Any Charter Arms fans out there?


January 25, 2014, 07:45 PM
I just bought a Charter Arms Undercover 38. Its a new production CA and im liking the overall look/feel. Ive put 300+- rounds though it so far and im impressed with its accuracy for being a "gut shooter". LGS has another nib CA Undercover im thinkin about buying. Im just wondering if these new CA are hit and miss like Rossi and Taurus and such? Anyone else have good luck with this maker? pre thanks for any replies.

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January 25, 2014, 07:53 PM
I got a 1960's era undercover Charter that hits POA at 25 yards with Horaday Critical Defense ammo.
They are Solid guns.

January 25, 2014, 08:09 PM
I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I do have a Mag Pug DAO that shoots as good as I do. Mine was a bit rough on the back end of the trigger guard, but it is reliable and I have put several hundred rounds through it. Some day I plan on getting the 9mm Pitbull.

January 25, 2014, 08:10 PM
I bought one as a present to myself in December of 1987, the day I was sworn in as a LEO. It rode backup/off-duty for the next few years until I switched to an agency on whose "approved" list it apparently didn't make. It has always been a great little shooter, and has the then-rare anodized-aluminum barrel/ejector shroud on it. I still own it and carry it once in a while.

In 2010, my dad died and the last two guns he owned became mine. I didn't know him growing up, but had re-established contact with him ten years before his death. One of those guns is also an Undercover 38, made in 1966. It, too, shoots well and is still pretty tight. That one is actually a little slimmer than mine because of the lack of a shroud and the smoother stocks, so it carries even more easily.

Yeah, I'm happy with the brand. The ones to avoid are the ones sold after about 1990 until about 2000, under the "Charco" and "Charter 2000" names. The company has changed hands a few times over the years, but is evidently back under its original ownership.

January 25, 2014, 08:24 PM
^ thanks guys, great posts. so in the recent years it went from Charco to Charter 2000 so what are they calling themselves now in 2014? whats the quality difference from the newer ones compared to the older ones?

January 25, 2014, 08:30 PM
I had a Charco which was the worst POS I ever owned even after 2 trips back to the manufacturer. Charter has a lot of fans I know but I'll pass on anything that starts with "Char".

January 25, 2014, 08:40 PM
40years ago, a big gun writer for Guns or Gun World magazine,( I forget) Bob Sweiis-something or other, said he could often hit a man silhouette at 100 yds with a Charter undercover, firing one hand unsupported. So I bought one, and it soon broke the transfer bar with dryfire. It took them 6 months to send the replacement part, and I couldn't wait to get rid of it, cause by then I had bought a M60 smith stainless Chief.

January 25, 2014, 08:44 PM
I was getting 5-7 misfires per 50 rounds with it, and 1-2 no-fires even on the 2nd strike. I could fire these out of my KLCR 357 without issue. I took it to my gunsmith to work on. He claims he didn't do anything but look at the spring. But since he's messed with it, I haven't had any mis-fires. He did say someone shortened the spring and he'd fix that if I had anymore issues.

Before the gunsmith, I was not happy with it, after the gunsmith, I'm pretty happy. Really like the feel of it.

January 25, 2014, 08:48 PM
I had a Charco 2000. It was great. Gave it to a lady friend that needed a carry gun. I have missed it ever since then. I have so many other Snubs I just can't justify buying another.

Geezer Glide
January 25, 2014, 08:57 PM
I have an old Undercover .38, an old Bulldog .44, and a newer Off Duty .38. All three have been great guns.

January 25, 2014, 09:09 PM
I got my Father-in-laws 1971 Undercover. Reliable, accurate, weapon. Wife carries it more that any other gun we own, and we own a bunch.

Bob Bonillas
January 25, 2014, 09:24 PM
Has been accurate and reliable from day one. I installed Pacmyr grips

January 25, 2014, 10:28 PM
I would really like to have a CA Bulldog, but of the newer ones I have handled in the last 4 years there is just no way I would buy one.

January 25, 2014, 10:36 PM
I have a first generation Undercover, a new Undercover Lite and a new dao Bulldog. I have had no problems with any of them. They are all in my carry rotation. Often 2 at a time.

