Smith and Wesson 696 44 Spl forcing cone question


January 29, 2012, 02:51 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

If you enjoyed reading about "Smith and Wesson 696 44 Spl forcing cone question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 29, 2012, 03:28 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.


DC Plumber
January 29, 2012, 04:28 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.

January 31, 2012, 04:39 PM
I see a Lewis lead remover and lead reloads in my immediate future.

Thank you both for your assistance. Bill

January 31, 2012, 09:26 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.

February 7, 2012, 07:27 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

If you enjoyed reading about "Smith and Wesson 696 44 Spl forcing cone question" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!