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Old August 11, 2012, 04:36 PM   #1
Pointshoot
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Charter Arms Bulldog - Sight Questions

Hi everyone - - - I really like the 44 Special, and am thinking about getting one of the new Charter Arms Bulldog revolvers. This will be used as a lightweight concealed carry gun - - a bit of an upgrade from a S&W J-frame in .38. I'm trying to decide between the regular 2 1/2" fixed sight model, or the adjustable sight 4" 'target' model. The gun will be loaded with 200gr Gold Dot (in the Speer or Blazer brands) and with the newer Buffalo Bore wadcutters that can be used in the Bulldog. - - - Has anyone used these loads in their Bulldogs ? How much adjustment did you have to make on your fixed sight guns ? Was there lots of filing required of your front sight ? I like the ruggedness of fixed sights, and the fact that around my area they go for about $70 less than the adjustable sight target models. But if adjustable sights would save a ton of time & hassles with these guns, perhaps it would be worth it. Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions. - -
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:34 PM   #2
drail
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Yes I have used those loads (and/or duplicated them using those bullets with my own handloads and they work very well in my 1987 Bulldog Pug. My sights have never required any adjustments in over 20 years of experimenting with different loads (umless you're going to shoot targets at over 25 yards) and there is no good reason to push these guns with heavy bullet weights or pressures. The wadcutter load was VERY surprising in terms of recoil - that sucker kicks out of a Bulldog and makes big holes. The 200 gr. Speer Gold Dot is absolutely the best bullet ever made for that gun. It will expand reliably at 840 fps every time I have tested it. Any differences in point of impact are easily dealt with by simply aiming slightly higher or lower. I would not bother filing the front sight to compensate. Just aim for the belly buton. I definitely agree with choosing fixed sights on a gun like this.

Last edited by drail; August 11, 2012 at 09:42 PM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:56 PM   #3
PetahW
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[I definitely agree with choosing fixed sights on a gun like this. ]

+1

At SD (aka: belly-to-belly) ranges, if a load's POI is off an inch or two, it'll make zero difference.


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Old August 11, 2012, 10:09 PM   #4
Pointshoot
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Thanks guys for your comments. I appreciate it.

drail - - - if I might ask, you mentioned shooting & duplicating with your handloads the Speer Gold Dot 200gr ammo that I mentioned. Are these loads that you can shoot all day in the Bulldog ? I've heard guys say this gun is a 'shoot little, carry alot' piece - - but this would seem to be a very sane load for it.

Regards, - - -
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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I have the 2 1/2" and it shoots to POA well enough for SD use.

I carry it mostly IWB (at 1:00)... The longer 4" version wouldn't work in that position for me, so I'd be limited to under-shoulder carry.

I do carry my 2 1/2" in a shoulder rig occasionally... but to NOT be able to CC it IWB would be a bummer for me.

I always feel confident when I carry my Bulldog. I've used a fair variety of ammo and honestly like 'em all and haven't perceived much difference in accuracy with any of them.

To me, .44 Special is a great SD round and deserves more platforms. You've probably noticed there are quite a few strong hardy fans of .44 Special on gun forums.

Have you seen this thread?:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ght=44+special
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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CWKahrFan - - - thank you for your comments & the link. Yes, I did get the chance to read that. I've been doing searches on "44 Special" and "Bulldog" lately !

I took a look at a Bulldog in a local gunshop last week. It's a 4" target model with the adjustable sights. After reading guys experiences with these going back 40 years and the various versions under different ownership, I didn't quite know what to expect with the new guns. I checked it out thoroughly and it looked like a good solid gun, and IMO a real value at a price of about $350 for the fixed sight snubbie model.

