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Charter Arms .44 Special?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by AZAndy, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. AZAndy
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    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    Anyone care to share their thoughts on these? I suddenly have a hankering for a .44 Special, and it looks like Charter is the only thing going nowadays (except for a Ruger single action, which isn't something I'd want to carry). I have the impression that Charter doesn't have a sterling reputation, but have no personal experience with one.

    Thanks!
     
  2. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I've owned Charter 38's in the past. No problems, although I admit I didn't try to wear them out or anything.

    The 44's I've looked at have all be the older ones, and they've all been pretty loose. No idea of course what the history of them is, or what load had been fired in them. Back in the day there were only a couple of 44 Special loads on the market, so handloaders tried to turn them into "Mini-magnums" so to speak.

    If I wanted a 44 Special, and I'm a big fan of the 44 special cartridge, I'd look for a Taurus 431. K-frame size, five shot 44 Special. It's just a little bigger than the Charter. I had one not long ago, but sold it to help pay for a Smith & Wesson Model 69, 44 Magnum.

    I've got two Uberti 1871/72 Open Tops in 44 Special to satisfy my 44 Special craves.
     
  3. joed

    joed Member

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    I owned one bought new in 2005, worst piece of junk I ever owned. The cylinder would bind, it shaved bullets badly and was terribly inaccurate.

    I was so disappointed in the first outing that I sold it, bought a Taurus and never looked back.

    Others report good luck with Charter, but mine was a bad enough experience that I would never own another.
     
  4. Kaeto

    Kaeto Member

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    I think 2005 was before the current owners got the company. The revolvers made before the current owners are rightfully called junk, but the current batch are quite good. My daily carry is a Charter Undercover Southpaw, and I've never been disappointed in it.
     
  5. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I bought a pair of NIB stainless Bulldogs during Summer'14.

    The fit'n'finish could be better, the front sights are tall & sharp (easily fixed), the outside bottom corners of the triggers (prior to mod) tend to gnaw holes in my fingers during DA and both bores show some chatter marks ...

    ... but ...

    Lockup is relatively tight, the little pistols are accurate for what they are and they are very handy and comfortable in my hands ... and I got 2 for less than the price of one NIB S&W 624 (which I would dearly love to have ;)).

    I am a reloader, so I can feed the pistols more easily and also tailor the loads to my needs & wants.
     
  6. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    I own an older .44 Bulldog and a new .38 Undercover,,,

    I own an older .44 Bulldog and a new .38 Undercover,,,
    By older I mean it does not have the ejector shroud.

    Mine is a very fine gun,,,
    Nice bright steel and a tight lockup.

    The dang thing shoots as if it were the Hammer of Thor.

    The new .38 does not have the polish of the older gun,,,
    I believe they spin this lack of finish by calling it "Brushed Stainless".

    Nevertheless,,,
    I think they both are fine guns.

    I also own several S&W revolvers of old and new vintage,,,
    The only practical difference seems to be the finish of the metal.

    Aarond

    .
     
  7. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    Hickock45 has a good video of the Bulldog. I had one as my EDC for about a year, and was pleased with it. I carried and shot 200gr Nosler JHPs with it, just a little buzz in the hand, but pleasant to shoot and certainly accurate enough for social work. Keep in mind, the Bulldog was the first gun used by Air Marshals, loaded with Glazer Safety Slugs.

    I ended up trading mine off after I got my S&W Model 69, which has become my favorite DA revolver. I found that it carries all day as comfortably as the Bulldog, is softer shooting and has .44 Magnum capability. It's an L-frame instead of an N-frame.
     
  8. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    The Bulldog is a fine revolver with some caveats.
    It's light weight means it recoils sharply
    the fit and finish are not as good as more expensive guns, but as noted it also costs dramatically less.
    they seem durable but I haven't shot a "lot" with it since I find the recoil somewhat unpleasant. Very difficult to maintain a proper grip for succeeding shots.
    since it's so light it carries well.
     
  9. weblance

    weblance Member

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    I have a 44 Bulldog made in 2014. Its a fine revolver. DFrame has it correct, though I dont find recoil unpleasant.

    Factory 44 Special ammo is difficult to find in the Gun Shops, and expensive. It is a great cartridge to reload.

    All Charters are built on the same grip frame, so all aftermarket grips fit the Bulldog.

    Charter now offers a 45ACP Pitbull. If it was available when I bought my 44 Special, I would have bought the 45 instead. 45 ammo is easily available, and fairly cheap.

    If your only going to carry 5 shots, you might as well make them as BIG as possible.
     
  10. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I own two Charter Arms. One is a 32 H&R magnum Undercoverette. One is a 44 special Bulldog with a shrouded hammer. I like them both okay.

    Cons - They look and feel kinda cheap. I guess it's the alloy frames, and it seems like they are assembled with more pins and less screws. The triggers feel oddly toy-like.

    Pros - They go bang every time. The triggers feel toy-like somehow, but they are better than average and decently light. They are reasonably accurate for snubbies with fixed sights - plenty good enough for SD.

    I prefer my S&Ws and Rugers. But Smiths in those calibers are more than I am willing to pay, and Ruger didn't happen to have them when I was looking (they have several different 327 revolvers now). I ended up getting the Bulldog and the Undercoverette gently used for very good prices.

