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-   -   Charter Arms quality (http://pistolsmith.com/showthread.php?t=22618)

one eye joe 07-23-2011 12:27 PM

Charter Arms quality
A friend of mine is contemplating the purchase of a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Spl. He has asked my opinion. I related that my ONLY deviation from the world of S&W and Colt DA revolvers was my brief and UGLY foray into the Taurus line. He wishes to use the Bulldog for CCW using the short barrel Buffalo Bore load designed for self defense. On paper that sounds like a good plan, BUT I have no experience with Charter Arms weapons. Are they well made and reliable ? Do they respond well to tweaking if needed by a qualified 'smith ? Are they simply junk to be avoided ? DON'T tell me that Taurus makes something comparable---he's my friend, and I WILL NOT allow him to purchase a Taurus revolver. BTW, IIRC the Bulldog was used in the infamous Son of Sam murders.......

dfariswheel 07-23-2011 05:11 PM

Quality is on the low end of the scale.
Charter Arms quality depends on whether they're about to be bankrupt or are just out of a bankruptcy.
Jeff Cooper described the earlier Charter Arms .44 as "A good idea that lacks in the execution".
Personally, I put the Charter Arms under the Taurus in quality.

Quality isn't Saturday Night Special level, but is often just about one good step above that.
They usually go "BANG" when the trigger is pulled, but they don't respond very well to gunsmithing attempts to improve them.
Since the parts are case hardened cast steel, you can't polish them to improve the trigger without a high risk of breaking through the thin cased layer, which ruins the part.
A trigger job is limited to a spring kit, with the hope that the lighter spring kit doesn't induce ignition or trigger return problems.

In short, as long as you get one that works out of the box and doesn't break, it's a good tackle box/truck gun, and would serve as a carry much/fire very little defense gun.

JohnnyT 07-23-2011 05:32 PM

Charter revolvers are...okay...if you intend to leave'em in the "Carried a lot and seldom shot" drawer. They won't hold up for very long doin' beater duty, but should serve the purpose in an Up to your Ass in Alligators situation. None of the romp'em/stomp'em ammo either. Standard pressure only please.

Tell him to shoot it 10 times to verify function and carry it.

one eye joe 07-23-2011 06:32 PM

OMG Gentlemen. I thank you soooo much for your most informative comments. I will steer my friend clear of this disastrous plan. GLAD that he asked me, and that I had you to ask..........

Jim NNN 07-27-2011 08:42 PM

Joe, I hope you don't mind me adding another comment a few days late. Since I agree with what the other two posters said pretty much, I don't have a whole lot more two add EXCEPT my own personal experience.

About 30 years ago I opted NOT to buy a brand new model 10 S&W for $185 so that I could save a WHOPPING $55 and buy a new Charter Arms snubnose for $130, also in .38 Spec. I was really surprised to find that the gun was very accurate. Unfortunately, I was even more surprised to find that after shooting, the cylinder coud NOT be swung open for unloading...it was stuck, jammed. And when I finally did get it open, the empty cartridges wouldn't come out of the cylinder...they were jammed, too. Happened all the time.

Still the gun really was accurate. So I bought a larger .357 model Tracker, thinking that the larger frame and cylinder would stand up to the pressure better (I figured the small frame 5 shot snubbie was just too weak, hence the problem.) WRONG! The EXACT same thing happened on it, though not quite as bad.

Since this was back in the heydey of the saturday night special, I'm ashamed to say I bought a few of those back then as well, and dfarriswheel is right, Charters were a step above them, but still not a gun worth having. I suppose a gun smith could've fixed those problems, but I also came across a cheap used charter .22 semi-auto survival pistol, and it was junk, TOO, and as they say: 3 strikes and you're out.

I hope they've improved since then. It was a shame...they were American made and I really wanted to like them. As a result of this experience, however, I still get a weird thrill watching the empty cartridges practically slide out of my 20 year old S&W model 64 with barely a touch of the ejector rod! :)

one eye joe 07-28-2011 05:24 AM

Hi Jim. Welcome to the Forum. I'm glad you chimed in. Thanks for your reply. More information is always better. You certainly gave Charter Arms enough opportunity to prove themselves. I owned 3 Taurus revolvers that I purchased MAINLY because I couldn't find a comparable S&W to buy. I was lured in by their eye pleasing appearance and low cost also. All 3 were snubs. I bought a .22Mag for my wife to carry, (better than NO weapon), the same weapon in .22LR for her to practice and plink with, and a 7shot, Total Titanium .357Magnum to carry myself. All 3 were junk, and could not be 'smithed into an acceptable weapon. I sold them off for less than 1/2 of what i had into them. As dfariswheel (who's opinions I value) stated above these were "a good idea that lacked execution" He also rated Charter Arms quality below that of Taurus. That sealed it for me. Your post is the icing on the cake............

darcy whone 07-28-2011 11:49 AM

Charter Arms quality
Hi I work for charter arms as a builder of their revolvers.we dumped our parts manufacturers last sept because of lack of tolerances.we have new people and in fact just started making our "Pit Bull" 40 cal revolver on our large frame.fit and polish and very good...............as is the accuracy....

one eye joe 07-28-2011 12:58 PM

WOW ! ! ! Welcome to the Forum, Darcy. It's great to have someone on the inside to chat with. Are you making the "Pit Bull" in .44Spl. with parts from your new supplier ? What is the country of origin of your new parts supplier ? Also, can the Pit Bull in .44Spl be purchased w/ adjustable sights ?

darcy whone 07-28-2011 02:31 PM

Well the "Pit Bull" is strickly 40 cal but the same frame is used for the 44 spcl. ALL our parts are from a 50 mile radius of Shelton CT. 100 percent American made!!! We have a target "bulldog" with adj. sights. Check out our new catalog Welcome to Charter Arms
as i said as of sept. we've only been useing our new parts. World of difference.My wife has been carrying a 38 undercover for 18 years with no problems.try out our new 40,I'd rather let the weapon speak for itself.
Darcy Whone

one eye joe 07-28-2011 04:17 PM

Thanks for the link, Darcy.......

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