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Landric
03-25-2009, 17:32
I recently picked up a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug .44 Special. Its new production (the date on the fired case envelope was 2-26-2009), 2 1/2" barrel, stainless, and DAO.

I went to the range on Friday just to test fire it. I shot about 25 rounds through it, some Georgia Arms 200 grain Gold Dot, PMC 180 grain JHP, and my own handloads, 6.5 grains of HS-6 under a 240 grain RNFP. It functioned fine, shot point of aim at 7 to 10 yards with all three bullet weights, and was reasonably accurate. Recoil was stiff but not awful, of the three my rather light handloads were the easiest to control. The only thing I didn't care for was the rather sharp cylinder latch, which cut my thumb during recoil.

Obviously 25 rounds is not a serious test, I just wanted to function check it. Since it worked fine, I decided to try carrying it around the house and yard while I was working on some projects on Saturday. I used a DeSantis Pocket Holster for a Ruger SP101 and the Bulldog fit perfectly. It slipped right into my front pocket, and while it was obvious something was there, it wasn't obvious it was a gun. The factory grips on the Bulldog enclose the backstrap and are a little long, so the very top of the grip stuck out of the top of my pocket. Charter offers a compact exposed backstrap grip similar to a boot grip, and I placed an order for one on Charter's website. I think that will solve the problem there. The Bulldog is quite light for its size, and didn't seem to drag my pants down at all, much like my usual pocket gun, a S&W 37-2 DAO, and unlike my DAO SP101.

The reason for my Friday range trip was a IDPA BUG match at The Range in Oxford, NC on Sunday. Those of you who are familiar with IDPA in Central NC know Frank Glover puts on an exceptional match, and this one was no exception. It consisted of twelve 5-round stages. Two stages were set up in each of the six bays used for the match and scored as string one and string two, but in reality it was 12 separate stages. I'm looking forward to the Carolina Cup this year, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see some expanded versions of a stage or two we shot yesterday.

So, I brought along the Bulldog, 50 rounds of my handloads (again the 240 grain RNFP with 6.5 grains of HS-6) and 50 rounds of Longhorn Ammunition 240 grain LSWC. I shot 35 of my handloads and 25 of the Longhorn rounds. The Bulldog performed well, with one exception. I had two light strikes on the second string of the first stage I shot. That was with my handloads, and I'm willing to accept it was possibly due to high primers or some other error on my part. All my other handloads and the 25 factory rounds fired without a problem. Both of the light stikes fired on the second time around the cylinder, but that cost me some seconds on a stage that should have been much faster (and would have been without the misfires). As I said, those occured on the 7th and 9th times I pulled the trigger, and there were no problems after that.

I did notice that the factory 240 LSWCs were keyholing at longer ranges, and problem I didn't experience with my handloads or the factory ammo I shot on Friday of last week. Perhaps the Bulldog just doesn't like that bullet.

Overall, I'm impressed. I wish the cylinder latch wasn't so sharp, and the cylinder turns the "wrong" way, but it seems like a good deal overall. Time will tell how it holds up. Charter basically has the market cornered on a small frame .44 Special. I wish there were more options out there, but the Charter seems like a good deal so far.

Berto
03-25-2009, 18:54
Thanks for the interesting report.
I've been curious as to how the new Charters are doing.
FWIW, I had a (Taurus) revolver that gave light strikes before I was required to change out the mainspring. It also showed keyholing issues during the time it was light striking....perhaps inconsistent ignition could be the issue....

Landric
03-25-2009, 19:14
Thanks for the interesting report.
I've been curious as to how the new Charters are doing.
FWIW, I had a (Taurus) revolver that gave light strikes before I was required to change out the mainspring. It also showed keyholing issues during the time it was light striking....perhaps inconsistent ignition could be the issue....

I don't think they are related. The light strikes were likely due to a handloading error on my part, given there were only 2 and they both happened with handloads I'm willing to stick with that theory unless it happens with factory ammo or handloads I am sure are good to go.

This is my theory on the keyholing: It only happened with the Longhorn 240 grain LSWC. I don't know the specific hardness on the bullets Longhorn uses for this load, but I suspect the bullet is designed for higher velocities. When a lead bullet is too hard for the velocity it is loaded to, the base doesn't expand and bite into the rifling. When that happens two things tend to occur, the bullet is less stable and the gasses passing the bullet in the barrel cause an increase in leading. The Longhorn LSWCs were only keyholing at longer ranges (10 yards or more), which suggests they were unstable in flight, and I had some pretty severe leading in the Bulldog after the match.

