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Old November 26, 2012, 05:31 PM   #1
aarondhgraham
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Range report - Charter Arms Target Pathfinder in .22 LR,,,

Wednesday I purchased a brand new 4" Target Pathfinder by Charter Arms,,,
Thursday I took it out and ran some rounds through it,,,
Overall I'm very satisfied with the little shooter.

Pro's

It's the least expensive DA/SA .22 revolver on the market,,,
Okay, Okay, a Czechpoint is a bit cheaper,,,
But this pistol is all American made,,,
Comes with a lifetime warranty,,,
Out the door was $380.63.

It seems to be very solidly built,,,
You know how some guns just feel cheap,,,
This revolver has a very solid heft to it and feels good in your hand.

It is virtually the exact size and shape of a S&W J-frame,,,
It fits a holster I made for a S&W Model 34 perfectly,,,
I'm told that the HKS J-frame speed-loaders fit it.

I went through 250 rounds of ammo the first day,,,
100 of Mini Mag, 100 of Remington Golden Bulk,,,
And 50 rounds of Federal Bulk from Wal Mart,,,
Every round went off with a nice rim dent.

It seems to be an accurate little gun,,,
I was hitting water bottles at 25 yards with it.

Con's

The finish of the gun could be better,,,
It's stainless steel but looks to be bead blasted,,,
The surface has more of a matte look than a glossy sheen.

The front ramp sight is smooth,,,
It seemed to disappear under bright light,,,
I'll probably use some orange sight paint to fix that.

The gun has a very tight action,,,
By tight I mean it needs some breaking in,,,
Everything moves where and when it is supposed to move,,,
But everything is a bit more effort than you would think is necessary.

The trigger pull is not heavy at all,,,
But it is a bit "gritty" compared to a well used pistol,,,
I expect it will take a bit of shooting to get all the internals smoothed out.

General Comments

The rubber grips are very slender and resemble Pachmayer "Compac" grips,,,
If I were going to keep the gun for myself I would change them,,,
But it's going to be a graduation gift for a young lady,,,
They will probably fit her smaller hands just fine.

MSRP of the Charter Arms Pathfinder is $459.00
MSRP of a Ruger SP-101 in .22 is $689.00,,,
MSRP of a S&W Model 63 is $769.00,,,

I recently got to shoot an almost new (less than 50 rounds) Model 63,,,
In my not-so-humble opinion it's trigger was not any better,,,
It's fit and finish were not worth a $310.00 price bump.

I have also fired one of the newest model Ruger SP-101 revolvers,,,
It's trigger was worse than the Pathfinder I just purchased,,,
The finish of the stainless steel was a wee bit better,,,
But again not enough to justify a $230.00 bump.

All in all I'm pleased with the Pathfinder,,,
If you want a solid DA/SA revolver but are on a budget,,,
Do yourself the favor of checking out the Charter Arms Pathfinder.

I was pleasantly surprised with the handgun,,,
I think it's going to be a fine little shooter for my friend.

Aarond

.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)

Last edited by aarondhgraham; November 26, 2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:01 PM   #2
Ozzieman
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I’ve always been a fan of Charter Arms and have two now, Bulldog and snub nose 38, but they were all built in the good old days of Charter arms. There has been a lot of bad press on the 2000’s.
I am glad to hear that the new ones are back to their old high quality for an inexpensive revolver.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:34 PM   #3
bedbugbilly
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Arrond - thanks for the review on the Pathfinder. I've been looking at them online but so far, haven't run across one that i can actually handle. I've read some good things on it . . . . like any other make/model there are those that like 'em and those that don't I suppose. I'm thinking that the Pathfinder would be just a good all around 22 revolver that would work well for my wife to shoot. Hopefully I'll run across one in the near future. Thanks again for the review . . . enjoyed your thoughts.
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:44 PM   #4
Obambulate
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I looked at the Pathfinder a few months ago, and my impression was similar. Seemed well-built but the finish was rough - almost looked flash chromed. Gritty trigger. Felt a little clunky to me.

I ended up with the Ruger LCR-22, which was in that same price range at around $390 out the door. I'm happy with the Ruger.
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Old November 26, 2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Charter Arms, are very hard to come by here. I remember a gun show at the start of the year, I found like 2 in the whole show. I went to the same gun show place just a week ago and I found 1! it was in 38spl. I never seen one in 22lr up close(IIRC). You are tempting me to buy another 22 revolver, as I have 3 and wanting to buy more of those neat guns. My S&W is too nice to be shot. I need a nice 4" beater 22lr
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Old November 27, 2012, 02:08 AM   #6
Chris9472
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Although I've never owned or fired one, It seems Charter Arms are very underrated. They are affordable, and the ones I've seen appeared to be well made, and better looking then the Taurus'. We should be celebrating anything firearm related made in the USA these days.

I like that they have unusual offerings like the 9mm and .40cal, and that they only do revolvers, which is all I'm interested in carrying at this time. I hope to add a few to my collection in the future.
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Old November 27, 2012, 11:54 AM   #7
22-rimfire
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Thanks Arrond for your summary on the Charter Arms Pathfinder in 22LR based on your experiences. I think they deserve a look if you are shopping for a 22 revolver.

