Smith and Wesson 696 44 Spl forcing cone question


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ZBill
January 29, 2012, 03:51 PM
I have a 696 with approximately 250 rounds through it. I have seen many reports that the corcing cone is "thin" or fragile in some manner. Is this a valid concen? I like the revolver and would like to take it to the range frequently.

What measures should I take to prolong forcing cone integrity? I have lots of lead bullets for reloading. I assume a light load is recommended.

Any input is appreciated. Thank you, Bill

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rcmodel
January 29, 2012, 04:28 PM
Standard SAAMI pressure for .44 Spl is quite low.

I would expect a 696 forcing cone to last longer then you will shooting lead bullet reloads at standard pressure.

If it doesn't the gun has a lifetime warrenty on it.

As far as anything you can do?
Get a Lewis Lead Remover kit and keep the forcing cone clean of leading when you clean the gun.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=21587/Product/LEWIS-LEAD-REMOVER

rc

DC Plumber
January 29, 2012, 05:28 PM
I have a 696 no dash and know exactly what you are talking about. Yes it is thin.

I wouldn't shoot anything more than standard pressure 44 special loads. I'm sure slower heavier lead loads are way better than faster lighter jacketed loads, but thats how my brain works.

It's a nice gun. Shoot it.

ZBill
January 31, 2012, 05:39 PM
I see a Lewis lead remover and lead reloads in my immediate future.

Thank you both for your assistance. Bill

Drail
January 31, 2012, 10:26 PM
Over on the S&W forum there have been a number of threads about 696 forcing cones. Several have posted photos of cracked cones and one guy from Alaska managed to flare one out until it looked like a trumpet bell shooting some kind of ridiculous handload. The consensus is you can damage one pretty badly if you hit it with a steady diet of very light bullets at very high velocities. It's the same problem we saw with the K frame S&Ws when handloaders would hit them with a steady diet of 110/125 gr. high velocity loads. I have been shooting and handloading a 696 since 1996 and have had no problems but I prefer heavier slugs (200 to 215) at 850 to 900 fps. If I need more power than that I have .41 and .44 Mags that will give it me all I want. The bottom line is you can damage the cone with really stupid handloads and I would stay away from the Corbon and Buffalo Bore stuff also. Also be aware that S&W has not had any replacement barrels for the 696 for several years now and they have no plans to make any more. If you trash a 696 barrel they'll probably offer you a good price on a different gun but they're not going to rebarrel your 696 under warranty (several 696 owners on the S&W forum have been through this). If you're handloading for a 696 don't believe that it is perfectly suitable for super duper +P+ .44 Spl. loads because "it's an L frame" unless you don't plan on keeping it for long. They're one of S&W's best ideas IMO but they aren't built like a Ruger. The best factory load I have found for the 696 is the Speer/CCI 200 gr. Gold Dot. It runs about 875 fps from a 696 and is accurate and pleasant to shoot and should be more than enough power for anyone.
.

ZBill
February 7, 2012, 08:27 PM
I plan to reload so future generations can enjoy this revolver. I have 200 gr Gold Dot Blazer which I assume is the same/identical to the Speer/CCI load?

Regards, Bill

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