Charter Arms ???'s ...


September 9, 2007, 01:18 PM
Will the Bulldog .44spl handle the 246gr Winchester and Rem loads ...? Also, will the .38spl undercover version handle +P loads...?

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September 9, 2007, 01:36 PM
'Hot 246 grain .44 special loads'?????
At 750 feet per second, the 246 grain round nose loads are hardly considered hot and were the standard recommended loads for the Bulldogs.
I know of a couple of Bulldogs that fell apart after a couple hundred or less Federal 240 lead hollow points at 900 feet per second.
I wouldn't recommend shooting +P loads in an Undercover either.

September 9, 2007, 03:11 PM
<I wouldn't recommend shooting +P loads in an Undercover either>

Oh really, well since I posted this I checked the web site (Charter Arms site) they claim the undercover will handle +P loads.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I guess the manufacturer must be wrong and posted bogus information, which may lead to a potential lawsuit, you would think they would know better, like you do???

While I have your attention - just what exactly fell apart on the .44spl ...???:rolleyes:
This is a new build, new Company ...

September 9, 2007, 06:11 PM
1999cobra- first of all, there is no reason to cop an attitude with onmilo. he was only trying to help.
Charter arms websote says that they can handle +p but they "do not recommend a steady diet." In other words, "Yeah, you can do it a few times to test out an SD load, and you won't blow yourself up, but if you shoot +p a lot, you'll wear out the guns very quickly."
Onmilo was simply trying to help you avoid excessive wear. You also didn't mention how old the models are that you ask about. Older ones may not have been as strong.
Now, let's take a bit of a gentler tone, eh?

September 9, 2007, 06:25 PM
No tone intended -

No need to be overly defensive.

Charter Arms has a new revised, refined, reissue, remake, remanufacture, of some of the old standby revolvers of years past.

Now, Sir, if you don't mind for the record did the web site state "Do not feed your revolver a steady diet of +P's" if so can you please post the link as I didn't see it... Thank you!:)

September 9, 2007, 06:31 PM
Check out Buffalo Bore's Standard Pressure Short Barrel Heavy .38 Special self defense rounds.

I practice with standard pressure rounds in my 1976ish Undercover and use the Buffalo Bore rounds for carry. I don't feel undergunned without a '+P' at the end...ever.


September 9, 2007, 06:35 PM
Q. Can I shoot +P in my .38 revolver?
A. Charter .38's are among the smallest revolvers in this caliber. They can handle +P but we do not recommend a steady diet.

I apologize if I misread the tone of your post.
Now I just have to go figure out who the heck "sir" is!!!:):rolleyes:

September 9, 2007, 06:39 PM
Thanks for the link, I wonder if that's the case with any and all of these 2 inch snubbies including S&W - Honestly about the only handguns I would feel comfortable shooting + loads in on a regular basis would be a Ruger (built like Sherman's tank) the good ole' Glock, and your Colt series 70's...

September 9, 2007, 06:39 PM
Gun Test magazine gives the Charter in .44 Special a thumbs up and a very good testimonial in last months issue. Was accurate, user friendly for the testers, and was consdiered put together well. Very good quality for the price was considered as the outstanding issue. Had to agree with the assesment the way it was written.

Charter's .38 Special version was given a very low rating because the revolver could only be shot with SA action and no DA ability was available with that specimen. Faulty workmanship was to blame.This was the case with that particular example. +P use was considered somewhat brutal as far as recoil was concerned.

While this is just one example of each gun, there does seem to be some evidence in other publications to back up these observations by Gun Tests.

This is by no means a total representation.

September 9, 2007, 07:40 PM
Every charter I've handled I've had trouble getting the cylinder latch to unlatch the cylinder. This is a problem that has plaqued their revolvers for decades. Why don't they fix it? Maybe they could sell some more guns.

September 9, 2007, 09:27 PM
I have an old Charter Arms Bulldog with a 3" barrel. Yep, the latch can be finicky and has to be tightened regularly.

