charter arms bulldog


January 12, 2008, 09:07 PM
any feed back on these carry handguns? quality? comfort? thanks

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January 12, 2008, 09:24 PM
I dont have the Bulldog but I do have the Charter Undercover and they are well made accurate revolvers.

January 12, 2008, 09:48 PM
I would stay away from anything from Charter Arms. They are POS, in MHO

January 12, 2008, 11:34 PM
Old ones, or new ones?

The 1980's Charter Arms Bulldogs were good-enough guns. I've had one for 20+ years.

January 13, 2008, 12:44 AM
I would stay away from anything from Charter Arms. They are POS, in MHO


Welcome to THR swede69. Don't mind the lame reply by someone who should know better. Seems to be an epidemic around here lately.

The early CA's were great shooters. (I love my Undercover). Some Charter 2000, Charco stuff, some ok, some not so good. The new incarnation of Charter Arms seems to be putting out some decent product. Some folks like them, some don't. I'd shoot 'em.


White Horseradish
January 13, 2008, 01:58 AM
I have a later stainless Undercover, and I have no complaints. It's a nice accurate gun and very comfortable to carry.

gcrookston, could you elaborate on that opinion?

January 13, 2008, 02:12 AM
Yeah why the nonsence gun bashin:scrutiny: Mine is very accurate for a snubbie and is as reliable as a revolver should be:neener:

January 13, 2008, 02:21 AM
I have a old one . Its nice to carry but a little much to shoot . Reminds you that light equals recoil. . I carry at times But perfer my Colt compacts. But just something about a 44 snub.

January 13, 2008, 02:24 PM
I have an early model 44 Bulldog.been beat up and banged around,still goes bang when I pull the trigger.with what I would call defense loads,it's a hand full.but I'm sure that in a "shoot back situation" it wouldn't be noticed. and it does put a bigger hole than a 9mm. jwr

January 13, 2008, 04:36 PM
I have one of the current incarnations.

It has it's uses. It's not the high quality you would get from a S&W, so if you think that's what you're getting at the low, low price the Bulldogs are going for, you're mistaken and apt to be disappointed.

Are you looking for a reasonably inexpensive gun to fire a potent manstopping round, that handles and conceals quite well? A gun that you won't cry a river over if it is damaged, lost, stolen or confiscated? Something pretty darn dependable and one that with reasonable care and modest shooting (no "keith" rounds, and keep the anual round count down to a few boxes) will last for many years? Something that is good to minute of badguy but not something you expect to get 1" groups at 50 yards?

If the above sounds like it describes your shooting needs, then the Charter Arms Bulldog .44 should definitely be one of the handguns on your list to consider. No, it's not a deep magazine. It's not designed to fend off the local motorcycle club who burst into your home one night. Isn't that what your shotgun or your AR or AK is for? It's designed to stop one or two bad guys if your shooting is up to it, no more. It's a question of what you think is necessary. It is not my only handgun nor my best handgun by a long shot - I have handguns I have paid 4x as much for. But honestly it has acompanied me more times than any other when I felt that having a firearm handy might be a good thing. I'm not afraid to lose it, damage it, sweat on it, bleed on it and have it taken into evidence. Because I can "live without it" it's become the handgun I depend on most in a practical sense.

January 14, 2008, 06:10 PM
still have my dads old undercover, about 3 yrs ago sent it to charter and they returned with new springs etc keep it in the console of the truck shoot it monthly good gun if you can find one

January 14, 2008, 07:58 PM
Can't speak for the new generation Charters, but I had a couple of the old .44 Bulldogs. Pretty decent revolvers for the money. Not a pre-Bangor Punta Smith by any not bad. Not a gun that you'd want to shoot a lot, and not just because of the recoil. Under hard use, the ones that I've owned and known of didn't hold up well. The .38 Special Undercovers, fired 95% of the time with target wadcutters did fine...but the stresses generated even by the light factory .44 246 LRN offering is a bit much....if you can even find it any more. I haven't seen any on the shelves in several years.

Fits into the "Carried a lot and seldom shot" category, IMHO.

January 14, 2008, 08:15 PM
They do have all models but you might have to have a FFL order you one.

32 Magnum
January 14, 2008, 08:27 PM
Anybody that says the 1st Generation Charter Arms revolvers are POS, has obviously never seen, held or fired one. Inexpensive - yes! Cheaply made - absolutely NOT! Accurate - put them up against any revolver that cost twice as much. Reliable - put them up against any revolver that cost twice as much. Fit and finish - OK for a midcost, accurate, reliable self defense weapon - can't match the top end S&W revolvers for finish - but strength - got the S&Ws beat - action and trigger pull- as good as the Colt target revolvers - modeled after them. Safe? - patented transfer bar safety system, and fewer parts to it and the rest of the action than any other manufacturer. Accuracy - try 8 groove button rifling vs. 6 groove for all the other revolver manufacturers. Coil main spring, either Chrome-Moly Steel blued frames, barrels and cylinders or SS 440 steel - top of the line ordnance steel - all machined from billet - not cast. How about unbreakable beryllium-copper spring loaded firing pins - good for 100 thousand dry fires...anybody else make anything like that? As I said, anybody that says that the 1st Generation Charter Arms are POS, is woefully mistaken and easily mislead.

January 14, 2008, 08:32 PM
Hey there.
Can't say why anyone would bad this one. They shoot well. Carry OK.
Good feeling if you think you need the extra bang.
Got rid of mine cause recoil was more then I wanted.
You will have to learn to shoot this one. Other then that they are good guns.

January 14, 2008, 08:41 PM
My 44 Bulldog Pug is new, about 2 months old.

