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Anyone use/own a Charter Arms revolver?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by flinter58, Nov 19, 2007.

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  1. flinter58

    flinter58 TS Member

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    I have carried and used the S&W 442 for years - a 5 shot 38, mine shoots to the sights and is light - un-noticed in my pocket.....
    I also carry it fishing loaded with shot-loads for snakes----I know nothing about the Charter Arms gun.
    I also have a SIG P220 and several Gov. Models - if I carry on a belt I go with a 45 - if I just want a pocket pistol I uses the S&W 442......lighter is better.
     
  2. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The S&W may cost twice as much as the Charter Arms but it is at least twice the gun. If you intend to carry for self defense you owe it to yourself to carry a quality piece that you can depend on. Get the S&W and shoot the heck out of it.
     
  3. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who has a Charter Arms .38 alloy snub-nose he uses for concealed carry.

    He practices with it regularly (at least once a month), and has not experienced any failures or issues. He estimates he's put 400 to 500 rounds through it over the course of the last year.

    Is it an S&W? No, of course not.

    So, instead of lasting 100,000 cycles like the S&W, the Charter Arms gun may only last 50,000 cycles...is that enough?

    Are you going to use it on a daily basis? If so, get a S&W.
     
  4. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    I have an old Charter Arms "Target Bulldog" .44 spl around here someplace. It functions------but's nowhere near the quality of a S&W. If you're gonna' bet your LIFE on it, go with the Smith.

    John C. Saubak
     
  5. Hauxfan

    Hauxfan Well-Known Member

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    Son of Sam used to own one.

    Hauxfan!
     
  6. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    FWIW, I've broken the firing pin once in the Charter Bulldog I mentioned above, dry firing as I recall. OTOH, I once broke the firing pin in a $1200 Freedom Arms .454 Casull the same way.

    John C. Saubak
     
  7. RFGA2

    RFGA2 Member

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    Go with a Taurus!


    Bob
     
  8. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    S&W Model 36, .38 cal. Chief Special, get the steel one not the air weight.HMB
     
  9. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    I have used a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog and their .38 Special revolvers as well. They are very rough, cheaply made, but functional. The Smiths I have are rather well made and well finished and cost twice as much. I'd select the Smith myself, just for the finish and quality, but I'd have confidence in the Charter as well. I never had one fail or give me reason to question their reliability. Taurus also makes a decent "light" revolver in Titanium. A good used Colt would serve well too. As a side note, the only two "quality" problems I've ever had with a revolver were with Smith and Wessons. I had one lock up after firing a half cylinder full of ammo. It reqired the intervention of the local gunsmith/dealer, since it had to be dissaembled to unload it. The hand wasn't the proper length and was incorrectly fitted from the factory. You can have a problem with any manufacturer's work.
     
  10. 100straight

    100straight Member

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    I carried a Charter Arms Undercover in .38 Special for over 10 years. I bought it used for $100, and sold it for $100. It shot just fine for what I needed. I never had to shoot anyone with it, but I shot quite a bit of paper with it and it never missed a beat. I would buy another one without question. Probably a .44 though.

    Shoot well and often,

    Mark.
     
  11. spritc

    spritc Active Member

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    If you really want one that will stand up to the rigors of carry and practice, try a Ruger security six snubby in stainless. You can find them for around $300-$350 and I guarantee you won't be able to hurt it.

    Steve
     
  12. Steve-CT

    Steve-CT TS Member

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    I own and carry both the Charter Bulldog Pug in .44 SPL and an OLDER (emphasis on older) S&W Bodyguard .38 (Airweight).

    Is S&W a BETTER gun for the money??? If you're talking about an OLD S&W - yes.

    A NEW S&W??????????? I wouldn't be so fast to automatically render judging it a "better" gun than a Charter Arms revolver. S&W has been turning out more than its fair share of turkey tins with barrels on them in the past 5-10 years.

    Some of the newer S&Ws are truly ATROCIOUS both in fit & finish AND reliability.