I have shot some pretty stout loads through mine working up a defensive load and it handled them fine and shot them VERY well. The accuracy suprised me actually. I would not, however, shoot hot loads as a steady thing. I just don't beleive it could take it. I would not hesitate to shoot mild to medium loads through it as a regular thing. If it wears out, I'll replace it.

It does snake duty only these days, although there is always 2 defensive loads in it as well when I am walking the creeks or swampy areas here in Alabama. I do NOT feel underarmed with a 240 Gr. LSWC at 900 plus FPS.

I shot some SR4759 loads through it early on that rocked my world and made me wonder if I had any sense at all. :uhoh:

September 10, 2007, 08:14 AM
1999, I can't help but wonder why anyone would shoot apart a pistol made for carry and defense, not frequent range shooting. The Charter Arms pistols have a good record of rellability for defense work and they can take +P loads occasionally but they are not made for a large, steady diet of such ammo. They aren't likely to blow apart but they will shoot loose.

That said, I also can't help but wonder if you should have bothered to come here for answers if you are going to put down those who have taken the trouble to give you "best guess" answers in an effort to help.

September 10, 2007, 09:14 AM
<That said, I also can't help but wonder if you should have bothered to come here for answers if you are going to put down those who have taken the trouble to give you "best guess" answers in an effort to help.>

I thought we already covered that subject and as I stated before and will NOW state again - I wasn't putting anyone down...!!!


Gary A
September 10, 2007, 09:21 AM
1999cobra - your name was well-chosen.

September 10, 2007, 09:35 AM
I've been satisfied with my Charter Undercover 38. It's gone bang everytime (single & double action) for the 250 or so rounds I've fired through it including a few cylinders of +P's to test out (wow, you can tell their more potent than the standard load). I never intended to fire hundreds of rounds a week through it, one because it's a lightweight snubby, two because it is only a 5 shot, three because I got this for my wife to carry instead of her heavier & much prettier 3" SP101 (which is her home/car gun). The finish isn't the nicest, but it is stainless. The standard rubber grips are comfortable and reasonably compact. The lockup is a bit sloppy and the sights are seriously useless double action since the hammer blocks the rear channel when it's down. Both of those I can forgive in a reliable firearm that's intended to be used up close and personal that was only about $240 new (which includes the transfer fee).

September 10, 2007, 05:57 PM
i'd try the .44spl bulldog on somebody elses dime, the two i had were crap.

September 10, 2007, 06:30 PM
Yeah - I cancelled both of those and found a S&W M296 instead and that was a bitch to find ...

September 11, 2007, 05:50 AM
My CHARCO bulldog was crap. My Charter Arms versions were marginal, you do have to take it kind of easy on them and the build quality is nowhere near a S&W. I only now keep around a Charter arms Pathfinder 22lr and one Bulldog. Neither gets much use. My Charter Arms AR7 sucked too but I blame that more on the guns original Armalite design.

September 11, 2007, 08:03 AM
if you find an old school c.a. pathfinder .22lr, get it. mine was worth every dime i paid and more. it was the only c.a. gun that ive ever witnessed work properly over time.

September 11, 2007, 08:41 AM
I had both a Bulldog and an Undercover that did not hold up to steady use with standard velocity loads. I wouldn't buy another one.

My Dad has an Undercover that he has had since the early 70's, and while he doesn't shoot it much it is still doing what he bought it for.


September 11, 2007, 09:09 AM
My 1/50th of $1...

I had a mid-70's vintage .44Bulldog. Shot it some. Decent gun for the price at the time. Main knock was the cost of ammo About $17 for 50/.44Mag, usually more than double that for 50/.44Spl

Shooting buddy had a Super Blackhawk, and he always gave me a hard time about he could shoot twice as many rounds as me for the same $$$.

Ghost Tracker
September 11, 2007, 10:10 AM
I've heard tales of marginal quality about Charter Arms revolvers most of my shooting life (a LONG time, Gents) and, having handled a few, I have to agree that they're not a S&W or a Ruger. But the 5-shot .44 Special C.A. Bulldog is still debated & popular (?) because of its unique configuration.

