Charter Arms Bulldog .44
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
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
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
When I got it home and got
all the zip ties undone the many years of improved
manufacturing processes and procedures began to become
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.
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
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.