While my range trip last Friday only involved firing 25 rounds through the Bulldog, I also fried quite a few rounds through two other .44 Special revolvers I had along (a S&W 21-4 and a Taurus 431). I fired all the same handloads mentioned above with the 240 grain RNFP. I get my bullets from Missouri Bullet, and those bullets are specifically designed for Cowboy Action velocities (read low). I didn't have my chronograph with me that day, but 6.5 grains of HS-6 is the starting load, so I'd be surprised to see more than 700 fps out of any of the three revolvers ( 2 1/2", 3", and 4" respectively). That is solidly within the velocity range for which the bullet I was using is designed. I had no problems with leading at all in any of the three guns that day. I saw a lot of leading when I fired the Longhorn in the Charter. I think my theory makes some sense.

Overall I'm quite impressed with the performance of the Bulldog. I look forward to more testing.

50 Cent
03-25-2009, 19:40
Sounds good - keep us up to date, as I've been looking at the new Bulldog myself. Curious how it holds up once the round count gets close/over 1000.

BOGE
03-29-2009, 21:31
Sounds good - keep us up to date, as I've been looking at the new Bulldog myself. Curious how it holds up once the round count gets close/over 1000.

They don't. Mine, bought new in Feb. '07, had the bolt spring go bad at less than 200 rds. It failed in the midst of a CCW requal. Talk about :embarassed:. I finished with a borrowed G19. At right around 500 rds. it "vapor locked" and had to send it back to Charter. They fixed it. They had to Nylok in the chintzy screw they use on the breech face as this area peens.

I love the gun, but as the esteemed Jeff Cooper once said, it's a Class A idea in a Class B platform.

Advice: these are to be carried a lot & shot little. :whistling:

kirgi08
03-30-2009, 00:52
Great info,Thanks.'08.

Landric
03-30-2009, 03:36
There is no doubt that the design could be better executed. I too am interested to see how the gun holds up. Its not a weekly range gun, but it needs to hold up to at least monthly practice and qualifications or its not worth much. Time will tell, but so far I'm pleased.

Dogbite
03-30-2009, 22:47
Thanks for the review. I have always wondered about Charter Arms, and how they shoot and such.

fastbolt
04-07-2009, 14:45
Hope the new CA works out well for you.

I haven't revisited owning CA revolvers after a couple of admittedly early experiences with a pair of blued & stainless 3" .44 Bulldogs.

The blued one keyholed with factory ammunition often enough to be annoying, especially with the early .44 Win STHP. I eventually got rid of that one.

The stainless one developed a condition where it would lock up during both live fire and dry-fire 1-2 times for every 5 trigger strokes. I returned to the stainless one to the factory for repair 2-3 times, each time getting it back with a letter or work order that it had been repaired. The last time I got it back I picked it up out of the shipping box at the dealer's counter (they paid shipping for me ;) ) and started dry-firing it. The cylinder locked up before I'd made it all way around all 5 charge holes.

The dealer offered me some sympathetic comments, being familiar with the number of times they had returned it to CA on my behalf, and offered me a decent amount on trade if I wanted to buy something else. Seems they had a bored gunsmith who didn't mind taking on a bit of a challenge. I got rid of it.

I always thought a lightweight 5-shot .44 Spl was a nice alternative for folks who wanted a compact, large caliber defensive revolver. Obviously I was interested in the concept at one point to buy a couple of them. ;)

In later years I briefly considered the M296 Airlite but I don't particularly care for titanium cylinders and felt the 296 was a bit large for what it offered.

I'll always have a bit of a nostalgic spot for a short .44 Spl wheelgun. ;)

mesteve2
04-30-2009, 09:01
I have a .357 mag pug on order.

2.2" barrel SS Gun and ported.

I hope it works.:wavey:

Mushinto
05-03-2009, 10:10
The CA .44 Bulldog is a great gun. I have owned several from the different parent companies. Quality could be better, but they are the only game in town for a small big bore snubbie.

It is also an example of how retarded some other manufacturers are that they cannot seem to make a 5-shot .44 that comes anywhere close in size to the Charter. S&W, Ruger and Colt (:rofl:) could make the gun in a high quality package and charge twice as much as Charter.

