Any Experience With Charter Arms Bulldog

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Medic17, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,297
    Likes Received:
    7,315
    Location:
    Northeastern USA
  2. bluecow

    bluecow Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    664
    Location:
    Pine Tree State
    great guns. ive had 2 let em slip away and wish i had not every time. you will hear its not a smith, ruger, etc. and thats true. jm2c i have never found C.A. wanting. remember it's a 44 SPECIAL not 44 mag. if you want extra heavy bullets, +P, hot loads, get a 44mag. i would stay away from the Charco era guns.
     
    Fat Old Man, Medic17 and central joe like this.
  3. bosque bob

    bosque bob Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    1,964
    Had for quite a while. It's a belly gun but 44 spcl is likely a pretty effective round in general. I don't know about specific manufacturing dates. Agree with bluecrow it's not for hot loads.
     
    Fat Old Man, Medic17 and central joe like this.
  4. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    7,225
    Likes Received:
    11,087
    Location:
    PNW
    I want to say that @PMSteve has one. I could be wrong though
     
  5. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    690
    Location:
    North Georgia Mountains
    Yup. Love the Classic 3” Bulldog. It is part of my carry rotation in fall/winter. I painted my front sight with two coats of bright red fingernail polish followed by a coat of the high gloss clear finish. Pretty durable. To fit my hand better, I installed a set of oversized Pachmayr grips made for the Bulldog. Makes this gun a sweet shooter.

    My personal defence load is the Buffalo Bore 200 grain hard cast Wadcutter “Manstopper” load that was developed specifically for the Charter Bulldog.

    I carry reloads in Quickstrips which are easier to use for this round due to the blunt bullet nose. Can load two at a time. There are nylon pouches designed for use with the Quickstrips that fit around the belt and are very flat so easy to carry reloads.

    I also carry the 165 grain Hornady Critical Defence loads in speedloaders. The pointy bullets drop in easier than wadcutters.

    For snakes, I load a CCI shot shell with a couple of extras On my Quickstrips.

    I carry it in a leather Tucker & Byrd OWB open top pancake holster. Very comfortable.


    71367B28-A1E1-4ACC-B2C6-718EFD43475E.jpeg
     
    WILL, stillscout, Fat Old Man and 5 others like this.
  6. will62

    will62 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    2,592
    Location:
    Southwest Missouri
    I have carried one for over 20 years, great gun. I fitted mine with Pachmayr grips also as they give me a better grip.

    Ammo in most stores is somewhat hard to find, I get most of mine online or at gun shows.
     
    Fat Old Man and Medic17 like this.
  7. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,297
    Likes Received:
    7,315
    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    I have been debating on a wheel gun for quite some time.

    I already own a 4 or 5" .357. (Stainless 66?)
    I am looking for something either smaller or larger.

    There are a couple that stick in my mind...

    The Bulldog looks like a great contender.

    I have also been debating about-

    Smith Wesson Model 36
    (5 Shot .38Spl) 3" Barrel
    This is more than likely the closest to the Bulldog but its in .38Spl.
    It may not offer more energy but the round is widely available.

    Smith Wesson Model 22 (Thunder Ranch)
    .44 Spl or 45ACP
    Its a beast of a pistol but I always wanted a Indiana Jones revolver.
    I cannot stand the internal lock. More than likely I would get it welded up and refinished.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    crewhead05 likes this.
  8. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    8,070
    Likes Received:
    9,337
    Location:
    Relocated to Salt Lake City from Nevada
    You're correct. I do own one.

    http://s1215.photobucket.com/user/pmsteve/media/100_0134.jpg.html?sort=3&o=115

    .44 magnum was my favorite caliber but I now have arthritis in my wrists so I downgraded my .44 preference. The .44 special kicks like a .45 Colt cartridge which isn't too far from the kick of the .44 mag. The preference may just be mental, though.

    I have a 3" Bulldog in the stainless variety. The cylinder release was a bit rough when I bought it, but a fine file removed a burr and now all is well.

