The 696


Tom Servo
September 6, 2007, 11:29 PM
It's about time this gun got its due. The 642 guys are up to something like 4,300 posts, and the less said about what the 686 Club get up to after dark, the better :scrutiny:

It's just like a 3" 686, but it's a 5-shot .44spl. Given that it's an L-Frame, it's a bit weighty, but it shoots like a fast .45ACP and kicks like a hot .38.

Here's mine, a 696-1. MIM trigger and hammer, frame-mounted firing pin, but no silly lock. The grips are from Don Collins. ( ( ( (

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September 6, 2007, 11:53 PM
can I come and play with a 396? 18oz of fun!

September 7, 2007, 12:52 AM
696 is the best gun I've ever shot! The kick was entertaining, but not harsh, and they are quick, and plenty accurate! You can empty 5 shots in rapid, and accurate succesion! And with a .44 special, you don't need 10 rounds :evil: I want one, but don't want to pay the $700. :( I have a Taurus m44c snubby. It is ok, but no S&W. Half the price of a 696, and it fires mag rounds.

September 7, 2007, 07:01 AM
Nearly five years ago, I bought a 296 and a 696, both new - and after they were axed. They were $349 & $439 respectively - and, no, I won't sell the 696 for what they summed when new - they are going for more now! No doubt they are fun to plink with. CC? Too big and heavy - that's why I bought the 296. Hunting? Too short of a barrel - and too-lite construction (Look at the forcing cone the L-frame allows... a .44 Special is big!). Neat conversation piece.

Here I go again. Spend less money... buy a brand new 4" 629 (SKU 163603). It weighs 6 oz more - has another round capacity - an inch more barrel - larger hammer & trigger - and is designed for 'real' .44 Magnums, so the 'Keith-level' .44 Specials, which just might dissociate the 696 from it's barrel, will be quite safe. Do yourself a favor - add a Hoque .500 Magnum rubber monogrip (One size fits all: K,L,N, & X-frames - OEM on .460/.500 Magnums.) - $35 from S&W. Great recoil absorption.

Anyway, count me in as a 696 lover - sort of - until someone approaches me with a wad-o-cash. They look and feel great with Ahrends square conversion fg or non-fg cocobolo grips. They are fine for 240gr LSWC/LRNFP @ 750-760 fps (4.5-4.6 gr Titegroup). The squared UM's combats are an improvement (They come with the rounded version.). Anything will do for my all day 'popper' - the same 240gr LSWC over 3.5 gr Titegroup in .44 Russian cases - for 692 fps - 'major' power factor (>166), too! If you reload, try the 'cute' .44 Russian cases...


September 7, 2007, 08:21 AM
Hey Stainz. Everytime I see those square Ahrends on your 696, I want some for mine. :)

September 7, 2007, 01:27 PM

You can get the Ahrends square conversion cocobolo stocks directly from Kim Ahrends for $60 + $6 s/h - with or, as mine is pictured, without finger grooves. BTW, the Georgia Arms 200gr Speer Gold Dot .44 Specials, in new Starline brass, made 836 +/-7 fps from my 696. I have shot 2,000 plus total of them and the similar ballistics Blazer rounds and several hundred of my similar loads of that same Speer #4427 Gold Dot from my 296, so they'd be fine for 'carry' for the 696. The 240gr LSWC - especially the little .44 Ruskie cased - are fun.


September 7, 2007, 02:08 PM
The 240gr LSWC - especially the little .44 Ruskie cased - are fun
Yep, I agree, except I was using a 200 Gr. RN in the Russian case. I have switched to .44 Spl cases and stopped using the .44 Russian cases.

September 7, 2007, 07:50 PM
It's a funny thing. I looked at the specs in the catalog for years and said "nah, doesn't do anything a 629MG doesn't do better."

Finally handled one, put it in a holster - boy, was I wrong.

September 7, 2007, 09:19 PM
doesn't do anything a 629MG doesn't do better."
Oh contrare my friend. :)

If you love N frames I can't argue much there (much), but it is an L frame which some, if not many, including myself, prefer. And the .44 Spl. L Frame just flicks my bic like a downloaded .44 Mag N Frame just can't do. :D

boy, was I wrong.
Yep. There is just "something" about it, ain't there.

P5 Guy
September 7, 2007, 10:24 PM
696 no dash. Bought it as soon as I could find one, 1996 if I remember right. I've put a few rounds through it in the time its been mine. The round to square grips are easier to shoot when using Cor-Bon 165s. My reloads are mild, 6.5 of 231 under a 200grain round lead pill.

September 8, 2007, 07:31 PM
Yep, the 696 is one of those rare 2+2=5 situations...