BTW, the Bulldog will fit any holster made for the Colt D frame or Ruger SP101.

ML

doc540
05-09-2009, 17:58
Once upon a time:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v334/doc540/Guns/Charter%20Arms/CharterBulldog011-1.jpg

JimBianchi
05-09-2009, 19:00
My first carry gun (1988) was CA 44SP SS Bulldog. I had mine bobbed/polished/deburred by a local smith almost as soon as I got it. Made a world of difference. Your report brings back fond memories of a fine little gun.

MBR
02-17-2010, 10:50
I wish C.A. would offer the Bulldog in .45 ACP with 5 round moonclips. I would buy it immeadiatly.

G33
02-17-2010, 12:24
Once upon a time:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v334/doc540/Guns/Charter%20Arms/CharterBulldog011-1.jpg

Carry a lot.
Shoot little.
:supergrin::supergrin:

Mushinto
02-17-2010, 13:18
I have one of those ^.

Wish I kept the box.

ML

watsoncb
02-17-2010, 19:16
I love my Charter Arm .44Spl Bulldog. I carried a Bulldog as my back up in the 1970s and now have a new one.

Consider loading your with Buffalo Bore .44 Spl ammo. Either:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=86

or

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=88

Mushinto
02-17-2010, 19:32
I love my Charter Arm .44Spl Bulldog. I carried a Bulldog as my back up in the 1970s and now have a new one.

Consider loading your with Buffalo Bore .44 Spl ammo. Either:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=86

or

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=88
I currently use Federal 200 gr LSWCHP but I am interested in the Buffalo Bore lead hollow point.

Almost 1000 fps with a 255 gr bullet seems a little stout. How is it to shoot? Does the cylinder of the Charter fall off?

ML

PBRLite
02-18-2010, 15:44
Doesn't it clearly say not to shoot Buffalo Bore in a Charter Bulldog .44 Special?

MSgt Dotson
02-18-2010, 18:37
Even if the Bulldog handles the pressure ok, I'm not sure the pounding of hard loads is good idea...

mitchshrader
02-18-2010, 20:38
owned one an hour before I sold it and called myself lucky to break even.

junk guns. great idea. if smith & wesson made it, I'd own 3 of 'em. charter arms is not something you want to trust your life to unless you're a degenerate gambler. entirely not a good idea. have any idea when was the last time I had a 'light strike' with a stock S&W? me neither.

PBRLite
02-19-2010, 21:41
Here is one of my two Charter Bulldog .44's

http://i726.photobucket.com/albums/ww266/yeahitsthatbig/100_2741.jpg

I have had nothing but good luck with them. I generally wring out a pretty moderate load for them on the reloader and have not had any issues in thousands of rounds in them.

cowboywannabe
03-01-2010, 17:23
PBR you should buy a lotto ticket because your guns are the exception, not the norm.

Ajon412
09-04-2010, 12:15
Does anyone have any experience with a Taurus 44 spl as compared to the Charter Arms Bulldog? I'm looking at the Taurus 445 CHSS2, 44 special,SS,DAO,hammerless for off duty / BUG use. It weights a bit more that the Bulldog, but appears to be a bit more concealable.

Mushinto
09-04-2010, 13:40
Does anyone have any experience with a Taurus 44 spl as compared to the Charter Arms Bulldog? I'm looking at the Taurus 445 CHSS2, 44 special,SS,DAO,hammerless for off duty / BUG use. It weights a bit more that the Bulldog, but appears to be a bit more concealable.
The Taurus is about the size of a K frame Smith, while the Charer is the size of a D frame Colt. Except for the cylinder diameter, the Charter should be smaller.

Another advantage of the Charter is that it is still in production and there are many more grips made for it than the Taurus.

Ajon412
09-05-2010, 03:12
MUSHINTO.....Thanks for the useful information. Looks like I'll be taking a closer look at the Charter Arms since I'm interested in pocket carry and IWB. I carried a K frame S&W M&P M-10 2" back in the day as an off duty. I, too, like the Federal 200 gr LSWCHP for carry. What load would you suggest for practice / quals?

Mushinto
09-05-2010, 09:52
MUSHINTO..... What load would you suggest for practice / quals?

