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CCW poll: Charter Arms .44 spl vs Ruger SP101 .357 mag

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Juna, Jul 19, 2008.

?

Which one for CCW?

  1. Charter Arms Bulldog Pug .44 spl

    23 vote(s)
    16.0%
  2. Ruger SP-101 .357 mag

    121 vote(s)
    84.0%
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  1. Juna

    Juna Member

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    So I want a small frame revolver for CCW or BUG in a potent caliber. I know .357 magnum is potent, but it can over penetrate. However, it's more widely available and cheaper than .44 special.

    The Ruger has a more rugged reputation, is a bit bigger (maybe harder to conceal), and costs more.

    The Charter Arms is lighter, is a bit smaller, and is cheaper, but it uses more expensive and less widely available ammo (although the ammo doesn't over-penetrate).

    I know the Ruger will likely last me longer, but I think Charter Arms has a lifetime warranty, so it may not matter if they'll replace the gun. Looks like about a $75 difference in price from where I've looked.

    Help me decide! :confused: :D
     
  2. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    you forgot an option for both.they are both good guns. as you have already said the ruger will stand up to more shooting,but I carry my charter more
     
  3. win308

    win308 Member

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    I've owned 2 Charter Arms 44s at various times over the last 20 years. NEITHER would group worth a crap. I mean big groups!! Never again. When I shoot 44 specials in my S&W 44, it is a most accurate cartridge, so I can't explain why the Charters were such bad guns.

    I've owned 4 SP-101s....and I still have 2 of them.....one a 9mm and one a 357. All group fairly well, and only 1 shot poorly...grouped too far to the left as to be unsatisfactory. Sent that one back to the factory at Ruger's expense, and they replaced the barrel and cylinder under warranty. That fixed the problem.

    The SP-101 in .357 will make you shake after about 3 cylinders of magnum ammo....so it's not really a range gun unless you drop down to .38 specials. My pick goes to the Ruger...by a mile. By 10 miles.
     
  4. VegasOPM

    VegasOPM Member

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    I like the Ruger better- more options in ammo and a much better trigger. I really want to like the Charter, but every one that I have tried has a horrific trigger. I also don't love the ballistics of the .44 spl in that short of a barrel. Most of the loads have a hard time breaking 700fps. There is so little demand for serious loadings in.44 spl that the ammo manufacturers don't worry about it- forget trying to find a serious short barrel loading.
     
  5. garyhan

    garyhan Member

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    To me, the question is more one of quality of gun rather than effectiveness of calliber. Both calibers are ok. The Charters I have known were not good quality.

    gary
     
  6. Dan-O

    Dan-O Member

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    I have both. But if it came down to it, I would go with the SP101. I like to load mine with 158 gr. .38 spcl lead semi wad cutters. I also like the fact that the Ruger comes with a front blade that can be replaced much easier than the Charter.

    Here are some pics of both of mine. Sorry, I don't have side by sides of them at this time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. mjrodney

    mjrodney Member

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    I have owned a SP-101 for a number of years and I'm happy with it.

    Only once did I pick up and fire a Pug, and in comparison, the quality didn't seem to be there.

    Simply cocking the hammer had me thinking that there are a lot of parts in that handgun that don't quite fit together well enough. It was actually "noisy" when you work the action.

    It did send rounds downrange, though.
     
  8. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Ideally I'd like to have an SP in .44 Special.
     
  9. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    i like the concept of the C.A. .44spl snubbie, but no one has been able to produce one of a relavant size to the J frame sized guns that was worth a crap.....except Taurus who dropped the line altogether....

    the C.A. .44spl snubbies ive owned were not of descent quality, and IF you get one that is it is more of the exception than the norm.
     
  10. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    I love the .44 Special cartridge, especially in a snub, and I considered both of these guns in 2005.

    In the end, far too many complaints about Charter quality and the non durability of the Bulldog led me to go with the SP101, and I'm very happy with that decision.
     
  11. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    The manufacturer(s) have been in and out of business multiple times.

    I'd be going with the Ruger, myself.
     
