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charter bulldog

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by picturerock, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. picturerock

    picturerock Active Member

    Last night I bought a used Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 special. Its not a Charco or Charter 2000, but, I hope, an older more reliable model. I have heard alot of good about the older models, and a lot of bad about the newer. Some have commented that it is an ugly piece, but I thought it looked good! Cylinder lockup was solid, and the barrel looked ok. It came into the gunshop where I saw it from a widow who was selling off her husband's guns.
    So, did I get a good, or a bad, Bulldog? The serial number was either 107104xx, or 104107xx, I don't remember clearly now (its still on the 10 wait at the gunshop).
    Will it handle hotter 44 special loads, or should I stay away from them? It looks like its built like a tank, though.
    Any holster advice? I think I'd like to carry on a belt.
    Thanks for any advice.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    You will have you hands full with regular 44 special. For your sake and the gun don't try hot loads you will ruin it. A orginal CA is a nice pistol but not a 500 rounds each time range gun or for hot loads. Its a shoot so I see how it shoots and carry gun.
  3. bpisler

    bpisler Well-Known Member

    Charter arms bulldogs are very decent
    for the money.I bought a very nice one
    for 150 bucks at a local shop.I would
    stay away from shooting many hot
    loads thru one. They are pretty light
    and can be a handfull with standard
    loads.I carry the 200gr gold dots in my
    3" bulldog.I had to remove some of the front sight to bring up the point of
    aim at 15 yards.I carry mine in a uncle mikes nylon IWB holster,it's not my
    primary carry piece but it works well
    for the local stop and rob.
  4. Moonclip

    Moonclip Well-Known Member

    Good find, what did you have to give? And stainles or blued, bobbed hammer, barrel length? Hard to find in CA, my dad picked up a 3" blued one recently for $200(just like SON of SAMS:uhoh: )

    Don't go overboard shooting it or with hot loads and you will be ok. Charter Arms quality is not as good as S&W generally but no one but them got the 44spl snub concept right. Everyone else makes them too big.

    Charter 2000 let their CA certifications slide it seems.
  5. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Well-Known Member

    Good gun. Fun to shoot a few cylindersful once in a while. I stick with old-style, low-pressure factory loads or the equivalent. Speer #9 says it can take more than that, but *I* certainly cannot. :p

    Try some slow fire at targets for accuracy. I'm astounded by how accurate mine is.

  6. picturerock

    picturerock Active Member

    Its blued, with a two and a half inch barrel. It has the pachmeyr grips on it, which ought to help with absorbing recoil. The fact that it was a California gun was a significant factor in my decision, since it will likely be a long time before I see another one. Their scarcity here was also why I was willing to pay the 250 bucks the shop was asking. I see it as a good gun for hiking or nuggetshooting, as it is light, but ought to pack a whallop in 44spl if I ever really need to shoot it. I have been packing a Ruger bisley, but this Bulldog will be lighter and more compact, in my opinion. Since its a nice gun, but not a showpiece, it won't be a tragedy if it gets knocked about. Thats my thinking, anyway....
  7. magsnubby

    magsnubby Well-Known Member

    The Bulldog, along with the Undercover (.38) is back on the list.
  8. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    The five-shot .44 Bulldog has always been a superb concept; the issue is execution.

    Even back in the Charter Arms days Jeff Cooper criticized the Bulldog as a "cheapie." The few Charter 2000 guns I've handled have been unacceptably rough. One stainless Bulldog would barely even permit the shooter to cock the hammer for single action. Also, they have a real problem with sharp edges on the cylinder latches. Bad news for a concealment gun.

    I did, though, once find an old Charter Arms .38 Undercover in fine condition at an out-of-state gun show -- guy wanted something like $170 -- and it was a decent snubby. Might have bought it if I could.

    Lots of rumors on this forum lately about how Charter 2K is going to make a big re-entry into the market with new revolvers (including a 4" barrel .32 H&R Mag! :cool: ), supposedly with improved quality. Hope that's right.

    If they'd build the .44 Bulldog, in particular, up to, say, Ruger's level of fit and finish, I'd cheerfully pay $350 for one.