Around here, there is a severe shortage of any .44 Special ammo. I use any .44 Cowboy load for practice. They are loaded light for the lightweight SASS cowboys and will not unduly wear out the gun. Point of impact at close ranges are close. I also use the Federal 200gr LSWCHP.

I love Bulldogs, but they are not built to last through a lot of powerful loads.

Ajon412
09-06-2010, 17:40
I love my Charter Arm .44Spl Bulldog. I carried a Bulldog as my back up in the 1970s and now have a new one.

Consider loading your with Buffalo Bore .44 Spl ammo. Either:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=86

or

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=88

As per the BB website, it states that this ammo CAN NOT be used in a CA .44 Bulldog.....What gives?

kirgi08
09-07-2010, 00:16
As per the BB website, it states that this ammo CAN NOT be used in a CA .44 Bulldog.....What gives?

Curious about the above.'08. :dunno:

alwaysshootin
09-07-2010, 10:09
I wish C.A. would offer the Bulldog in .45 ACP with 5 round moonclips. I would buy it immeadiatly.

C.A. is supposed to be coming out with both a 45acp, and 9MM versions soon!

Ajon412
09-07-2010, 13:44
C.A. is supposed to be coming out with both a 45acp, and 9MM versions soon!

I went right to the source. I sent an e-mail to Charter Arms regarding this and I'll post the reply as soon as I get one. I'd put off a purchase for one in .44 special for a .45 ACP version, as 45 ammo is much easier to come by...:wavey:

Here is the reply from Charter Arms Sales:

Good afternoon!

Unfortunately, these revolvers are still not in production. As far as we know the factory is still moving forward with the rimless revolvers, but they’ve delayed (again) the production schedule. We’ve been told that they are still waiting on the patent attorney, so we have no definitive time frame yet.

Here is the reply from CA Service:

"It is true but don't look for before next year"

Buckeye63
09-07-2010, 21:08
I'm afraid the 40 S&W ,9mm, 45acp Charter revolvers ,have been put on ice..legal problems ,patent problems..

They supposed to be rolling out a Classic 44 Spl. glossy blue SS finish 3in barrel openedd ejector rod.....

mesteve2
09-07-2010, 21:27
Hope the new CA works out well for you.

I haven't revisited owning CA revolvers after a couple of admittedly early experiences with a pair of blued & stainless 3" .44 Bulldogs.

The blued one keyholed with factory ammunition often enough to be annoying, especially with the early .44 Win STHP. I eventually got rid of that one.

The stainless one developed a condition where it would lock up during both live fire and dry-fire 1-2 times for every 5 trigger strokes. I returned to the stainless one to the factory for repair 2-3 times, each time getting it back with a letter or work order that it had been repaired. The last time I got it back I picked it up out of the shipping box at the dealer's counter (they paid shipping for me ;) ) and started dry-firing it. The cylinder locked up before I'd made it all way around all 5 charge holes.

The dealer offered me some sympathetic comments, being familiar with the number of times they had returned it to CA on my behalf, and offered me a decent amount on trade if I wanted to buy something else. Seems they had a bored gunsmith who didn't mind taking on a bit of a challenge. I got rid of it.

I always thought a lightweight 5-shot .44 Spl was a nice alternative for folks who wanted a compact, large caliber defensive revolver. Obviously I was interested in the concept at one point to buy a couple of them. ;)

In later years I briefly considered the M296 Airlite but I don't particularly care for titanium cylinders and felt the 296 was a bit large for what it offered.

I'll always have a bit of a nostalgic spot for a short .44 Spl wheelgun. ;)

:crying: Sent one back 3 time to the factory.
When it came back I sold it. It was a brand new one. I hated the locking up in live fire and dry fire.:steamed:
Revolvers need to be smith & wesson or Ruger. Lesson learned. :rofl:

Two Guns
09-17-2010, 19:24
Once upon a time:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v334/doc540/Guns/Charter%20Arms/CharterBulldog011-1.jpg

I have a Bulldog just like that one but I just put some target grips on mine to lesson the felt recoil.

WhiteCoyote
09-24-2010, 00:20
It doesn't get any better than this. :dancingbanana:
http://i53.tinypic.com/2lwuds3.jpg

Ajon412
09-24-2010, 04:27
It doesn't get any better than this. :dancingbanana:
http://i53.tinypic.com/2lwuds3.jpg

If you don't mind me asking, what was the cost for the MagNa Porting and can you still get this done?...

