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Old 04-17-2010, 04:14 PM
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Default Any one carry a Charter Arms Bulldog?

My Primary Carry Revolver is an old 3 inch Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 special.I was just wondering if any one else carries these nice light 44 specials?I know there are better choices as I have plenty of other carry guns but I just like the light revolver in the 44 caliber.
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:19 PM
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Two Guns,

I ahve owned two (2) over the years, last one was back in 1989.

It is a fine concept and I would buy another one if the situation were right.

Back in those days, I traded, swapped, sold, and such like crazy.

Nothing wrong with the guns I had, just would get on a tear and trade it for something else I didn't have.
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:36 PM
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They are nice little revolvers. Isn't it amazing that Smith can't compete with little ol' Charter Arms?

And no, I don't consider that the 696 competes. It don't.


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Old 04-17-2010, 08:55 PM
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I had a customized one not too long ago. Bobbed hammer, slicked up, new springs, etc. It was engraved "Terminator" or something like that. I swapped it even for a minty old SB Model 36 and was happy with the deal. My wife liked it, but I was never quite sold on the concept. I've had two of the Charter .44s over the years. The other was a pug. I still have one of the Rossi 720s that I'll probably trade off.

Even in custom format, the erratic QC of Charter over the years left me a bit uneasy. I also found them to be a bit snappish. My wife liked the Charter .44s a lot though and yelled at me for swapping them off.

.44 Special ammo has unfortunately become increasingly hard to find and expensive. I always liked the Blazer JHPs though.
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:06 PM
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I have a .44 "Target" (very optimistic name I might add) that I have had for a while....it is my 5 shot "disposable" truck type gun, as the thumb latch no longer opens the cylinder, I I have to insert a thin tool under the end of the extractor rod to pull it open...
I keep it loaded at all times, figuring that 5 quick 44 200 grn GD's might get me out of a jam sometimes....then again, I don't have any emotional investment in it....
I (draw big red heart here) my 696 no dash.....
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:19 PM
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I found a box of Blazer 44spl Gold Dot HPs in my stash, had six shots fired (must have got them to let my friend try them since I've never owned a 44 of any sort). I am keeping them just in case I find a good deal on a Bulldog, I'll already have ammo for it
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:21 PM
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I don't mean to be rude to those who like them but I'm not enthused about them.

I bought one of the first one's in the early 70's,kept it for a short while and sold it.The quality was terrible in my opinion.I have examined many since and have never been impressed.The concept has merit but the actual product did not do justice to it.In my opinion,it's a good idea that's badly executed.
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:33 PM
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My PD issued me one years ago. I carried it as a BUG for a number of years.

They made me give it back when I retired.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:36 PM
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I really like my S&W 696, but finally quit trying to use it for a CCW and went with an old Flat Latch Centennial. That little Centennial is a whole lot more "comfortable" to carry than the 696, but not as "comforting". Then I bought an older model BullDog and still carry it to this day. It's a lot lighter and smaller than the S&W "L" frame, but is much more reassuring than a .38. I'm very happy with the .44 BullDog. Still wish I could carry that nice 696 comfortably, though.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:53 PM
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Yes, my dad has one of the older 3" models and I used to have a 2 1/2" pug. Both are/were very accurate and I never had any problems with them. Had to tighten the cylinder latch screw on a regular basis, but carried that pug for several years - good for what it is (light and powerful). Sadly, my pug was stolen from the trunk of my wife's car; I'll never valet park again.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:31 AM
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My preferred carry firearm is a .44 Bulldog. Unfortunately I have been through several of them due to people offering more than I can refuse for them. Between Bulldog's I carry either a Beretta Tomcat or a S&W Combat Masterpiece.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:06 PM
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Here is a Charter Arms Bulldog Pug. Customized by Mag-Na-Port.