I've heard all of the various crappings about Charter Arms, along with Kel-Tec, S&W Sigmas, Taurus, etc.

You need to be aware that a lot of people have had a lot of problems with a lot of different guns, from all sorts of manufacturers. No brand is immune to occassional errors, and some have had extended runs of products that were either poorly designed or shoddily constructed.

I read that Charter made good guns some time ago, slumped terribly, but then got back on track. I can only report that my Bulldog had a burr on the ejector that wouldn't allow a casing to seat properly; this kept me from being able to close the cylinder. I toook it home and knocked the burr off with a file, and it's been flawless ever since.

I like the way it fits me, and I'm more accurate with it than most of my other guns. For the price, I'd say it's a real bargain.

January 14, 2008, 08:45 PM
Charter Arms revolvers=inexpensive, accurate, reliable revolvers.

January 14, 2008, 11:42 PM
My First Generation 3" Bulldog has been with me 28 years and while not shot a lot it does have in excess of 2000 rounds through it these days. I carry my CA Bulldog for CCW, most of the time loaded with Georgia Arms 200 gr HP ammo in a Bianchi #5. The CA Bulldog is my go everywhere CCW. :)


January 15, 2008, 01:17 AM
I had three Charter 2000 handguns, a Bulldog Pug, Undercover and an Offduty. I also have an original Charter Arms 3" blued Bulldog i bought nib in 1980.

Both the Undercover and Offduty (both bought nib from a dealer) failed right out of the box. Both had three misfires (light firing pin hits) on the first cylinder full. Both were fixed under warranty. Both went through 250 rounds each without any further issues. My buddy's Undercover (bought nib from a dealer) locked up after the second round. It was fixed under warranty. It's been through about 50 rounds without any further issues.

My Bulldog Pug (bought nib from a dealer) went through 250 rounds without any problems.

Between my dad and myself we had several original Charter Arms handguns. While not S&W quality, they were some good little guns. The Bulldog was one of our favorite plinkers.

I sold the Bulldog and the Undercover when i decided to sell off some of my seldom used guns. I'll most likely sell the Offduty also.

If Charter would get on top of their quality issues (or lack of) they would be great little guns.

January 15, 2008, 11:14 PM
late 80's manif bulldog here. Actually, its a friends.

It is definitely a handful. Probably would benifit from other grips. Trigger pull isn't stellar, recoil is annoying and accuracy was so - so. But, with the right load it should produce minute of pie-plate at 8-10 yards.

For beating some one over the head or contact distance use, it more than meets the mission. Just don't expect to do head shots on evil ninjas all the way across the food court.

January 16, 2008, 02:02 PM
I have and carry a 1st gen 3"....very accurate and well built.I use the "combat grips" and pocket carry it.if I'm going to shoot more than a few rounds,I switch back to the full size grips....w/ the combat grips,it's kind of like shooting a j frame w/ hot loads....doable ,but not fun.w/ the full size no problem.I understand some later models had problems,but I've actually had MORE problems w/ smith and wessons,than any Taurus or Charter Arms,or Rugers..YMMV
but all in all I like the bulldog....and do trust my life to one daily.

January 16, 2008, 03:43 PM
wish i could same something positive about them because i like the concept, but i cant.

i had two bulldogs in the 80's, one blued, was a pice of junk, sold it at a big lose, bought a stainless version, it too turned into a piece of junk.....but the 3" pathfinder .22lr i had was a great gun.

January 16, 2008, 09:58 PM
I have an older model in SS that I have been carrying off and on for the last ten years or so. These days it spends a lot of time in my glove compartment. I've put about 500 rounds through mine without a problem. I think they are well made, good concept revolvers (small package big bullet). But I suspect that the guys that are telling you that it is not a gun to be shot on a constant basis are correct. The lockwork strikes me as being a bit delicate. But then, its a belly gun designed for a specific purpose. I would reccomend one. Shoot it, familiarize youself with it, practice periodically and keep it where you need it. If you do break it, the new Charter Arms claims that it will work on and repair even the earlier models and they seem to have reasonable rates according to their web site.

George Hill
January 16, 2008, 10:16 PM
Charter? Utter bile.
Some of you guys can say they are just fine... but I beg to differ.
Take a close look at these photos.
These are two guns Charter sent me to review. The grips didn't match one panel to the next... and one of them had a weird frame thing going on where you can see the panels scraped against the frame because the frame was bending or something? I don't know. The functioned fine and shot every time... but were less than accurate. Ugly. And they are not cheap. The dealer cost was 20 bucks more than what we retail Rossi revolvers for. And the Rossi's are twice the gun. So you could buy a Taurus for the same money at retail, and the Taurus has a life time warranty.
The only way you could look at the Charter and say "Yeah, I'll buy one" would be if you were either dense, or insisted on the Made In The USA thing.
They make Hi-Points, RG's, and Liberals look good.
I'm not liking the weird and cheap cylinder latch and standard head screws that look like they came out of ACE HARDWARE. The latch actually extends through the frame. Very weird. Very Chinsey. Gaps where the cylinder crane meets the frame.
Two different guns, two different models, same problem... random grip selections. It's like the left side is a different size than the right side. This made the guns uncomfortable to shoot.
What I don't get is why they sent two total chunks of crap to a magazine for an honest review... unless they were giving the magazine the middle finger. I was pissed. This pretty much answers the question of if companies send ringers to gun writers. No, no they don't. They just expect gun writers to put lipstick on pigs.

January 16, 2008, 10:32 PM
um, George,

Is there something those of us with inquiring minds have to do to get the pictures to show? All I get is "invalid attachment" when I click on them.