January 26, 2014, 12:32 AM
Another bulldog for the thread!
found this one in a pawn shop a few years ago for $150, with wrecked bluing. No rust or pitting, just big blotches of missing blue.
Used it for my first cold blue project, it looks....better. :o
lost a tiny, spring loaded pin during reassembly...took a while to find another...came to HATE the cylinder release assembly.

See it there? Its that tiny nub that is recessed into the cylinder release on the left side of the screw...that sucker is powered by a tiny spring and wants to fly far and hide a mutant tiny third hand growing from your abdomen? For once in your life it will come in handy.

There was nothing I could do about the missing anodizing on the trigger guard and grip frame, so I don't worry about it.
Its ugly, it proves a bulldog can be shot loose because it rattles like a maraca at lockup, but I love it for some reason.

January 26, 2014, 12:51 AM
Although I own a pair of S&W 638s, I carry two Charter Arms "On Duty". They just work better for me. I know there are auto loaders out there that carry more rounds than these two put together, but I prefer a snub 38 with a second for a New York reload.
After thinking a minute, why do we still call it a New York reload, it seems it's almost impossible to carry one snub in New York much less two.


January 26, 2014, 03:53 PM
I'm a pretty big fan of Charter Arms, keeping in mind what they are. I own a current production hammerless Bulldog for SD and CCW once I get my license and a current production Target Pathfinder 22lr for plinking. They will never have the same fit, finish, and beauty as a good vintage S&W, but are fine little guns if you avoid the Charco and Charter 2000 ones as stated above and don't abuse them with heavy loads or super high volume shooting. (I like to stay between 100 and 200 rounds a month)

From my experience, they are still quite a bit better than most Taurus and Rossi revolvers I've handled (never owned or shot one of those though).

Charters are exactly what they are advertised as: a good, solid, inexpensive revolver for moderate use and always carry. They are perfect work horses for those of us that can't afford several S&Ws, Colts, or Rugers in the configurations we want. You'll still want at least one of the premier brands just to own and shoot and appreciate, but for everyday non-competition uses, a Charter Arms is a decent gun to have.

January 26, 2014, 04:38 PM
I'm a S&W guy but do admit that CA made a few gems along their way.

The only one I have in my collection right now is a stainless pathfinder. Gave $185 for it complete with box a dozen years back. Sweet little package for pocket carry on woods walks. It's plinked more than a few pine cones in it's time with me :-) (

January 26, 2014, 04:53 PM
I have had good service with my Charter Bulldog SS(newer production) and a older blue Pathfinder .22. The Charco and Charter 2000 era guns were the ones with spotty QC. Looking at the newer Bulldog with the shrounded hammer,looks like a big S&W 649 in .44SPL.
January 26, 2014, 05:07 PM

January 26, 2014, 06:23 PM
Nice Son of Sam Special there. Had a old 38 spec. The front sight flew off. Factory soldered it back on.

January 26, 2014, 08:30 PM
I have a 3-year old Mag Pug. In my opinion, a POS.
Screws constantly loosen. Cylinder chambers at the max ID. Wouldn't shoot to POA (20" low at 25 feet!) until I machined down the front sight. Would NEVER buy another.

Cocked & Locked
January 26, 2014, 09:24 PM
I had one years ago that shot the "9mm Federal" cartridge (rimmed 9mm). I sold it and wish I still had it.

Currently have this Undercover .38 and really like it.

I changed the spurred hammer out for a Double Action Only hammer I ordered from Charter Arms. It is not only a spurless hammer but converts the gun to a true DAO. Only problem is my wife liked it so much that she now uses it. :uhoh:

I would like to locally find an older .44 Bulldog...maybe someday.

I also have this old Pathfinder .22. I actually like it better than my other .22 handguns (two Colts, one Ruger, one NAA)

January 26, 2014, 09:31 PM
Great pics a posts guys. That CA looks pretty damn sharp C&L.

January 26, 2014, 09:32 PM
the 70 model bulldog is one good gun. i been looking for the left hand model 38 sp they have out for the wife.

Hondo 60
January 26, 2014, 10:13 PM
johnboy711 - new Charters are OK, nothin to write home about.
If you want a gun you can be REALLY proud of, try a vintage Smith & Wesson Model 10-5 (1960s-1970s).

