimes a 3" M629... With a good holster and belt it's more than fine for street and woods carry. An "L" frame would be just that much easier to carry. There is a plethora of .44Special loads available on Sportsman's Guide Warehouse... I carry the 200grain Gold Dots loaded to 900fps for dog walks and trips to CVS. For the woods, it's undoubtedly Underwoods 255 grain Hard Cast pills. They shoot/recoil light, hit hard, and are very accurate. I'd check with Underwood though before running them thru a 696. For an M29/629 they are a no brainer!
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
If all you need, & want, is the power of a SAAMI spec 44 Special, then grab a 696.

If you want the option to up the power to something between a 44 Spcl & a 44 Mag (or higher) then a snubby M69 would be my suggestion.

The 396/696's have thinner forcing cones that are subject to damage if you try to make a magnum out of them. I've loaded my 396NG 44 Spcl to 22K psi handloads, & a little higher, without issues, but I reserve hot loads for the stronger 44s.

.



.



.



.
That is one beautiful M69! Those are also going for ridiculous prices here and will continue to be out of sight. And you are right... the Forcing Cone is 50% thicker on the 69 and 29/629's compared to the 696's...

What weight/grain bullet and velocity are you loading the Specials that make 22K+ PSI? Sounds to be a sweet-spot load!
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. mordo View Post
To me, a 3" L frame is an oddball. It weighs something like 3 oz less than a 629, carries one less bullet, and is still big enough it has to be belt carried. Also, for some reason the L frame trigger seems to be heavier than every other Smith revolver.

I'm just not a fan of the L frame.

Conversely, my 3" M629 Deluxe is my favorite gun, and I own a bunch. I carry it everyday.

There's a 3" 629 for $665 in the sales forum here (no affiliation). They are $727 Shipped from Grabagun, so that's not a killer deal, but you could offer him $625 shipped.
Doc-M... I never thought of it that way... I have a 629 Deluxe as well and it's my 2nd or favorite revolver behind the 3" M29. Surprisingly, it has a good stock trigger. Having 1K live pulls and 2-3K snap cap pulls sure does wonders for any decent out of the box trigger though. It's buttery though in DA and crisp in SA. I would only pick up a 696 over a 629 if I could source one for under 1K (good luck in Atlanta) and for it's collector's/coolness factor. It's a cool piece, but after your words of wisdom it makes sense to go with a 3" M29 or M629.

Last edited by HamHands; 08-10-2018 at 05:46 AM. Reason: pic added...
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:50 AM
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Default S&W Model 696 44Spl 3"bbl

I really like the 44 S&W Special cartridge,
and for that reason like the compact S&W
696.

I refuse to buy Guns off the Internet.

When a S&W 696 came up for sale
local, I could inspect it, and decided
if I want it. All checked out so I
bought it. Price a little north of 1K.

If you end up with a good price and
you like it, buy it.

I have seen those nicks inside the frame
windows before, I won't worry.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshep85 View Post
Maybe there are better options out there, i dunno, I dont know if I am sold on the 696 yet.

The 696 has what I think is a "cult following". I had one and sold it. I like my 66-1 snub better, but that's just me. I'd only buy another 696 if the price was too good to pass up. I may be in the the minority with that opinion...or maybe I'm still kicking myself for selling it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHands View Post
With recent prices for a 696 around here... I'd say up to 1100 would be snag worthy! These babies have become quite the hoarders special here and online @ GB...
I had two 65 Lady Smith's and traded one to a forum member for a no dash 696.

Then sold the 696 local for $1,100 to buy my grail 3" 66 off another forum member.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:48 AM
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I have a 696 no dash, but mostly it sets, since I bought a 396 and a 325. I am a big bore guy and liked the 696, but the the way lighter scandium guns are much easier to carry.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:39 AM
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If it were me, then I would pass on it and just get 629 I wanted to begin with.

There's a trap that folks often fall into when purchasing firearms, and that's purchasing something other than what they want/set out to buy just because something else was there that other folks like, which is usually an old/discontinued firearm. In nearly all cases, the buyer inevitably suffers buyer's remorse because it just plain wasn't what they wanted, nor were they personally ever fond of it to begin with, but basically bought it out of peer pressure, then they end up either quickselling it at a loss or stashing it in a safe for the rest of their life.