I've considered getting a Bulldog from time to time, but I always convince myself not to risk it.

January 17, 2008, 12:02 AM
It would be nice to see comparasin photos of the Charters to that of comparable models made by S&W, Ruger, Colt and Taurus. The details George is referring to would be very clear and even more obvious than Georges picture reveals.If your prepared to drop $250-$300 on a snubby, why not go with a second hand brand that cares enough to back up their reputation with a little quality of workmanship? It might also be interesting to see a picture of an older Charter model alongside of a current model Charter. Perhaps the ol' gray snubbie ain't what she used to be?

January 17, 2008, 12:38 AM
least their no lock on them :D:neener::D

Jeff Timm
January 17, 2008, 04:40 PM
You can get the base model S&W 2" snubby for $350 at a "S&W Factory Sale" at the local gun dealers here in FL.

I've seen Charters at $299. I think I'd get the S&W even if I had to wait.

Who has an old 1970's S&W, bought new, traveling companion for a long time.

January 17, 2008, 04:49 PM
I'll stick with my Cobra....:D

January 17, 2008, 11:21 PM
My experience with charter is very limited. I picked up a new one to examine at a store, and upon cocking it, it would not index, after a second try, the clockwork was completely jammed. The owner of the store stated there had been some complaints and he'd stopped stocking them and was eliminating his current inventory. A very nice thread from a former employee can be found on He'd worked for the father and the son, the son seeming to be of a different temperament than the original owner.

January 18, 2008, 12:18 AM
gcrookston said:

A very nice thread from a former employee can be found on He'd worked for the father and the son, the son seeming to be of a different temperament than the original owner.

I have followed Charter Arms History off and on since the early 1970's and would like to read this story. Which category on Warrifles can I find this thread?



January 18, 2008, 02:35 AM
I love my old school Undercover. It is very accurate for the non-existent barrel.
I am very glad that so many people dislike Charter Arms I will continue to find and use well built snubbies for cheap while so many others buy names. :)http:// href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

January 18, 2008, 02:37 AM

January 18, 2008, 02:57 AM
Scratchy your picture didnt work?

January 18, 2008, 03:04 AM

January 18, 2008, 03:12 AM
Cool, hey I have a problem with mine, the trigger wont pull past half way back every other pull(10 or so). What could be wrong with it?

January 18, 2008, 01:33 PM
"...a little much to shoot..." 19 ounces for the original 'Bulldog', 20 oz for the newer models. Pachmayr makes a good grip that isn't too small and tames the felt recoil.

32 Magnum
January 18, 2008, 05:28 PM
"It would be nice to see comparasin photos of the Charters to that of comparable models made by S&W, Ruger, Colt and Taurus."

Here's links to a couple pics for comparison.*0MZfh5wn6uG1pSvpt0iC2fv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uGycuX4TyL3vqv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG2jF-pxUG9eCv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg

Here's links to pics of various Charter Arms revolvers:*0MZfh5wn6uG0A6edYlboJtv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG2gLoI635GZhv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG50flyN4dNTPv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG6klveJA-AsYv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG6Odgz*bgNoOv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg

January 18, 2008, 06:03 PM
The following (in italics) is my summary of an article that I read today concerning the test of two new Charter Arms, an Undercover and Off Duty.

-The author didn't feel that guns were asthetically pleasing. The author did say that they were carry guns that should be with you all of the time, and that they work. In essence the author made me feel that when the SHTF, the fact that these guns were with you and worked was all that mattered. -

From what I read, they didn't sound like two total chunks of crap but possibly two different guns that in fact, work?

Maybe I'm missing something George?

BTW Scratchy, I'm digging that far out purple! :D


January 18, 2008, 07:46 PM
as a crow once said- KA KA. or crap. as the crow flies.

January 18, 2008, 07:49 PM
Scratchy,what kind of finish is that on your revolver? are those wadcutters that you show for defense, or range shooting?

January 18, 2008, 07:58 PM
If you think they are good, check this out

There are plenty of high-quality .44s out there these days. I'd suggest sticking with Either Ruger (if you don't mind the size) or S&W which makes some very nice, portable well-crafted .44s

Just my opinion.


January 19, 2008, 07:27 AM
well I guess I got lucky....:scrutiny:

January 19, 2008, 09:47 AM
Judging from the pictures that .32Magnum linked to, it looks like Charter arms made a decent quality revolver. The pictures were not close ups to really see the details in workmanship. Can anyone post a comparasin picture of a recent Charter alongside of a model that is 15 or 20 years old? I'm guessing there's a considerable difference between the two. Even Smith and Wesson cut back on manufacturing costs over the years, but not so much as to diminish it's reputation to a level that would initiate threads like this.
Regarding the newer model Charter arms, I think it is a valid point to make that $50 is not a lot of money when spending for extra reliability and quality on a tool that may have to save a life someday.

January 19, 2008, 11:30 AM
When the "Bulldog" was first introduced I wanted one but before I could get one my neighbor and his brother-in-law both bought one - same store, same day. Those two guns both turned out to be clunkers so I wrote the "Bulldog" and the company off.
But since then - the reputations of both the "Bulldog" and the Charter Arms company have fluctuated up and down between "terrible" to "decent". The bottom line to Charter Arms (for me, at least) is that fluctuation - their history of "on-again/off-again" quality makes me satisfied to simply not buy their products even though I know some of the guns they have out there are perfectly fine.
FWIW... the idea of a relatively "pocket-sized" .44 Special is as intriguing as ever.


January 19, 2008, 02:52 PM
I can't remember how many times I've posted in threads about my personal experiences with a couple of .44 Spl Bulldogs.

Suffice to say I will never own another one.

