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Charter Arms .44 Special ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by FLA2760, Oct 21, 2016.

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  1. FLA2760

    FLA2760 Member

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    I am considering adding the CA .44 special to my rotation. Does anyone have experience with the Bulldog .44? If you do what is your carry load? Thanks.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Any hard cast SWC at full power will shoot through two legged critters. The 200 Gr Gold Dot factory load is nice and has a good rep. Mine (Old one) likes both. Pictured with Uncle Mikes grips. Recoil is "brisk". I originally bought it for a snake gun and it worked wonderfully for that.
     

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  3. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I carry a bulldog occasionally. Its the 3 inch tapered barrel, I think they call it the classic model. It is light and easy to conceal. I put crimson trace grips on it which also help with recoil over the stock grips. The double action trigger pull isn't bad. In single action the trigger is very light, nice for target shooting, to light for a carry gun IMO. A friend has a bulldog with an equally light trigger,don't know if they are all that light. I bought a box of 180 grain loads with the gun mainly for the brass. They shot about 18 inches low at 15 yards (fixed sights)
    I loaded some 240 grain and they shoot right on. Going by memory I think I have used No. 5 , VV N340 and Win 231.
    Bulldogs are nice guns for the price but well below Ruger or S&W in quality.
     
  4. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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    I carry one ocassionally. Load is a 240 gr xtp in front of 5gr of bullseye. I do not want pass throughs to hit innocent bystanders.
     
  5. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    It's hard to beat 2400 and a 180gr to 220gr bullet in the snubnosed 44spl's.
    1c294e6c-d002-4b74-807e-5d6064902af9_zps8worlmj8.jpg

    Tested those bullets/loads last month in a 2 1/2" bbl'd bulldog. Been carrying a bulldog since the 80's & have tested reloads for them since the 80's. No matter what I try I keep coming back to the the 180gr to 220gr bullets and 2400 powder.
    Top left:
    The "fbi" used to use a 158gr hb hp swc for their 38spl load. The thinking was supposed to be something along the lines of they'd get more fps with a hb bullet design. Coupled with more consistent velocities out of a wide range of firearms. That's my version of the fbi bullet. It's a 220gr hb swc (lyman 429422) that I used a forster hp tool on to make a 210gr hb swc with a cupped hp.
    Bottom left:
    Buffalo bore has a 44spl version of their 158gr/1000fps 38spl p+ load. This is my version of that bb load using a 200gr h&g #142 swc hp. BB uses a 190gr bullet
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=271
    Top right:
    Nothing more than a 220gr hbwc turned backwards. The bullet in the test pictured above were never intended for sd. They were water dropped when cast making them brittle/hard. What the same 9bhn air cooled bullet looks like fired from the same bulldog/load combo.
    44hbwcaround.jpg
    Botton right:
    A 195gr raphine fn hb bullet that I hollow pointed in a forster hp tool. With a cupped hp it weighs 185gr. I need to go back and retest that bullet but this time use some 9bhn alloy. I forgot I cast them out of some hard alloy (15bhn) when I was casting some rifle bullets. Wanted to test them in a 10"bbl'd contender/20,000psi+ loads to see if the hb would hold up. As you can see they didn't expand but on a side note, they need to. These things had excellent penetration. Actually too much penetration, it was a real eye opener.
     
  6. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Yes, I have a pair of the new 2½" Bulldogs (purchased Summer'14). I also ordered a DA Hammer and installed it on one. I still have not made up my mind on the DA Hammer.

    I have developed loads with BE-86 and Trailboss for carry. I especially like the 200gr GoldDots and the 250gr pb HPs from Matt's.

    I load them nowhere near the speeds shown in forrest r's post, staying closer to 800fps with everything.

    BTW, when I chronyed the factory ammo that I had on-hand (PMC 180gr HP and Blazer 200gr GD) they clocked 768fps & 778fps, respectively.

