Range review - Charter Arms Pathfinder in .22 LR


November 26, 2012, 05:19 PM
Wednesday I purchased a brand new 4" Target Pathfinder by Charter Arms (http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/Charter_Pathfinder_72340.asp),,,
Thursday I took it out and ran some rounds through it,,,
Overall I'm very satisfied with the little shooter.


It's the least expensive DA/SA .22 revolver on the market,,,
Okay, Okay, a Czechpoint is a bit cheaper,,,
But this pistol is all American made,,,
Comes with a lifetime warranty,,,
Out the door was $380.63.

It seems to be very solidly built,,,
You know how some guns just feel cheap,,,
This revolver has a very solid heft to it and feels good in your hand.

It is virtually the exact size and shape of a S&W J-frame,,,
It fits a holster I made for a S&W Model 34 perfectly,,,
I'm told that the HKS J-frame speed-loaders fit it.

I went through 250 rounds of ammo the first day,,,
100 of Mini Mag, 100 of Remington Golden Bulk,,,
And 50 rounds of Federal Bulk from Wal Mart,,,
Every round went off with a nice rim dent.

It seems to be an accurate little gun,,,
I was hitting water bottles at 25 yards with it.


The finish of the gun could be better,,,
It's stainless steel but looks to be bead blasted,,,
The surface has more of a matte look than a glossy sheen.

The front ramp sight is smooth,,,
It seemed to disappear under bright light,,,
I'll probably use some orange sight paint to fix that.

The gun has a very tight action,,,
By tight I mean it needs some breaking in,,,
Everything moves where and when it is supposed to move,,,
But everything is a bit more effort than you would think is necessary.

The trigger pull is not heavy at all,,,
But it is a bit "gritty" compared to a well used pistol,,,
I expect it will take a bit of shooting to get all the internals smoothed out.

General Comments

The rubber grips are very slender and resemble Pachmayer "Compac" grips,,,
If I were going to keep the gun for myself I would change them,,,
But it's going to be a graduation gift for a young lady,,,
They will probably fit her smaller hands just fine.

MSRP of the Charter Arms Pathfinder is $459.00
MSRP of a Ruger SP-101 in .22 is $689.00,,,
MSRP of a S&W Model 63 is $769.00,,,

I recently got to shoot an almost new (less than 50 rounds) Model 63,,,
In my not-so-humble opinion it's trigger was not any better,,,
It's fit and finish were not worth a $310.00 price bump.

I have also fired one of the newest model Ruger SP-101 revolvers,,,
It's trigger was worse than the Pathfinder I just purchased,,,
The finish of the stainless steel was a wee bit better,,,
But again not enough to justify a $230.00 bump.

All in all I'm pleased with the Pathfinder,,,
If you want a solid DA/SA revolver but are on a budget,,,
Do yourself the favor of checking out the Charter Arms Pathfinder.

I was pleasantly surprised with the handgun,,,
I think it's going to be a fine little shooter for her.



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November 26, 2012, 05:21 PM
Thanks for the review.

I've been eyeing the Pathfinder .22lr snubbie. I know that the "target" model has an option where both the 22lr and .22WMR cylinders are offered. I'd really like to see that offered on the snubs as well.

I have 4 Charter Arms revolvers, and they all work great.

November 26, 2012, 05:39 PM
Charter does offer the Pathfinder with two interchangeable cylinders,,,
I believe that gun is called the "Target Pathfinder Combo (http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/Charter_Pathfinder_combo_62240.asp)"

I purchased the plain .22 LR version,,,
It's considerably less in price.


P.S. My lady friend has the .38 Undercover snubbie and the .22 Pathfinder,,,
Her guns are what got me to consider a Charter Arms handgun.


November 26, 2012, 05:48 PM
Thanks for the review, aarondhgraham.

I had been considering this offering from Charter Arms for my .22 DA revolver needs. Always good to see an American company putting out a quality product.

