Charter Arms .38 Special


February 26, 2006, 09:35 PM
I have a Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special that my father bought in the '70s. The pistol had not been fired for years. Recently I gave it a good clean and lube and fired it. I was cocking the hammer prior to each shot. I fired several cylinders of standard pressure loads. At times the cylinder would free spin and the hammer would not cock. If I spun the cylinder a couple of times back and forth everything would return to normal. This only happens under recoil. I can cock and release the hammer on an empty cylinder all day long. And the problem is...? Any input will be appreciated.

If you enjoyed reading about "Charter Arms .38 Special" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Jim K
February 27, 2006, 09:36 PM
Those revolvers were never world beaters, but they usually were pretty reliable and didn't have a lot of problems. I am not sure what could cause the problem you report. If you had the gun apart to clean it, I would think that you put it together wrong or left something out.

My guess, without seeing the gun, is that something is blocking the trigger from coming back all the way, stopping it just where the cylinder stop disengages, which would account for the cylinder spinning free. Check out the hammer block and the hand to make sure they are properly engaged by the back arm of the trigger spring.


February 28, 2006, 07:12 AM
I didn't disassemble it, just swabbed out the bore and cylinder and lubed,very lightly, moving parts. Maybe I'll pull the grips off and see what the springs, etc. are doing. You're right about it not being a top of the line piece. Its accurate for only twenty feet or so, but it is fun to shoot. If I can't get it to work its no great loss, I just hate to have a gun around that doesn't work.

March 1, 2006, 03:10 PM
It sounds like the cylinder bolt is not working properly to lock the cylinder into battery. Do not shoot this revolver again.

If the cylinder fails to index properly (line up accurately with the end of the barrel) and LOCK there as you are squeezing the trigger to fire the gun then the gun/cylinder could explode when fired. Get it checked out by a COMPETENT gunsmith first.


March 14, 2006, 10:30 PM
I have a Taurus Model 82 that I stuck in a drawer for several years before I got it back out to shoot. It acted much the same way as your Charter. I pulled the side plate and found the inner works well gunked up by a combination of old congealed oil and dust, etc. Even though I thought I had "cleaned" it, including a bath of brake cleaner, it didn't work right till I completely dissasembled it and thoroughly cleanned all the "gunk" out of it. If your Charter was stored for a long period you will probably have to do the same, if you are not confident of your skills have a 'Smith do it and inspect the gun at the same time. My Taurus shoots just fine now after a good cleaning, I also stay away from "silicone" type lubricants as they tend to gunk up worse than oil after awhile.

Good luck with your Charter!

March 16, 2006, 04:19 AM
I wouldn't try completely disassembling this revolver because it won't be much fun putting it back together. Check out the breech or the area where the back of the cases, (primer side), rotate and contact the frame. There is a screw that might have loosened and may need tightening. If you think it needs a really good cleaning internally use a can of brake cleaner first before thinking about taking it a part.

If you enjoyed reading about "Charter Arms .38 Special" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!