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Old July 4, 2013, 02:58 PM   #1
seeker_two
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Charter Arms Questions

Recently, an acquaintance on another board bought a new Charter Arms Undercover snub in .38Spl. In his review, he mentioned that CA is now using polymer grip frames. I had thought they used aluminum for these frames. When did CA start using polymer grip frames? Do they also use polymer on their steel-framed revolvers?

Also, I've been offered a chance to buy an older CA snub (Bridgeport, Conn vintage, unshrouded ejection rod, steel frame). How do these older guns compare with the new CA guns? How much do the older snubs weigh? And what would be a good price to offer for this revolver?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Old July 4, 2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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Have no experience with new production but the but Bridgeport was the original production and is as good as Charter Arms gets. had a 38 and have a 44 sp Bridgeport, not S&W but OK.
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Old July 4, 2013, 04:30 PM   #3
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No expert here, but I've owned a few over the years, all "older" Bridgeport or Stratford revolvers and I still have 4 of them. There's a Stratford Bulldog pug (.44 spl) on the end table as I type. I like them. IMO, very well made (American made, all), reliable, and made for carry.

My understanding is that there were some QC problems in the "middle years" but that the quality is back now.

I used to buy one of the .38s every time I found one in a pawn or gun shop back when you could find them for $ 100.00 or so. Those days are gone, alas, but they are still good guns. I still see the .38s for sale from time to time with prices all over the place.

Don't know what it's worth, a lot depends on the condition. You won't be sorry if you get it, though.

W.

PS, just put a couple on the scale:

The Stratford Undercover .38 weighs 18.2 oz. loaded with 5 rounds of Winchester silvertips.


The Stratford Bulldog Pug .44 spl weighs 21.8 oz. loaded with 5 rounds of Winchester silvertips.


How about that, the .44 weighs only 3.6 oz more. Surprised me! And I've carried both of 'em.
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File Type: jpg Stratford Undercover on scale 01 netsize.jpg (144.0 KB, 123 views)
File Type: jpg Stratford Bulldog on scale 01 netsize.jpg (130.0 KB, 285 views)
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:42 AM   #4
lowercase
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The new Charters don't have plastic grip frames and trigger guards.

They have aluminum alloy grip frames and trigger guards. Even the Undercover Lite models have alloy grip frames.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:43 AM   #5
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I suspect he meant that Charter Arms now uses polymer grips, not "grip frames." The older guns used wood grips. The polymer ones are a lot better. I've owned a couple of the old steel frame guns with the wood grips and those things would beat my knuckles bloody even with wadcutters.

The frames have been made of both steel and aluminum. I've never heard of a polymer frame.

My wife's, current production, aluminum frame, polymer grip, "Lavender Lady" 38.



I like the older Bridgeport and Stafford production guns. I don't know if they're any "better" or not, but like blue steel guns better than I do stainless, and I like the look of the unshrouded ejector rod better than I do shrouded. I don't like the tiny wooded grips, but an email to Charter Arms, and about twenty-five bucks will get you a set of the current production ones. They'll fit the older guns too.
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:24 AM   #6
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Cajunbass, how has that Undercover "Lavender Lady" been for your wife?
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:31 AM   #7
lee n. field
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Quote:
The new Charters don't have plastic grip frames and trigger guards.

They have aluminum alloy grip frames and trigger guards. Even the Undercover Lite models have alloy grip frames.
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I'm the guy seeker_two refers to in the first post. This is the pic I posted elsewhere:



I could be wrong, I guess, but to my eyes and in my hands that looks and feels like plastic.
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:46 AM   #8
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lee: Hope I didn't offend you by checking this out. I just couldn't see how CA would make that significant a change without mentioning it on their website or to the press. That, and a poly grip frame on a CA would be a deal-killer for me.

BTW, I'm going to pick up a Bridgeport model today. Got a deal I couldn't refuse....
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:58 AM   #9
lowercase
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lee n. field, that does indeed look like a plastic grip frame on that gun.

My two current-generation Charter revolvers are the Bulldog and Mag Pug which are built on a larger frame. They have an alloy grip frame and trigger guard, but maybe the smaller Undercover models do not. I've tried to find out from searching the internet, but the discussions are split pretty much 50/50 with people claiming either aluminum or plastic frames, and some saying that it's difficult to tell.

I'll give a shout out to CajunBass since he posted the pic of that Lavender Lady .38. Cajun, what is the grip frame made of on that gun?
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Old July 5, 2013, 09:03 AM   #10
lee n. field
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lee: Hope I didn't offend you by checking this out. I just couldn't see how CA would make that significant a change without mentioning it on their website or to the press. That, and a poly grip frame on a CA would be a deal-killer for me.
Oh, not at all. It is unusual.

Poly isn't a deal killer for me. Obviously, 'cause I did buy it. (Unless it's one of Taurus' poly wheelguns, but that's an aesthetic issue (those done got beat with the ugly stick).)

Quote:
've tried to find out from searching the internet, but the discussions are split pretty much 50/50 with people claiming either aluminum or plastic frames, and some saying that it's difficult to tell.
It looks like a maybe a fiberglass impregnated plastic, which ought to be plenty strong.

I suppose I could pick an out of the way, non-loadbearing spot, and pick at it with a pin to see if I could get to shiny metal, or check it with an ohm meter. Al will be conductive, plastic not.
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Old July 5, 2013, 09:09 AM   #11
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I could be wrong, I guess, but to my eyes and in my hands that looks and feels like plastic.
Looks like cast (injection molded) metal to me. I don't know what kind of finish it might have to make it feel like plastic, my wife's LL feels sort of slick now that I think about it, but I'd bet five bucks to a stale donut it's metal.

Quote:
Cajunbass, how has that Undercover "Lavender Lady" been for your wife?
She likes it. She doesn't shoot it often: she's handicapped and can't go to the range like she used to but she likes it when she feels up to going.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:33 AM   #12
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I guess the obvious thing to do would be to call and ask.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:56 AM   #13
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My wife has been using her Undercover for about 6 months now.
Puts about 100-150 rounds per month through it at the range.
No complaints on any front.
We're very happy to the point that we sold the S & W 642 which we bought after the CA. Just didn't care for the 642's action in comparison to the CA.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:15 PM   #14
lee n. field
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BTW, press it good and hard and the trigger guard will flex slightly, and return when pressure is released. I'm thinking plastic.

Website says they're all off this week. I'll probably call and ask later.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:48 PM   #15
seeker_two
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I plan to call CA too....mainly b/c I want to see if their "boot grips" will fit my older CA Undercover. The wood grips look nice, but they torque in my hand like crazy.

http://www.charter2000.site.aplus.ne...gory_Code=1GRP

If these don't fit, I'll probably get these green ones....no one would expect green grips on a pocket gun....

http://www.charter2000.site.aplus.ne...gory_Code=1GRP
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:12 PM   #16
Bill DeShivs
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Take a pocket knife or file to the grip frame under the grips. If the cut is shiny, it's aluminum. Simple.
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:56 PM   #17
lee n. field
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Quote:
If these don't fit, I'll probably get these green ones....no one would expect green grips on a pocket gun....

http://www.charter2000.site.aplus.ne...gory_Code=1GRP
Also available in purple and pink. Am I secure in my masculinity?

Altamont has some nice looking wood grips. (I'm not going to mess with this yet.)
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Old July 5, 2013, 09:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
I plan to call CA too....mainly b/c I want to see if their "boot grips" will fit my older CA Undercover. The wood grips look nice, but they torque in my hand like crazy.
Yes, they will. All the grip frames are the same size, old or new.
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