Bulldog pug .44


May 6, 2011, 01:43 AM
So, no idea why, but I have suddenly found myself kinda wanting one of these Charters. No one local carries them, so being able to check one out in person is gonna be tough. They look to be dimensionally similar to a K or L frame, but I really have no way to know. I'd like to hear from some current/past owners of these pistols as to overall quality, durability, accuracy, ergonomics, etc. There's just something appealing about a big bore revolver that's still small and light enough for EDC. My 3" 629 really isn't.

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Lucky Derby
May 6, 2011, 03:48 AM
The Charters are not as big as a K frame, nor as small as a J. I would say they are closest in size to a Ruger SP101, but with a slightly larger diameter cylinder, and a less "beefy" frame.
I have have owned a couple of the older ones, but never could get them to work quite right. :banghead:

I understand the new ones have things pretty well worked out, but have no personal experience with them. I love the concept, but so far, have been disappointed in the execution.

May 6, 2011, 03:51 AM
I've got 2; one in SS and one blued. I think they are excellent CC guns since they are very small for caliber and light weight. They are more in line between a J or K frame. In fact, most holsters that fit a Colt Detective Special will fit this gun. Recoil is snappy but controllable and they are pretty accurate in my opinion. I can highly recommend them.

May 6, 2011, 06:05 AM
Here's a S&W M640-1 with a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog. As you can see it's not much larger.


May 6, 2011, 06:48 AM
Mach IV, the same bug bit me and I bought a DAO recently. The experiment is on-going. Silvertips and 200gr Blazers are a bit snappy. The pull is a little gritty and of course the construction of a solid frame makes a tune-up sort a non-issue. It ain't an S&W. On the other hand I am now managing it out to 10+ yards reliably. It is a thumper caliber, and the cost is no where near the price a 296 or 396 will bring. Overall the experience goes well. I have begun to go out CCW with it. An after thought: I acquired a couple of CA44 size speed loaders. I anticipate having to do some Demeling on the left grip.

May 6, 2011, 06:55 AM
I always thought the Bulldog .44 was the perfect CCW, it has been the folklore and lack of experience with Charter that stopped me from buying. I felt the same way about the Star PD .45.

Pete D.
May 6, 2011, 07:04 AM
This is my .44 Bulldog. A tad older a model:

May 6, 2011, 05:40 PM
Thanks, guys. Think I'm gonna have to pick one up. I don't mind tinkering with a it a little to smooth out the action, really only concerned with the construction in general, being built to last. I've seen a couple reviews on their warranty; It seems that their handling of problems is pretty commendable if there ever is one.

May 6, 2011, 11:31 PM
It is about the same size as the SP101. I have the tiger stripe version and it has been reliable. My wife's favorite revolver!

May 6, 2011, 11:42 PM
I've had one for about 20 years and it's one of my favorites. I bought it to stick in the saddlebag of the hog, and it's got tens of thousands of miles, one good wreck, and about 1000 rounds thru it and it's still locks up tight and is an absolute blast to shoot. I reload and keep my plinking stuff on the mild side, and for the more serious side of things, I keep it loaded with a cylinder full of Gold Dots.

Keep in mind that the alloy ones (like mine) won't stand up to a lot of abuse with hot loads, but for what it is, it's a keeper. The hole in the end of the barrel looks like a sewer pipe in that small package.

May 7, 2011, 12:27 AM
According to their site they are going to bring back the classic 44 with the exposed ejector rod and if they do I will have one. I think they are neat guns that fill a void that needs to be filled.

I passed on one about a year ago for $175 in a local shop. It was an older classic that felt so good to hold. Nice and light and in a darn good caliber. Sure wish I had bought it.

May 7, 2011, 12:46 AM
I bought a blued 3" in the late 80s and like it fine. The .44 S&W special is my most favored caliber for self defense and The only S&W I have in that caliber is a very customized 296...and it's a BBQ gun. So I bought a stainless Pug last week and it is a great little gun. I carry it in either a belly band or a U/C T shirt with s built in pair of shoulder holsters. With 200 gr GDHP Blazers it is manageable and trustworthy.
Charter Arms is back under that name now instead of that silly "Charter 2000".
I had a question about buying a spurless hammer so I emailed their customer service. Pleasant surprise was that I got an email from them within a couple hours telling me what I needed to know. I bought a bobbed hammer for around $25 plus shipping. They are good folks.

32 Magnum
May 7, 2011, 11:36 AM
CA has two frame sizes:
Undercover frame is just about the size of the 'J' frame S&W;
Bulldog frame is just a bit smaller than the 'K' frame.

May 16, 2011, 08:47 PM
If ya gotta have a pocket gun, it's kinda the one to have. About the size of a Colt Agent/Detective Special.

May 16, 2011, 09:11 PM
If ya gotta have a pocket gun, it's kinda the one to have.

You've got some big pockets, my friend. Anything larger than a P3AT goes in a holster for me.

Owen Sparks
May 16, 2011, 09:29 PM
I have had half a dozen Charter Arms Bulldogs and I much prefer the 3" barrel (they are making it again) The main weakness of the .44 Special is low velocity and the 3" barrel helps a little and you need all the speed you can get for hollow points open up, besides the barrel length has little to do with concealability.