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Old 04-25-2010, 08:00 PM
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I tried carring my 696 also. Too much gun for trying to hide it. Plus it kept wanting to pull my pants down. I do still have it and love that 44spl.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:13 AM
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I carry a 696 frequently. A good IWB and belt make all the difference in the world with this gun. I also carry SIGs but have gone more and more to revolvers in the last few years (like I started out) I owned a Bulldog back in the 70s and really liked the concept. I suppose that is where I became so fond of the .44 Special cartridge. However, mine kept falling apart on me so I got away from Charter. When my 696 seems to get too heavy I just carry my 396 Night Guard for awhile. I keep going back to the 696 tho' -- just something about it.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gknierim View Post
My preferred carry firearm is a .44 Bulldog. Unfortunately I have been through several of them due to people offering more than I can refuse for them. Between Bulldog's I carry either a Beretta Tomcat or a S&W Combat Masterpiece.
Not meaning to drift the thread, but what holster do you carry your Bulldog in?

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Old 04-28-2010, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catshooter View Post
They are nice little revolvers. Isn't it amazing that Smith can't compete with little ol' Charter Arms?

And no, I don't consider that the 696 competes. It don't.


Cat

smith&wesson can't compete with charter arms...hmmm...interesting if unlikely concept!
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:46 PM
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smith&wesson can't compete with charter arms...hmmm...interesting if unlikely concept!
Don't get me wrong, I too see quite a difference between Smith and Charter, with of course the nod going to Smith.

However, Charter has been building a 19 ounce .44 for decades. Smith hasn't. I can't imagaine that Smith can't, but they aren't. So I guess I should re-phrase what I said to "Smith won't compete."

Pity, too, as I would love to own several.


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Old 05-01-2010, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catshooter View Post
Don't get me wrong, I too see quite a difference between Smith and Charter, with of course the nod going to Smith.

However, Charter has been building a 19 ounce .44 for decades. Smith hasn't. I can't imagaine that Smith can't, but they aren't. So I guess I should re-phrase what I said to "Smith won't compete."

Pity, too, as I would love to own several.


Cat

This.....quoted for truth....as much as I like the concept, I wish Smith would do it, cause they would do it much better
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:10 AM
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The people running S&W are stupid. They still haven't made a P3AT sized .380 either.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:27 PM
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My brother carries one, upper left in the photo. He had no problems from it until last fall when it suddenly quit working. It would not cock. The factory repaired it for around $125.00 including shipping. He loves it. He also loves his S&W #36, AMT Back-Up .45 a.c.p., Beretta .25 a.c.p. The S&W #469 he traded back to me for a S&W #908. I had a few of the Bulldog .44 specials when they first came out but sold them to buy a Detonics .45 a.c.p. My CA's worked fine but I always preferred S&W revolvers over all others.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:57 AM
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I also have several CA Bulldogs and one is fancied-up and marked "Terminator" as mentioned in an earlier posting. The gun has a bobbed hammer, jeweled trigger and hammer and polished cylinder, etc.. It was made by Personal Protection Systems around 1982/83 and who I believe is now out of business. If anybody has any info about the gun, like how many where made, etc., I would appreciate the response.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheriffoconee View Post
This.....quoted for truth....as much as I like the concept, I wish Smith would do it, cause they would do it much better
Exactly, sheriff, exactly so! As much as I like the Charter, I would much prefer a Smith.

No one in the world could convince me that Smith is incapable of matching a Bulldog (for size & weight). They just won't. *sigh*

It's a very, very rare corporation that doesn't suffer horribly from the"If it's not invented here then it's not worthy of us" syndrome.

Sad, isn't it? I've read that Charter is and has been for a while running at their full capacity, making and selling 750 revolvers a week. If they can sell 'em, why couldn't Smith? They could, obviously. Oh well.