January 19, 2008, 02:53 PM
FWIW... the idea of a relatively "pocket-sized" .44 Special is as intriguing as ever.

Well what about a Ruger SRH Alaskan in 44mag...would that be pocket sized? ...just load it w/ 44 spl...

Seven For Sure
January 19, 2008, 06:26 PM
I've got one of the new ones. SS 44special. 100 rds. through it, so far so good. Two things I was very impressed with was how tight it locks up and how accurate it is. A disappointment is the overall rough finish on it. It shot dead on with 246's but a couple inches low with 200's. Not a big deal. I figured it out right away and can shoot it well now.

January 19, 2008, 10:35 PM
...if there was a demand for a pocket/compact .44spl 5 shot revolver why didn't S&W or Ruger bring one out? The civilian CCW market in theory would provide some demand, but instead Ruger brought out the Alaskan and upgraded the Redhawk (neither of which are pocket pistols :D) .

Even Taurus discontinued their .44 spl line of snubbies (hopefully there are some used ones out there). Maybe it just is a "niche" market - and a small one at that.

January 19, 2008, 10:42 PM
Well, I think there is a demand, just not enough to sustain continuous production. I wanted a Taurus .44 spl. and by the time I got out to look for them, Taurus had discontinued them. Haven't run across one in a while. Maybe if they make a production run every 2-4 years, it might ease up the market a little. Many, many people, including myself, want a .44 spl in a CCW size revolver, but don't want to risk the Charter Arms experiences posted in threads like these. So, the lone offering appears to be a gun in production that most of us don't want.

January 19, 2008, 11:22 PM
Can't speak to the newer ones, but I have a Bulldog Pug .44 that has been with me since the mid 80's and a Bulldog 3" from the same era that I picked up for a song a couple of years ago.
The Pug has at least 2000 rds through it- mostly .246 grain lead (which seems to me to be an adequate defense round) and a couple hundred 200 grain hollow points. I can remember one primer failure (handload) that went bang on the second strike- no other failures. Not a target gun, and it does buck (if your recoil shy, go another route) but puts the holes where I want them at 7 yds.
MY recently adopted Bulldog is like new except for some minor scratches on the finish. I've only put 200 rounds through it to date, lead 246 grain, with no gliches. It's a slick little revolver. Real purty too.
It is a poser- aren't there enough 44 special folks out there for Ruger or Smith to put out a light weight snub?
For now my Charter .44s fit boot, pocket, belt pretty well. Five .44s seem to me infinitely better than five .38's

January 20, 2008, 10:19 AM
My Bulldog is not allowed in the house anymore. Cannot be trusted. Bad dog!

32 Magnum
January 20, 2008, 05:47 PM
Here's some close-up pics (as suggested by Angus). These are ALL first generation Charter Arms Corp. pieces in NIB, As New or Excellent Used condition. Barrel address on first generation pieces will be either Bridgeport (earliest) or Stratford CONN. The later CHARCO pieces, 2nd Generation, will have Ansonia CONN barrel address - this generation didn't last long and is the source of most of the poor quality, disfunctional, discontent and bad feelings for CA revolvers. 1st Generation pieces serial up to at least 1,080,xxx. 2nd Gen. seems to start around 1,100,xxx. I don't have any of the new Charter 2000/MKS pieces for comparison, which seem to have started the serial number range at 000xxx and have a Shelton CONN barrel address. Putting together the 1st Gen. collection is draining the old gun fund fast enough, as it is.*0MZfh5wn6uG0S5emwTKdSov4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG-BZ97tah9elv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG*fKms6Qqp04v4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG6WZCW0YOP2hv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG7quHiVeP2sFv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG*z7KtiOcKc-v4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG4G9riMqN*eZv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG7DEbLiPDOC-v4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG1dga9zGUwkyv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG*XD1-5Itmu0v4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg*0MZfh5wn6uG1I9rYDnnA1Zv4xQp5Fd3Ig=_l.jpg

I've got more pictures of other pieces, but these are representative of what newer, unabused 1st Gen. pieces look like.

January 20, 2008, 05:55 PM
32 mag:The one with the bobbed hammer is the one i have.....that answers a question about wether mine had a factory hammer job.I love mine and carry it daily.I have had zero problems with it...bought it used from a buddy for $200.I did replce the brips w/ the "combat grips"from CA,great for carry,but not for a day at the range.
thanks for the pix.

32 Magnum
January 20, 2008, 06:05 PM
The "bobbed hammer" was called the POCKET HAMMER by the company and was offered on several of the models. It has the same mass/weight as the standard hammer to provide enough momentum to reliably ignite the primer. I haven't shot any of my pieces extensively, but I have fired several of them and not one has given me a problem of any kind, not even the old BULLDOG .357 Magnum 6" with about 70% finish left on it. This one has obviously seen a lot of use, but still functions well, although I generally shoot .38 SPL carts through it. I find the action and trigger pull on these 1st Gen. pieces to be excellent. The cylinder lock-up is as tight as any revolver that I have ever fired - experts call it: "welded to the frame". This factor was, apparently, one of the problems that the early CAs experienced. When combined with the very narrow "flash gap" between the cylinder face and the forcing cone, (which by the way was derived from the Colt target revolvers), over extensive shooting without cleaning, the cylinder tends to bind. SD use shouldn't cause that type of problem.

