Charter arms revolvers


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ljnowell
June 3, 2014, 02:01 AM
So with my newfound right to carry in Illinois I'm looking for a new snubby. My budget I'd $350. I had someone offer me a S&W 637 for 350 that is basically NIB with all the papers and everything.

I was also eying the charter arms revolvers. They are very modestly priced and the reviews on Buds are good, but I was hoping someone here could give opinion based on ownership.

I looked at the arms or revolvers too but I have heard some horror stories.

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JERRY
June 3, 2014, 02:15 AM
dollar for dollar the S&W is superior to the Charter Arms.

Lucky Derby
June 3, 2014, 03:28 AM
Charters are serviceable revolvers. Shoot enough to become familiar and carry a lot.
S&W is definately a step, maybe two steps up from that. Shoot it pretty much all you want (since it is an airweight you might, depending on when it was made, want to avoid shooting a lot of +P) and carry it all you want. For the same money, I'd go for the used S&W over a new Charter.

25cschaefer
June 3, 2014, 04:11 AM
In my opinion, Charter Arms revolvers are better than not having a gun but I would put them low on my list. There have been good runs and bad runs in manufacturing, I do not know if the most current one is good or bad. There is no comparing a Smith and a Charter, I would say the fit of most of the Charters I have seen were much worse than most Taurus. They are mostly loose or become loose with shooting. If you are already practiced with a revolver and are going to carry it way more than you shoot it, they are light and reliable. However, snubbies take practice to get used to and if need lots of practice, I wouldn't touch one.

Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, S&W is way better.
My advice would be to find a used Smith or a new Taurus, the Taurus may need to be tuned but the better materials will give you longer service.

HexHead
June 3, 2014, 07:01 AM
The current Charter Arms are fine products, again. Stay away from used ones marked CHARCO. I have a .44 Special Bulldog and I'd rate it right up there with a Ruger SP-101 in build quality. If I was looking for a .38 though, go for the Smith.

Deltaboy
June 3, 2014, 07:41 AM
Get the Smith.

bannockburn
June 3, 2014, 08:20 AM
I would go with a S&W before something made by Charter Arms, or Taurus, for that matter. Years ago I had a Charter Arms Undercover, supposedly when they were in their best production era. The gun literally fell apart after less than a box of factory wadcutter ammo had been put through it. Since then it has been nothing but S&W J frames, along with with the occasional Colt snubby, for me. I have also gone to numerous gun shows in the past few years and checked out new guns made by all three manufacturers. By far S&W revolvers have always had the better mechanicals and overall quality than the other two companies.

antiquus
June 3, 2014, 12:19 PM
I have one and it's carried quite a bit. I replaced the hammer spring, and the pull DA is 12+lbs, but smooth. Mine is accurate to point of aim, and I have put stuff though it including wadcutters chronoed at 1000fps out of it's 2' barrel. That is hauling some serious ass, pretty close to the Buffalo Bore Heavy +P load. The gun is fine with it, my hand is fine for about 5 rounds.

The frame is a better design than any sideplate design for strength. It's hard to disassemble, but I rarely disassemble revolvers. I've owned Taurus and they are not as well made as a Charter IMO. S&W's are more refined in almost all ways, but I'd bet the Charter is as strong or stronger than a J frame.

The company was founded by Doug McClenahan in the 1960's and the basic revolver design they have always used is his. He worked at Ruger and Colt and his design eliminating the side plate was well done IMO. My understanding of the company is they've had a lot of turmoil in the past but for the last 6 years they've had good stability and sales.

However a J frame in good condition at that price is a better buy.

tommy.duncan
June 3, 2014, 12:27 PM
My wife has a Charter Arms "Lady Chic". She loves shooting it (I have shot and enjoyed it too). It is accurate and reliable (about 2,000 rounds). I would not have a problem going with the C.A. and using the extra $$ for some practice ammo.

Barry the Bear
June 3, 2014, 02:42 PM
I have owned 4 snub nose revolvers, a s&w model 36-1, a taurus model 85(blued,not ultra light), a TALO edition ruger sp-101 in .357 mag, and a stainless charter undercover. I have three left, and the charter didnt make the cut. I traded a remington 870 for it, it came with a don hume holster, two hks speedloaders and some ammo so I thought I did well. I couldnt be more wrong.

First of all, their "stainless" model does not feel heavy enough to be it, it feels very much like an aluminum alloy of some sort, also I checked the cylinder to make sure it was reasonably tight, when I did I managed to to rotate the cylinder ! keep in mind this was a newer charter out of Shelton,CT. I decided to keep the speedloaders for the 36 and model 85 and get rid of this gun, I didnt even want to risk shooting it. It was supposed to be a home defense weapon for my mom(an LC9 now fills that role) but I wouldnt give that gun to my worst enemy.

If I were you Id spend a bit more for a new or used smith or ruger and be safe knowing you got a more reputable gun .

beag_nut
June 3, 2014, 04:33 PM
" My budget I'd $350. "
I did the same as you want to. BIG MISTAKE. I should have saved another bunch of money and got a SP101, as I eventually did, after I found how awful the CA Mag Pug is. Won't shoot to point of aim (20 inches low), screws constantly loosen, chatter marks in rifling, ported barrel a joke, customer service nonexistent. Buy one, then regret it.

dtalley
June 3, 2014, 05:05 PM
My wife has the Charter Arms Bulldog 44spc. She loves it but doesn't carry it. I have a Ruger SP101 and they are heavy for carry in my opinion. Smith is one you can't go wrong with.

2cents worth.