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Old 05-03-2010, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
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I have a .44 "Target" (very optimistic name I might add) that I have had for a while....it is my 5 shot "disposable" truck type gun, as the thumb latch no longer opens the cylinder, I I have to insert a thin tool under the end of the extractor rod to pull it open...
I keep it loaded at all times, figuring that 5 quick 44 200 grn GD's might get me out of a jam sometimes....then again, I don't have any emotional investment in it....
I (draw big red heart here) my 696 no dash.....
I quoted myself here, cause I fixed my "thumb latch won't open my cylinder" issue with my CA Bulldog. The thumb latch pushes a screw into the cylinder pin to release the cylinder for opening. The screw was screwed in so far that it would no longer push the pin out. Took the screw out, a dab of blue loctite, and screwed it back in flush with the recoil shield....works perfectly now.
I STILL think Smith could do a better job with the concept....
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:31 PM
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I believe it was either ASP or DEVEL that fitted a Ruger Speed Six with a five shot cylinder and rebored the barrel to .44 special. That discontinued Ruger frame was slightly smaller than a S&W K frame.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:59 PM
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I had a Bulldog back in the 80's. Nice and light, accurate, but their "unbreakable copper beryllium firing pin" wasn't, it turned out. Sure, they fixed it on their dime, but that and the not-so-good fit turned me off and I sold it.

It is an excellent concept and if someone would turn out a better quality product along the same lines it would sell.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:32 PM
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"but their "unbreakable copper beryllium firing pin" wasn't"

Thats the truth, I broke two of those myself. I have owned about seven CA handguns in all over the years. None of them stayed around long.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:59 PM
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I have owned a couple of the old Bulldogs before and traded them off. The only Charter that I have held on to is my old Bridgeport Undercover. I guess I'll keep it for many more years, it looks so bad that no one else would want it. I would like to find an early Bulldog now. A lot of power in a small and light package.
I'm really surprised that there hasn't been a lot of Charter Arms bashing going on here. That's usually the case when CA is brought up. The ones that I have owned have all been fine, not the prettiest but the price was always better than the pretty guns.
Here is my old Undercover that has been around the block a time or two.
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Guns View Post
My Primary Carry Revolver is an old 3 inch Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 special.I was just wondering if any one else carries these nice light 44 specials?I know there are better choices as I have plenty of other carry guns but I just like the light revolver in the 44 caliber.
I have one nestled into the glovebox of my car at this moment, and when needed I drop it into a front pocket...absolutely. That IS the strong suit of the CA .44 Bulldog! Tremendous blasting power in a light, compact revolver that is EASY to carry concealed!
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoe on the yukon View Post
I don't mean to be rude to those who like them but I'm not enthused about them.

I bought one of the first one's in the early 70's,kept it for a short while and sold it.The quality was terrible in my opinion.I have examined many since and have never been impressed.The concept has merit but the actual product did not do justice to it.In my opinion,it's a good idea that's badly executed.
No offense to the Bulldog owners but I reckon I'll have to side with you. Being a .44 Spl. enthusiast and owning 3 S&W's chambered in such, the concept really excites me.
I was at the LGS Friday and they had a new one on the shelf, priced at $450. A close inspection showed timing and all other checks spot on. Just did not have the tight quality feel of a S&W, almost like you expected it to fall apart in your hand. Just didn't excite me. I'm sure it would go bang every time but I don't think I could carry it with confidence.

Just about everyone who owns one loves it. Maybe if I bought one I'd warm up to it.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:09 PM
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I had one back in the day when I had to own everything I could get my hands on and try carrying (c'mon, admit it, we have all gone through that phase). It always worked, never broke, but I never felt the love for one and finally sold it.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:34 PM
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I'm a big fan of the Bulldog, however I never could get used to its DA trigger pull. Bought one of the originals, got rid of it, tried another one about ten years later, got rid of it, and two years ago tried one of the new stainless Pug's, got rid of it. Now this is frustrating as I really like the little beasties if only I could tolerate their DA trigger pulls. I'm afraid my trigger finger is just used to the S&W's for double action work. Now this is not a slam against the Bulldog, it seems to be a personal problem!
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:20 AM
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I have one and had another. Both are OK for what they are. I love the big bore in a small light package. I shoot it enough to keep good with it. I use fairly mild loads. With big bullets speed isn't needed. I did have the failure to open problem on the current gun but made a tiny shim washer to fix it. With the non shrouded ejector guns like mine you can open by pulling ejector forward. I also have a Taurus 431 which is pretty much a fix sight copy of a 696. Mine is well made and smooth, but heavy. The Bulldog can go in my pants or jacket pocket and not have my pants falling down.