January 20, 2008, 09:19 PM
I only have maybe 200 rounds tru mine,but the guy I got it from shot it a fair locks up tight and has what I consider a good trigger.I had heard the horror stories about CA,so I made sure I checked it out thoroghly..and I was able to shoot it before I bought it.I don't plan on shooting it a ton,just because of the cost of 44spl ammo(I don't reload)..but I am confident enough in it that I carry it(alternating w/ a smith 642)...I pocket carry it w/out a problem.It was a bit heavy at 1st,compared to the 642 anyway)but I got used to it and like the idea of the big holes it will leave it whatever I may need to shoot.
I have actually had more problems w/ smith and wessons than this CA or many of the Taurus's I own.....go figure.
Oh yeah,I was also surprised at how accurate it is....not a bullseye gun,but really accurate for a snubby SD gun.

February 27, 2008, 06:06 PM
Can any one tell me how to tell the difference between the Charter 2000's and the original Charter Arms ?my son got one at a gun show and we would like to know if its old or new model
Police Bulldog .38 spl. 6 shot
Stratford Conn.
Fixed front site ,adj rear
wood grips w/ a Charter Arms USA in the top middle of grip

February 27, 2008, 07:14 PM

Your son's revolver is a First Generation Charter Arms revolver. :)


February 27, 2008, 08:45 PM
I had one of the early 44s for years. Cylinder bolt broke after about 30 rounds, and I sent it back to them, and when I got it back it was fine thereafter for many years. When Taurus came out with their 431 SS 44, I got one of those, sold the Charter and never looked back.
Ex-wife somehow ended up with the Taurus, which they had quit making by then, but was nice enough to trade it back to me in exchange for a like new Smith 38. Danged gun cost more the second time than it did the first !

32 Magnum
February 28, 2008, 10:40 AM
The very first Charter Arms Corporation production began in 1964 in BRIDGEPORT CONN - earliest pieces - mostly Undercover model will have either NO address on the right side of the barrel or will have BRIDGEPORT.
Around 1970, address was changed to STRATFORD CONN - all pieces made after mid 1970 will be marked with that address on the right side of the barrel and all will have CHARTER ARMS CORP. as the first line. Around 1991, Charter Arms Corp. ceased operations. This was the end of the FIRST GENERATION.
Around early 1992, the company was re-organized under new leadership and became known as Charter Arms Company - CHARCO, and was located in ANSONIA CONN. All second generation pieces will be marked on the right side of the barrel with that name and address in two lines. This is the SECOND generation and apparently the period which caused the most damage to the Charter name and reputation.
In 2000, the company was again reorganized as CHARTER 2000 and relocated to SHELTON CONN. All pieces made during this THIRD generation will be marked with the SHELTON address. Early production of this generation seems to have been spotty and reputation still lagged. About a year and a half ago, the company re-reorganized under the direction of MKS Marketing and seems now to be if not flourishing at least it is progressing in quality and market share.
From the limited data set that I have been able to assemble so far the following serialization seems to be valid: (NOTE: model name and caliber will be stamped on left side of barrel on all pieces)
0001 - <4000 Bridgeport 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only
~4000 - <300,000 ? - ~1970 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over BRIDGEPORT CONN .marking
~300,000 - <1,080,000 - ~1970 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN. marking

>1,100,000 - ??? 1992 - 2000? CHARCO over ANSONIA CONN- marking

000001 - to date 2000 - 2008 CHARTER ARMS 2000 over SHELTON CONN marking.

I would appreciate any data that owners of CA Corp. or CHARCO or Charter 2000 can supply to flesh out the data base. Serial numbers and barrel addresses are welcome as is any data detailing firm production dates associated with serial numbers. Thanks.

February 28, 2008, 11:44 AM
I had a mid-70's ('74? '75?) Charter Bulldog .44 bought NIB. Was a decent revolver.

My only complaint was cost of ammo...more than twice what .44Mag ammo cost.

February 28, 2008, 05:26 PM
32 Magnum:

While I can not help with the database I can help fine tune your 1ST Generation stats a little. You note 300,000 - 1,080,000 for 1970 - 1991.

I purchased my blue 3" Bulldog .44Spl in early 1980, NIB serial number 713xxx.
As I recall, I had a difficult time obtaining one because at the time the Charter Arms Bulldog .44Spl was in high demand by the LE community for use as a BUG. I ended up ordering mine from a local gun shop and waiting about a month for it to show up. I would place the manufacture date somewhere between November, 1979 - January, 1980. Hopefully this info will shed some light on where they were Serial Number wise back in the late 1979 to early 1980 time frame. :)


32 Magnum
February 28, 2008, 06:34 PM
Thanks, Gary. Added to data.
Jim Hauff

February 28, 2008, 07:55 PM
I never saw a Charter Arms I would bet my miserable hide on. When I had my FFL back in the early 80s, I got a number through for several people, mostly federal agents. I can't tell you how many would shoot a box or two, then start going out of time. I ordered a stainless .44 Bulldog, but fared pretty well with it, though I never shot it much. I finally figured I was better off with a .38 and sold it. Ended up with a Rossi M88 with a 3-inch barrel, which has never failed me.

February 28, 2008, 09:33 PM
Per Confederate:

I ordered a stainless .44 Bulldog, but fared pretty well with it, though I never shot it much. I finally figured I was better off with a .38 and sold it.

Really? What was the problem? Cost of Ammo, recoil or ?????????????
Certainly not the Bulldog as you fared pretty well with it. :confused:

I had a NIB S&W M36 that went out of time in less than 100 rounds many years back, in addition to several S&W M19s that did the same with moderate commercial rounds. :(


February 28, 2008, 11:15 PM
32 Magnum,

Bought NIB November 2007

February 29, 2008, 06:53 AM
New 44 Pug bought a month ago...about 300 rounds through it so far. Still in one piece, suitably accurate and no issues at all.