    My defense load of choice would be the Winchester Silvertip or Speer Gold Dot .44 Special 200 gr JHPs. I believe both loads were tailor-made for the CA Bulldog. The Winchester is the more mild of the two: expect low velocities of around 700-720 fps, but the round is very shootable and has a good rep for expansion at modest speeds.
  9. jondar

    jondar Well-Known Member

    My Charter Arms Target Bulldog is an "old" one and on the right side of the barrell is "Charter Arms Corp. Stratford, Conn. I'm told that the old ones are marked this way.

    It's a five round cylinder and the bolt cuts are between the chambers, and I wouldn't worry about shooting some +P pressures now and then. I load a 250 grain Keith bullet over enough Unique powder to get around 950 fps and it is a comfortable load to shoot. One person I know has shot the Keith load of 250 grain bullet at 1200 fps, but he says it isn't comfortable to shoot. When I first got it used, the hand bound up, I sent it back to Charter and they repaired it and sent it back at no charge. Can't beat that.
  10. jondar

    jondar Well-Known Member

    "Isn't comfortable to shoot" is the understatement of the year. After posting the above I got curious and took some .44 Special Keith loads (250 grain bullet and 17.5 grains of 2400 powder) that I shoot in a Colt SAA, and loaded 5 in my Charter Bulldog. Took it out to my primitive (but safe) 25 yard range in the back yard. Three was all I wanted to take, but finished out the cylinder. I don't recommend this but if you shoot these loads in your Charter wear a glove on your strong hand. They grouped well but the pain in the web of my thumb and between the first and second fingers was just too much.
  11. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    The Buffalo Bore "Keith-style" .44 Special factory round is rated 255 @ 1000 -- and it comes with a sticker on the box saying that it's approved for any .44 Special gun, "except Charter Bulldog."
  12. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm, interesting! I wonder if they're talking about comfort or safety there...

  13. charliemopic

    charliemopic Well-Known Member

    I shot a "Charter Arms Corp. Stratford, Conn. Bull Dog ,44 Spl. blue with 3" brl. this summer. An elderly guy in the neighborhood gave it to me to check it out, shoot and clean it for him. It had a bobbed hammer and very light trigger that got a lot lighter as it warmed up. My girlfriend and I shot 50 rounds at steel plates. The trigger guard bit into our finger. Not a nice gun to shoot for us anyway.
    Isn't the Charter Arms Bull Dog the gun that 'Son of Sam' guy used? ehh..what a mess.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    I read some where on net that Hi Point people are buying the CA company. That should inprove the QC:D
  15. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Well-Known Member

    I'd use either the Glasers, Silvertips or Gold Dots for serious work. I've got mine (one 3" and one 4") loaded with Glasers. They're my house guns. The problem with carrying them is spare ammo. There's no practical way to carry it. It will be hard to find a decent holster for it. Uncle Mikes will work but I'm not sure you'll find quality stuff. I was lucky... my 4" came with an Alessi Hideout IWB (that was in the late 1970's, bought used but barely fired). :D
  16. WT

    WT Well-Known Member

    I think if Charter Arms focused solely on blue steel revolvers, specifically a .44 Special 3" Bull Dog and a .38 Special 2" Undercover, and made quality products ...... they would do very well.

    I've fired the two revolvers noted and thought that they did okay. They weren't mine so I can't say anything about long term quality. However, CA has a 'rep.'

    Come on, CA! Focus on that niche market and all your employees will be driving Maseratis.
  17. jondar

    jondar Well-Known Member

    The problem with carrying them is spare ammo."

    I'm not sure if they are still made but I have a "wallet" type carrier, the size is about 5"X4"X1/2". It carries 12 rounds which fit in little clips inside. Also have one for .38/357. Brown plastic. It's hard to describe but can post a picture ir wanted. This just slips into either hip pocket. Costs very little.
  18. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Well-Known Member

    Oh, man... I have one of those stashed away somewhere. It's been 15 or 20 years since I've handled it. But you're exactly right... that was the best way to pack extra rounds for the Bulldog. Still kinda clunky though as I recall. :)

  19. Moonclip

    Moonclip Well-Known Member

    $250 is still not too bad for your area, I would have done it also. My dads also came with the Pachmayr and don't forget that all CA grips fit all of the models unless this has changed recently and you could use the small wood grips or the large wood bulldog grips if you wanted to.
  20. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    found that "brown thing"

    ...I knew I had one somewhere. Mine is for 9mm, but the name on the inside is "Case Gard 18" (this one holds 18 rounds of 9mm). Also says "MTM. Molded Products Inc, Dayton Ohio".

    Good Luck!

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