    The Charter is equally as strong a design as S&W - if not STRONGER. (I'm comparing Undercovers to Chiefs, here, not N-frames) The weight is similar.

    Charter is using a one piece forged steel receiver, steel cylinder and barrel.
    It's crane alignment is perpendicular with the frame - not bisected down the middle like S&Ws and Colt revolvers.. The only "cheap part" on the Charter is the grip frame which is nothing more than machined alumninum alloy and is secured to the frame by means of screws forming the trigger guard and backstrap - neither of which are critical functioning components needing to be strong. S&W - machines the backstrap and trigger guard from the same billet, while being "nicer" - it's also more wasteful and costly and adds NOTHING to the revolver's strength or serviceability. S&W is also carving half of the right side of the receiver off the gun and covering it with a precision milled and fitted side plate secured to the frame by screws.

    If an S&W shoots its ejector rod loose - it will lock up under the barrel inside the front, spring loaded plunger that holds the front of the ejector rod in place. If a Charter's ejector rod gets loose - nothing happens since it isn't interfacing with any other functioning part of the gun.

    You can open the cylinder on a Charter by pulling the ejector rod forward and popping the cylinder out, or use the conventional cyl. release (not practical on shrouded models)

    The only thing I ever had happen with my Bulldog is the crane was not aligned right and caused misfires on a chamber. This was fixed when I walked into the plant, in Shelton, CT, spoke to Nick Ecker in person and had the gun refitted with another crane and tested on the spot. 200 rds later - no problem.

    I've had that same misfire problem with a Ruger Redhawk - NIB and I've had S&W
    L-frame NIB- BIND IN ROTATION and not be able to fire! I've had an S&W 500 break on its FIRST shot. I've had a newer S&W 637 that had a barrel that you couldn't even call "rifled" and it couldn't keep a round on the paper at 15 feet.

    My Bulldog can group inside two inches at 15 feet ALL DAY LONG with DOUBLE ACTION firing.

    In contrast, my old, 1970s era Boadyguard is a gem and I love it. But I carry the Bulldog more often. The best bullet to use for the Charter Bulldog is the Federal 200 gr LSWC-HP. When Charter unveilved the Bulldog Pug oringally in the 1980s, Federal responded with that load tailored to the Pug. It's a sweet round.

    Remington's 200 gr LSWC in contrast, is too powerful for the Bulldog. Their test bed gun was a Ruger Blackhawk and ballistically speaking, the Remington load is basically the old .44 Magnum "medium velocity" police load that was discontinued in the early 1980s and basically it's load was stuffed into .44 SPL cases. The paper ballistics of those two loads is 90% identical. Too stiff for the Bulldog.

    I know these things to be a fact. I worked in the Charter plant in the summer of 1987, I knew Dick Ecker (the current owner's father) and I knew the Remington Ballistics people who tested the loads.

    I would consider a Charter. Before carrying it, shoot it 250-300 times to make sure everything's working well. Nick does a good job with customer service.

    Use standard velocity loads and practice with them and you'll find the Charters to be a "sleeper" bargain. Their actions are also easy to tune with their coil springs and their parts require almost no precision fitting and can be easily dressed and replaced making the guns smoother. They're a little rough coming off the line at first. And I have noticed some tool "chatter" in the bore of my Bulldog - which causes it to be less than Match accurate - but still more than adequate for what it was designed to do.
     
  13. Don Steele

    Don Steele Well-Known Member

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    I've carried a Charter .38 for something like 20 yrs. Hundreds of practice rounds, double-tap @ 7-10 yds. I practice with mid-range 38's and carry Glasers and/or Gold Dot rounds in it. NEVER had a failure. There have been occasions when I felt like circumstances dictated that I carry "more gun". (I used to ride my motorcycle with kind of a rough crowd...) In those instances, I'd go with a .45 auto, or an Ithaca 12 ga. M&P w/ pistol grip under my long oilskin duster. The bottom line for me is that the Charter has NEVER failed to function, and it's lightweight and good handling characteristics mean that I'll have it on me, AND be able to hit what I'm aiming at within the ranges expected of close interpersonal defense situations.
    The Best, baddest,super-hot weapon is worthless if it's in the drawer at home when you need it.
     