It's rough of course...but most all are now compared to the Pythons and Diamondbacks that were once commonplace. When compared to $1000 revolvers, it is acceptable and fills a niche not covered by other makes. I have an older S&W 696 that is usually the primary choice, but when keeping it out of sight is whats called for, fills that need.

July 25, 2008, 09:10 PM
i bought a charter arms bulldog 44 spl a couple of months ago from gander mountain charter is now owned by a new company and its new guns are fantastic and reliable and accurate i bought the black model vs the satin ss model and this new gun from this company can handle all of any 44 spcl loads with no problems at all everdently charter re organized its quality control etc and their new guns are not garbage by no means

July 26, 2008, 06:22 AM
good to hear,but sometimes bad press and rumors are hard to overcome.I know alot of people who would never buy a Taurus just because of it's "name".And then there are guys who swear by smith and wesson no matter what and make excuses every time they have a problem.It's knid of like your favorite sprots team....Now I want to go to the range today and shoot the Dog....:D

July 26, 2008, 09:48 PM
Worked fine for the Son of Sam!

July 27, 2008, 08:32 AM
well if MY dog told me to kill people,I think I'd have issues too.......:uhoh:
BAD DOG.....
I had to settle for fondling the CA range time,but I am off

September 15, 2008, 02:54 PM
Just like your 1st two pics. 3" 44spl CA Corp Bridgeport Conn. 2772XX
CA told me it was from 1970. I was curious if David Berkowitz's Bulldog serial # is known. Wondered if mine was newer or older...
I'm adding stuff I find...

# 11494 - Antique Charter Arms Bulldog?
Doug, Burlington, ND

Charter Arms Corp Bridge Port, Conn - Bulldog .44 Spl - .44 - 2-1/2 Inches - Blue - 298602 -
From my posting and copying your letter @ S&W forum
I remember I bought my new 3" .44 in 1981 for $199. Serial # is 6102xx.

I bought mine used in August 1977 in Anchorage. Paid $120.00. It's SN is 226XXX.

September 16, 2008, 09:29 AM
I had a mid-'70's vintage .44 Bulldog. Generally got carried a lot, shot a little...mainly because I didn't roll my own ammo back then, and .44Spl was usually more than TWICE the price of .44Mag... $16/50 vs. $35+/50 for the .44Spl

September 16, 2008, 03:41 PM
You can still buy 44mag cheaper than the spl it's just hard to find a sidearm that'll fit in your pocket that you wouldn't mind shooting in the mag...

September 16, 2008, 06:10 PM

I carry a 3" CA in 44 sp. Roll my own for practice but carry loaded with CCI Blazer 200gr GDHP or the Win. 200gr STHP. Have fired well over 1K of ammo with out a problem.

Wouldn't swap for the world.

\Serial is 5414XX. Wonder when it was made. Bought it from a retired LEO, who never fired it. I got it NIB

September 16, 2008, 06:24 PM
I purchased a CA .44 spl. Bulldog new in 1978 and agree with 1911Tuner and .32magnum (posts 12 and 14 except I feel the SW N frame 624 or 696 L frame? are certainly more durable). Not a good choice to put a lot of hot rounds through (rip your thumb off and beat up the piece) and one should consider this if contemplating for CC. The S&W equivalent (though certainly larger and heavier) is more comfortable and hardy. I personally would want a gun that I fire frequently and enough to be intimately familiar with as a daily CC piece.

That being said it is a perfectly serviceable SD piece with authority. Given the price it could be quite a good deal depending on intended role.

Elm Creek Smith
September 16, 2008, 07:38 PM
I bought a Bulldog with the wood combat grips in the mid-1970's (Stratford address) from Western Auto! I practiced with 246 grain LRN and carried Winchester 200 grain STHPs for self-defense. It concealed well on my then svelt frame and worked well for me. A guy with a 3 inch S&W Model 36 really wanted the Bulldog, so we worked out a trade. The little S&W was harder to shoot accurately because I hot-rodded the .38s I was carrying (using a load Jeff Cooper suggested). It didn't work any better, it was just prettier. If I hadn't been poor (young married Sergeant/E5)at the time, I'd still have both of them and the Argentinian M1927 I got when I swapped the Smith.

My brother still has the early Charter Undercover he bought at the Rod & Gun Club in Germany back when he worked...well, when he needed to carry discreetly. I had it tuned up and Parkerized for him for his birthday since the finish didn't hold up.


32 Magnum
September 17, 2008, 03:40 PM
I know for a fact that CA serial number 500,000 was reached on Sept. 30th 1979.
S/n in the 540,000 range most likely would have been made within a few weeks of that date.

"Serial is 5414XX. Wonder when it was made. Bought it from a retired LEO, who never fired it. I got it NIB"

September 17, 2008, 04:07 PM
...he said: The 1980's Charter Arms Bulldogs were good-enough guns. I've had one for 20+ years.

Yep. They're NOT pretty but good-enough, indeed. I think Charter Arms is another one of those companies that had good times and bad times in manufacturing. I bought mine in the 80's, used, and while you can't mistake it for a S&W, it's well enough made and sturdy.

Now, as far as "comfortable," well, no. :eek: At least not with "full house" .44 loads. The "cowboy" stuff is pretty tame. I put Pachmayr grips on mine after shooting a box of stout 44 loads and getting religeon. :what: The grips are the only thing I'd put on a Bulldog.

Yep, it's handy and reliable, packs much more juice than a six-shot .38 of the same size. :evil:

September 17, 2008, 04:23 PM
I guess I just got lucky!:dunno:
I have a 1st gen Stratford Conn. Bulldog Pug in 44 Special that I picked up used.
It goes bang every time I pull the trigger. The double action could use a little work, as it's breaking at 14lbs. Recoil from a 44 snubby is a little rough, but as its been said it isn't a range gun, it's a belly gun!
My 2 cents.

