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Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog -- worth buying?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by bestseller92, Oct 19, 2009.

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  1. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    I find myself wanting a .44 Special snubby really badly these days. I don't need it, I want it.

    I had a Rossi .44 Special 3" in the early 90s and loved it; hated having to get rid of it, but along about '96 I hit something of a hard-time skid and had to sell a few things.

    Now I'd like another .44 Special. Problem is, neither Rossi nor Taurus makes one anymore and I can't even find used ones on the internet auction sites.

    I can get a new Bulldog from Charter Arms, but I'm a little leery of Charter quality, with all the things I've read lately.

    I know they have a lifetime guarantee, and that's good, but I'd prefer to avoid the headache of having to send it back multiple times. I want a gun that's right, right out of the box.

    So my question is, for a gun that probably won't see hard use (a couple hundred rounds or so a year is probably what'll be shot through it), is the Charter up to snuff? Is their quality good enough to plunk down $350 or so for a new Bulldog, or is the risk of getting a lemon just too high?

    Is the Charter Bulldog worth buying these days, or should I resist my .44 Special yearning?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Thingster

    Thingster Member

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    I was interested in one until I saw the price they're selling for anymore. Almost all the ones i'm finding are selling in the $400-$425 range. $300, sure, $350 maybe, but $400? No way for me. At that price point I'd start shopping for a Taurus 2" 44 mag.

    I have two friends that have owned new production charter revolvers and they have nothing horrible to say about them. They're cheapish, the go bang when you pull the trigger, but it can take a team of mules to get the trigger moving and one one (a pink lady) the chambers must not have been polished as it liked to stick cases.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  3. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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    I think it would be worth the money. I've heard some good things about them. So, go ahead and scratch that itch.
     
  4. medmo

    medmo Member

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    I have had one for years with no problems. It's surprisingly accurate for it's size. I also don't shoot it much and when I do it's with mild reloads. I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it but it was definitely below $300. I have read all kinds of opinions about them here on THR. My experience has been good and got my money's worth. If you are seriously considering one check out the Eagle Secret Service grips for concealment.
     
  5. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    I had a .44 Bulldog Pug and liked it. Never had any issues, wish I'd never sold it.
     
  6. kanook

    kanook Member

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    Had one, sold it, want it back.
     
  7. lloveless

    lloveless Member

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    I have one, I like it-though I wish it could take ammo like Buffalo Bore in .44 spcl. Knowing what I know now I'd have opted for a smith, taurus, or Rossi in .44 spcl.
    lloveless
     
  8. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I don't care about the Charter not taking the +P ammo. Standard stuff is fine with me; I have a Super Blackhawk if I wanna spit out .429s at high velocity.

    I do notice that the Charters have gone up maybe 25% in price over the last few years.

    I'll continue to research, look for a good price or a Rossi or Taurus that might pop up.
     
  9. Kingofthehill

    Kingofthehill Member

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    Their price used to be the selling point. now that they have gone up, its not worth it to me. There are now in a price bracket that puts it with better quality revolvers IMO..

    JOe
     
  10. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    That's true, but then, there really are no other new options in a snubby .44 Special.
     
  11. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Member

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    I picked up an early '70s vintage Stratford Bulldog a couple months ago for $325. It's in very good condition, shoots great, and is surprisingly accurate. I have been carrying it with Speer 200gr GDHPs and with 180gr WCs over 6.5gr of Unique, and I feel very well armed. One must remember of course that it's not a Smith, but it's still pretty nice.
     
  12. j21blackjack

    j21blackjack Member

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    I got lucky and found an early 80's model in my local pawn shop for $200. It was a 3" in excellent condition. It was a great gun, but I sold it a while back. Man, it was fun to shoot.
     
  13. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Member

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    It seems like I've seen more used Bulldogs for sale in the last six months than ever. I wonder if the ammo cost and scarcity is making non-reloaders get out of the .44SPL business.
     
  14. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    The design of the Charter Arms is only so-so, and the workmanship is shoddy, in my opinion. Still, for $285 it would be a reasonable buy. Not for the $400+ they're asking for it.

    The gun is not designed for a lot of shooting and is too flimsy for my tastes. A good .357 will give you much better stopping power, plus you can shoot .38 Specials if you want.

    My CA's .38 would constantly bind on me, and my Bulldog had a horrible trigger. I found I was much more comfortable with a Ruger .357 Speed-Six, though it was a little heavier. The Bulldog was just too light-framed and is clearly at the bottom of the heap. A Taurus or Rossi would, I think, be much better buys.
     
  15. rd2007

    rd2007 Member

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    I shot a Charter .357 Magnum a few times and it feels like you're shooting straight out of your hand. Pretty fun, but my wrist was hurting the next day.
     
  16. Dan-O

    Dan-O Member

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    I have not looked in a while, but aren't everyone else's prices going up too?

    I have two Charter .44 Specials, and I love them. I have 4 Charter revolvers in total, and I love them all.
     
  17. Thingster

    Thingster Member

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    Everyone's prices are up, but for the same price you can pick up a new SP101 or for less, a used tracker like this one
    http://thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5986561&postcount=1

    If you HAVE to have a .44 spl, it's your only option at the price point but there are much better guns at the same price point.
     
  18. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Member

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    All my SAAs are 44's. except 3, mainly 44 special.

    I own and carry a Charter Arms 3" Bulldog and love it.200gr GDHP oir 200gr STHP for carry and for shooting I handload 200gr RNFP.

    Great shooter and a real joy to ownh.
     
  19. blacksan

    blacksan Member

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    I had one for several years and shot some horrendously hot hand-loads (for that gun) through it until I actually bent the crane. I sent it back to Charter and they replaced the stuff I screwed up for no charge. I toned down the loads and only shot cast through it for a few more years until a buddy bought it from me. It was an accurate (big surprise) and fun gun to shot.
     
  20. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    I already have an Sp101 .357. It's superb. But I still have my .44 Special itch, too.
     
  21. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Charter arms 44 special

    I have the older Charter Arms bulldog made in 1980 at the Stratford Conn plant and have carried it IWB on occasions. It is blue with wood grips and a 3" barrel. They are fine guns for the money . I have 4 charter arms revolvers and have a very good opinion of them and no trouble to speak of. Now I wish I could say the same for some of my S&W revolvers. That said, It gives me great piece of mind just looking at those big 44 lead bullets when it is carried or used as my truck gun.
     
  22. 1911austin

    1911austin Member

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    They tend to leave a lasting impression on bad guys as well.
     
  23. Radaray

    Radaray Member

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    Are you sure Taurus isn't making the model 445 any more? I have one that I've not had all that long (it has their locking mechanism on the hammer) and is a good piece. I like the caliber too, and is a good carry gun, albeit a pretty thick frame.

    I purchased mine along with a Taurus model 605 at the same time. Got them both for under $600.00. Maybe it's been longer than I thought? ;) Like them both.
     
  24. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    Last time I checked the Taurus website, maybe a year back, they still had a picture of their .44 Special but it said "Discontinued". And I can't find any at the auction sites, either.
     
  25. Tom Henry

    Tom Henry Member

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    The name Charco jumped out when I read your post. I thought Charco no longer owned the company that manufactures these revolvers.
    I have a charco bulldog pug in 44spl that I bought new for its light weight sometime in the early to mid 90's. The only reason I still have it is because I cannot find it in me to sell such a unreliable gun.
    I have many handguns and while I don't consider myself an expert, I would stay away from this revolver if it is a Charco.
    Maybe I bought a lemon, but once burned.....

    Tom
     
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