  14. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    JoeE,

    If you're looking for comments from people that have used/owned them a LOT, you'll get mostly positive comments, whatever you're asking about.

    A young fella' commented to me once how he'd always seen me mounted on GOOD horses~~~~~in reply I thanked him for the compliment and then said "I've rode a few that wasn't much good too,------but I didn't ride 'em very long."

    John C. Saubak
     
  15. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Reading this makes me think that I am the luckiest guy ever because I actually have a collection of S&W revolvers that all work and have never broken. Silly me wasting all that time and ammo on a few wheel guns when I could have had a truck load of Charter Arms guns that I didn't shoot much.
     
  16. Roger IL

    Roger IL TS Member

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    I have a Charter Arms 44 Special Bulldog Pug(1980s model). It is as tight today as it was when I bought it. I did have the trigger cleaned up but I have had that done to all revolvers I own. It is a good belly gun............Roger
     
  17. 5screw

    5screw TS Member

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    Get the 442. I have carried all sorts of stuff over 40 years. Mostly 1911s and big S&Ws. Owned some Charter .38s and none of those were what I would like to depend on daily. I now have a 442 that I just drop in my pants pocket and go. Handiest defense gun I ever had and shoots well also. Just don't load it with light weight jacket hollowpoints. Not enough bbl to make them expand. I settled on 158 lead SWC hollowpoints and they stop varmints great. Here on the farm we encounter 4 legged stuff mostly.


    Bob
     
  18. lightfoot

    lightfoot TS Member

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    I carry a S&W 442. Love it. I’ve carried it about every way you can image. In a holster, in my pants pocket, in my coat pocket, in waist band of my bathing suit, in my sports jacket pocket, etc. It’s small, lightweight, and very concealable. Highly recommended.
     
  19. Steve-CT

    Steve-CT TS Member

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    Sky Buster, I respectfully disagree with your statement about "resale" value on S&W revolvers vs. Charter. The truth is NEITHER has good resale value.

    I paid almost $400 for my dog of a S&W 637 in May of 2003. I couldn't find anyone wanting to buy it; it was in excellent condition when I went to sell it
    (after shooting it for 50-100 rds and realizing I bought a DOG). After a few months of milling around various gun stores and clubs - I got as a trade in value - ........... $175! Box, papers, cleaned and barely a drag mark on the cylinder! Cash value would have been ...... $125!!!

    I traded the gun for a pre-warning label Ruger MK-1 bull barrel .22 pistol made in 1969 that groups better than a High Standard or a Smith '41

    When I was astounded at the lack of accuracy with my 637; inspecting the bore proved it to be nearly SMOOTH with a faint press mark of a broach that barely showed evidence of a groove in the bore and there were NO lands!

    By Contrast, my OLD M-38 Bodyguard Airweight can print 2" groups bench rested at 25 yards and 2" groups centered offhand at 15. Unlike my 2003 era 637, my 1970 era M-38 has a bright, shiny bore and sharp, clean very defined lands.

    So, good in fact, I only shoot high quality, higher cost lead ammo through it since bargain basement crap fouls the bore in short order.

    The difference between my 1970 S&W and the 2003 S&W was like night and day.

    I wouldn't pay HALF of what S&W asks for those atrocious guns they let out of Springfield these days.($600, $700 and $800 .38 revolvers with rougher than cheese grater fit and finish - what are they smoking up there?)

    I'd go with the Charter and slick it up. It will shoot circles around the new Smiths.
     
  20. rcnuti

    rcnuti TS Member

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    I have a rather new Bulldog and was dissapointed in the rough finish. It has a very heavy double action pull ~13lbs and a very rough trigger sear (so gritty, it is like a 2 stage trigger). It shoots groups tight enough to get the job done if ever called on (the finish and rough trigger sear would not be noticed in that case).

    I bought it based on my experience with a CA undercover model 38 that had very nice finish, grips, and shot well.

    R. Nuti
     
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