S&W 696 cylinder locking up


January 24, 2003, 10:17 PM
I have a new 696 44 spl that I just brought home. It has never been fired, I was going to the range tomorrow so I cleaned the barrel and put a drop of oil on the usual moving parts. I did not take anything apart. After cleaning I closed the cylinder then went to open it and it wouldnt open. I pushed the latch and lightly smacked the cylinder and it then opened.
I then looked everything over and it all looked ok. So I closed the cylinder again and now its locked up good. Everything else seems to be fine, the cylinder rotates and the hammer cocks and fires.
While checking it out in the shop it all functioned fine.
Anyone ever see this before. I dont expect this from a revolver that I havent even owned 1 hr. :fire:

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J Miller
January 24, 2003, 10:23 PM
Check your ejector rod. It could have come unscrewed. This will lock up a S&W real good.
It has a left hand thread so becarefull how you turn it.
If this is the case, just tighten the ejector rod up.
If it comes loose again I would suggest "BLUE" Loctite. That is what I use on mine.

January 24, 2003, 11:42 PM
I checked that and it appears to be tight. It feels like the latch isnt moving its full stride to unlock the cylinder.

January 25, 2003, 08:04 AM
Are there scrape marks on the front of the cylinder ?

January 25, 2003, 10:12 AM
No, I dont see any scrape marks. Looking the thing over I cant notice anything unusal.

January 25, 2003, 02:02 PM
This will allow you a lot of extra leverage to get it open in conjunction with moving the thumbpiece.

Pappy John
January 25, 2003, 04:35 PM
First...I'm jealous... I've been wanting one of these for a while now.
Second...I appalled... that Smith, after all thier recent problems with loss of market share, and thier quality control isn't catching things like this.
Third...Yer scarin' me, Man! I know I'm eventually gonna get one of these and now I'm gonna be waitin' for the first little glitch it has.
Since it's a new gun maybe there's some internal grit, or a metal flake from machining in the interior works binding the release mechanism. I don't know if it would void warrantee or not but I'd probably lift the side plate and look for something simple like that before I returned it.

January 25, 2003, 06:13 PM
Well I messed with it some and got it to open then I just pushed the release a few times and it seemed sticky. I sprayed some gun scrubber in it then reoiled and worked the release a few more times and it all seems good now.
The release doesnt feel stickey anymore and the cylinder opens nice. Maybe there is some grit inside ill have to open it up and see, but its working good now.
I hope you can find a 696. I looked for awhile to find mine. I was told that they are discontinued now. I shot it today and it sure shots nice, This is going to be my carry gun as soon as I find a nice holster.

January 26, 2003, 03:47 PM
That happened to me at a gun shop a few weeks ago. I was checking out a nickeled S&W model 19, and I opened and shut the cyl. a few times and it gut stuck. Too bad because the action was as smooth as a Python.

January 26, 2003, 03:57 PM
Well I hope my problem is fixed, I have open and closed the cylinder atleast 50 times now and it hasnt stuck again. I think it just had a rough spot somewhere and it worked it way in.

Master Blaster
January 27, 2003, 09:26 AM
Something simple no one mentioned:

A flake of powder or a bit of crud Under the extractor star can cause this to happen, tie up the gun so the latch will not release the cylinder. Always clean under the extractor star and dont use too much oil.

February 9, 2008, 07:49 PM
I am so glad I found this thread on google. My Cylinder had been sticking on my S&W Model 64. I cleaned and cleaned but it still stuck. After reading this thread, I found the ejector rod to be unscrewed by about 10 turns. Tightened that up and WHAM, cylinder comes out every time!
Thanks & Great Thread!

Old Fuff
February 9, 2008, 08:00 PM
When buying a new and unfired revolver, I always make a practice of popping the sideplate and cleaning the interior. Years back they did this at the factory, but apparently not now. If you unconfortable about opening the gun up, remove the stocks and go at the inside with gunscrubber or the like, then re-lubricate.

February 10, 2008, 12:05 AM
The interior cleaning idea is a good thing. I have had several new ones that looked like they swept the metal shavings off the floor and right into the action.

February 10, 2008, 12:21 AM
"This is going to be my carry gun as soon as I find a nice holster."

I would rethink this untill you have a couple hundred down range at LEAST. If it locked up on you, you need to find out why so that you can fix the problem and have a clear head if you ever need to pull the trigger (god forbid). this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt, but all of my carry guns I would bet my life could run 400 rds. right now without a hicup. I do have several that I would not make that statement for and I like them to I just dont trust them enough to carry them:)

February 10, 2008, 02:23 AM
Wow. A five year old thread. That has to be close to a record.

February 10, 2008, 02:32 AM
Like Old Fuff, I also open up any gun I acquire, used or new. It's amazing what I sometimes find inside a factory new gun!

