Charter Arms Bulldog

.44 Special Revolver

Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special


Many years I owned several of these revolvers including a matched pair with sequential serial numbers. They were well made and very accurate. Some where along the line I traded them for something else.


I have been wanting another one for quite a while. I ran across one at the Lewisville, Texas gun show on the table of a private collector. I really don't like to buy keepers from dealers. After a little negotiation I counted out a fist full of $20's and paid the asking price. ( After all, with the possibility of another Obama presidential term, the seller is king and buyers were throwing money across the tables.)


This is a very attractive little revolver. The lines are nice, the surface finish is excellent. The lines and corners are perfect, the grips are well shaped and fit my hand perfectly.


Well, so much for the good news.


When I got it home and got all the zip ties undone the many years of improved manufacturing processes and procedures began to become apparent.


The cylinder timing was adequate and locked the cylinder reliably as the cylinder stop engaged the slots. Unfortunately each cylinder was locked about 30 thousandths out of line with the bore. The bore itself could only be described as 2 and one fourth inches of washboard road. ( See photo. ) I am not sure but it looks to me like the cylinders were drilled on a drill press with a drill bit. They had tooling rings from the back of the cylinder forward to the throat. The throats had longitudinal tooling marks from the front of the chamber to the front of the cylinder. Unfortunately I am not a good enough photographer to get a picture of those tooling marks inside the cylinder. Suffice it to say the quality was similar to that of the bore.

Charter Arms Bulldog Rough Bore

The cylinder gap at rest was 0.007 but it has .012 front to back play on top of that. That means the cylinder gap is .007 to .019.

When cocking the hammer the metallic sounds could only be described as “grating” on my nerves. The parts actually rattle when you shake the revolver from side to side.


I didn't expect much when I got to the range and I was not surprised. I took a box of factory ammo and another box of my favorite reload. The factory load was the Winchester Super-X 44 Special 246 Grain Lead Bullet. The reload was 4.6gr Bullseye with the Lee 240gr tumble lube bullet in Winchester .44 Special cases. Lube was Lee Liquid Alox.


Either will group in three inches or better at 25 yards from my Ruger Blackhawk and one and one half to two inches from my Thompson Contender with 2x Bushnell Scope.


First firing was done at 25 yards. I was not surprised that it did not shoot to point of aim. I was surprised at how far it was off and how bad the accuracy was. The point of impact and accuracy of the two loads was indistinguishable. Both printed in about a 14 inch circle centered about a foot below and eight inches left of the point of aim. As a control, My Ruger SP101 2 inch .357 prints about two inches left and groups about four inches at that range.


Moving up to 15 yards made the gun somewhat useable for defense but it brings back an old description that used to be common but I don't hear much any more. “Belly Gun.” At 15 yards 10 shots from each box produced a group of about twelve inches centered again almost a foot low and six inches left of the point of aim.


One big surprise came at cleaning time. After 40 rounds of lead bullets through the roughest throats and bore I have ever seen, there was no trace of leading.





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