I'll have to do a little thinking as to whether I might see this doing double duty as a lightweight trail gun. If so, I might go ahead and pay the extra for the 4" barrel and adjustable sights. I often carry a S&W 45 Colt Mountain Gun (4" barrel N-frame) in an IWB holster, so a little extra length doesn't really bother me.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old August 12, 2012, 04:59 AM   #7
Crazy88Fingers
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Here's a good article with some semi-scientific testing of various loads...

http://www.gunblast.com/Cassill_Bulldog.htm

If lightweight concealed carry is your objective, then the 2.5" model would be a much better choice.
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Old August 12, 2012, 06:47 AM   #8
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Pointshoot, the Charter Arms Bulldog is most definitely a "carry a lot - shoot a little" revolver. It was not designed to have the service life of a S&W or a Colt. But for its intended use it is a very good design. Most of the used ones I have examined had become quite loose either from lots of use or handloaders trying to "push the envelope" with one. If considering a used one check it out very carefully. Occasionally parts may break, they can be replaced. When I first bought mine (new) I shot it quite a bit with moderate pressure handloads just until I learned exactly where it shoots and since then it has become just a carry piece (with occasional trips to the range maybe 3 or 4 times a year just to see if I can still hit with it) As someone else posted, it is pretty much used only for a threat that is very close and needs to be shut down very quickly. And it will definitely do that if you can do your part. Avoid any kind of +P high performance or heavy bullet weight loads, they are not needed and will only shorten the life of the gun. It is a beautiful little carry piece that you can almost forget you're carrying at only 19 oz. When you fire it you will be immediately aware that it is a 19 oz. gun. Pachmayr combat grips help a LOT. You must keep a close eyes on all of the screws, they will get loose, even if Loctited. The .44 Spl. is still one of the best self defense cartridges we have.
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Old August 12, 2012, 08:09 AM   #9
Pointshoot
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Crazy88Fingers - - - thanks for the link !

drail - - I appreciate your futher comments. I plan on only using the lighter type loads I mentioned in this gun.

After reading your guys comments, I'm leaning toward the shorter barrel fixed sight gun. Its likely to see more duty as a concealed carry piece than anything else. (I already have guns that would work better as dedicated trail guns).

All the best, - - -
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Old August 12, 2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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A short barrel FS .44 bulldog is a good concealed carry SD piece for close up defense. Personal defense weapons are only for use for threats "in your personal space" usually less than ten feet in the street. My 696 Smith 3" with AS is better for longer ranges but the 36oz wt is a lot more noticeable day in and out for carry.

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Old August 12, 2012, 09:13 AM   #11
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Chesster - - - your S&W 696 has always been on my 'want list'. But everytime I found them in the past, I thought the price was too high.

I recently saw one at an auction website and they had a starting price of around $1200 !

I'm glad I bought most of the guns that I have now years back. When I look at the price of getting a second copy of some of them - - I'm amazed.

Enjoy your 696
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Old August 12, 2012, 10:35 AM   #12
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I have been a fan of the 44 special and the Bulldog for 3 decades, it’s a hard gun to beat for size and power. The important thing about the life time of a bulldog or any gun that size is to stay in the 200 GR of less with Factory. I have shot a lot of 240 Gr cast through mine but they have always been light loads.
When I bought the gun I was working in a gun store at the time (30 years ago) and purchased several cases of Win Silvertips which at the time was about the only good defense round available. Right now mine has over 400 rounds of Factory silver tips through it and its still tight.
I agree with others that the 200gr Gold Dot is a very good round but others in the 200 or 180 range will also do everything you need out of the 44. I use and will continue to use the Silvertips since I still have so many of them and have a long history.
As far as barrel or sights, go with the shortest and fixed sights. First off, for a self defense gun how important are sights when you’re talking 7 to 15 feet where most instances take place. The gun points very well and first rounds are most important and sights at that range will only slow you down.
I don’t know if they still make the gun but mine has the factory bobbed hammer and anything that will reduce the chance of snagging on cloths is a good thing.