    EDIT:
    Here is a pic of one of my Bulldogs beside the 3" 629 that I bought in Feb'89:
    Bulldog01_zps9a648ce4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
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  7. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    I love the little buggers and use one for my EDC in the fall / winter months. I am currently wearing a Charter 3" Bulldog right now in a Sourdough Pancake holster. I actually have two...the three inch blued classic model with oversize Pachmayr grips is what I'm currently packing, and I keep a stainless 2-1/2" barrel model Bulldog with Crimson Trace laser grips on the nightstand. Both are loaded with Buffalo Bore's 200 grain hard cast Man Stopper wadcutters...a load that they (BB) specifically made for this revolver. I also carry Hornady 165 grain JHP in speed loaders. They work better for fast reloading. More pointy. I load the wadcutters with Quick Strips. For plinking, I use 200-210 grain cast cowboy loads. Charters do not play well with hot 44 Special loads, nor are they warranted. The Man Stopper wadcutters will punch through a man and leave an ugly hole. 'Nough said on them. I generally have one snake shot loaded for copperheads & timber rattlers. They are now active, looking for places to den up. Both of mine group well, a bit low with the lighter bullets, but pretty spot on with the 200-210 grain bullets. All in all, they are a great value as a CCW, just remember not to use hot stuff in them and they will stay nice and tight. Otherwise, use a Model 69 or 629 if ya haveta make big boom-boom.
     
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  8. FLNT4EVR

    FLNT4EVR Member

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    I was originally going to buy the Bulldog in 44 special but decided on the Pit Bull in 45 ACP instead . Ballistics are very similar . Availability of ammunition is what influenced my decision.
     
  9. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    They will get the job done, I used to have one in a blued finish and as others have noted it's not Smith or Ruger but with the right load it will keep you and yours safe, my preferred defense factory load is the federal LSWCHP believe it's 200 grains hitting about 859 fps.
     
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  10. Thomas Traddles

    Thomas Traddles Member

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    I bought the Bulldog in February of this year and carry it regularly. I reload, so cost of ammo is not a concern. I shoot 240 grn RNFPs and 250 grn SWCs. These shoot to sights for me and I am very happy with the gun. Ergonomically, it fits my hand better than any revolver I own. I have even been contemplating purchasing the Police Undercover 6 shot 38 special, which is on the same frame as the Bulldog. I think that would be a good carry piece as well.
     
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  11. JohnnyFlake

    JohnnyFlake Member

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    I also purchased the Pitbull in .45acp. It is a real piece of work. No moon clips needed, very well made, tight and has an excellent trigger pull. I have tried several different factory loads and so far, the Speer 230gn Gold Dot works the best for me, shooting almost exactly to point of aim at 25 feet.
     
  12. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Timely thread; thanks. I just picked up my first Bulldog; 2013 manufacture with less than a box through it. I'm looking at loading the 200 grain Hi-Tek coated Cowboy #5 from Missouri Bullet. I'll probably load up some 240 grain Keith bullets, too. I haven't shot factory-loaded ammo through my revolvers in years, and don't expect to with the Bulldog, either.
     
  13. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

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    I like mine, but I'm not totally happy with it. Most annoyingly, it tends to unscrew its barrel, and then it's a trip to a gunsmith to screw it back. Charter could at least pin it in place. Also, the crane has no lock, so it's asking for trouble if you ever put it down on its right side. Finally, the cylinder is huge - noticeably larger than on its .44 SPL sibling. Oh, and also, mine required shimming. In their infinite wisdom, Charter machined the hammer and the frame to the exactly same thickness, so if all screws are tightened, the side plates jam the hammer solid. Otherwise it's a nice enough gun and I enjoy loading it from 1911 magazines as if they were speed strips.
     
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  14. FLA2760

    FLA2760 Member

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    Thanks for the replies and the ammo recommendations. I will be buying the .44 Bulldog soon. :D
     
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  15. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    The "Bad" News (for me) is that now, thanks to FLNT4EVR & JohnnyFlake, I am thinking about getting a .45acp PitBull. :uhoh:

    :)
     
  16. Old Guy

    Old Guy Member

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  17. Old Guy

    Old Guy Member

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    I would say you are a serious Shooter! Me, a plastic gun person. Ex Scouse.
     
  18. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    A little interesting reading for reloading hardcast & jacketed bullets for the 44spl.