September 17, 2008, 04:31 PM
Had an older Bulldog that did exactly what it was designed to do.

Armed 24/7
September 17, 2008, 05:01 PM
I have shot one, and I really liked it, It's on my list of future guns...

Owen Sparks
September 19, 2008, 01:27 AM
I have several. All 80's models with the 3" barrel. I have no reservations about betting my life on any of them. It is true that they are not built to stand up to many thousands of rounds like a S&W. I have worn a couple of them out over the last 28 years. I tend to keep one gun primarily for practice and one for carry. The reason I like the Bulldog so much is that they are light and easy to carry but still pack a punch. I like the CCI 200 grain Gold Dot for carry and my own lead reloads for practice. Avoid the 246 grain round nose for defence.

September 19, 2008, 01:42 AM
Had 2nd Gen Bulldog Pug at one time. It wasn't really bad, but it wasn't really good either. Biggest problems I had was that .44 special was too expensive and that I had to bring a screwdriver to the range to keep tightening up the side plate.

Great? No. Did it go bang every time? Sure did.

My dad has a early-mid 1980's Charter .38 "Undercover," and it's really quite nice.

September 19, 2008, 09:29 AM
Bought a Bulldog Pug recently and I don't see what all the fuss is about it being a POS. Goes bang every time, wait belay my last, it goes BOOM! every time and it is light and compact enough for carry.

I usually run 240 grain LFP through it and it is a powder puff to shoot when you use the Cowboy Action Loads. I handload a 180 grain SJHP with 13.5 grains of Blue Dot and it will definitely turn heads at the range.

My friend and I went shooting on Tuesday, strictly a wheel gun day for us. He had a S&W M-60 with him. I brought my Bulldog, a SP-101, and a S&W 638 Airweight. Not a whole lot of people at the range, but a decent amount.

Using .38's no one paid much attention. The .357's got a couple of looks and questions. The .44 turned everyone's heads and they came up to see what all the noise was about.

When we walked out the guys who ran the store/range asked us what the hell we were shooting, and more so what was I shooting.

The Charter isn't the prettiest lady at the prom, but she'll turn a head or two.
I find it comforting when I see the Silver-Tips that I use for SD/CCW.

All in all, it is a good piece to work with. Granted not a loudenboomer like a Ruger Redhawk, it will do the job. It won't win a bullseye match but that isn't what this wheel gun is for.

It's designed for those times when you're up close and you need something to put whatever it is down, be it two or four legged. That's the original concept of the Bulldog style of revolvers. Ever see those Webley Irish Constabulary revolvers, or maybe the much coveted "Fitz Special" Colt New Service? It's a carryin' piece, not some silhouette gun.

Just swap out those pancake grips for a pair of Pachmayr Compacs or some Charter wooden combat grips, you'll be fine.

September 19, 2008, 09:38 AM
If you are thinking about getting the .44 magnum, remember 357 magnum is statistically a better threat-stopper(as long as you are talking about defense against humans.) and with less recoil.
(this might be different from a 2 inch barrel though.)

September 19, 2008, 02:36 PM
I like the .44spl coz even if my shot placement is off maybe that slow, heavy chunk of lead will snag some clothes cause an infection & kill 'em slowly a few weeks down the road...

September 19, 2008, 04:47 PM
Consider that this is after all the revolver "recommended" by Son of Sam. For those who don't believe in karma or superstition, there should be no problem...:evil:

October 8, 2008, 01:04 AM
Hmmm....Just bought a Bulldog today!

An older one. Has the Bridgeport address. Serial 241XXX

This one is definately well used, but still is reasonably tight and functions fine. I managed to find time to put 3 cylinders full of some milder 240gr reloads through the gun this evening. Not a bench-rest event, however accuracy was quite decent I thought.

Oh! And no. My dog didn't advise to buy the gun. Just saw the old gun price tagged fairly cheap, whimpered about the price, and the store owner knocked of another $30! I had to buy it then! Maybe the dog talked to the store owner?

October 8, 2008, 11:20 PM
I have two .44 spcl's and a .38 Off Duty. They have all been flawless. I had some custom work done on my stainless .44 Spcl.

October 11, 2008, 12:04 AM
I have a 6 shot .38spcl Bulldog Snub ... I want to find a holster for it ... They generally don't list Charter Arms under gun lists on holster sites. Can anyone tell me what size S&W or Colt would take the same size holster ?

Thank you ...

I bought my Bulldog in '87 and it is very well made ...


May 6, 2009, 07:57 AM
I have a Q for 32 Magnum.

Out of all the early first generation models which group exhibits the best workmanship and reliability?
Unmarked Bridgeport, Charter over Bridgeport, or Stratford?

0001 - <4000 Bridgeport 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only
~4000 - <300,000 ? - ~1970 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over BRIDGEPORT CONN .marking
~300,000 - <1,080,000 - ~1970 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN. markin

32 Magnum
May 6, 2009, 07:55 PM
This is the updated serial number info that I have - based upon around 600 data points
The earliest 1st Gen - ~0 to ~3000 NO ADDRESS company founded in 1964, first production pieces of the Undercover model produced in 1966
Bridgeport address - ~3000 to ~31,500 1967 - 1969
Stratford address - ~31,600 to ~1,090,000 1970 - ~1991
All marked as Charter Arms Corporation

2nd Generation - CHARCO, Ansonia Conn adress - 1,100,000 to ??? ~1991 - 1999

3rd Generation - CHARTER 2000 - Shelton Conn - 0 to where ever they are today.