MinnesotaFats
June 3, 2014, 05:46 PM
A brand new S&W 637 is 385.00 give or take a few bucks. Save and go that route. I did a few months back and im glad i did. I looked into Charter but got tired of hearing the typical Taurus answer; some are good and some arent.

SlamFire1
June 3, 2014, 05:51 PM
So with my newfound right to carry in Illinois I'm looking for a new snubby. My budget I'd $350. I had someone offer me a S&W 637 for 350 that is basically NIB with all the papers and everything.


Run, don't walk to where is revolver is located and buy it.

I have an 80's Charter Arms Bulldog . Assuming a Charter Arms is one of the well built ones, is serviceable, it will go bang, but I will say, S&W makes the better revolver.

My M637 is an accurate, reliable little revolver, excellent trigger pull, shoots to point of aim with 125 grain bullets. As it is a very light weight revolver I shoot light loads, but it will handly +P.

I am of the opinion that the frame is painted, so don't go over it with a metal brush. The cylinder and barrel are stainless.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/CheifSpecialDSCN5011-1.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/SlamFire/media/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/CheifSpecialDSCN5011-1.jpg.html)

ljnowell
June 3, 2014, 11:07 PM
Well made my decision today. I reload and shoot revolvers in bullseye comp so whatever I buy would see considerable shooting to stay in practice with it. The charter is out and the smith is in. I could have ordered a new smith for 35 more but then I would have to pay a 30 dollar transfer fee also. So I saved the 65 bucks and bought the other one. It's literally had 5 rounds through it(from someone I know very well) so I am happy with that deal. I also hot to shoot it before I paid for it and that's priceless in my opinion. So, it's a 637 for my new carry gun.

Thanks everyone for your input. Lots of varied responses but they were all good and taken into consideration.

ljnowell
June 3, 2014, 11:22 PM
The obligatory pic


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m417/ljnowell/Mobile%20Uploads/image.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/ljnowell/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image.jpg.html)

Barry the Bear
June 3, 2014, 11:48 PM
Great choice! You will not be disappointed.

Lucky Derby
June 4, 2014, 07:10 AM
Congrats. You made the right choice.

bannockburn
June 4, 2014, 07:35 AM
Good to hear you went with the S&W. Awaiting future range report.

JERRY
June 4, 2014, 07:50 AM
im not against carrying a C.A. gun if it was less expensive and I checked it out to ensure it was mechanically sound.

bulletbob
June 4, 2014, 04:32 PM
Bought a .40 Bulldog last year, single action worked great, double action intermittently had a light strike, you could seen the too shallow indention. Sent it back and they sent in back, STILL same trouble!
Sooooo... I now have an expensive paperweight, could have returned it again but there are too many good gun manufacturers- NEVER AGAIN - I should know you get what you pay for! I would not trust my life to a Charter Arms.

ljnowell
June 5, 2014, 12:08 AM
I'm definitely happy with my purchase. I shot it before I bought it, it functioned fine. With my light bullseye loads it was hitting about 10 inches high at 25 yards.

WestKentucky
June 5, 2014, 12:19 AM
I have friends who bought charter and immediately regretted it. I'm a Taurus guy and when I buy cheap guns I typically stick with Brazilian made, but from my experiences and my buddies stories, I would buy an RG before a charter.

ljnowell
June 5, 2014, 01:07 AM
I haven't been much of a Taurus fan as I had a couple with issues. However from what I'm seeing I would definitely buy a Taurus over the charter arms. On fact I really like the Taurus 9mm snubby I just can't get over past experience to order one.

rodinal220
June 5, 2014, 09:34 AM
I have not had any major issues with my Charters. A few screws needed some Loc-tite to keep them backing out but that is about it. Avoid Charco and Charter2000 marked guns,QC is spotty. My newer Charter Bulldogs in 44spl are very accurate and have nice triggers on them. I do not see used Charters come up for sale by me,folks seem to hold on to them.

Cooldill
June 5, 2014, 09:44 AM
While the Smith is more expensive, it terms of longevity and probability of issues OTB, it is the FAR better value between the two.

The Smith might cost 50%+ vs the Charter, but the Smith will outlast the Charter in round count by years of shooting and S&W customer support is quite good.

tuna
June 5, 2014, 12:22 PM
Even though I'm pi@@ed at S&W for a string of crappy service (personally mad, as opposed to the "mad at the trigger lock") and POS guns that were new made, I probably would go the S&W over the Charter. Especially if it were an older Smith.
Newer Smiths, I'd go for a Taurus first.

My next purchase is an LCR.

ljnowell
June 5, 2014, 01:45 PM
While the Smith is more expensive, it terms of longevity and probability of issues OTB, it is the FAR better value between the two.



The Smith might cost 50%+ vs the Charter, but the Smith will outlast the Charter in round count by years of shooting and S&W customer support is quite good.


Smiths are all I shoot in bullseye. That's part of the reason I went with one.

Arkansas Paul
June 5, 2014, 03:23 PM
You made the right call.

I like it.

Cooldill
June 5, 2014, 04:23 PM
Even though I'm pi@@ed at S&W for a string of crappy service (personally mad, as opposed to the "mad at the trigger lock") and POS guns that were new made, I probably would go the S&W over the Charter. Especially if it were an older Smith.
Newer Smiths, I'd go for a Taurus first.

My next purchase is an LCR.
That may have the experience with you but my new S&W 642 is beyond awesome.

Tight, slick, accurate, the gun is an absolute winner and the quality of fit and finish is apparent throughout.

The last few Taurus revolver I've handled in gun shops all felt like an ounce or two of sand was stuck under the sideplate. Beyond gritty, with awful triggers and actions. Not so with any new Smith I've handled.

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