    I like the way it shoots. Mine has fixed sights but still is acceptable at 25'. Mine came with the hard rubber grips which I like. The recoil is sharp, but not .44 mag sharp. My wrist still aches after shooting 50 rounds but not terrible.

    I carry mine in a black Kydex style paddle holster. I don't carry it concealed, but it's a snap to slip the paddle holster over my belt when I begin wandering in the wilds.

    All in all, I like mine. I just wish I had been able to find one in blued steel instead of stainless. I like the old school look of a blued wheel gun.

    Steve
     
  9. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    690
    Location:
    North Georgia Mountains
    I have and carry a variety of J-frame and Century frame Smith’s, either M&P or Performance Center. They are good choices with correctly selected ammo. Have you considered the new Colt Cobra 2017? It is slightly larger than the 5-shot S&W’s but gives you six rounds of 38 +P. It has an excellent DA trigger, better than the production S&W’s, very smooth. Colt got it right. I got one for my birthday last month and after shooting several boxes of 158 grain ammo through it, put it into my spring/summer carry rotation. For EDC around the property, I carry Buffalo Bore hard cast 158 grain Keith style SWC “Outdoorsman” loads along with snake shot, and switch to 158 grain JHP for town.
     
    Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  10. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,297
    Likes Received:
    7,315
    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    @PMSteve You are not making my decision easy.

    @RebelYell
    I looked at Colts for about 30 seconds.
    I realized they are out of my price range.
    The Cobra 2017 looks nice, do they offer it in a 3" barrel?
     
    PMSteve and Fat Old Man like this.
  11. slysir

    slysir Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    6,295
    Location:
    Florida
    I own and often carry a Police Undercover. It's a six shot .38spl on a Bulldog frame. Made in Stratford, Conn. It's a great shooter but has some design issues. The cylinder latch release screw will rotate inward, eventually not allowing the cylinder to open. Not a problem on the older models without the shrouded ejector rod like mine and the one @RebelYell posted . In that event, all you would have to do is pull on the ejector rod to release the cylinder...just like the old H&R revolvers that never had a cylinder latch.

    It's never become an issue with me because I keep an eye on it...all I need to do is clock it at 9&3 and make sure it stays there. Only tool needed is a finger nail.

    -John
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  12. Black5

    Black5 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Location:
    Ozark Mountains
    I HAD one of the newer stainless bulldogs with 2ish inch barrel. It shot well, easy to carry, affordable since I reload 44.

    Then one day my stepfather saw it...then shot it....and the man whined like a little kid for ice cream....:(
     
  13. tomme boy

    tomme boy Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,523
    Likes Received:
    4,476
    Location:
    iowa
    As long as you get the new made ones they are pretty decent little guns. The older ones have issues
     
  14. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,601
    Location:
    NC
    I've had one of the new Classic's for about a year now. Best blue job I've ever seen on a Charter Arms and is quite accurate out to 15 yards which is as far as I have shot it at this point. It's a light little shooter but was manageable with 200 grain Gold Dot. 246 grain semi wad cutters were quite a handful. Stock grips were a bit too small, the Pachmyars were a pleasant improvement. Its a keeper for me!
     
    Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  15. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,601
    Location:
    NC
  16. Fat Old Man

    Fat Old Man Perpetual Student Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,314
    Likes Received:
    7,368
    Location:
    SW Tenn, McNairy Co.
    Don't own one, but have been looking hard at the Target Bulldog with a 4.2" barrel and adjustable sights. :32: They claim to be 22 oz empty, which is 11 oz lighter than my SS Single Six .22LR /.22Mag with a 5.5" barrel.

