Charter Arms 9mm Federal


March 18, 2010, 11:38 PM
I have me a Charter Arms 9 mm Fed. revolver. I am fed up with the $1.50 to $2.00/round prices i am finding on factory ammo and I have also attempted the "work-around" of loading up the cut down 38 spec and 38 S&W brass to make a hybrid round that will work. My problem with those hybrid rounds is that about one out of every 10 or 15 rounds will not fire because there is too much space between the firing pin and the primer. I will get a shallow dent in the primer but not enough to make it charge.
My other option to solve this predicament would be to change cylinders out to a 38 spec and shoot that ammo out of the gun. With only .002" difference in the two rounds, AND being a revolver, there would not be enough increase in pressure to harm anything and I could actually shoot factory defense loads out of it. (this will ultimately be my "truck-gun")

Anybody have any ideas on the possibility of this?

Also, anybody have an idea of where to start looking for Charter Arms 38 spec cylinders?

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March 19, 2010, 07:58 AM
I knew Charter Arms were schedualed to come out with 9MM and 40 S&W pistols but I wasn't aware they were out yet. Surprise to me.

Anyway, if yours is chambered to 9mm, why not buy 9mm brass? Or am I reading this wrong? You can buy 9MM brass all day and half the night for a song.

March 19, 2010, 09:09 AM
9mm Federal is a completely different cartridge than 9mm Luger/Para. It was a rimmed 9mm that was a joint venture between Federal and Charter back in the '80s.

March 19, 2010, 01:58 PM
Unless you get lucky and find some factory ammo I think you're pretty much SOL. You can check Numrich for cylinders and call Charter Arms directly as well. I'd say your best bet would be to sell it, they do have some value as conversation pieces and paperweights, and buy yourself a new Charter .38. Bud's Guns has them starting at $306.

Jim Watson
March 19, 2010, 02:02 PM
Have you tried 9mm P?
I have read that it should headspace in the cylinder as in an auto barrel and fire normally.
It won't extract, of course.

March 19, 2010, 02:14 PM
You could use some of the good brass and load up some Golden Sabers maybe?

March 19, 2010, 03:04 PM
Here is the story on 9mm Federal Rimmed.

I think the best possibility would be to face off the rear of the cylinder so you can use 9mm Luger ammo in moon clips.
Might call Pinnacle High Performance and discuss it with them.

Of course, that would preclude ever using 9mm Federal in it again, but the likelihood of there ever being 9mm Federal ammo again is zero.

BTW: COuld you measure the rim thickness on a round and see how it compares to .38 S&W .055", and .38 Special .058"??
Also, SAAMI spec for .357 Mag is .060" so you might try that too.


bdb benzino
March 19, 2010, 04:21 PM
That is what I was gonna say rcmodel,

I would have it cut for moonclips and shoot 9mm Luger, I love the speed and ease of loading with moomclips!

March 19, 2010, 04:41 PM
What exactly are Golden Sabers?

I do not have any 9mm fed brass, besides, I would not carry reloads for self defense.

Anybody have an empty 9mm fed brass they could put a set of calipers on and post up the dims?

March 19, 2010, 04:45 PM
Golden Sabers are Remington's version of a JHP bullet using cartridge brass jacket material instead of the more common copper gliding metal jacket used by most other companies.

They are good bullets, but no better then most other brands made today.


March 19, 2010, 04:59 PM
Yeah, what rcmodel said. They are good bullets, work well, and are available as reloading components. My favorite carry bullet is Federal's HST, but they aren't out for loading. Golden Sabers also have a pretty outstanding reputation for accuracy, like the Hornady XTP, so they've got that going for them as well.

March 19, 2010, 08:58 PM
I saw some 9mm Fed a few months ago in a catalogue or flyer. It was a cartridge collector or dealer in obsolete cartridges. Trying to remember what I did with it. IMO it would be a shame to modify the revolver. How about posting some photos and a ranger report.

March 20, 2010, 12:24 AM
There's a guy on gunbroker with 5 boxes, he's selling them one box at a time and starting the bidding at $75.

bdb benzino
March 20, 2010, 12:49 AM
At that price, all five boxes would meet or exeed the value of the pistol. I know it would be a shame, but if it were mine, I would be sending the cylinder to be machined for moonclips. At least that way it could be used and ammo would be avaliable.

March 20, 2010, 01:03 AM
I'm not sure about the construction of the firearm but would an extended firing pin with the 38 cases work?

March 20, 2010, 09:47 AM
Nope; dimensions are off.

March 20, 2010, 01:29 PM
The same gun was available with a 357 cylinder, which is why the 9mm Federal was such a bomb in the first place. I'd recommend having a 357/38 cylinder fitted.

Or you could buy a box of 9mm Fed, shoot 30 or so to salvage the brass for reloading. Keep 12 factory rounds for defensive use.

I hope the gun was cheap.

March 20, 2010, 09:31 PM
Yep... gun was $180. I bought it 10 years ago.

My thoughts were the same about the firing pin. I could probably find a smith to make a longer pin for the gun. The hybrid rounds work great except for the occasional mis-fire.

STU... what do you mean by the dims are off?