From the 26 pieces in my collection (all 1st Gen) and from dozens more that I've had the opportunity to observed and fondle, I'd say that around s/n 600,000 the finish was made a lot finer - although the integrals (lock work, action) was at least as good as the earlier ones. I have or have read magazine articles that cover pretty much of the production life of the 1st Generation, and during that period (around late 1980, early 1981) it seems that CA attempted to capture more of the market by doing so, also in April of 1981, they introduced Stainless Steel revolvers into the mix, for the first time. Some of the articles lamented that the earlier pieces, although rough finish, were rather inexpensive and when CA began their "modernization" process, the finishes got better but the prices increased to about 85 to 90% of the S&W line for comparable models.
During the 2nd Generation, the CHARCO (Charter Arms COMPANY), under new management and reorganized, the quality was definitely more spotty and haphazard. I've seen CHARCO produced guns with Stratford marked barrels, obviously using up old stock.
The earliest CHARTER 2000 pieces I had the opportunity to handle (some fairly early 4 digits s/ns - were uniformly, poorly fitted and finished and had some horrendous and gritty actions. That seems to have been rectified under MKS's new leadership and the most recent pieces I've handled - s/n's in the high 100,000 range have been "decent" but not as fine in finish and action as the mid years of the 1st Generation. This is simply my studied opinion based upon experience.

July 28, 2009, 04:05 PM
Resurrecting this thread because I found a 1Gen Bulldog.

Is there a nickel's worth of difference ballistically between the .44SPL and the .45ACP?


August 9, 2009, 10:03 AM
for 32 Magnum,
My undercover has the Bridgeport address with sn 57,3XX

September 21, 2009, 01:36 AM
I'm on my second old CA Bulldog. The first was bought new in the mid '80's (blue w/ lightweight aluminum frame, 3" bbl), lost that in a bad marriage somewhere around early '90's.

Went into my favorite gun pusher about 6 months ago, there sat a consignment stainless Bulldog pocket hammer, 3" bbl (late Stratford serial number). I immediately plunked down my savings and left with it, no regrets.

September 21, 2009, 07:01 AM
I have a 2.5" Stratford Bulldog. It's great, but Saturday at the range it locked up. The trigger won't reset and the hammer locks about halfway through its cycle in DA or SA. I took it down and can't see anything obvious. Any ideas about what's wrong? I'm going to give Charter a call later today.

September 22, 2009, 12:26 AM
I've had two of the OLD style Charter Arms Bulldogs. Those were great guns, great value for the money.

September 22, 2009, 06:28 AM
I had the misfortune to buy a new Bulldog about 3 years ago. I don't think the gun was worth more then $10. After the first trip to the range I took it back to where I bought it and put it up for sale on consignment. When I bought it the store owner told me there would be no returns on it as they are made that badly.

I'm told the older ones are OK. Don't waste your money on a new one.

September 28, 2009, 09:27 AM
I have a new model Bulldog. For me fits my hands well, I like the grips, carries very well, and shoots every time - but the rounds are then sticky in the chamber and have to be forced out. So after the 5 rounds a fast reload is out of the question.The rounds fall in and out before firing, but after firing are sticking. Each hole is the same. A
m I doing something wrong, or is there any way to fix this?
It does shoot nicely and shoots to point very well so I'd like to use it for CC but not if I can't reload under pressure. Like someone mentioned it is the kind of gun where you would not shed a tear if it got dinged or wear marks, but it carries good on the hip and if it is reliable would be a good CCW.

September 28, 2009, 09:43 AM
Jross, you might try polishing the chambers of your gun with Flitz or Simicrome (or toothpaste) on a patch over a dowel or bore mop.
September 28, 2009, 11:15 AM
I have had 2 44 Bulldogs. Both were made around 1973. Still have one and
it is my carry gun. I shot 20 grs. "2400" with a 200 gr. JHP Thousands of times. Gun is still just as tight as when new. This load really gets attention!

September 29, 2009, 12:45 PM
Thanks I'll give that a shot!!

October 5, 2009, 07:57 AM
FWIW, I have had a "Charter Arms, Shelton" sn77xxx for over a year now (bought new), carried for more hours than I can guess with about 1000 rounds through it and except for being a bit smoother now, still just as tight as when new with 2" offhand groups at 20 yards all day long. I know it will not stand up as my S&W 696 has, but no failures yet and it carries much better for CCW.

October 5, 2009, 08:16 AM I have had 2 44 Bulldogs. Both were made around 1973. Still have one and it is my carry gun. I shot 20 grs. "2400" with a 200 gr. JHP Thousands of times. Gun is still just as tight as when new. This load really gets attention! You shoot that load in a CA Bulldog? Yes, I bet it gets attention - medical attention for the shooter! That's way over the limit!
October 5, 2009, 12:16 PM
Well, you do have to hold on tight!!

October 5, 2009, 12:41 PM
It's a hand grenade. 24gr is max for .44 Magnum. No disrespect intended, but I seriously doubt any Bulldog has seen "thousands" of rounds of 20gr of 2400 under a 200gr bullet.
October 5, 2009, 01:57 PM
Well it most certinly has. I talked to Doug, the president of the company
back in 1972 or 1973 and told him what I was doing. He told me I could not
blow up the little gun with "2400". The only reason I stopped with 20 grs. I
could not get anymore powder in it. If I told you how much "2400" I put in
a .45 Colt case you would really get excited. There were some boys up in
Montana or in that area that were loading 30 grs H-110 in .45's This was years ago. The above information is just for information only !! Do not use!

October 5, 2009, 02:01 PM
OK, if you say so. ;)


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