Old Fuff
February 10, 2008, 08:47 AM
Wow. A five year old thread. That has to be close to a record.

Maybe, but it got our new member, Fredzep out of trouble, and that's what matters. :)

February 10, 2008, 10:25 AM
Good threads never die. It almost makes me want to bring back that 12 page megathread from 2002. I think it was titled "The New S&W Lock". Wouldn't that be fun. :evil:

February 10, 2008, 07:58 PM
I would rethink this untill you have a couple hundred down range at LEAST.

Hopefully the OP had a chance to do that since he posted back in January 2003. :D

Cleaning is an unfortunate necessity with new guns. I have found several S&Ws with significant amounts of metal waste, and most are essentially unlubricated.

January 31, 2009, 09:11 AM
I am also the proud owner of a S & W 696. Someone made the comment this thread has been running 5 years. Well, make that 6. :eek:

I guess I have been lucky with my Smith-the only problem I have is finding enough time to shoot it. While I have had a lot of firearms come and go, this one still remains one of my favorites and will remain in my care as long as I am still breathing, after which it will be my grandson's.

Anyone want to share there pet loads with me? I would like a recommended load for target shooting as well as a home defense load since I sleep within arms reach of it. Cast, JHP's, SP's?

Many thanks in advance and help keep this thread alive!!


Master Blaster
January 31, 2009, 09:32 AM
If you like cast bullets try a 240 grain swc with some trail boss 5.2 grains IIRC, its an excellent accurate target load.


February 1, 2009, 12:36 AM
My favorite 44 Special load
5.5 Grains of American Select
220 Grain Plated Bullet

I have 4 S&W 44 Specials
2 3" 24-3 Lew Horton
1 3" 696
1 6" 624
also a colt clone 4 5/8 Uberti
I like this load in all but the 624, for that I use same bullet but 13 Grains of 2400
Try loads carefully , but work great in my guns ! Very clean shooting at the range
much cleaner but similar to Bullseye otherwise.

February 1, 2009, 01:25 AM
Google makes thread resurrection a common occurence. This thread has now come back to life twice. It's six years old. Cool.

February 1, 2009, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the loading data!!!! I will try them all:)

February 1, 2009, 07:41 AM
I bought both a new 296 and a 696 six years ago - $349 closeout ($789 MSRP when discontinued!) and $439 regular new prices then. I got another $10 off for buying them both. The 296's were discontinued 12/2001 after only two years, the 696 ran six years 12/96-12/02. The 296 was clean inside - but dry as a bone - greatly improved with just some lube (I left the OEM springs alone on this and my 642 - pocket protectors.). The 696 has lite Wolff springs - and only feeds on Federally-primed homebrews. It has one distinction... the only QC issue I've experienced in a new S&W - a scrunched ejector rod spring end - made tightening the ejector rod - and keeping it tight - a problem. A call to S&W got me a new spring in a couple of days. It evidenced itself by a weird, scrunchy feeling when pushing the ejector rod in - and a loose ejector rod. Too late for the OP by six years, always check under the ejector star for not only crud - but a thread from a cotton swipe - or even a broken bronze brush bristle can find their way to the rod attachment/star juncture and keep the star ever so proud of the cylinder's back. Always check that rod by turning CCW while holding the cylinder - that LH threaded rod does come loose. No, I don't blue Loctite mine - just tighten them carefully.

If the rod is loose, forcing the cylinder open can but a bend/kink in the ejector rod. Try to turn that rod CCW - by pushing from the lower exposed part of the rod's circumference up - using a non-metallic stick of sorts. When you get it 'close', the cylinder will open - tighten that rod by turning the rod CCW as tight as you can by hand - wrapping it in a piece of rubber for friction enhancement.

Oh - want a 'hoot to shoot' load for the 696? Get some Starline .44 Russian cases, 240 gr LSWCs, and 3.5gr Titegroup. This 'popper' is an all day load for the most squeamish - makes a whopping 692 fps. It'll drop any falling steel plate - and makes 'Major Power Factor', ie, over PF of 165! Plus, the .44 Russian round just looks neat. I use the 4-piece Lee .44 Special carbide die set for .44 Russians, Specials, and Magnums in my Dillon 550B. I did grind the rounded steel end on the sizer, so it would size more of the Russian's case.


February 1, 2009, 09:56 AM
As I mentioned, so far no problems with my 696, BUT, I haven't shot more than 10-15 rounds through it. Had a 629, so the 696 ended up a safe queen. Now the 629 is gone along with my 500 S & W, so the 696 will be getting some fresh air this spring. I will be watching the ejector for problems and will probably pull the grips and giving the inside a good hosing.

They have two 296's on gunbroker, starting bid on first is $675. The other is a B.I.N. for $800. If I had the bucks I would buy both of them! I got the itch, but I don't have the scratch....:(

Also thanks for the loading data-sounds interesting!


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