My first ever handgun was a Charter - after going back to the factory 2x it's OK now.
It's reliable & looks decent.
My 2nd handgun, was the afore mentioned S&W 10-5.
OH MY GOSH! What a difference.

January 26, 2014, 10:56 PM
One of my first guns was a Charter Arms Undercover, purchased new in 1976 for $88. I bought it mainly because at the time S&W J frames were hard to come by and cost considerably more when you did find one. Quality on the Undercover was so-so, with overall fit and finish being okay but there were numerous problems caused by the frame pins constantly backing out and the cylinder assembly screw coming loose. I eventually sold it and picked up a used S&W Model 36.

I have seen the current production Charter Arms revolvers at the local gun shows and they appear to be better built and finished than the one I had so many years ago. I especially like the look of the Off-Duty model with the black anodized frame and polished stainless steel cylinder and barrel.

January 27, 2014, 05:51 AM
Since the Ecker family is back at Charter Arms the QC and new products are back up where they should be. IMO if Charter Arms keeps doing what it's now doing it will be 3rd in line behind S&W and Ruger for revolvers. It's nice to have another good American handgun company around...

My oldest son wanted a small short barrel .38 Special stainless revolver that holds 6 rounds instead of 5. Charter Arms was my only choice and we are very happy with that revolver!

January 27, 2014, 08:18 AM
several years ago i wanted a light .22 mag revolver and was faced with a fairly large out lay, but i found this used charter .22 mag with a 6" barrel at a good price(150.00) and made in stradford conn and in ex condition. and it has been a very good accuret revolver, fast forward to last spring when this SS factory bobbed hammer 3 " barreled .44 special in ex condtion also a stradford made gun was offered to me in the box for 225.00 i bought it and it rides with me quite alot with 200 gr HP,s. ex revolvers at a very good price. eastbank.

January 27, 2014, 06:59 PM
I like Charters and own 6 of them.

I carry a new-production Bulldog .44spl.

Great lightweight gun.

Pic of Bulldog with my S&W 642.

January 27, 2014, 07:51 PM
I bought a Pitbull in 40 S&W with a 5" barrel. I really like it. It handles well and is fun to shoot. The 40 has a snappy kick to it, more than 38 but not as much as a 357. The non-moon clip system works well. This compliments my Mechtech Carbine.

January 28, 2014, 02:04 PM
My primary carry is a Undercover Southpaw.

January 28, 2014, 02:15 PM
heres an old school "off duty". (

tried in vain to find a local trade of my PM45 for an old school 3" bulldog .44 (like EASBANK's) and cash....

January 28, 2014, 09:23 PM
My wife loves her "Lady Chic" revolver. It shoots well and its reliable. She has about 1k through and no problems.
I have put a few hundred rounds down the range too.
They aren't S&Ws or Rugers but not bad for what they are.

March 28, 2014, 08:30 PM
Recently traded into an old polished blue undercover. Frame appeared to be almost plum in color. Was a drawer gun i guess for a lot of years. Older version as there is no ejector shroud.

Did not really want it but it was part of a multi gun trade for another gun that i did want. I had ever intention of trading/selling it off.

Took this old Charter to the range and was surprised. The trigger was not bad at all and it shot to point of aim. Can't say that about my last new S&W 642.

I have always thought of Charter as nothing more than a drawer gun. Something kept around for an emergency but never used otherwise. In other words, the typical gun that people bought who were not into guns but wanted an inexpensive gun for defense, bought a box of shells with the gun 30 years back, and still have the same partial box of ammo with the gun today.

And that may be what i stumbled upon. An old Charter that was bought for peace of mind, hardly ever shot, and put away.

I like this old Charter enough to keep it. It will not replace my Ruger, Colt, or S&W revolvers. But it has my respect for what it is and what it can do. Time will tell on the durability issue. I don't plan on babying it or abusing it. Just going to enjoy it and have it around as needed.

Did I get lucky? I have no idea. Before this trade, I would never have considered owning a Charter. Now that I have experienced this one and have some trigger time behind it, I just might not be so gun shy on the Charter brand if I run across one that interests me and the price is right.

March 28, 2014, 09:01 PM
I had mine for over 2 years and I love it.

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