    [​IMG]
    Image nipped from the Charter Arms website
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  17. thereandbackagain

    thereandbackagain Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    I had a first year production and it was a POS. I stumbled upon a fabled NIB model 24 five screw with six inch tube and discovered the fabled accuracy Skeeter Skelton used to write about was only found in handloads. IF you ever come across the Fiocchi .44 RUSSIAN factory loads grab them! They are surprisingly hot but within decent handgun tolerances and that big of 246 grain roundnose lead slug has excellent initial penetration and often tumbles.
     
    stillscout, Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  18. Tye

    Tye Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 31, 2017
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    872
    Location:
    Virginia
    Great little gun, ballistics similar to a 45acp. I carried a classic 3 inch for about 3 year, wish I still had it. Back then and this was in the mid 90's I carried Winchester Silver Tips in it.
     
    stillscout, Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  19. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    575
    I've had one since the early 80s, never had a problem with it.
     
  20. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    5,720
    Location:
    CT.
    Bought a NOS Bulldog from 79 over 10years ago. I couldnt get thru a 5shot string without a misfire .
    Loved the size and caliber .Was abit dissappointed
     
  21. bosque bob

    bosque bob Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    1,964
    Agree about the grip change. Should have mentioned that.
     
    stillscout, Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  22. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    575
    Oh, I agree, Charter has had some quality problems over the years. Another thing is that, especially in the early years, people tended to shoot 'hot' loads through a pistol not designed for such use. I would be wary of buying one used. All in all though, if you get a good one, as I did, it's a pretty good deal for a relatively inexpensive American made pistol with a lifetime warranty (for those made in Shelton, CT).
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    stillscout, Medic17 and Fat Old Man like this.
  23. RebelYell

    RebelYell Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    690
    Location:
    North Georgia Mountains
    Nope, just the 2” barrel. The CCW market is their target. The Cobra 2018 is a DAO matt black stainless model with tritium night sight. Also 2”. It is called the “Night Cobra”. Got my LGS guys looking for one. I want to add it for town carry. What I want to see is a 4” barrel model with adjustable rear sight. They could call it the “Viper”. Sorta bring back that limited production model from 30+ years ago.

    I still love the Bulldog. It is a great little gun.
     
    PMSteve, stillscout and Medic17 like this.
  24. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    2,322
    Location:
    Northern Rockies
    I had one in the 70s when they first came out. I dont think theyve changed significantly since then, but I may be incorrect in that assumption. Mine was spitting lead a bit. The forcing cone was collecting lead on one side, I figured out that the chambers werent lining up correctly with the barrel. Looking it over, I noticed the cylinder locking bolt was pretty thin. I took it apart, and realized the cylinder locking bolt was stamped sheet metal. I clamped it in the vice and tapped it with a punch and bent it a little and got the chamber alignment where it needed to be. I was somewhat underwhelmed at its construction. I sold it some time later and never really pined for another one, as much as I like the concept. I have read of some people (that I trust, not totally obscure internet personas) that theyve seen Charter guns become unusable in under 1000 rds of shooting. if yours has lasted better, great, Id just not have really high expectations, and not tempt fate by shooting it a lot. Those that have had good luck with them may have had exactly that, good luck, or just not shot them much to wear them out. As always, YMMV.
     
    WILL and Medic17 like this.
  25. YacoltWose

    YacoltWose Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    1,881
    Location:
    Southwest Washington (formerly known as ORWose)
    My experience was similar. I had one in the 90's that had a somewhat inconsistent trigger pull, depending on how bad the hammer was rubbing the frame. Also the barrel was clocked over ever so slightly too far and one cylinder spit lead.

    It was much better than the AMT Hardballer I traded for it though...
     
    WILL and Medic17 like this.
  26. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,601
    Location:
    NC
    Charter Arms is now in it's third ownership, they were plagued by poor manufacturing in the past! They are now in the Apex of manufacturing considering they're past. They're not a Colt or an S&W, the latter of which I would not own in there new form! They are an economy handgun, which is somewhat reflective in there price range, as opposed to Colt or S&W. They meet a criteria for a handgun with a large caliber and concealment that is presently non existent for now (to my knowledge) in a large caliber handgun. I am quite happy with the example that I have! I will do an action job or send it off for said same in the future, although it's not a must for a working belly gun. Many a Colt and S&W are sent out for the same! :27:
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  27. southron

    southron Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    2,648
    Location:
    N.E Alabama
    My BIL has one. bought used, and it was pretty loose in the timing. So much so that I traded him a nice S&W model 13 with a 3 inch barrel in .357 for it. Mostly to put something I trust into Sisters care since I know she can work with that weapon even if I don't think BIL is much of a gun person.

