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Charter Arms...school me.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kymasabe, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Well-Known Member

    I just found some old Charter Arms Undercover .38's at a local shop, one from 1980, one from 1978, and an even older 3" barrelled one from 1969.
    Finished seemed good on all of them and lock-up on the '78 was rock solid. Trigger doesn't feel to bad. All but one had the small narrow wooden grips, the '80 has a three finger combat grip, looks like made by Pachmyr.
  2. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    I've had three of them...no problems here. The one I don't have was chambered for the 9mm Federal cartridge. I wish I still had that one but the ammo is really expensive when/if you find it. :scrutiny:


  3. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Well-Known Member

    I see you have the DAO hammer on that Undercover. Did you install it yourself or have a 'smith do it? I saw a pic of your gun before and liked it, just ordered the DAO hammer so I could do the same.
  4. lowercase

    lowercase Well-Known Member

    I have two of the old Undercover .38s that i picked up for decent prices at local shops.

    Both were apparently "sock drawer guns" that never saw hard service. Finish, lockup, and triggers on both are good. They're good little shooters.

    How are the prices on those guns? If cheap, I'd be tempted to just scoop up all three.

    Here's a pic of my undercovers. One dates from the late 60s, and the other one is from the 70s.


    Here's a better pic:

  5. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    not just spurless but true DAO conversion

    I installed the hammer myself. No instructions for doing so came with the hammer. It is very easy though and took about 15 minutes total time.

    You can look at a schematic of the gun and it will be easy. There is nothing complicated to take apart.

    Remove the grip panels and take the coil spring tension off the hammer by cocking it then pinning it and the pivot ball rod in place with a small finishing nail. There is a hole in the rod that allows that. Remove the hammer screw in the frame and simply pull the hammer out the top of the gun...put new hammer in...replace screw...and reposition the spring and pivot ball...remove small nail.



    If you have any problems with it PM me.
  6. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    The old ones are decent guns. The wife carries a 71 4 inch with pachmeyer grips.
  7. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Well-Known Member

    Make sure the cylinder throats line up square with barrel.
  8. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    I have two. One is from 1987, and I purchased it new that year the day I was sworn in as a LEO. It's tight, smooth, and has a rare (for that era) anodized-aluminum barrel/ejector shroud. The barrel is also a full 2 inches, as opposed to the more common 1.87 inch barrels on snub revolvers. It has a somewhat thicker, checkered wood stock.

    The second dates from 1966, and was my dad's. I don't know when he got it, but he didn't get it new. He also carried it as a LEO in the 1980's, but we weren't in contact back then, and I didn't really know him. We re-connected in the early 2000's, and the gun became mine in 2010 upon his death. It's also a slick shooter, but the smooth wood grip is a little small for my hands.

    The revolvers that hurt the Charter Arms name the most were among those made and sold after about 1990, until about 2002. During that time frame, the company had changed hands and names; the "worst years" seem to be when they operated under the names "Charco" and "Charter 2000."
    The original company is back at the helm and has come a long way to bring back to the market a quality product that remains affordable.
  9. charlie fox

    charlie fox Well-Known Member

    I've owned both the .38 and .44, both made in the early 80's. I found them to be very servicable and easy to carry. I would like to find one from the mid-late 70's without the shroud.
  10. Kymasabe

    Kymasabe Well-Known Member

    Well, I bought the 1978 Undercover .38 with the small wooden grips, and I bought the 1980 Undercover .38 with the big combat grip. The 1969 gun with the three inch barrel is still sitting at the gun shop because...well, basically, I ran out of money. Got the guns for $200 each out the door.
    I hope I didn't pay too much. Pics coming soon.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I bought two of them new in 1968 - 69 or thereabouts.

    Both misfired badly in DA, and there seemed to be no cure for it.
    The first one shot loose in no time, and I got rid of the second one before shooting it enough for the same thing to happen to it.

    Never again, as long as they still sell great old S&W Chiefs Specials that always work and will last longer then I will for about the same money!

  12. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Well-Known Member

    My wife had one briefly. It was a giant pile of fail. It was about as reliable as an RG.
  13. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Well-Known Member

    I have a bulldog pug that I overpaid for, and I paid all of $125. I will never buy another revolver that has a life expectancy. Mine has about reached its expiration date if I go by the rattles and play it has developed in the 2 years that I've owned it, and the roughly 200 standard pressure rounds I've put through it.
    This was an older model with the alloy frame. I do agree with the general sentiment, if you get one new, and its not a lemon, and you only plan on shooting it occasionally, with standard pressure ammo, then it should be just fine.
  14. Russ Jackson

    Russ Jackson member

    David Berkowitz was partial to the 44 bulldog...Russ
  15. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing you are referring to the combo alloy grip frame/trigger guard that CA's have? Or are you talking about the ones with aluminum sleeved steel barrels?

  16. lowercase

    lowercase Well-Known Member

    Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon with a Charter Undercover .38 special.

    Here's a pic of his gun:

    Mine look the same if I put Pachmayr grips on them.
  17. lowercase

    lowercase Well-Known Member

    Congrats! I paid 200 bucks apiece for mine, too.

    As far as the 3-inch model, you just need to practice the fine art of "layaway".

    I used to pass on guns i would otherwise buy because of budget constraints, i.e., I had already spent my gun budget money for the month. After I started putting them on layaway, nothing got away from me. :D
  18. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Well-Known Member

    My mistake, it is a steel framed gun with allow barrel sleeve, grip frame, and trigger guard.
  19. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Well-Known Member

    10-4 Thanks for that info.

    I've been fortunate with the three I have I guess. I convinced my brother they were great. He bought one that looks mint but has had some issues with it...hmmmmm:scrutiny:
  20. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    the old ones look so much better than the new stuff. I had Bad luck story with a charter 2000 357 mag pug. I agree with RC. just my 2 cents

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