Permutation codes are vector quantizers whose codewords are related by permutations and, in one variant, sign changes. Asymptotically, as the vector dimension grows, optimal Variant I permutation code design is identical to optimal entropy-constrained scalar quantizer (ECSQ) design. However, contradicting intuition and previously published assertions, there are finite block length permutation codes that perform better than the best ones with asymptotically large length; thus, there are Variant I permutation codes whose performances cannot be matched by any ECSQ. Along similar lines, a new asymptotic relation between Variant I and Variant II permutation codes is established but again demonstrated to not necessarily predict the performances of short codes. Simple expressions for permutation code performance are found for memoryless uniform and Laplacian sources. The uniform source yields the aforementioned counterexamples.