Charter Arms Undercover question


September 18, 2010, 11:04 PM
My local shop has a mint CA Undercover; Bridgeport made, serial # 117,000. I really like its size and the way it looks, with the exposed ejector rod. I know their cylinder locking system is different than S&W. The trigger is smooth, but just before it trips there is a light click, like something mechanical was taking place along with the trigger pull. Is this nornal for this revolver or a sign of something else? It is subtle, but having only had S&Ws, I am used to a smooth trigger. Dealer wants $259 for it; what do you think of the price?

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September 18, 2010, 11:36 PM
Too high...if it's the older model I believe it also has the sleeved barrel shroud and they do come loose and off!!!!! I owned an older model and mine did it all the time when rid of it.
Don't know what the click could be.

September 18, 2010, 11:58 PM
I carried one for 17 years in Stainless Steel. I like it. I wish I still had it. If that is in good condition the price may be good.

September 19, 2010, 08:26 AM
I've got one that I paid a little less for than that, but not a lot. Mine was made in Stratford, so it's newer than than the one you're looking at (SN 406XXX), but they were asking more originally.

Mine makes a little "click" sound right before the hammer falls. It sounds like it the cylinder locking in place to me.

I like mine (it does kick with those small grips) quite a bit. It does not have a sleeved barrel.

September 19, 2010, 08:58 AM
The click is normal and it tells you that it's ready to trip and fire. Mine is a year old ultra lite model and cost only a bit more new with a good dealer. Triggers are heavy on newer guns but do light'n with use. Wolf springs take it to 8lbs and has worked well for 300 rounds. One piece barrels on new guns and just a solid gun. The new guns come with 3 finger grips stock.

32 Magnum
September 19, 2010, 05:24 PM
The ONLY 1st Gen. (Bridgeport or Stratford) guns that had steel inserts in aluminum alloy shrouds were the TARGET models and the BULLDOG PUGS.
All the others were steel barrels and steel frames with aluminum alloy one piece trigger guard and grip frame. Some of the later SS pieces also have SS lower assemblies.
The little "click" sound is the transfer bar safety system locking in place.
I've accumulated 25 different CA 1st Gen. pieces over the past couple of years - because they are sturdy and reliable and accurate and don't cost alot in the used gun market. I'm also researching these with intention of updating the Charter Arms Corporation section of "THE BLUE BOOK..." by Fjestad- appreciate any serial number and model info, and if possible manufacturing or purchase dates.
Jim Hauff

Geezer Glide
September 19, 2010, 06:07 PM
I have an old Bridgeport Undercover that has been used and carried a lot. I would give $259 for a mint Bridgeport Undercover.

September 19, 2010, 09:56 PM
Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful responses. For those that have the older CA Undercovers, is there a particular bullet weight that these revolvers were calibrated for? Also; what are your thoughts on +P ammo through them? Also, which replacement grips would work?

September 20, 2010, 12:53 AM
I don't think I'd make a steady diet of P+ in them, but then I don't see much sense in a steady diet of P+ in anything.

September 20, 2010, 08:50 PM
I have a CA Bridgeport Undercoverette. Single piece steel barrel, built right throughout. Interesting combination of steel and aluminum to lighten weight....but not too light.

I'd suggest you go buy that Undercover and enjoy. They will do the job.....the Charter design is an example of building a better mousetrap, starting with a blank piece of paper by someone who was trying. Believe the only problems have been occasionally with the execution/quality control, not the base design. Current comments on the net are generally positive.

Enjoy blazing away, just don't shoot too many plus P. No different that the (hushed voice) Colt Agent or Cobra.

You actually don't need ultra blast/flash/recoil to get the job done (unless in Alaska/Montana/Wyoming/Upper South/Out West/Canada and we're talking about Bears, that's different). It's the Indian, not the arrow. Seriously.

September 20, 2010, 09:07 PM
PS Believe the Undercover's sights should be regulated for 158 Grain lead round nose bullets, launched at standard velocity.

A box of 158 Lead Semi-Wad Cutter Hollow Points +P now and then should present no problems. However, you do reach a tactical point of diminishing returns with flash and recoil, especially in low light conditions.

Muzzle Flash especially can create problems with follow up shots in low light. Shoot at a darkened range sometime if you can - excellent practice.

Shoot 158 regular velocity or Federal Nyclads in short barreled .38s and banish worries from your mind. At the end of the day, situational awareness and tactics are more important than gun/caliber.