I would love an alloy L frame with a 3" barrel, but I want it in 45ACP with moon clips. That would be so perfect. Small, light, big bullet, quick reloading and lots of ammo choices.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilibreaux View Post
I have one nestled into the glovebox of my car at this moment, and when needed I drop it into a front pocket...absolutely. That IS the strong suit of the CA .44 Bulldog! Tremendous blasting power in a light, compact revolver that is EASY to carry concealed!
Well my Charter Arms 44 Bulldog has an external hammer so
I carry it in a Galco Paddle Holster. My hammerless S&W 642-1 38 stainless steel airweight I carry in a pocket holster in my pocket.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:05 AM
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I have one and had another. Both are OK for what they are. I love the big bore in a small light package. I shoot it enough to keep good with it. I use fairly mild loads. With big bullets speed isn't needed. I did have the failure to open problem on the current gun but made a tiny shim washer to fix it. With the non shrouded ejector guns like mine you can open by pulling ejector forward. I also have a Taurus 431 which is pretty much a fix sight copy of a 696. Mine is well made and smooth, but heavy. The Bulldog can go in my pants or jacket pocket and not have my pants falling down.

I would love an alloy L frame with a 3" barrel, but I want it in 45ACP with moon clips. That would be so perfect. Small, light, big bullet, quick reloading and lots of ammo choices.

I have a 696 and had a Taurus 431. The 431 was a solid well made gun and I loved the fixed sight. I let it go because of that gall danged square butt and target stocks. Totally defeated the purpose of the fixed sights. I'm with you on an L frame from S&W. As much as we'd like a .44 Spl I don't see it happening with the current M69 on the market.
I think a fixed sight .45 ACP with moon clips would be a huge seller. We'll keep our fingers crossed.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:22 AM
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This.....quoted for truth....as much as I like the concept, I wish Smith would do it, cause they would do it much better
I'd love to replace my Bulldog with a comparable S&W, but for now the Charter is really the only option.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:42 AM
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I replaced my sometimes carried S&W 296 with a .44 C/A Bulldog (bought used with a nice action) because the Bulldog was a better size for me to conceal carry.
Based on my favorable impression of the Bulldog, I bought a C/A .40 PitBull (not that smooth of an action).
I put some .40 snapcaps in the PitBull to try and smooth out the action. After a few minutes, I broke the "flag" off of the transfer bar on the PitBull and discovered that the gun would not fire with a broken transfer bar.
C/A's customer service was great, however, I retired BOTH of my C/As from conceal carry use due to this design feature.

Mark
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:35 AM
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I owned two Charter Arms revolvers back in the mid-1980's, a blue 38 Undercover and a stainless 22 Pathfinder. While they were a good value & OK for "truck gun" use, they just weren't up to S&W standards. What with all the different guns/calibers available now, I think that ship has sailed, but it's a shame S&W didn't get on it back in the day & produce a similar but higher-quality small-frame 5 shot 44 snubby-- they'd have sold a bunch of them.

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Old 06-03-2014, 03:54 PM
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I owned two Charter Arms revolvers back in the mid-1980's, a blue 38 Undercover and a stainless 22 Pathfinder. While they were a good value & OK for "truck gun" use, they just weren't up to S&W standards. What with all the different guns/calibers available now, I think that ship has sailed, but it's a shame they didn't get on it back in the day & produce a similar but S&W-quality small-frame 5 shot 44 snubby-- they'd have sold a bunch of them.
To make them "up to S&W standards" would have jacked up the price a lot. One of the things many people have found appealing about the CA guns, especially the Bulldog, is that they're relatively inexpensive revolvers that work.

Everybody I know personally who owned one of the older Bulldogs says essentially the same thing: "Yeah, fit and finish aren't all that great, but they always shoot and they make great big holes."

So I guess the question becomes, when will S&W come back to a .44 Special snubby? I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:20 PM
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The closest Smith has come IMHO is the 396/396NG. The are a little larger than the 'Dog.
If you had to use one in anger, which would you rather they confiscate?
I carry the Bulldog. It's accurate enough (especially with a Crimson Trace grip).
Yeah the build quality is one notch above crud (maybe) but I trust it to not blow up in my hand (barely).
I use a Mernickle holster for it.
Open carry, there is no question, the 396 wins.

