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Charter Arms?

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#1
Anybody have much experience with charter, specifically the new pitbulls?

For some reason a 5 shot .45acp wheel gun that doesn’t need moon clips is intriguing to me.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole ton of info out there about the pitbulls.
 
#2
i got a barely used charter arms pitbull 9mm revolver recently. im a revolver guy and already have a ruger blackhawk 357/38/9, plus a bond arms derringer 9mm, both of which i love. verdict on c.a.: some sharp edges make it quite uncomfortable after 50 range rounds; very snappy recoil; its no-moonclip system works well though when loading the rounds must be exactly centered on each empty cylinder; if you are a semiauto pistol guy the c.a. pitbull is an ok complementary revolver. while 9mm ammo is cheap, my c.a. will find a new home as the bad outweighs the good for me and i still prefer my snubbie revolvers speedloaded with 38 wadcutters.


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#4
you are most welcome. imho the best revolvers for semiauto rounds are ruger blackhawk convertible single actions. rugers are more expensive than charter arms but are much better pieces. do try to see if the birdshead grip of the ruger new vaquero 45acp fits your hand before buying, it is not for everyone.


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Gunhand

Firearms Instructor
#6
Back in the 80's when I went to work for U.S. Customs, we could purchase and carry privately owned weapons. The S&W Model 60 was the hottest selling small revolver on the market. They were so popular, they were selling for near $600.00 retail. So as a junior Special Agent, that was bit outside my price range.

One of our range masters told me to look at a Charter Arms Undercover model .38 revolver. I picked one up for a whopping $128.00 out the door. I was using it for a strictly a back-up or off duty carry gun. I put a set of rubber grips on it, and started carrying it. I soon found out my qualification scores were better than some other agents who carried the Model 60. The factor was the little Charter Arms had a much better sight than the S&W.

It obviously wasn't the same craftsmanship of the Model 60, but it was affordable, reliable, and it fit the bill at the time. I still have that little beast with it's well worn finish. It still serves me a "truck gun", warts an all.
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#7
I've carried a Bulldog .44 as a backup since it first came out in 1973, still going strong (new springs every 3K rounds though) an no problems with it at all.

I have looked at and am considering the PitBull in .45ACP as backup to the Para Ordnance P14 I carry.

Charter is like pretty much ever other mainstream firearms manufacturer, most of their production is pretty good, once in a while you will get one that is sub par, witness DR. M's battles with S&W recently, and that was a Custom Shop gun!
 

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#8
I've carried a Bulldog .44 as a backup since it first came out in 1973, still going strong (new springs every 3K rounds though) an no problems with it at all.

I have looked at and am considering the PitBull in .45ACP as backup to the Para Ordnance P14 I carry.

Charter is like pretty much ever other mainstream firearms manufacturer, most of their production is pretty good, once in a while you will get one that is sub par, witness DR. M's battles with S&W recently, and that was a Custom Shop gun!
Yeah I think when we spoke on the phone about my Smith and Wesson we somehow got on the topic of charter arms and I remember you mentioning having carriednine since the dark ages lol!
 

Mooman76

Obsessed Member
#9
I have two. A 44 Bulldog and a 357 short barreled. I haven't shot them allot but have shot the on quite a few occasions and have had 0 problems with them. They are also pretty accurate for being short barreled.
 

Gunhand

Firearms Instructor
#10
I want an original .44 Spl. Bulldog "Son of Sam" commemorative. I always thought they would make a great light carry gun.
 

Grumpyoldretiredcop

uber Member
Forum Supporter
#11
I just picked up a used 9MM Pitbull in stainless. All kinds of machining and finish errors on the exterior, lots of endshake and rotational (when locked up) play in the cylinder. Trigger pull in single action is exceptional for a bargain revolver and double-action pull is about the same as my S&W (a 642 Airweight).

Took it to the Carson range today. At 7-10 yards, POI was about 3 inches right of POA, not terrible for a fixed sight snubnose. I had a couple of light strikes on Winchester 124 gr. NATO hardball, no failures on any other variety (Aguila 124 gr., Federal aluminum case 115 gr., Federal brass case 115 gr., Winchester 147 gr. lead free, all hardball) of ammo tried. All had similar POI/POA offset. I experienced two failures to extract with the cases slipping off the plungers in the extractor star, a second attempt extracted them. Both were the Winchester 124 NATO. No other failures to extract; a sharp rap on the end of the ejector rod dumped cases clear of the cylinder. Did not observe any shaving or "spitting" to either side so apparently the rotational play isn't enough to cause that to happen.

Recoil was brisk, it felt a little sharper than my S&W when fired with 110 gr. JHP - something I didn't expect. Recoil was mildest with the Federal 115 gr. brass case ammo.

I didn't have any trouble keeping hits in center of mass out to 10 yards, didn't try anything further than that. Sights are not bad, wide rear notch and a ramp front. The front ramp is smooth and could use serrations but wasn't too hard to see even with my grumpy old eyes.

Bottom line: Since I got this revolver used for a good price, I'm not unhappy. I wouldn't carry it or depend on it to save my life, it's a range toy. I probably wouldn't invest in the .45 if it were me unless I could fire it first. I also carried a CA Undercover back in the dark ages, I remember it as having better fit and finish that this Bulldog by a long shot... except for the bluing on the Undercover, which did not survive a single day of having to wear a suit and tie in the summer Seattle heat and carrying it in a suede IWB holster. The finish disappeared on the side towards my body leaving one side of the revolver blue, the other gray! At least that wouldn't happen with the stainless Bulldog (I hope!).