"Walk away from trouble when you can". Otherwise, observe, assess, and utilize the element of surprise to the max. Especially for Legal Concealed Carriers. Let the bad guys get the surprise.

32 Magnum
September 20, 2010, 11:18 PM
I have all the catalogues from the 1st Gen. The only .38 SPL piece that was factory rated for +P loads was the POLICE BULLDOG 38. That model is a six shot built on the BULLDOG 44 frame. The catalogues specifically list all the other .38s (UNDERCOVER and OFFDUTY, both 5 shooters) as being suitable for regular .38 SPLs only. Of course, the models chambered for .357 Magnum (BULLDOG .357 6", TARGET BULLDOG .357 and the TRACKER, all of which are 5 shooters) will handle either .38 SPL loading. I've found that all of my .38s have POI corresponding to POA with the heavier bullets (130, 142 and 158 grs.) On all of these the lighter bullets (110, 125 gr) hit up to a couple inches low at 25 yards - SO - this leads me to believe they were factory regulated using standard velocity 158 grs loads.
As to grips - ANY grip, there are 4 wooden varieties and either the Factory or Pachmayer rubber grips (2 sizes) will work on ANY of the CA revolvers - including the latest offerings. Also, there are laser equipped grips now being made that will fit the old and the new.

32 Magnum
September 20, 2010, 11:31 PM
You are correct. The CA UNDERCOVER, which was their first offering, was designed by Doug McClennahan. He was a design engineer for COLT, HIGH STANDARD and RUGER. None of those companies would give his design for the light weight, solid frame, small UNDERCOVER the production nod. So, he started his own company, gaining financial backing in 1964 and beginning production in 1965, in Bridgeport. The first President and COO was Dave Ecker, whose son, Nick is the guy who resurrected the CA company from CHARCO (the 2nd Gen. 1991 - the one with the bad rep and barrel addresses of Ansonia, CONN, and run by the former VP of sales who did a leveraged buy-out of the original CA Corp) in 1999. Many of the features of the CA revolvers were designs first drawn by McClennahan and similar to features found on COLTs and RUGERS. Those guns were not CHEAP, POORLY made nor fragile. They were designed from the ground up to be tough, light weight, have fewer moving parts than any other revolver of the time, had 8 groove button broached rifling (no one else does this) and solid upper frames with NO side plates, specially designed crane assemblies that do not weaken the frame below the barrel attachment, as is the case with S&W revolvers, etc. etc. The cost was kept down by skipping some of the final finishing steps. In the late 1980's when CA began putting a finer final polish on their pieces and increased their prices - there was a general outcry from their fans concerning the fact that they now cost about 80% of what S&Ws cost - previous to this they had run about 60 to 70%. Do you run across a CA stinker? Yep, just like any other of the manufacturers. The success of the 1st Gen. CA revolvers rests in the fact that they ultimately produced about two dozen different models and variations and produced approx. 1,090,000 handguns between 1965 and 1991.

Hondo 60
September 20, 2010, 11:59 PM
I bought an Undercover in July 2009. It certainly isn't in the quality standards of a 50 year old Smith & Wesson.

But it's a lot lighter & does go bang every time I pull the trigger. (as long as I remember to load it) :D

September 21, 2010, 08:00 PM
To .32 Magnum, thanks for the kind words and clear command of the subject.

I will tell you this - I got my early '70s Undercoverette just recently, with original box & paperwork, after considerable research on the Charters in general. Very low mileage, and therefore an example for analysis. What can I say, it's well made and solid, lock up is extremely tight s.a. & d.a. I like the broad foresight, too.

It disappears in my pocket in a pocket holster. I had intended to get a Pachmyr Compact, but the wooden grips are comfortable to me....and small. And I have reasonably large hands. This is a concealed carry piece, and that's important.

This revolver will be carried occasionally by my Wife and Daughter. I have absolutely no doubts of its quality or effectiveness. Six for sure in a very controllable round, in a light (but not too light) revolver (Gentlemen, only hits count).

It is a beautiful piece in its own way; perhaps not as flashy or heavy as a Smith 30 or 31; but, as I stated in my prior post, clearly made by people who were serious and making the effort.

Mr. McClennahan's design is a good design, a definite improvement. It is also kind of neat that grips and other accessories that fit the old Charters fit the current Charters.

All in all, this thing is actually an American success story, I'm glad Charter is still in business and will probably buy one of their current production pieces.

September 21, 2010, 09:09 PM
To .32 Magnum and HP Shooter; thanks for you thoughtful comments; you both embody the spirit of THR site and I've learned a great deal. I'm going to purchase the Undercover.