May 17, 2011, 02:10 PM
I have a 4" Target Bulldog and a 3" standard model. Both late '70s vintage. The 3" is a MUCH better gun. I've had a lot of problems with the 4" and it has been back to Charter twice. The rear sight sucks - no click stops in windage and elevation. I use paper shims to keep windage on target. This gun is a range gun only. The 3" has been trouble free and fits a Dick Special holster perfectly. In the past there was no practical way to carry spare ammo. Now with "speedstrips" available in .44, my neat little 3" is starting to see more use!:D

May 17, 2011, 10:11 PM
Got one of the 3 inchers when they first came out. It fit perfectly in a holster for the 3 inch Colt Detective Special. Had a couple more over the years. Liked the 4 inch Target Bulldog and had no problems with it.

May 18, 2011, 12:41 AM
no idea why, but I have suddenly found myself kinda wanting one of these Charters.

I had the urge, until I checked out three different newer .44spl bulldogs, each of them was rough and very SLOPPY heck those things are shot loose right out of the box :confused: maybe from test firing :eek:

Maybe I'm missing something, but my interest in the bulldog was quickly over after seeing and feeling them in person.

Hondo 60
May 18, 2011, 01:20 AM
A couple of years ago I bought a Charter Undercover .38 spl.
I knew absolutely nothing about handguns at the time.

I've since learned a little bit & can not more strongly urge you to run away as fast as you can!!!!!

I am Soooooo glad to hear (or read) that you changed your mind.
Rough & sloppy are the 2 perfect words to describe my Charter as well.

(my next two were both S&W Model 10s, a 4" & a 2".
that's how I learned about quality hand guns)

May 18, 2011, 08:17 AM
Don't have it now, but I had one of the mid-70's-Vintage Charter .44 Bulldogs.

My only knock was not on the gun, but the ammo. .44Spl was more than twice the price of .44Mag ammo. It was dead-on @15 Yds with the 246-Gr lead round-nose bullets of the time

May 18, 2011, 03:44 PM
Sounds like one of those guns not to buy sight unseen. The folks who are happy with them are the ones who had the older ones.

I'd probably look for a used S&W instead. And if I can't find one in 44, I'd much rather have a smooth and reliable 38 Special than a rough and sloppy 44.

Ruger really needs to make a compact 44 Special. Smaller than a GP, bigger than an SP. Maybe about the frame size of a Security Six, but with a 5 shot cylinder.

The factory ammo I see is all LRN. One is probably better off with 38 wadcutters. I'm sure the defense ammo for it is fine.

While they're at it, Ruger should make the same gun for 45 ACP / 45 Auto Rim. 3" barrel with fixed or adjustable sights, and the option of a Laser Grip, and you'd be all set.

Smith & Wesson already makes guns like this, but they're very proud of them, what with their tactical finish and all...

May 18, 2011, 06:40 PM
Got mine in 1989. It's the 2" Pug version. Very good gun. Practice with mild reloads but carry with Glasers and/or Blazer 20 gr. Gold Dots. Too big for pocket carry but ideal for belt or fanny pack.

Ditto on mrbro's comment. The Pug and the Star PD are two of the best CC guns ever made.

May 20, 2011, 09:57 AM
I can't recommend Taurus revolvers because my experience with them has been less than positive, and the Charter revolvers I've handled operated roughly and seemed indifferently finished.

If anyone asks me about "inexpensive .44 Specials", I always recommend a Rossi M720. I bought mine new in 1996 for $260, because I couldn't afford a S&W M696 at the time. It was my first .44 Special, but certainly not the last.

Mine weighs 6oz less than a M696 (30oz vs 36oz), has adjustable sights, fluted cylinder, and is made of stainless steel with a finish that's indistinguishable from a S&W. Function has always been 100%, with good accuracy. I still feel it was a heck of a bargain. Also, the M720 just might be the world's greatest "car gun".

The Rossi 720s are no longer made, but can still be found on the online auction sites from time to time.

May 20, 2011, 10:50 AM
I can't recommend Taurus revolvers because my experience with them has been less than positive ..................If anyone asks me about "inexpensive .44 Specials", I always recommend a Rossi M720.

Taurus and Rossi are the same company.


Kinda like saying you hate Ford products and then recommending a Mercury.

May 20, 2011, 04:42 PM
MachIVShooter, they're the same company now (Taurus bought Rossi in 2008 or 2009), but they weren't when I bought my M720. And I don't believe the M720 has ever been produced under Taurus ownership.

May 20, 2011, 04:44 PM
double post...

May 29, 2011, 05:03 PM
If ya gotta have a pocket gun, it's kinda the one to have.

You've got some big pockets, my friend. Anything larger than a P3AT goes in a holster for me.

I'm a little bitty guy, but they do fit in about half of my pants front pockets. Not in any jeans, though.

May 29, 2011, 10:26 PM
I bought one new about 5 years ago. Absolutely the worst gun I have ever owned. The cylinder would bind, with a target placed at 10 feet the gun shot 10" low and 10" left. The only way you could use this gun for protection is to throw it at your attacker and run.

Because of the 1 piece frame no one will work on them and you can't adjust anything.

I don't care to hear who owns the company now either. Five years later I still have the bad taste.

Sold that piece of junk and bought a Taurus 445 which puts the Bulldog to shame.

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