I like the idea of machining the cylinder for moon clips, but I think the gun does not warrant the expense of that procedure.

Anybody have any good references of a smith? Something like this can be done by mail order.

March 20, 2010, 11:00 PM
Another thought is I read, on the internet so it must be reliable, that it headspaced off of the case mouth if that is the case maybe making the hybrid brass just a bit longer might work...

March 20, 2010, 11:46 PM

I misspoke about the dimensions.

March 21, 2010, 08:46 AM

Mark Hartshorne cuts cylinders for moonclips and he does great work. The two issues would be if any existing moonclips would work with that gun, and then whether or not he'd do the job on a Charter Arms, I doubt it's a very common request.

March 21, 2010, 12:57 PM
Be sure to factor in the cost of UPS Next Day Air shipment of the gun both ways if you go mail order. Shipping alone will cost more than a box of 9mm Fed ammo.

Best of luck.

bdb benzino
March 21, 2010, 02:51 PM
Could you just send the cylinder??

March 21, 2010, 05:33 PM
Being as how a 9mm Federal Charter Arms is a pretty rare beast, it would be very unlikely anyone would touch just the cylinder.

They need the whole gun to set headspace properly and insure proper function with the moon clips.


March 21, 2010, 10:58 PM
I will not ship this gun to anybody because I dont think the gun is worth it.

I will try to lengthen my next set of Hybrid round brass. This still does not address my point of not wanting to defend myself with Handloads.

Above, someone said that this same model revolver came in .357. I bet I could get a cylinder and make a direct swap and shoot 38's out of it. I wonder if the frame would be strong enough for .357's?

March 22, 2010, 12:03 AM
1. this is not a firearm to carelessly alter in any way. its a special thing in wich it was a reversion of rimless round to "outdated" rimmed round.

if the cartridge spaces on the case mouth, you can simply cut the cases longer. that works.
if it spaces on the rim, you have one very very simple option. and its something ive contemplated doing with a standard moonclipped semi auto caliber revovler.

buy a few dozen slightly damaged moonclips in your caliber of need.
seperate the "rims" from eachother
slide them onto the case you want to use. and either insert them into the
little extraction groove normally found above the rim on a revolver
round. Or directly up to the base of the rim/case wall junction.
do one round that way, and try it for fit in the chamber. if it fires properly,
do an entire box of ammo like that, and fire them off to check the pin protrusion is correct for each chamber.

if you try that, itll save alot of anguish you may have for "i dont want handloads for sd", even the "outdated" 38 sw loads on the commercial market still can do 150-180 fpe in a 4" barrel.

March 22, 2010, 12:06 PM
I still have a box of 9mm Federal that was given to me by the guy I bought a 9mm Ruger Speed Six from. He was under the impression that 9mm Federal was the only round that would work in this gun.

I picked up some 1/2 moon clips from Ruger and can fire 9mm Parabellum without any issues. I also picked up some full moon clips from, but they were a little too thick and cause binding issues.

If I was you, I would see if the S&W 940 or Taurus moon clips and 9mm Parabellum will work in your gun. If not, maybe might have Charter Arms moonclips.

I was under the impression that the 9mm Federal round is to 9mm Parabellum what the 45 Auto Rim is to 45ACP. They are an alternative for someone to use their revolver designed to used moonclipped rimless ammo without the moonclips.

March 22, 2010, 12:28 PM
you interested in off-loading that box of 9mm fed?

what you are saying is to essentially make "single round" moon clips for each hole in the cylinder?

March 23, 2010, 08:48 PM
yes the idea i propose Huaco1 is to take an old worn out moon clip, and cut it into sections so as to create individual moonclips for each single round. ive proposed the idea before to various gunsmiths in the past and they had a hard time comprehending it.

just another idea i should have put a patent on.

March 24, 2010, 03:34 AM
yes the idea i propose Huaco1 is to take an old worn out moon clip, and cut it into sections so as to create individual moonclips for each single round. ive proposed the idea before to various gunsmiths in the past and they had a hard time comprehending it.

just another idea i should have put a patent on.
How would you get the clips off the fired cases?

March 24, 2010, 06:08 AM
How would you get the clips off the fired cases?

Really pointy needle nose pliers.
I don't think it will work, not enough space without recessing the cylinder face around the charge holes. And like I said before, it won' do any good to machine the cylinder to accept moonclips if none of the existing moonclips would fit. This gun was too inexpensive and obscure for anyone to put the effort into such conversions so there are no Charter Arms specific moonclips available.

March 25, 2010, 12:04 AM
the individual moonclip can work. however i do admit that, as the gun is not designed to take moonclips at the moment, you would need to trim them down. heck, it wouldnt be hard to get thin sheet metal, and a metal punch set and make a crap load of properly sized ones your self.
im just saying, its not going to be an easy task.

other thoughts,

-have you tried trying to see if a cylinder from a taurus 9mm revolver will work? or any other cylinder will work in the gun? shouldnt be hard to get an old worn out taurus or rossi or charter cylinder and have it cut to length for your gun.

-charter is introducing the new revolver for standard 9mm. its rumored that the cylinder and extraction system would work in the old 9mm federal guns.

heck, if ya like old antique books from before you were born, ill take it from ya.

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