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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you guys have noticed, I have been debating on getting the new Taurus 856UL . But I decided to go with another Charter.. This time a Police Bulldog , 6 shot 38spl ... It is a bigger than the 856 , heavier than the 856UL model , The Police Bulldog weighs in at 20oz .. frame size same size as the Bulldog 44spl ..

I picked the Charter , lifetime warrenty, +P rated , and Im planning on OWB carry vs pocket so slightly extra size and weight is no problem...
 

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Is that grip factory standard? And what is the barrel length? It looks like it might be easy / fun to shoot.

I have a 5-shot from back in the late 70's, early 80's with the "Charter Oak" grips on it and it has to be my most desirable 38 ever. In spite of owning a handfull of Smiths, and Taurii, (and one Rossi for Mrs Flash), I love it.

Flash
 
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Nice revolver! I have the Pitbull 9mm and really enjoy shooting it. Lots of good reports about Charter's customer service. Good people!
 
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Congrats on your new .38! I recently bought my fifth Charter Arms revolver and think they are a great value.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Congrats on your new .38! I recently bought my fifth Charter Arms revolver and think they are a great value.
This one is my 3rd right now .. I have owned at least one Charter for the past 35yrs ..
 

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My Charter is First Generation Stratford 5 shot snubbie. Best research I found is that it is '78-'80 vintage. I have a copy of a serial number research paper that a gentleman did in another forum I participated in. PM me and I will pass it along. It is by no means complete but it is the best info I have found about CA .38 Spc. history.
 

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There are 2 Stratfords on GB and both are nice lookers at a good price.
 

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Good looking snubby OP! I have never owned a Charter, but I need to remedy that.
 

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I've had a couple inquiries about the Charter Arms Serial Number info. Here it is. As I mentioned it is not my work but was compiled by another person. It is in the public domain so no issues with publication.



December 26, 2011, 10:38 AM
I've been researching the 1st Gen. CA
revolvers for a little of 3 years - AND still looking for more info. Here's a copy of my very rough research notes:

The very first Charter Arms Corporation production began in 1965 in BRIDGEPORT CONN - earliest pieces - mostly Undercover model will have either NO address on the right side of the barrel or will have BRIDGEPORT CONN
Around
1974, address was changed to STRATFORD CONN - all pieces made after mid 1974 will be marked with that address on the right side of the barrel and all will have CHARTER ARMS CORP. as the first line. Sometime in 1991, Charter Arms Corp. ceased operations. This was the end of the FIRST GENERATION.


Around mid 1991 (may be as early as 1988????), the company was re-organized under new leadership and became known as Charter Arms Company - CHARCO, and was located in ANSONIA CONN. All second generation pieces will be marked on the right side of the barrel with that name and address in two lines. This is the SECOND generation and apparently the period which caused the most damage to the Charter name and reputation.
In 2000, the company was again reorganized as CHARTER 2000 and relocated to SHELTON CONN. All pieces made during this THIRD generation will be marked with the SHELTON
address. Early production of this generation seems to have been spotty and reputation still lagged. About a year and a half ago, the company re-reorganized under the direction of MKS Marketing and seems now to be if not flourishing at least it is progressing in quality and market share.
From the limited data set that I have been able to assemble so far the following serialization seems to be valid: (NOTE: model name and caliber will be stamped on left side of barrel on all pieces)

FIRST GENERATION
0001 - <13500 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only, no address
~13500 - <315,000 ? - ~1965 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over
BRIDGEPORT CONN
.marking
~315,000 - <1,088,000 - ~1974 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN.
marking

SECOND GENERATION
>1,090,000 - ??? 1991 - 2000? CHARCO over ANSONIA CONN- marking

THIRD GENERATION
000001 - to date 2000 - 2011 CHARTER ARMS 2000 over
SHELTON CONN
marking.