The following has photos of what Win Silvertips out of a bulldog will do going into water.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...=44+silvertips
Some information on 44 special ammo.
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/C...X%20Report.htm
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 44 bulldog bobbed.jpg (84.5 KB, 11 views)
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Old August 12, 2012, 12:35 PM   #13
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Just picked up a CA 44 spl earlier in the week. Later noticed that it sticks (won’t turn) on one chamber. Close inspection reveals damage to an ejector star lug. Emailed the Charter Arms Customer Service Manager on Friday for a replacement part. See how that works out. Had a bad extractor on a Springfield Armory 1911, contacted SA and 3 days later the replacement part was in my mailbox, free of charge.

Shot the CA 44 spl this morning, 50 rounds. It jammed once (due to the bad ejector lug).

“How much adjustment did you have to make on your fixed sight guns ?” [Pointshoot]

It was shooting low, so I had to use about half the front sight to bring it in line. Not sure whether to grind it down, at 10-15 feet does it matter?

The good: Small size. This is a comfortable gun in the hand, points nicely, recoil about the same as a 38 spl S&W j-frame with standard load. I was shooting light handloads with 240 gr jsp bullets, because that’s all I have. Pleasant shooting gun. Tight. SA trigger good.

The Bad: So-so finish. So-so mechanics. Heavy gritty DA trigger, heavy gritty hammer, action similar to a Russian Nagant, but the Nagants are better built. Took off the grips, removed the coil spring and trimmed it back, trigger & hammer pull now much improved. Couple of chambers had sticky extraction, forget reloading, unfortunately no moon clips available. Accuracy well, only combat…not target…unlike every S&W revolver I have ever shot. Maybe its me...

The Ugly: Aforementioned sticky cylinder.

If an S&W is a 10, then this is about a 5. For example, the S&W 396 Nightguard is head and shoulders better, but then its bigger too. Problem is, no one else makes a 44 spl this small, and it is small, only slightly larger than a J-frame. And if you want a small 44 spl, this is pretty much the only game in town. Carries nicely in my ankle holster...good ankle BUG.

Revolver and target pictured below.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg CA 44 Spl.jpg.JPG (38.0 KB, 25 views)
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Last edited by Seaman; August 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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Old August 12, 2012, 01:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Chesster - - - your S&W 696 has always been on my 'want list'. But everytime I found them in the past, I thought the price was too high.

I recently saw one at an auction website and they had a starting price of around $1200 !
I think mine was around $800 or so about 2 years ago. At the time it was the best price I could find.
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Old August 15, 2012, 11:35 AM   #15
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I have the 4" in 357 and I carry it in IWB NP. I have the 2.5"44spl also. If you carry IWB the barrel makes no difference to me. 4" is slightly heavy but is also more accurate. But which ever you pick stay with light to normal loads and gun will work fine for you.
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Old August 15, 2012, 12:17 PM   #16
Pointshoot
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Thanks again for everyone's great comments.

I'm looking forward to hearing how Charter Arms treats Seaman.

(For those who have dealt with them - - - How's the company on emails ? For some companies, phone calls work best - which may/may not be the case with them.)

The 4" Target 44 I inspected had a pretty nice trigger. Not gritty. Could've been lighter - but quite serviceable.

Last edited by Pointshoot; August 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old August 16, 2012, 12:01 AM   #17
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Also note they offer the short barrel/fixed sight with adjustable Crimson Trace grips.

http://www.charterfirearms.com/produ...ldog_74424.asp
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Old August 16, 2012, 01:14 AM   #18
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Pointshoot, I've never e-mailed Charter but I have called. Give them a ring and you'll most likely talk to Dee. That's Nick's wife. Nick runs the place.
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Old August 16, 2012, 08:52 AM   #19
PetahW
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I've spoken to both @ Charter - Do you know of another gun company, where the President answers the phone ?

BTW - Since you said you already have a .45Colt S&W Mountain Gun, why buy a long-bbl'd BullDog, when you already own a Trail Gun ? (Altho it'll certainly do double duty as a SD gun, too)

Far beit from me, to dissuade anyone from getting yet another gun - Those who die with the most toys, WIN.