BTW both the 696 and 396 fit well in the holsters that were made for the 3" 24 and 624.
The 396 won't necessarily fit in a 696 holster because of the high front sight.

===
Nemo
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:29 PM
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I have a 4" target model that I bought about 1978. It's on my short list for daily carry & it has never failed me. Once for grins & giggles I shot it at an IHMSA silhouette match. I got laughed at a lot, until I knocked over the first ram at 200 meters. That's accurate enough for me.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:03 PM
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I just traded for this pug last weekend. Bought a Barami hip grip at the same time because I love them for everyday carry.
I wear my 442 and the Bulldog at about 5:00 and they tuck well and are very comfortable, especially the J frame Smith.

The pug is now my truck gun, hopefully a coating of Eezox and the stainless steel will keep down corrosion, which is fierce, lying on the carpet behind my truck console. Every other gun I have had there, has rusted to some degree.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:06 PM
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Old school cool...
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:22 PM
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by shouldazagged View Post
....... One of the things many people have found appealing about the CA guns, especially the Bulldog, is that they're relatively inexpensive revolvers that work. Everybody I know personally who owned one of the older Bulldogs says essentially the same thing: "Yeah, fit and finish aren't all that great, but they always shoot and they make great big holes.".......
The fit & finish issues I could have lived with. But as I recall, while the single-action trigger wasn't too bad the double-action trigger on both my Charter revolvers was terrible. Pretty hard to hit the target when you need to use two fingers to pull the trigger. Never had a try at tuning either one of them up so don't know if they can be easily improved or not.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilibreaux View Post
I have one nestled into the glovebox of my car at this moment, and when needed I drop it into a front pocket...absolutely. That IS the strong suit of the CA .44 Bulldog! Tremendous blasting power in a light, compact revolver that is EASY to carry concealed!
+1
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Two Guns View Post
My Primary Carry Revolver is an old 3 inch Charter Arms Bulldog in 44 special. I was just wondering if any one else carries these nice light 44 specials?...
When I worked Homicide in the early 1980's I carried one, because being a dyed in the wool "Cooperite" no one made a 19 oz. .45 ACP revolver.

About the only commerical round available then was the 246 gr. RNL, so I loaded a Sierra 210 gr. JHP behind a moderate dose of Unique over CCI primers.

Today the only Charter Arms I still carry is their fairly newly release CARR Pit Bull in 9mm. Due to it's patented star extractor (similar to the defunct S&W M-547) it does not require moon clips for extraction. It's also great for those days with this old fart doesn't feel like "stooping over & picking up" brass.


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Old 06-09-2014, 07:43 PM
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I see you had yours bobbed,as did I, and ported. Is that a satin hard chrome job on it? Looks good.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:47 PM
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I see you had yours bobbed,as did I, and ported. Is that a satin hard chrome job on it? Looks good.
Yes hard chrome finish. Barrel is 1.75". Trigger is silkey smooth.
Mag-Na-Port did all the work.


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Old 06-17-2014, 04:26 PM
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As a result of this thread I went out and bought a new one, here is my review: The Charter Arms Bulldog 44 Special | The Desert's Edge

I am very happy with it and plan to carry it more often as a winter revolver.

It is now added to my small revolver collection:


Last edited by eb07; 06-17-2014 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:33 PM
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I took it out today with the new Combat grips.

Summed up from my updated writeup:

Quote:
I took it out for an extended range session with the new Charter Combat Grips and it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Emptying a cylinder full of the 200gr Speer Gold Dots with one hand was controllable and accurate. The 240 and 225gr loads were a bit more and you could feel the backstrap in your hand. But nothing like my little 357 with full house loads. I definitely will use the Pachmayr’s for extended range sessions and for desert carry, and keep the Combat Grips on for concealed carry. Here is a video demonstration of recoil:
You can feel it but it is manageable. I won't be doing any extended range sessions with them.

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