September 21, 2010, 09:18 PM
Thank you, Good Sir, for your kind remarks. In view of your tagline, it is well to remember what Sir Winston said once at a dinner party (no doubt when tired of some insufferable dweeb) - "You can finish a man with a pistol. I know..........I have". Dare we say, enough said?

32 Magnum
September 22, 2010, 11:51 AM
Gentlemen (and I don't use that term often, nor lightly),
Thanks for the thanks and you're certainly welcome. Glad to have had the opportunity to share. As someone said, (can't remember who, maybe it was I) - "Knowledge gained is worth nothing, unless shared."

Jim Hauff

September 22, 2010, 07:52 PM
Jim, This has been a great thread. I am going to put some more oil on my Bridgeport Charter Undercoverette in you honor (and keep an eye open for more pristine examples). Best regards, Sir!

September 22, 2010, 08:02 PM
I have been well pleased with my Charter 38 undercover. It fits well in my pocket and fires every time. I guess I could have purchased a more expensive weapon but not a better one for what it is. My weapons are for function not for show.

September 23, 2010, 02:09 PM
Get set of snap caps so you can practice while , aaa, watching tv???

September 24, 2010, 01:54 PM
$159, maybe, if it's clean/used. $259 would have to be minty-new, for sure. It's quite inferior to a Taurus, for not much more $, if any.

September 24, 2010, 11:48 PM
I have one, purchased new in December of 1987. I bought it the day I was hired as a cop, at the police supply shop I was taken to for uniform fitting. It is of the series that had the shrouded barrel and rod, and checkered wood grips. I have had nothing but good from it. As has been pointed out, it does shoot a little more to POA with bullets above 140 grains. I carried it as a BU/OD piece the first three years I was in LE (the second agency I worked for did not include the CA on its list of approved arms and I switched to PPK/S Walther.)
I've probably put between 700 and 1,000 rounds through it over the years. I had one misfire, and that round fired the second time the hammer was dropped on it.
I still carry it now and then, when I feel "wheelgun-nostalgic."..

32 Magnum
September 25, 2010, 04:58 PM
The 1st Gen. 5 shot/small frame with the underlug was the "OFF DUTY" model. It was first offered in 1981 with either a matte stainless steel construction or matte blue black (which they called the "MILITARY" finish. I have an example of each. This model has a red polymer disc fitted into the front sight. It was advertised as a "lower cost" piece. Around this time CA had raised prices due to their decision to provide more refined finishes on their guns, which apparently caused some discontent with their customers -SO - they came out with this version at a lower price to assuage some of the protest. By my observations, other than the aluminum shroud on a steel barrel - this piece is identical to the UNDERCOVER.

32 Magnum
September 25, 2010, 05:10 PM
gunzee writes, "$159, maybe, if it's clean/used. $259 would have to be minty-new, for sure. It's quite inferior to a Taurus, for not much more $, if any. "
Opinion or fact? If fact, prove it!

Geezer Glide
September 26, 2010, 04:25 PM
$159, maybe, if it's clean/used. $259 would have to be minty-new, for sure. It's quite inferior to a Taurus, for not much more $, if any.

Yeah, I'd like to see some back up of that statement.

September 26, 2010, 06:36 PM
I owned a Charter Arms "Off Duty" for several years. It accompanied me on many backpack trips, where it's light weight was much appreciated, while it provided the right amount of self defense capability.
It shot well, and never gave me a single problem.
If I found an older Charter Undercover for a decent price, I would buy it over any Taurus product.
I'm especially on the hunt for an older rimfire Pathfinder.

September 26, 2010, 08:26 PM
I did purchase the Bridgeport made Undercover, serial # 117XXX. I am waiting to take it to the range. My inspection reveals a very well made and finished revolver; the metal work is excellent, as is the bluing. As others have mentioned, this is a revolver made by professional gunsmiths. I'm impressed.

September 27, 2010, 09:12 PM
See my previous comments in detail. My Bridgeport Charter Undercoverette is obviously well made by serious people who were trying to build a better, lightweight mousetrap - and they did.

The design is innovative, and fundamentally sound. In fact intrigueing in some ways. That's why the Company has gotten past the problems of Charco and is still selling good, current production revolvers.

Just my .02 cents worth, based on what I'm looking at here, and the background provided by .32 Mag; which is quite consistent with other net observations.

I am going to shoot and carry mine, show my girls how to shoot it, and enjoy.:)

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