  12. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Ruger SP-101 .357 Magnum, by far~! ;)
     
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The Charter undercover I had in no way could compare in quality. I'd rather carry a Rossi, personally, than a Charter. Rossi did have a nice little .44 special for a while, but it's no longer available. The SP101 is a high quality revolver and .357 magnum is a superior caliber. I don't buy into the big/slow myth.
     
  14. DevilDog0402

    DevilDog0402 Member

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    Exactly, a warranty doesn't do you any good when the company goes bankrupt/out of business.

    My money would go to the Ruger.
     
  15. CHEVELLE427

    CHEVELLE427 Member

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    44 Bull Dog Target

    i picked this 44spl up a long time ago ($100) it shoots great and groups good. i have just now started playing around with it more, working on a load for it.


    44 BULL DOG Target
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Imaginos

    Imaginos Member

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    GunBlasts.com had a god review of the Charter.
    However, I looked at a Charter 44 Bulldog at the gunshop recently, and I could not get the cylinder open. Neither could the store clerk who just put it back in the case after I said I wasn't interested.
    I have the SP101 as my main CCW.
     
  17. weisse52

    weisse52 Member

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    My experience with both has convinced me that the answer to this question is:

    RUGER..
     
  18. Juna

    Juna Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. Looks like this is a good and informative poll.
     
  19. Dr. Snubnose

    Dr. Snubnose Member

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    I carry a Pair of Ruger Sp101s .357 mags as an EDC..Both guns have more than 50,000 hot loads through em and never a hiccup or problem...My vote would go to Ruger for strength and dependability....Doc:D
     
  20. rdrancher

    rdrancher Member

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    Now we're talkin!

    rd
     
  21. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    Or in .40, with moonclips.
     
  22. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Member

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    Or in 9mm. Oh, wait...:p

    This all depends on whether you're comparing the payload or the platform. .44 Special is a marvelous round, but I don't think the Bulldog does it justice. Recoil is stiff, the trigger is unpredictable, and certain engineering decisions make me wonder. The cylinder latch is a real weak-point in the design. It's an odd, fragile arrangement that's hard to work under stress and prone to breakage.

    I find the Ruger to be easier to shoot (I was shocked how well it handles .357), has a smooth trigger and is likely more durable over the long haul. Their end-user support is also better if the gun ever needs work. Replacement parts are easier to find.

    Now, onto caliber. .357 (or good .38 +P) is easy to find and cheaper than .44 Special. I've never been convinced that overpenetration is a real-world problem with .357. You have a much wider variety of factory loadings to choose from, and the Ruger can handle just about any of them.

    OTOH, the Charter Bulldog is one of the reasons most manufacturers load their .44 Specials a bit on the weak side. It's an accurate cartridge with great ballistics when loaded right, but loaded too hot, it can inflict serious stress on a small frame like the Bulldog. The major companies don't want customers complaining that "your ammo blew up my gun!", so they go mild with the loadings.

    There's nothing wrong with those loadings. In fact, several are quite good for self-defense, but I'd like to have a little more latitude in choice of ammo. *

    In short, go with the Ruger. The SP101 is a fine gun.

    (*) Which is why I carry an L-Frame .44 Special, but it's larger and heavier.
     
  23. Juna

    Juna Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the great replies! So I found a used, never fired SP-101 locally in .357 mag. What is a good price? Not too familiar with these.
     
  24. rdrancher

    rdrancher Member

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    Tom Serva - Yep, the SP is the perfect .357 Mag platform.

    Juna - I traded for mine so I can't help you out there. Sorry.
     
  25. Fishman777

    Fishman777 Member

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    sp101

    I don't own any charter arms firearms, but I can't imagine that charter arms designs are better than Ruger designs. I think that Ruger designs are the best revolver designs in the industry. Others may disagree, but that is their right. I don't believe that Ruger's QC is very good, but from what I've heard this seems to be an industry-wide trend.

    I would not buy a .44 special revolver unless you intend to reload. Buying factory .44 special is an excercise in futility and it will drain your wallet. I'd recommend sticking with .357 magnum in a sp101 or even a gp100. .44 special can be a great defense cartridge, but I think that .357 magnum is still more effective. I'd get the sp101 and use 110 grain .357 JHP rounds.
     
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