    After I pulled the bulldog apart and replaced a few small parts (Son does metal work so we made some parts to fix the timing.

    Anyway, Now it is a nice .44 special belly gun, and I have been known to take it out from time to time.

    I see them as potentially good weapons, but I have no huge number of rounds through this one and it was apparently carried and shot some much to loosen it up like it was.

    I suppose I have about 500 rounds through it with no troubles since I reworked it.

    Until I have several thousand rounds through a weapon, I don't consider them trust worthy.

    I do like the size, shape and handling of it.

    If you would prefer .357 you might look for a used model 13 S&W. I know there were a lot of Austrian police trade in weapons on the market a year or two ago.

    when it comes to revolvers, it isn't barrel length but cylinder / stock bulk that impacts conceivability between 3 - 6 inch barrels.

    For a woods bumming revolver the .357 offers the option of shooting the .38 special and also with something like buffalo bore .357 loads a pretty intensive problem solver 2 legged or 4.
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  28. bluecow

    bluecow Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    664
    Location:
    Pine Tree State
    several thousand?? GOOD LORD;)
     
    WILL likes this.
  29. southron

    southron Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    2,648
    Location:
    N.E Alabama
    What can I say, I put about 50 rounds out of my 1911 out back every day. (keep some replacement barrels and have 4 1911's atm.)

    I suspect it is hold over from when I had to build my 1911's to be reliable and my life depended on them going boom first time every time.

    Since I reload and have 55 gal drums of brass in the metal shop I reload and shoot a lot.

    The homestead has a place where I can shoot out to almost 500 yards, but I have metal plates at 25 and 50 and 100 and 300 yards for just checking if I"m still dialed in.

    In my past lives I shot for Marines, a lot, and instructed at a certain point.

    To me punching holes in paper is what hitting golf balls or darts or playing pool is to others.

    My standard for myself is being able to draw a 1911 and hit a tin can at 50 yards first shot, every shot. (Did I mention that I also shot pistols on the marine team?)

    not bragging, just trying to explain where i'm coming from.
     
    Danmanrn likes this.
  30. Poppy Jay Jay

    Poppy Jay Jay Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Middle Georgia
    This is my Bulldog Rex. He's alittle rough around the edges but a good dog. In all seriousness though its a good handgun for woods walking. I bought it about a year ago new. It shoots to point of aim at 21 to 30 feet with Ga Arms 200 gr. jhp ammo. 0805171329.jpg
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  31. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    763
    Location:
    rust belt PA
    A relative bought a new one. Trigger pull was CRUNCHY! I stoned and polished the hammer bearing surface. Huge improvement. Also had to relieve some grip material on left so speed loaders could be used and spent casing's wouldn't hang up. Trigger needed beveled for fat fingers as it was biting too. That said I'd like to have one.
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  32. Poppy Jay Jay

    Poppy Jay Jay Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Middle Georgia
    Charter Arms revolvers aren't as refined as other gun makers but the Bulldog is just the perfect size for the .44 special caliber. One of my favorite trail guns.
     
    Medic17 likes this.
  33. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    2,297
    Likes Received:
    7,315
    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    I apprechiate all of your replies.

    I think I am going to skip out on the bulldog and wait for a good used S&W to come along.
    It is not something that I need right now, and saving a few extra dollars might save me a headache, or at least get a piece that is a bit more refined for not much more cost.
     
    WILL likes this.
  34. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    763
    Location:
    rust belt PA
    Here's a nice trail gun. For not much more...Ruger Blackhawk in 45 LC w/ 45 acp cylinder. Much better quality too.

    edited to add; I looked at a new model charter arms in 45 ACP yesterday. I love the idea of 45 ACP in this gun. My only dislike, it was FAT. Cylinder walls look pretty thin. Price was $459. For that I'd buy something else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018

Share This Page