    The nra did a bunch of testing with the 44spl when they switched from the "balloon head cases" to the modern cases that are in use today. The problem was that the pressure of the modern cases was extremely high compared to their ballon headed counterparts and a lot of kabooms were happening. There's a couple of interesting things about this article:
    Noting the psi's they got to compare it to modern testing
    Their choice of bullets. They had to consider "common" bullets that are being used in that time period.
    Their use of 2400 in a lot of the testing.
    http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/44_Special_Articles/NRA - Loads for the 44 Special.pdf
    On a side note:
    They used the old "Harvey" bullets in their tests, those are bullets designed to have/use zinc washer cast into their bases instead of using traditional bullet lube. With the popularity of powder coating bullets, the harvey bullet molds are getting a new lease on life. They can be cast without the zinc washer, the end result is 1 bullet that can be used:
    As it was designed, a swc
    Or as a boat tailed button nosed wc.
    Were the washer is supposed to go in the mold leaves a crimp groove in the bullet and these bullets can be loaded/used/shot as a wc or turned around and used as they were intended, as a swc. I cast/use h&g's #221 (left) (h&g#225 110gr 38spl right), it's supposed to cast a 170gr harvey swc. Without the zinc washer it casts a 180gr swc/wc depending on how you seat the bullet. These light weight bullets are excellent for range time with the snubnosed light weight bulldogs.
    harveyprotxborebullets_zpsruk9hlru.gif

    Well worth looking into, the harvey molds sell for next to nothing and the caster ends up with a wc/swc bullet from the same mold.

    A modern link to the testing Brian Pearce did for the 44spl. Excellent info along with the ability to compare the "new" reloading data with old data like the nra's data posted above.
    http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/44_Special_Articles/Brian Pearce on the 44 Special.pdf

    Personally, I can't say enough good about the 44spl. I't been my favorite caliber for decades. The 1st firearm I bought was a charter arms bulldog & it will be the last firearm I'll own.

    More good reading for the 44spl including the Taffin tests.
    http://www.goodrichfamilyassoc.org/44_Special_Articles/
     
  19. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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    Forrest, what was your bullet testing media?
    And can you please tell us what mold or where you got the HBWC? Thanks
     
  20. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    I've always used tight bundles of newspaper that's been soaked in water for 24 hours/over night. I have no idea if it's the best method or not, just what I've used for decades. It tends to give truer results of how a hp will hold up when hitting living things. Bullets that looked perfect when recovered from water didn't fare so well in wet paper and animals. Paper & water are cheap enough and testing like cloth/leather over the bundles along with bone inside them is simple to do.

    The hbwc is a custom brass mold. It is made by a mold maker named Mihec. I like his hb molds enough that I bought his hbwc molds for the:
    32cal's
    35cal's
    41cal's
    44cal's
    45cal's
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?228670-MiHec-HBWC-Rerun-38-41-44-amp-45-Cal

    Another custom mold maker sells a hbwc for the 44cal's. They have them made in al & brass.
    http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/product_info.php?cPath=37_210&products_id=898

    I do not work or represent either group/mfg/company. I have however bought molds from both of them and I would be hard pressed to say who makes a better product. They both have excellent quality molds and NOE absolutely loves being hands on with all their customers.
     
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  21. Blacksmoke

    Blacksmoke Member

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    I have been looking at that model. Reasonably priced and a useful alternative to my 5.5 inch Redhawk. I usually load the later with 180 Grain Special cartridges for defense against potential human threats. So, I have plenty of ammo on hand.
     
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  22. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I carry mine in the winter months sometimes. Mine has the shrouded hammer, which I like a lot. I don't prefer to carry a revolver with an exposed hammer spur.

    CharterArmsBulldog_zps00d12af0.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  23. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Thanks for the links. Very interesting reading.
     
  24. greenmtnguy

    greenmtnguy Member

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    I'm glad I found this thread! These little cannons have interested me for some time, and I have been thinking of a packing revolver with a bit more barrel and a bit more bore than my S&W 642. I was keen on seeing the 45ACP pitbulls come out too - I handload for 45Colt and 45ACP in my Ruger Blackhawks and this would fit right in..
     
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  25. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Have one of the originals. Occasionally carry it concealed. Main use is for woodworking on the farm. Couple of shot caps and three .429421 hollow points over 6.5 grains of Unique. My lucky gun. I have always found morels in the spring while packing this one.
     
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