Most of your "cons" are either minor issues or should get better over time. Another plus.

Hope the recipient appreciates the gift. Very gracious of you.

November 26, 2012, 06:02 PM
i owned a 3" blued .22lr pathfinder years ago and kick myself for letting it go.

i looked at a 4" new pathfinder in stainless a while back and found a lot of "blow holes" on the surface.....not corrosion craters but a manufacturing process that isnt quite that good.

Vern Humphrey
November 26, 2012, 06:08 PM
The trigger pull is not heavy at all,,,
But it is a bit "gritty" compared to a well used pistol,,,
That's very often due to polishing media or sandblasting media left in the gun. Detail strip it and clean it thoroughly. Go into pin holes and screw holes and all the recesses you can find with a dental pick.

November 26, 2012, 09:23 PM
I was eyeballing them back in the eighties, but never got around to getting one. Later, I got a Taurus 94, which served well; I let my ex take it with her when we divorced.
Glad you like yours. Nice to see some Charter Arms respect. I have two Undercover 38 revolvers. One is from 1987, purchased the day I was sworn in as a law enforcement officer. The other is from around 1966, and was carried by my dad in the eighties when he was a deputy (we did not know each other then.) His became mine in 2010, when he died. Both are fine performers.

Cocked & Locked
November 27, 2012, 07:50 AM
Thanks for the range review on your Pathfinder .22. I have the Grandpa for the one you reviewed...1965 3" Pathfinder .22. I like them!


November 27, 2012, 08:37 AM
I also have this and was just able to shoot it finally a couple of weeks ago. My experience mirrors yours Aarond. This is a great shooter. I actaully prefer the matte finish stainless vs. the more glossy finish. Overall a very good purchase and look forward to more range time with it. Might even use it for my CCW class in a couple of weeks. It is very accurate.

November 27, 2012, 11:29 AM
Your Pathfinder is way prettier than the new ones,,,
I have and enjoy several other stainless steel handguns,,,
But for pure beauty the blue steel guns are my personal favorites.

Before I whipped out the Visa card for this new one,,,
I spent a lot of time looking for used DA/SA revolvers to buy.

If I would have seen one like yours I would have snagged it quickly.



November 27, 2012, 11:34 AM
I wish I had the expertise to do a detail strip on this gun,,,
But it looks like the side-plate is partially pinned.

I was considering trying to flush the gun out with spray CLP,,,
But I honestly don't know if that would do anything positive for it.

One of the reasons I purchased this gun,,,
Is because a lady friend of mine has one just like it.

Hers was tight and gritty as well,,,
But after a few bulk packs it got much better,,,
I'm hoping this one will improve in the same manner as hers did..



November 27, 2012, 05:06 PM
I wish I had the expertise to do a detail strip on this gun,,,
But it looks like the side-plate is partially pinned.Charters do not have side plates. But yes you have to punch at least one pin to drop the grip frame and trigger guard off the gun. There are instructions on youtube. If I were you, I'd pull the grips and then flush the internals with CLP.

Cocked & Locked
November 27, 2012, 05:41 PM
The hammer is also an easy in and out...one screw. That will offer another opening for the BREAKFREEclp flush.

November 27, 2012, 06:59 PM
This thread needs some more pics. ;)

Here are my 4 Charters:


November 28, 2012, 10:11 AM
As you can see they are almost identical in size and shape,,,


A Tom Threepersons holster I made for the Model 34,,,
Fit the Pathfinder very nicely.



November 29, 2012, 09:30 AM
This thread is great... I was just looking at the pathfinder with the 22wmr+22lr option and really liked what I saw. Keep us updated about how this gun works out over time :)

November 29, 2012, 11:11 AM
I'll reopen this thread when I have ran two 550 round bulk packs through the gun.

By then some of the grittiness should have disappeared,,,
I say this because it was around the thousand round mark that the one my lady friend owns started loosening up.



November 29, 2012, 05:44 PM

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