WhiteCoyote
09-24-2010, 09:42
If you don't mind me asking, what was the cost for the MagNa Porting and can you still get this done?...
Yes, Mag-Na-Port will still make the conversion for you. I think it's called the "BackPacker".

Ajon412
11-09-2010, 11:29
I went ahead and picked up a new Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog Pug in S/S, DAO (model # 74421). I have to say that my first impressions were quite favorable. It’s extremely light weight, is a tad larger and a bit lighter that my S&W 640. It came with factory rubber grips which are quite comfortable. I purchased a set of Charter Arms rubber boot grips (smaller), along with a set of Pachmayr Compac grips as well.

I purchased this handgun as a BUG / combat weapon, PERIOD. If I wanted a “pretty” handgun, I would have purchased something else. The finish is satisfactory and it’s what I expected from a combat handgun for the price.

I was able to locate Winchester 240gr Cowboy loads for practice, in addition to 200gr LRN loads from Georgia Arms. I also obtained Winchester 200gr STHP, Federal 200gr SWCLHP and CCI / Blazer 200gr JHP for testing as carry loads. Underwood Ammo Company, on Gunbroker, has a 240gr FMJ load that I'll purchase for testing. Maybe this will cut down on the leading in the barrel.

My first range trip revealed that it shoots 4-5 inches low with 200gr and not as low with 240gr. Is this a common problem with the Bulldog? The only option I see is having the front sight altered a bit, which will be done at my next trip to the range, with a visit to the gunsmith. I contacted customer service at C.A and they said that the front sight alteration will not void the warranty. I ran about 110 rounds thought it so far and the felt recoil is noticeable, but not too bad...Overall, I'm pleased with the Bulldog.....

clarkstoncz
11-11-2010, 00:42
IS that front tritium sight listed on the XS website for a Charter 44?

Ajon412
11-11-2010, 08:24
IS that front tritium sight listed on the XS website for a Charter 44?

No. I'm referring to the factory front sight.

den888
11-14-2010, 22:05
Thanks for the report !

bigleaf
11-17-2010, 23:10
I never actually had a problem with my Bulldog. Just scratchy through the trigger pull. And like all my short revolvers, I could hardly hit squat with them. They all eventually went away. I do very much like the Glocks and Kahrs.

Ajon412
11-19-2010, 19:59
Here is one of my two Charter Bulldog .44's

http://i726.photobucket.com/albums/ww266/yeahitsthatbig/100_2741.jpg

I have had nothing but good luck with them. I generally wring out a pretty moderate load for them on the reloader and have not had any issues in thousands of rounds in them.

Was that XS big Dot installed by Magna Port? It looks sweet......:supergrin:

Mushinto
11-20-2010, 22:09
Was that XS big Dot installed by Magna Port? It looks sweet......:supergrin:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa137/Mushinto/45.gif

dugo
12-29-2010, 17:48
Thanks for this thread, folks. I am looking into Charter and the newer products (.44 or .327, not sure yet), and this is all helpful.

Have a Happy New Year!!

cowboywannabe
12-29-2010, 19:06
id like to read landric's latest review about how his gun has held up so far....

cowboywannabe
04-06-2011, 19:43
bump for Landric's updated gun review.

cowboywannabe
05-20-2011, 23:02
????????????

Berto
10-18-2011, 21:14
Me too.

WhiteCoyote
10-18-2011, 21:30
Here's some new eye candy.
A Mag-Na-Port "BackPacker".
http://i55.tinypic.com/28lw1g9.jpg
http://i55.tinypic.com/m8eg6e.jpg

Berto
10-19-2011, 14:24
Pretty cool WC, that's a roscoe.:cool:

cowboywannabe
11-09-2011, 10:59
me thinks landric's lack of response is indicitive of his C.A. bulldog experience....

FM12
03-19-2012, 13:00
Ive owned/own several Charters, never been disapointed. Currently carry a 44 spl Bulldog as CCW. Loves me some 44 spl!

Chup
03-19-2012, 16:49
I would like to here more about the 357 Pug. How do they compare to other 2" 357s?

cowboywannabe
06-23-2012, 16:43
no update from landric on his bulldog 44spl. experience.he hasnt posted since march 2012.

hope he is o.k. and he didnt count on his bulldog to defend himself....