Buy what YOU want and save that 696 for someone who REALLY wants it and has been searching for one to begin with. Contrary to popular belief, firearms make a terrible investment for the Average Joe who lacks the necessary connections/patience to sell it for a profit, especially in the ever-changing political climate and the subsequent perpetual battle to uphold our Second Amendment rights, so don't ever buy a gun that you don't want just because it "can" be sold for a profit or "could" increase in value over time. One look at any Gun Auction website will show you just how well such "investments" pan out for the average man, with all the vacant auctions on "RARE/CLASSIC" firearms with absurdly high "buy it now" options and "Reserve bid not met" notifications.
Maybe if you have connections, can find someone desperate, or are otherwise willing/capable of sitting on a firearm for a couple decades or more on the off chance that it appreciates in value significantly enough to justify holding onto a gun you didn't even like for that long, then it might be worth it, but don't count on it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:38 PM
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If you're going to keep things perfectly practical and cost effective with out of box reliability, why would you buy anything besides the cheaper S&W Chief models and correctly priced Glocks (I buy Glocks Blue Label. At least to me they seem cheap) and other cheap reliable plastic guns like the Shield, etc.

I have enough practical, reliable, cheap/inexpensive guns. But how could you not buy a Shield when they were almost giving them away. But that doesn't mean I like them for anything other than the Cheap/reliable/practical factor.

A 696 I would actually like and enjoy shooting. Plus I like big bores and the 44 spl is throwing 45acp size and energy. Until recently, when I got lazy, I usually carried a 44, 45 or at least a 40. The Shield 9 is a lazy mans gun, but it sure does carry easily.

As a further side note, I think some of the RIA/ArmsCor offerings meet the cheap/practical/reliable category. I have what was an inexpensive RIA officers model and I can't make it malfunction, granted we're talking combat accuracy. But isn't that what we're talking about for an EDC gun?.

If it's priced right, buy the 696 and enjoy that thing. I'm sure there will always be a gun itch needing scratching. This one looks like a good itch scratcher.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHands View Post
Those are also going for ridiculous prices here and will continue to be out of sight.

What weight/grain bullet and velocity are you loading the Specials that make 22K+ PSI? Sounds to be a sweet-spot load!
I couldn't find anyone in the metro area to order a M69 for me when they first came out. Ended up buying mine from Grab-A-Gun online, with no problems. I resist buying online too but sometimes you don't have much choice if you really want it.

.

Brian Pearce has had many good articles in Handloader magazine (#236, #260, #293, & #298) over the years that's listed various weight bullets & powders for 44 Special "+P" loads. He originally started out by saying that he's tested the 396/696's with loads up to 27K psi, without issues, but set a 25K psi limit for them.

Later (Issue #293) he lowered his suggested "continuous use" load for them to 18K psi, sighting the FC/barrel breach thinness.

I've adopted the 22K psi loads for my occasional "+P" loads. I like Hornady's 200gr XTP bullet with either 9.0gr/Unique, or 9.7gr/Power Pistol.

.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:00 PM
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FWIW, the right corner of the top strap issue is nothing to be worried about.

My 696 had some machining flaws, but a set of Nicholson files, some super fine wet sand sandpaper and some polishing cleaned it right up.

You won't see many of these for sale. Buy it if you can, use it and if you don't like it, sell it.

Letting it walk away will haunt you down the road.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:36 PM
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I agree with Pizza Bob in post #11 above. I donít like the look of those marks. It looks to me like Bubba messed with it. Unless the gun is priced very good, I would pass.

I donít have anything against a 696 although I have many 629ís, I donít own anything chambered specifically for 44 special. I load my own ammo mostly in 44 magnum cases to 44 special +P levels. Itís comfortable to shoot and accurate.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:41 PM
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After again looking at your pic and blowing it up as much as possible I'm going to have to change my recommendation to "BE VERY CAUTIOUS". You need more and better pictures. There are strange speckle marks on the ejector shroud that seem concerning and the knurled end of the ejector rod looks as though it might have seen pliers. The scratches on the frame above the crane may be nothing but combined with everything else should be a concern. The blemish on the frame that has been a topic along with the dark spot on the hammer could be cleaned up rust pitting. The rear sight assemble appears to have reddish hue in some areas that might also indicate neglect and resultant rust. The pic is really too blurry to tell if it's anything at all. The marks in the corner of the top strap don't look like anything to me I haven't seen on other undamaged guns. The pic isn't good, unless it's intentionally blurry, in which case it's as good as intended.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:40 PM
HamHands HamHands is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wood714 View Post
I had two 65 Lady Smith's and traded one to a forum member for a no dash 696.

Then sold the 696 local for $1,100 to buy my grail 3" 66 off another forum member.
Good for you man! But you are teasing us with your Grail Gun by NOT posting pics... Shame on you for that; Post a pic or three here sir!
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