    I don't love them, but I have had them both for over a year and taken them to the range many times. They have functioned perfectly and I trust them enough for SD. In fact, the Bulldog was in my back pocket this morning when I was walking the dog.

    Taurus is also making a 44 special snub. It is also an alloy frame, maybe just a little bit bigger than the Bulldog. I own them both. The Taurus looks nicer. It is as reliable and accurate as the Bulldog, but the Bulldog has a shrouded hammer, so it is the one I carry.

    No doubt a similar S&W would look nicer and have a better trigger. If I happen to run across an affordable one I might buy it. Until then the Bulldog is perfectly adequate.

    CharterArmsBulldog_zps00d12af0.jpg
     
  11. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    I dig mine - and it's one of the wrongly called "junk" guns.

    I don't know how old it rightly is but I traded an old Scout II soft top for it in, I think, 83 or so.

    The PO used it as shop security in his business then I beat hell outa it; open carry, CCW, "truck gun" under the seat, car gun in the well of several trunks...

    Shoots great, cleans easily, has a surprisingly effective and low profile adjustable rear sight and is very pleasingly accurate. Speed loaders are as slick or slicker in this than any other revolvers I use them in.

    These things point very naturally for me and the .44 packs a whole lotta whomp. I would not consider it much a plinker as the ammo is a bit dear and the weight is low enough to miss it after 4-5 cylinders of 5 rounds.

    I once had the often commented upon loosened screws but completely cleaned male and female threads, reassembled and haven't had one come loose in, literally, decades.

    Me, I dig 'em and don't mind so much the folks who trash-talk them as it keeps the prices down. Been one of my favorite firearms to give as a gift if it fits and not one person has been less than thrilled with them.

    attachment.jpg
    [​IMG]

    Todd.
     
  12. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

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    Mine from 1974. I use Buffalo Bore all copper bullets in it. Or their full wadcutter load.

    nibbi2.jpg
     
  13. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    I have much love for revolvers.

    That said, what does this .44 Special do that a Glock 27 or the Compact M&P .40 don't also do, but with four or five more rounds?

    The G27 is actually smaller than the Bulldog, I'm fairly sure.
    I did fire a G27 once. Not what I'd call a "recreational" pistol. But then, I rather doubt the .44. Special in a small-frame revolver feels like a handful of rose petals.
     
  14. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Well, it fires .44spc cartridges, for one. DUH! :)
     
  15. popeye
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    popeye Contributing Member

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    I bought a used .44 spec. C.A. that had an alloy frame and 2.5" barrel. It had oversize wood grips on it (factory). Shot it once and put it up for sale. Maybe on this forum. Sold it to a gentleman in Texas. I got him on the phone and he said he wanted it for his wife. I told him before I sell it to you, know that it kicks like a mule. He told me his wife was gonna carry it in her apron loaded with shot shells. She wanted it for rattlesnakes she occasionally ran across in her garden. I did not like that gun.
     
  16. golden

    golden Member

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    I have an old 3 inch barreled model

    My advice is to try before you buy. Recoil with anything but the mild factory loads can be hard on the shooter. I found the WINCHESTER Silvertips worked well, but are expensive and not easy to find.

    I bought mine in the late 1980's and put PACHMAYR Compact grips on mine and MAGNA PORTED it. This made it a lot more shootable, but like I said. TRY IT FIRST!

    Jim
     
  17. Drail

    Drail Member

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    After handloading for and carrying a Charter Bulldog Pug about 30 years the BEST factory load I have found for that gun is the CCI/Speer 200 gr. Gold Dot round. Anything heavier/faster than that is only going to shorten the service life of the lightly built Charter. If you handload - any 200 gr. bullet moving at 850 to 900 fps. is plenty of cowbell. A 180 to 200 gr. full wadcutter does "interesting" things to soft targets also. Think of the Charter as a light duty truck - if you over load it you'll be replacing it before long.
     
  18. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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    Ok, liked to shot spit all over my iphone laughing so hard!
     
  19. AZAndy
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    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts, all. I see that Davidson's has some of the hammerless model in stock... looks like I need to order a new set of dies for the press!
     
  20. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    You and me both. :D
     
  21. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    I have had some 38 44 and they all did a good job. I would not be afraid to buy one to day. Good Luck
     
  22. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    .44 Special is ballistically similar to .45acp. 200 gr doing about 900fps sound familiar?
     
  23. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    That ... is the best analogy on this subject that I have ever seen.

    Thanks, Drail!
     
  24. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...only thing going nowadays..." Boss at the gun shop I worked in had one. Friggin' thing weighs 19 ounces. He worked up a 265 grain load at one point that cracked the grips when he fired it. Mind you, his 7 year old(at the time) son shot the thing with no fuss. And Pachmayr makes grips.
    Your other alternative is any .44 Mag and just use .44 Special ammo or load Mag cases to Special velocities.
     
  25. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Pachmayr grips make a world of difference - the wooden stocks are just CRUEL after about 10 rounds. When I bought my Bulldog back in '87 I fired it exactly one time with the wood stocks - and then replaced them with Pachmayrs. MUCH better.
     
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