Tom Servo
September 8, 2007, 10:57 PM

...if I really wanted to get flamed, I could post this on the Semiauto board :evil:

Here she is in a Saguaro ( Yaqui Slide. I can't recommend Mr. Dyer's work enough.

September 9, 2007, 01:42 AM
Love those grips, Erik! Here's mine:

September 10, 2007, 08:42 AM
If you want to aggravate someone with a bottom-feeding race gun having difficulty making 'major power factor' without destroying his 9mm/.40 version hyper expensive case tosser, let them pop away with a 696 loaded with .44 Russians carrying 3.5gr Titegroup under a 240gr LSWC (692 fps; pf = 166). They'll never believe it's a 'major' pf. And... it's accurate! Of course, there are only five per reload...


September 13, 2007, 08:13 AM
I have had at least one 696 since they first came out, hundreds of rounds fired through it an never a problem, the first one is still tight as the day I bought it. Love the guns, I personally think its the perfect size and I figured if I can't end the trouble with 5 .44 specials, what makes me think that I am going to end it with 10 of anything else. Here are my twins both are 696 no dash with the firing pin where it belongs, on the hammer.

I foolishly offered on up for a trade recently and to my relief, he said no.

Brian Williams
September 13, 2007, 08:33 AM
I wish that S&W had made a 691, like the 686/681 with fixed sights it would be the best carry gun around.

September 13, 2007, 02:22 PM
My buddy has one, he took a 681 and replaced the 696 cylinder and barrel with one he purchased ( not sure of where) was a pretty cool gun.

Still won't sell it to me.

September 13, 2007, 08:02 PM
Interesting - that would NOT have been a drop-in job!

September 13, 2007, 09:58 PM
I have the 696's Airweight sibling - the 296. It has a fixed sight, enclosed hammer, and a strict diet - 200gr or less, clad-only, and .44 Special cases only... no .44 Ruskies, probably due to that Ti cylinder. It's a great 'carry' piece, especially in a Mika's pocket holster, as it is barely larger than the 642 I have. The 296 has an Al alloy frame, with a Ti cylinder and a SS barrel liner. It looks sort of like the 642 on steroids. Here are the pair:


September 14, 2007, 08:57 AM
Nope your right it was not just a drop in job. He spent many hours trying to get everything to work right, but in the end, its a great shooter.

September 14, 2007, 07:04 PM
I picked one up in the late 90's that was collecting dust at my LGS. The best $300 I ever spent! It has the best DA trigger pull of any factory firearm that I've tried and it'll shoot a pop can 3 for 5 at 75yds. It's just a sweet piece; almost the ideal kit gun, but better!

About 6 months later, I got tired of seeing it's neighbor (6" M24-3) in the display case and bought it too. Another great bargain!


September 15, 2007, 08:40 AM
I truly enjoy anything in .44 Special. Most of what I ran through my old Redhawk were Specials or Magnums downloaded to Special levels. ;)

Well, I was searching for a more handy companion to my Model 24 target gun so I visited an area shop that was a bit out of the way. This guy had a new 696 on display along with a Thunder Ranch Model 21. He wanted almost full retail :scrutiny: for the 696 (Which explained why it was still on hand in 2006!) but only a heavily discounted price on the TR 21. :D

Economics made for an "easy" decision. :rolleyes: The TR 21 is a wonderful piece but I hesitate to abuse such a pretty thing and wonder to this day if I should have gone with the 696. My eyes are open :what: for one now. . . .

September 15, 2007, 09:13 AM
The 696's were canned five years ago, so one on display with a 21TR was, indeed, old new stock! I bought mine nearly five years ago new for the then faded regular price tag of $439. The then already canned new 296 was on closeout for $359 - they gave me $10 off since I bought the pair together - whooppee! Neither sold very well, thus their demise. The 296's were half price, however... must have been really slow. I wanted one when I first saw it on the cover of Amer Rifleman - in '99, I think. A picture of the Ti atom on the side... how cool! The 696 just looked neat - like it does today... naw, it looks a lot better with wood grips!


September 15, 2007, 09:26 AM
When I said "full retail" I meant it! That guy wanted $725 for the 696 but had discounted the TR21 to $700. The 696 had been there so long that it had actually started to tarnish. The finish was almost as dull as a "tactical" bead blast job! Some folks. . . .

September 15, 2007, 02:21 PM
Well, a used 696 will bring $725 today, and a used 21 $550.

I've made choices like that before ;)

September 17, 2007, 08:27 PM
Yeah, yer right! --mostly. I agree with your 696 and 21 estimate but I think the Thunder Ranch 21 would bring more from the right buyer. It's a Custom Shop piece, and feels it/looks it.

I don't care. It's never for sale and goes to #1 son when this game's over. ;)

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