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Old August 16, 2012, 05:06 PM   #20
Pointshoot
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I think I've heard about guys talking directly to Charter Arms' owner. I like that.

PetahW - - actually, I'm putting together an 'excuse' to get another gun !
Don't really absolutely 'need' anything.

I'm actually now leaning toward the shorter barrel gun for lightweight concealed carry. I have other various guns that do the 'trail gun' function better.

The only place that had the new 2 1/2" bbl Bulldog locally sold it a few days ago. When I travel to a larger city later in the month, I'll check out some shops who carry a pretty big inventory of them.
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Old August 16, 2012, 05:29 PM   #21
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Cool... Price check... (Add @ $25 transfer):

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/38055
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Old August 16, 2012, 06:59 PM   #22
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For carry, absolutely go with the 2 1/2" fixed sight model. Stick with the 200 gr. Gold Dots.

And, there is nothing you can shoot out of a Bulldog all day. It bites and barks and snaps too much.

Don't touch those sights.

It's a beast that takes a lot of practice to master. Be patient. It's worth it.
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Old August 16, 2012, 09:30 PM   #23
Pointshoot
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"And, there is nothing you can shoot out of a Bulldog all day. It bites and barks and snaps too much."

LOL that paints a great mental image Moxie


Yeah, CWKahrFan, I checked out Buds. Price at the bigger dealer in the city will run about the same after considering transfer fee. They have quite a few of them, so I'll be able to pick out one that's absolutely right. - - Thanks
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Old August 19, 2012, 08:20 PM   #24
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I don't want to come across as rude, but there are a few other similar choices out there. Here's a pic of my Taurus Total Titanium snub nosed revolver chambered in .45 Colt...

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Last edited by Catbird; August 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM.
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Old August 20, 2012, 10:07 AM   #25
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“I'm looking forward to hearing how Charter Arms treats Seaman. “ [Pointshoot]

No reply and no part received in the mail.

I really like the look and feel of the CA 44 and when I saw a Seller with last one NIB for $314, I figured I’d bite, but told myself this was an experiment and I would spend no additional dollars on long distance phone calls (CA has no 1-800 service) or return shipping costs to the factory. When I check a new acquisition out, if it doesn’t shoot a sub-1” group, on the first cylinder or mag, I sell it.

But I like the CA 44 so much I decided to give it another go at the range. Painted a tiny horizontal line on the front site, fluffed and buffed the hand (the part that rotates the cylinder, it had some metal flaking).

Shot 4 cylinders (20 rounds) thru it, had 2 jams, on the 1st I just pulled h-a-r-d-e-r and it did go boom. One the 2nd jam I rotated the cylinder by hand (with my free hand) and it worked. But the groups were 2-3”… got slowly p*ss*d off, reloaded, gripped the gun tightly and fired 5 more … guess what? A ¾ “ group. That was the problem … I was holding the gun in too relaxed a manner, all I had to do was firm up the grip. Shot 30 more rounds, no jams. Pleasant shooter … I shoot 357 mag, 45 ACP, 44 mag, S&W 460, etc, so the 44 spl is a mild treat. Still tight and solid.

Well, I checked Numrich’s for a replacement part, cheaper than sending the gun back, but they are out of stock.

“… there are a few other similar choices out there. Here's a pic of my Taurus Total Titanium snub nosed revolver chamber in .45 Colt ...” [Catbird]

Nice revolver, but I’m not certain I want to deal with Taurus CS dept either, don’t speak Portuguese, (btw Taurus also make a nice 44 spl) and would have to buy 45 Colt brass too, not sure if my 45 ACP reloading equipment would work. Reload another caliber … life is too busy.

Pic below
Attached Images
File Type: jpg CA 44 Spl 240 gr.jpg (25.1 KB, 7 views)
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