Observations of the new Charter Arms .38 snubbies...


July 4, 2008, 12:46 PM
a few weeks ago i was one of several RSO for a ladies weapons familiarization outing sponsored by local L.E. agencies.

these ladies had been through a few classes on self-defensive techniques other than guns, and included a class room portion on guns and range safety prior to their visit.

long story short....we used the Master Cartridges for evey gun in .38spl and 9mm, the 148gr. WC and the 147gr. TMJ respectively.
any other calibers the ammo was supplied by the shooter.

two ladies had Charter Arms revolvers. both were snubbies and in stainless steel. they bought them new a few weeks apart from different shops in the area....one was the concealed hammer version and the other had the standard spur hamer, i do not know their name designations from C.A.

all the guns were inspected for basic functioning, timing, and lock up as well as any other obvious issues....ie. magazines fit properly...et cetera.

on two different relays both C.A guns locked up and would not stroke the trigger nor could the cylinder be opened during thier first cylinder full.

from my quick observations it appeared that the cylinder stop was not sinking down when the trigger was trying to be stroked and the hand or lifter had not recessing back into the frame.

both guns were removed from the range and the ladies were allowed to continue the course with other similar guns that we as RSO brought.

has anyone ever had this type of bind up with a revolver be it a C.A. or any other? i have not seen this type of issue before.

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July 4, 2008, 02:04 PM
back in 2001 I had a similar experience with a Taurus 605 spurless hammer & Corbon .357 magnum ammo; either the ammo was loaded too hot or the primer wasn't properly seated; after firing my 4th round, the primer cap jammed against the breech face and jammed the gun; I took it back to the shop where I bought it and they 'miraculously' cleared the jam; I was a novice & didn't catch at the time that they had started slamming on the clyinder with a nylon mallet to free the mechanism...they did some hidden damage that was later discovered by the coworker aquaintence that I sold the handgun to; he taught me a thing or two about handgun inspection and buyer/seller courtesy after that incident; :banghead:

July 4, 2008, 02:04 PM
Had a S&W 442 exhibit the same problem after several thousand rounds. Finally got the cylinder open after much effort to unload before sending back to the factory for repair. They replaced the hand and I will have to find the repair order to see what else.

Don't have any experience with Charter Arms but I had one of the .38s when they were Charco. It was terrible right out of the box.

July 4, 2008, 02:20 PM
I had similar "jams" with a NIB Taurus during fast DA....SA worked fine, as well as DA slow-fire....

Vern Humphrey
July 4, 2008, 03:18 PM
It strikes me that only the old Colt and Smith and Wesson companies really knew how to make revolvers. Ruger may be an exception, it's too soon to tell.

July 4, 2008, 03:30 PM
I purchased a new CA .38 spl Undercover snubbie in black for concealed carry about a year ago. I practice with it at the range 3-4 times per month.

I've never experienced a lock-up as you describe. Of the approx two thousand rounds I've put through it, I've only experienced two FTFs. And they were the result of my mistake in improperly seating the primers in my reloads. Upon repeated hammer strikes, even they finally fired.

I normally load 158 gr Ranier plated fp over 4.3 gr of Unique. Seems to work for me.

That is not to say I consider the CA Undercover a "quality" firearm. Out of the box mine had 0.011" cylinder gap, which is way too much. And the action is not smooth at all (never had it to a Smith for a trigger job as yet). But it always goes bang.

July 5, 2008, 10:19 AM
I have an older CA snubbie and I am happy with it. I did have a problem with the cylinder not rotating and sent it back to the factory they were great to deal with and got it back to me fast.They are definatly not the best guns out there but for the price make a great carry gun.

July 5, 2008, 10:32 AM
It's too soon to tell if Ruger knows how to make a revolver?

How long will it take, fifty more years?

Ruger revolvers are top notch.

Vern Humphrey
July 5, 2008, 10:39 AM
It's too soon to tell if Ruger knows how to make a revolver?

How long will it take, fifty more years?
Well, Colt started in 1836, and Smith and Wesson in 1854. So sometime around a hundred years after Ruger brought out their first DA revolver, we should be able to judge.:p

July 5, 2008, 03:18 PM
I have what I guess is a second-generation CA Undercover (with the barrel/ejector shroud), purchased new in December of 1987. Maybe 800-1100 rounds have gone through it, with one FTF. That round fired the next time it was positioned in front of the hammer.
OTOH, I did have an issue with my Taurus 66, purchased new in July of that year. A friend was dry-firing it, and the cylinder locked in place. Could rotate, but not come out. Turned out the ejector had "shot loose", and was preventing the cylinder from being swung out. Using a tiny screwdriver to push the ejector in freed it. Once the ejector was re-tightened, everything got back to normal. It's doubtful I'll ever fire that gun so often in combat as to shoot the rod loose, but I do remember to check it every time I open the gun.

July 5, 2008, 03:54 PM
I have seen a couple of Taurus revolvers lock up over the last few years. But, considering how many we sell, they still have a good success rate. We have started selling the Charter revolvers, no problems so far. Hopefully the two the OP saw are a fluke. But for two to fail at the same time is not encouraging.


July 5, 2008, 04:10 PM
I had a Dan Wesson that did this...got rid of it.
here's my track record w/ revolvers:
Smith and wesson mod 38:zero problems
" mod. 642:2 trips to the factory,one timing issue,second my fault for home gunsmithing
Taurus 5 shot(forget the mod.):zero problems
Rossi 461:zero for me,but a buddy who bought it lost a screw
Ruger gp100,sp 101,sec. six:zero problems
CA bulldog:zero problems
maybe I just got lucky,but my "cheaper" revolvers have been great...I don't baby them,but I also shoot mainly 38's....except the bulldog obviouly.

in fact at an NRA "use of force in the home" course I shot the Rossi,and the 2 instructors asked several times what I was shooting,because it was so accurate and had no problems(as oppossed to the guy w/ the Sig that kept jamming,and the guy w/ the Beretta who couldn't hit a thing)

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