Why doesn't S&W or Ruger build a QUALITY DA 5-shot .44 Special? Is there room in a K-frame or Service Six cylinder for five .44 holes? You would think so, as Hamilton Bowen has made some beautiful 5-shot .44 Special Single Actions on "smaller" Ruger frames. I think a slightly bigger version of a 5-shot j-frame or SP101 DAO in .44 Special would be VERY popular with the CCW crowd.

September 11, 2007, 02:33 PM
S&W used to make one....but it was a far cry larger than the c.a.

Taurus used to make one, was a good gun from the ones i shot, but theyve stopped making that also....

id love to have the 3" pencil barrel bobbed hammer stainless steel C.A. Bulldog .44spl, if it didnt shoot itself to crap after 200 rounds.

i had both a blued and a s.s. version in the mid '80's, neither was worth a crap, but my .22lr 3" pathfinder was a solid performer...

September 11, 2007, 07:32 PM
FWIW I purchased my CA 3" Bulldog .44 Spl NIB back in 1980. I have put over 2000 rounds down range with this Bulldog and still carry it regularly (CCW) in a Bianchi #5BHL. Early on 246 gr RNL was about the only commercial round I could find, but these days I load her with Georgia Arms 200 gr Gold Dot JHP. At 850 fps these loads are just about right for the Bulldog. This particular Bulldog (713xxx) is just as tight today as the day I bought it 27 years ago. :) Also, the First Generation Bulldogs have a nicer finish by far than the new ones. A good rule of thumb to follow with any generation Bulldog is to keep your your loads below 900 fps for maximum durability.

Another Hint: While not all Second Generation (Charco era) revolvers are bad
- quality control was horrendous during this period. :(


September 12, 2007, 04:30 AM
Stay away from the ones that have an enclosed shroud over the ejector rod. These seem to usually work loose. My Pathfinders have been ok, but the adj sights require a TINY screwdriver and work loose from recoil. Also I get more misfires from them especially if not squeaky clean than from other budget 22lr revolvers I own like the High Standard sentinel.

No one but Charter Arms sems to be able to make a SMALL frame 44spl, S&W 5 shots are built on the L frame. Taurus made the 445, I should have got one at $225 last year. I did get a 441 at $200 but it's too big for the bulldog concept.

Anyone own a 22mag Pathfinder or a stainless one? I never see them let alone rarely seeing 22lr versions in barrel lengths other than 3".

September 12, 2007, 07:50 AM
I have an older Bulldog, bought during the 70's.

It's exactly what I want it to be... a small, light defense revolver in very substantial caliber. I don't shoot it much at all... perhaps ten rounds a year... some years. :)

I've fired reloads, but those were kept at factory levels.

It's not exactly great fun to fire more than a couple cylinders. Recoil is pronounced. :)

But I like it fine. Very decent package... and there is NOTHING else quite like it.

September 12, 2007, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the back-up there guys.
Guy has twelve posts, most of them on this thread, asked some questions, gets an answer he doesn't want to hear right off the bat and lashes out.
As the old saying goes, the truth will sometimes hurt but that truth may also set you free, or, something along those lines,,,,,,,
We don't carry the modern Charter Arms or Charco or Chararmco or whatever the heck they call themselves now.
Too many have come in for repairs over the years that the owner does not wish to deal with them so I have no personal experience with the most modern offerings other than handling a few at gun shows and other dealer shops.
Frankly I wasn't impressed anymore with the modern version verses the older guns.
Actually the much older versions don't have the goofy barrel shroud like the mid production Charcos and the modern versions.
These shrouds, at least used to have a nasty habit of breaking loose and falling of the actual barrel, I have seen this more than once.
The .44 Bulldogs that had the shroud were even worse than the Undercovers.
The "Unbreakable" Berillium firing pins break, play cowboy snapity snap snap with a Charter gun and you will become a believer.

Anyway the owner won't carry Charter guns.
Like it or not that is the way it is with him and it is his shop, I'm just the gunsmith.
If a customer really wants a Charter Arms the owner will direct the customer to a shop that does sell Charter Arms products, but he won't recommend them.
I will recommend a Charter revolver, most especially the .22LR and Magnum Pathfinders, with the reservations I have already outlined.

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