Andrew, if you want to meet up and take a look at it in person, let me know. I'd be glad to do that if you don't mind coming down to Carson.
 
#12
I bought my CA Pitbull 9mm a few months back. Bought it from Bizarre. They also had the Taurus 905 so I was able to do a side by side comparison. I liked the 905 but could not warm up to the moon clips.

Here's the kicker: have not taken it out shooting yet! Been waiting for a decent rainfall before I go out in the outback. Things are still a bit too dry.

Seems like a real nice pistol. Quality-fit-finish meet with my approval. After I brought it home I had a few questions so I emailed the home office/factory back east. About an hour after I sent the email, and I had left the house to run an errand, my wife takes a phone call from the company president. He had seen my email and took it upon himself to connect with his customer! I was impressed!

Hopefully our storm coming in later this week will wet things down sufficiently to do some shooting. And Andrew you're welcome to come out with me and pop off a few rounds to see how you like it.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#13
I just picked up a used 9MM Pitbull in stainless. All kinds of machining and finish errors on the exterior, lots of endshake and rotational (when locked up) play in the cylinder. Trigger pull in single action is exceptional for a bargain revolver and double-action pull is about the same as my S&W (a 642 Airweight).

Took it to the Carson range today. At 7-10 yards, POI was about 3 inches right of POA, not terrible for a fixed sight snubnose. I had a couple of light strikes on Winchester 124 gr. NATO hardball, no failures on any other variety (Aguila 124 gr., Federal aluminum case 115 gr., Federal brass case 115 gr., Winchester 147 gr. lead free, all hardball) of ammo tried. All had similar POI/POA offset. I experienced two failures to extract with the cases slipping off the plungers in the extractor star, a second attempt extracted them. Both were the Winchester 124 NATO. No other failures to extract; a sharp rap on the end of the ejector rod dumped cases clear of the cylinder. Did not observe any shaving or "spitting" to either side so apparently the rotational play isn't enough to cause that to happen.

Recoil was brisk, it felt a little sharper than my S&W when fired with 110 gr. JHP - something I didn't expect. Recoil was mildest with the Federal 115 gr. brass case ammo.

I didn't have any trouble keeping hits in center of mass out to 10 yards, didn't try anything further than that. Sights are not bad, wide rear notch and a ramp front. The front ramp is smooth and could use serrations but wasn't too hard to see even with my grumpy old eyes.

Bottom line: Since I got this revolver used for a good price, I'm not unhappy. I wouldn't carry it or depend on it to save my life, it's a range toy. I probably wouldn't invest in the .45 if it were me unless I could fire it first. I also carried a CA Undercover back in the dark ages, I remember it as having better fit and finish that this Bulldog by a long shot... except for the bluing on the Undercover, which did not survive a single day of having to wear a suit and tie in the summer Seattle heat and carrying it in a suede IWB holster. The finish disappeared on the side towards my body leaving one side of the revolver blue, the other gray! At least that wouldn't happen with the stainless Bulldog (I hope!).

Andrew, if you want to meet up and take a look at it in person, let me know. I'd be glad to do that if you don't mind coming down to Carson.
Very helpful and very informative post! Thank you! I'll let you know if I make it down that way.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#14
I bought my CA Pitbull 9mm a few months back. Bought it from Bizarre. They also had the Taurus 905 so I was able to do a side by side comparison. I liked the 905 but could not warm up to the moon clips.

Here's the kicker: have not taken it out shooting yet! Been waiting for a decent rainfall before I go out in the outback. Things are still a bit too dry.

Seems like a real nice pistol. Quality-fit-finish meet with my approval. After I brought it home I had a few questions so I emailed the home office/factory back east. About an hour after I sent the email, and I had left the house to run an errand, my wife takes a phone call from the company president. He had seen my email and took it upon himself to connect with his customer! I was impressed!

Hopefully our storm coming in later this week will wet things down sufficiently to do some shooting. And Andrew you're welcome to come out with me and pop off a few rounds to see how you like it.
Good to know! Let me know what you think. Did Bizarre have anything else Charter Arms in stock? I havent been in there in like 2 years.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#15
Also, my buddy has a .38spl "Tiger" tiger striped snub nose that he won in a raffle a few years back, and its still brand new in box. I asked him to bring it over when we had dinner the other night. I got hands on experience with the fit and finish.

Definitely not a Smith and wesson, but they also cost like $100 less than a comparable j-frame. I saw nothing wrong with it, trigger wasnt bad though i could feel a little roughness in it, surely it would smooth out given time or a little help.

I saw nothing that scared me away from charter arms as a whole, I even told him if he wants to get rid of it for a good price i'd take him up.

We'll see if that happens, and or if i can get my hands on a Pitbull.
 
#17
My first experience with Charter Arms was a coworker had a late 70s or early 80s bulldog. It was really nice and shot even better. About 10 years ago a friend bought one and it was nowhere as nice as the other one that i had shot. i have seen a few nice ones at gun shows and other times I have seen real turds.

The one that catches my eye is the left handed Undercover model. They are the only one who makes a left handed revolver to the best of my knowledge.
I wish S&W would make them but they have no interest, or so I was told at the SHOT SHOW a few years in a row.