The problem is usually.. the look?... or being able to compare. If you can line up a S&W 617, S&W M63, new Ruger SP-101, Ruger LCR-22, Taurus M94, and a Charter Arms Pathfinder... you can do a comparison that you actually matters.

The problem is I have never been to a gun shop that had all of these in stock where you can look at them individually and compare.

At shops, I mostly see Taurus, occasional S&W 617's (more lately), and LCR-22's new for the most part. I've never seen a new model Ruger SP-101 in 22. I have only seen a couple M63's. I believe I have seen one of the Charter Arms Pathfinders in 22LR. So, how do you make a comparison at all personally? And how many would allow you to dry fire a 22 revoler when you are clearly "just lookin"?

So it goes to your impressions when you handle one at a gunshop with usually one or two single guns from the list. I do read the reviews on the forums when they come up and find them interesting. So at the store, you pick them up, check overall fit and finish, aim at the wall, check for functionality, and price of course. Then you decide from what is available.

Next time you go to the gunshop, the exercise repeats itself. Eventually you end up with a number of them if you have the money and interest in DA 22 revolvers. At that point, you can actually compare them and shoot them together and you read comments on this forum.

Quote:
You are tempting me to buy another 22 revolver, as I have 3 and wanting to buy more of those neat guns. My S&W is too nice to be shot. I need a nice 4" beater 22lr.
Yeah, you need another one. Why is your S&W too nice to shoot? I'm also easily tempted when it comes to DA 22 revolvers.

Last edited by 22-rimfire; November 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM.
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:09 PM   #8
aarondhgraham
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I hear ya 22-rimfire,,,

It is difficult to comparison shop for revolvers,,,
Even the bigger stores rarely have more than one or two models.

I cheated though,,,
I asked the Evil Pawn Shop Guy if he had heard about the Pathfinder,,,
He said he would order one in and not expect me to purchase it if I didn't like it.

Also I belong to a nice rifle & pistol club,,,
Name a handgun and at least one of the members will own one.

Aarond

.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:23 PM   #9
PetahW
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Yes, the speedloaders fit a LR Pathfinder cylinder (IDK what loader would fit the Mag cylinder);
and since ALL Charter gripframes are identical (profile), I elected for a set of 70's walnut square Target Grips to replace the issue rubber bumpers on my Dual Cylinder Model.



I actually prefer the non-glare SS finish to one of a higher polish/shine; and since the front sight got quickly lost (colorwise) along the barrel/frame color, I added a drop of orange sight paint to the top third of the ramped front sight blade, and used a wooden toothpich to outline the rear sight notch with white sight paint.


.
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:52 PM   #10
aarondhgraham
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Nice case PetahW,,,

Nice case PetahW,,,
Nice wood grips as well.

Where did you find them?

Charter's site has several "Mother of Toilet Seat" grips,,,
Along with several rubber grips,,,
But no wooden ones.

I was once told that grips for any round butt J-frame would fit,,,
But I've never tried them out so I really can't say.

Aarond

I used Google and found this website,,,
It always happens as soon as i post for help I find it.

.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old November 27, 2012, 12:56 PM   #11
22-rimfire
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Honestly, I almost would like to buy one of these if I had the loose money lying around. But there are other priorites such as a 3" M63 for me. I pretty much know what to expect with Taurus and the new Ruger SP. You seldom see anyone who has any experience with the Charter Arms Pathfinder.
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Old November 27, 2012, 01:08 PM   #12
aarondhgraham
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Hello 22-rimfire,,,

I feel your need for a 3" J-frame,,,
I had a pristine 3" LadySmith in .38 Special,,,
I foolishly sold it to a lady friend who fell in love with it.

I eventually replaced it with another 3" Model 36,,,
I would love to have a 3" in .22LR to compliment "Libby".

Quote:
You seldom see anyone who has any experience with the Charter Arms Pathfinder.
The only reason I have any experience is because,,,
A lady friend of mine bought a .38 Undercover and a 4" pathfinder,,,
I had always thought of them as the "Rambler" of handguns and ignored them.

But Kathy's guns performed so well that I gave them a second look,,,
They aren't the prettiest of guns but they seem to function well.

Aarond

.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:35 AM   #13
PetahW
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I made the case, and posted a "WTB - Charter Revolver Grips" ad in the classifieds of a few online forums.

A fella, over on GraybeardOutdoors, had several sets laying around, and gladly sold me the target grips.

I woulda rather had a S&W M63, too - but the same $$$ brings TWO Charter Pathfinders + plenty of ammo, so it was a no brainer for me.

(FWIW, I've got a lot less invested in what's in that case above - A new Dual Cylinder 4" Pathfinder and a 70's .22Mag-only 3" Pathfinder - than what I would have to fork out for a Model 63)




.

Last edited by PetahW; November 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM.
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Old November 28, 2012, 04:04 PM   #14
22-rimfire
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That's the difference, I would just save up for the M63. But I am interested in handling a Pathfinder in 22. Not really interested in a 22 Mag version.
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