This is the updated (6/11) serial number info that I have - based upon around 950 data points
The earliest 1st Gen - ~0 to ~13,500 have NO barrel ADDRESS and s/n is on lower right corner on right side of frame. CA company founded in 1964, first production pieces of the Undercover model produced in 1965
Bridgeport CONN address - ~13,500 to ~315,000 1967 - 1974
Stratford CONN address - ~315,000 to ~1,090,000 1974 - ~1991
All marked as Charter Arms Corporation

2nd Generation - CHARCO, Ansonia Conn address - 1,090,000 to ??? ~1991 - 1996?

3rd Generation - CHARTER 2000 -
Shelton Conn
- 0 to where ever they are today. 2007 Charter Arms/ MKS

From the 26 pieces in my collection (all 1st Gen) and from dozens more that I've had the opportunity to observe and handle, I'd say that around s/n 600,000 the finish was made a lot finer - although the integrals (lock work, action) was at least as good as the earlier ones. I have or have read magazine articles that cover pretty much of the production life of the 1st Generation, and during that period (around late 1980, early 1981) it seems that CA attempted to capture more of the market by doing so, also in April of 1981, they introduced Stainless Steel revolvers into the mix, for the first time. Some of the articles lamented that the earlier pieces, although rough finish, were rather inexpensive (~60-65% of S&W) and when CA began their "modernization" process, the finishes got better but the prices increased to about 85 to 90% of the S&W line for comparable models.
During the 2nd Generation, the CHARCO (Charter Arms COMPANY), under new management and reorganized, the quality was definitely more spotty and haphazard. I've seen CHARCO produced guns with
Stratford
marked barrels, obviously using up old stock.
The earliest CHARTER 2000 pieces I had the opportunity to handle (some fairly early 4 digits s/ns - were uniformly, poorly fitted and finished and had some horrendous and gritty actions. That seems to have been rectified under MKS's (circa 2007) new leadership and the most recent pieces I've handled - s/n's in the high 100,000 range have been "decent" but not as fine in finish and action as the mid years of the 1st Generation. This is simply my studied opinion based upon experience.


 

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Hey, Buckeye

How would you compare the fit and finish of this to a Taurus revolver? My stainless 85 is surprisingly decent for a revolver in the $240 price range that I paid for it new. Not exactly Smith or Colt quality but not near their price, either. For me proclaiming to be such a 'revolver guy', I shamefully must admit that I have only seen Charter Arms revolvers in the gun case at various store but have never actually held or shot one.


Also, the out of the box action on my 85 is smoother than most of the Smith and Wesson revolvers I have had in my lifetime. How is the Charter? My local gun shop has them listed on their website for $349 where the Taurus 856 is currently $250.

I am just trying to get an idea because every time I convince myself that I do not need another revolver, that little devil climbs up onto my shoulder and whispers in my ear..."But wait, this one is 6 shots instead of 5 and you have always wanted a 6-shot snubbie!" LOL

And, of course, we will expect the mandatory range report when you take it out for the first time! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Hey, Buckeye

How would you compare the fit and finish of this to a Taurus revolver? My stainless 85 is surprisingly decent for a revolver in the $240 price range that I paid for it new. Not exactly Smith or Colt quality but not near their price, either. For me proclaiming to be such a 'revolver guy', I shamefully must admit that I have only seen Charter Arms revolvers in the gun case at various store but have never actually held or shot one.


Also, the out of the box action on my 85 is smoother than most of the Smith and Wesson revolvers I have had in my lifetime. How is the Charter? My local gun shop has them listed on their website for $349 where the Taurus 856 is currently $250.

I am just trying to get an idea because every time I convince myself that I do not need another revolver, that little devil climbs up onto my shoulder and whispers in my ear..."But wait, this one is 6 shots instead of 5 and you have always wanted a 6-shot snubbie!" LOL

And, of course, we will expect the mandatory range report when you take it out for the first time! :)
Charter is different ..... They have a solid frame , no side plate , they tend to be lighter weight for their size ... Their steel framed five shot 38spl weighs 16oz , thats a steel frame ... The five shot aluminum frame weighs 12oz .. , The six shot 38spl , built on the Bulldog steel frame weighs 20oz ( vs 25oz for the new Colt Cobra revolver) , they also have a 357mag , 40s&w ,9mm & 44spl built on this Bulldog frame ...
Now fit and finish .. Id say goes to Taurus ... trigger , Taurus... and the last 605 I owned was superior..

