Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Snubbie on Steroids

The S&W 696, a 3" .44 Special. Above it, in comparison, is a Taurus 605 in .357:

The 696 is stainless-steel, so it is somewhat compact, but on the heavy side. A lighter gun would be the S&W "Mountain Lite" 396, which had a scandium-alloy frame and barrel and a titanium cylinder.[1] the 396 was a pound or so lighter, but as you might imagine, with lighter weight comes more recoil.

Smith & Wesson only made the 296, 396 Mountain Lite and 696 for a handful of years, then they were all discontinued. The big reason is that Smith & Wesson signed onto a Clinton Administration gun control initiative in 2000.[2] The eminently foreseeable blowback from the buyers' community almost destroyed the company. It was sold to new owners for a pittance (compared to what the clowns who had signed the Clinton deal paid for the company).

As a result of the boycott by many buyers, S&W ended a lot of products. Revolvers are not really police items anymore, what with most departments having shifted to autoloaders, the customer boycott hammered the revolver side of the house. S&W also jumped hard onto the "plastic-fantastic" bandwagon, competing directly with Glock. And with Teh Grate War on Terrah, sales of guns to paramilitary-type organizations became rather profitable.

As far as I know, if you want a new-production double-action .44 Special, you're going to be buying a Charter Arms Bulldog.
[1] The barrel had a steel liner.
[2] There were two apparently other factors. One was that the .44s didn't sell all that well, though that may have been tied in with the boycotts. The other was a rumor that S&W had a prolific designer at the time and they were selling a lot of new models, which diluted the demand. A few decades from now, collectors are probably going to be going nuts.


w3ski said...

Congratulations on your new revolver. Sure is pretty looking. Have you got it dirty yet? Are you going to use the 240gr or something like a 180gr JHP? I bet it's a pleasant little snubbie.

Tam said...

5-shot .44s just aren't hot sellers. The boycott had pretty much nothing to do with the demise of the 696 (which was neither fish nor fowl, being too big and heavy to carry in a pocket, and not appreciably lighter than a 3" 629) and the 296 (which didn't sell because it was stupid expensive and ugly to boot.)

Incidentally, the Bulldog from Charter is only a couple ounces heavier than the Al/Ti 296.

Also also, Taurus does the occasional run of big-bore snubbies, having done K/L-frame-size 5-shooters in .44 Spl, as well as .45 Colt and .41 Mag.

Comrade Misfit said...

Tam, didn't you carry a 296 for awhile?