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charter bulldog

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

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  1. picturerock

    picturerock Member

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    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.
     
  2. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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.

    StrikeEagle
     
  6. picturerock

    picturerock Member

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    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 Member

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

    P. Plainsman Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    "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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    StrikeEagle
     
  13. charliemopic

    charliemopic Member

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    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.
     
  14. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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

    obiwan1 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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. :)

    StrikeEagle
     
  19. Moonclip

    Moonclip Member

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    $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 Member

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    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!
     
  21. GaryP

    GaryP Member

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    The Serial numbers you posted appear to be more recent than the early model bulldogs. I purchased my Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Spl NIB in 1980 # 713xxx. I carry it in a Bianchi 5BHL and stoke it with Georgia Arms 200 gr Gold Dot HPs.
    I suggest keeping loads in the 800 to 950 FPS range due to the Bulldog's light frame.

    On a side note per January, 2006 issue of Shooting Times, page 48 MKS Supply Inc. of Dayton, Ohio has entered into an agreement with Charter Arms to perform all sales, marketing, and distribution of Charter Arms brand firearms.


    :evil:
     
  22. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...ought to help with absorbing recoil..." Yep. The one that was the store gun in the shop I worked in long ago had been fired with hot 240 grain loads, as I recall. Cracked the stock grips. Pachmayrs tame the recoil of the 19 oz hand cannon considerably. The owner's son, about 7 at the time, had no trouble shooting it with the epoxy repaired cracked grips, though.
    Seems to me, HKS made a speedloader for it.
     
  23. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Member

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    I have one of those "ammo wallets". That is how I carried spare ammo. Clunky and not very practical and not at all fast for reloads.
     
  24. carolinaman

    carolinaman Member

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    Hi there,

    I looked at a brand new Charter Arms Bulldog .44 special in the dealers display case two months ago. I handled it and was disappointed in the small extractor and the fact I could rotate the cylinder with my hand past the cylinder stop with the hammer cocked.

    Sadly, it didn't inspire confidence and I hope it was a fluke that it was the only one with that issue.

    Chris
     
  25. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    I totally agree with your sentiment. I would say blue and stainless with barrel lenghts on the .44 from 3" - 4" and on the .38 from 2" to 3" to 4". I would by 3, as I am a big fan of a 3" barrel in the .38 or .357 for defensive shooting...

    Just hard to find good (new) revolvers that you don't have to sell organs to buy....
     
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