When I dropped one of my Charter 44spl revolvers .. I broke the grip frame .. If I had the rubber grip on it , im sure it would have not broken, but I had small wooden grip panels on it .. I called Charter , spoke to a nice Gentleman.. Told him what happened and I wanted to buy a grip frame .. He asked me If I would send my revolver in to get checked and let them install the grip frame at no charge ... I did .. in 10day my revolver was back .. Not only was the grip frame replaced but they installed new rubber grips , cleaned it and installed a new hammer spring and firing pin .. all at no charge .... When I called to thank them , I spoke to a young lady .. thanked her for the great service .. She asked me what my shirt size was .. she sent me a T shirt ...
Lifetime warrenty.. a real warrenty.. with real customer service...

Another neat thing .. You can change the Charter from DAO to DA/SA in two minutes.. with ordering a replacement hammer ..

QC has went down on just about all gun manufacturers, accept Taurus ( from I can tell ) ... But remember Taurus only offers a 1 year warranty now ...

I chose the Charter Police over the Taurus 856UL ... because of the warrenty and customer service... and I was planning on OWB carry .. and changing it to DAO
 

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Here is a pic of my Charter Undercover. I put on a Charter combat grip because I have fairly large hands and get a better purchase that with the original wood grips. I still have the original woods.
She's a nice little shooter for a 40 +/- year old gun. And yes, those are Ruger ARX SD loads. This is my bedside table gun.
 

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I have a pair of Charter Arms revolvers that were passed to me when my neighbors died. They are both First Gen Stratfords, the blued one appears to be a 1975 and the stainless steel one is about a 1990 production. I also have a Taurus Model 85, that has a bad habit of rapping my knuckles on firing, the Charter Arms do not. The Charter Arms are just easier to shoot well and I keep all three loaded with 125 grain +P Nyclads (the blue bullets).

I called Charter Arms to ordered a missing part and the lady who talked to me said the all steel Stratfords were the best Charter Arms revolvers ever made. I was impressed with their level of service and knowledge.

My CA Undercovers. The Stainless was pristine and unfired when I got it and the Blued one only had a few rounds fired through it, but had some wear from being carried in a purse.
Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is my Undercover lite .. I installed a DAO hammer , custom polymer grip panels 12 oz , I carry Hornady 110gr FTX standard pressure
 

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Here's a picture of a .44 spl Bulldog and the .45 Colt. The biggest difference that I see is the top strap being wider on the .45 Colt which also required the front sight to be higher.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's a picture of a .44 spl Bulldog and the .45 Colt. The biggest difference that I see is the top strap being wider on the .45 Colt which also required the front sight to be higher.
Thanks for the Pic !!! Dang , Charter has it togather !!!

Im still awaiting the delivery of the Charter Police Six ... ! Im hopeing to score soon on another Charter or two this year ... The 45 Colt , seems very interesting!
 

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I'm really happy with the Charter Arms 6 shot .22 mag. revolver. Its nicely made and great pocket companion. I keep it in a DeSantis pocket holster.
 

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Thanks for the Pic !!! Dang , Charter has it togather !!!

Im still awaiting the delivery of the Charter Police Six ... ! Im hopeing to score soon on another Charter or two this year ... The 45 Colt , seems very interesting!
We had talked about possibly getting the Boomer and given it's lack of front sight I thought it would be a great candidate for the Crimson Trace laser grips. It seems like it would be the perfect combination. My SS Bulldog came with those grips so I could just switch them out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We had talked about possibly getting the Boomer and given it's lack of front sight I thought it would be a great candidate for the Crimson Trace laser grips. It seems like it would be the perfect combination. My SS Bulldog came with those grips so I could just switch them out.
I read a article about the Charter Boomer , and the author changed out the larger rubber grips with smaller grip panels.. then when weighed on postal scales it came in at 16.7 oz ... which seems light ... But would make a powerful / weight ratio snubbie..

I found the article ...
https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2016/5/11/tested-charter-arms-boomer-44-spl-revolver/
 
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