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Take this for what it's worth, but I have been carrying a S&W 696 since the first year they brought them out (long before the S&W sellout).  It is a heavy piece, but extremely accurate and I feel more than enough power to get me out of any situation I may find myself in.  While it is limited to five shots, I plan on the need for the use of deadly force to reconsiled long before that last round is reached.  I carry a Glaser Blue safety slug for first up in the summer time, and the rest Cor-Bon 180 gr. JHC.  Winter carry is all Cor-Bon.  However, the 180 gr. loading is history and all they make now is the 165 gr. loading which I feel is too light, but I have a supply of the 180 gr. load and at the rate I am using them they should last me for another 10 years or so.  I practice with hand loads that duplicate the 180 gr. C-B load and they clock the same as the C-B out of my revolver, 980 fps.  This load does not expand much, but with a bullet this size you don't need much expansion to make a BIG hole.  Penetration is good without being excessive.  Of course, the Glasers blow up on contact and the risk of overpentration is nill.  My loads are what I would consider +P as they are loaded to listed max, but with over 1,500 rounds through it, the L framed 696 shows no wear.  I tried a few of the 210 gr. Silvertips but my revolver did not like them at all and shot patterns, not groups at 25 yards, but then the revolver you get may love them.
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