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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up this used, 3" Charter Arms Bulldog tonight from the local gunshop. I've been wanting to get a .44spl for a little while now and this is the first likeable one to cross my path since I've been looking. The finish is so polished that it looks like nickel-plating on the frame and barrel, but I'm pretty sure that it's stainless steel. The topstrap has a matte texture and the frame under the grip panels is unfinished enough to convince me that it is indeed stainless. I could be wrong though..... it has happened before. :D

I'm not well versed on Charter Arms' history or variations through the years. I'm wondering about the approximate year this puppy was born. The SN# is 1045xxx. Any ideas?
 

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tedak,
I've owned a few Charter Arms Undercovers in 38 spl. back in the 80's..............Basically they're a 5 shot similar to the S&W 36..........at least the Undercover was.............The Bulldog was a bit more robust.

I always considered them to be solid economical handguns...........Very dependable, just not having the finer finish of a S&W.....
Charter Arms was located in Southport CT back in the early 80's...........I'd heard they closed. but then they reopened 7-8 years ago???..........I think thats right.

Good little guns...........I'd buy another if I saw one.

Enjoy it.


Tom
 
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Nice grab Ted. I've been holding out for one of the original .44 Bulldogs, but haven't found one that combines the condition I desire with the $$ I'm willing to spend.

There's seemingly not much available on the Charter dates of manufacture...not like Colt, S&W, or Ruger, but I did find this...

"The very first Charter Arms Corporation production began in 1964 in BRIDGEPORT CONN - earliest pieces - mostly Undercover model will have either NO address on the right side of the barrel or will have BRIDGEPORT.
Around 1970, address was changed to STRATFORD CONN - all pieces made after mid 1970 will be marked with that address on the right side of the barrel and all will have CHARTER ARMS CORP. as the first line. Around 1991, Charter Arms Corp. ceased operations. This was the end of the FIRST GENERATION.
Around early 1992, the company was re-organized under new leadership and became known as Charter Arms Company - CHARCO, and was located in ANSONIA CONN. All second generation pieces will be marked on the right side of the barrel with that name and address in two lines. This is the SECOND generation and apparently the period which caused the most damage to the Charter name and reputation.
In 2000, the company was again reorganized as CHARTER 2000 and relocated to SHELTON CONN. All pieces made during this THIRD generation will be marked with the SHELTON address. Early production of this generation seems to have been spotty and reputation still lagged. About a year and a half ago, the company re-reorganized under the direction of MKS Marketing and seems now to be if not flourishing at least it is progressing in quality and market share.
From the limited data set that I have been able to assemble so far the following serialization seems to be valid: (NOTE: model name and caliber will be stamped on left side of barrel on all pieces)
FIRST GENERATION
0001 - <4000 Bridgeport 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only
~4000 - <300,000 ? - ~1970 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over BRIDGEPORT CONN .marking
~300,000 - <1,080,000 - ~1970 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN. marking

SECOND GENERATION
>1,100,000 - ??? 1992 - 2000? CHARCO over ANSONIA CONN- marking

THIRD GENERATION
000001 - to date 2000 - 2008 CHARTER ARMS 2000 over SHELTON CONN marking."


And this...

"This is the updated serial number info that I have - based upon around 600 data points
The earliest 1st Gen - ~0 to ~3000 NO ADDRESS company founded in 1964, first production pieces of the Undercover model produced in 1966
Bridgeport address - ~3000 to ~31,500 1967 - 1969
Stratford address - ~31,600 to ~1,090,000 1970 - ~1991
All marked as Charter Arms Corporation

2nd Generation - CHARCO, Ansonia Conn adress - 1,100,000 to ??? ~1991 - 1999

3rd Generation - CHARTER 2000 - Shelton Conn - 0 to where ever they are today.

From the 26 pieces in my collection (all 1st Gen) and from dozens more that I've had the opportunity to observed and fondle, I'd say that around s/n 600,000 the finish was made a lot finer - although the integrals (lock work, action) was at least as good as the earlier ones. I have or have read magazine articles that cover pretty much of the production life of the 1st Generation, and during that period (around late 1980, early 1981) it seems that CA attempted to capture more of the market by doing so, also in April of 1981, they introduced Stainless Steel revolvers into the mix, for the first time. Some of the articles lamented that the earlier pieces, although rough finish, were rather inexpensive and when CA began their "modernization" process, the finishes got better but the prices increased to about 85 to 90% of the S&W line for comparable models.
During the 2nd Generation, the CHARCO (Charter Arms COMPANY), under new management and reorganized, the quality was definitely more spotty and haphazard. I've seen CHARCO produced guns with Stratford marked barrels, obviously using up old stock.
The earliest CHARTER 2000 pieces I had the opportunity to handle (some fairly early 4 digits s/ns - were uniformly, poorly fitted and finished and had some horrendous and gritty actions. That seems to have been rectified under MKS's new leadership and the most recent pieces I've handled - s/n's in the high 100,000 range have been "decent" but not as fine in finish and action as the mid years of the 1st Generation. This is simply my studied opinion based upon experience."


Roe
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Exactly the kind of info I was looking for Roe, thanks! 8)

Mine is apparently a late, first-generation piece. It's barrel is marked "Stratford" and the puzzle-pieces in the writeup that you posted, all seem to fit. It even referred to the "finer" finish that the later-gen-1 revolvers were treated to. The finish on my new Bulldog fits that description.
 

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I bought mine used back in 86' and its still going strong. You might want to change those wood grips for a set of Pacs or CTC as those wood grips are hard during recoil.



CD
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Combat Diver said:
You might want to change those wood grips for a set of Pacs or CTC as those wood grips are hard during recoil.
I ordered a set of Pachmayr "Compacs" yesterday.... I shot some mild loads through it on Saturday that had me readjusting my grip after each shot (250gr Keith SWC's over 6.8gr Unique). Even with a firm hold of it, the recoil would cause the barrel to torque up and to the right. I was impressed with the groups though. ;) I'll have to buy a holster for it after that...... I'm planing on another Simply Rugged product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well the gunshop ordered the wrong grips, but I bought 'em today anyway. The ones that I picked up are Pachmayr's "Gripper," not the "Compac" style that I wanted. I was going to pass on them, but then I figured if they don't work out for me I'll just have one more thing to toss into my version of the "box of misfit grips and holsters." ;D

Anyway, the Grippers allow for a much more comfortable and controllable ride than the original wood grips when firing my 250gr SWC's and the (factory :eek:) 200gr CCI Blazer-GDHP ammo that I picked up. The SWC's impact pretty close to POA, but the Blazers strike 4" to 6" low at 15 yards.

This target was a result of today's after-work session at the range.
 

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I have Grippers on my Astra Terminator .44 mag... good grips.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just a warning to any present or future Bulldog owners..... DO NOT DISASSEMBLE! :p

Ted
 

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I have reassembly instructions...if you need them.

From a total no-parts-touching-breakdown.

Jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I see how it should go together, but getting it done is some kinda project. ::) I'm almost to the point of sending it to Charter and paying to get it fixed. This is a first time for me. I've taken apart all sorts of guns and gotten them back in working or better than original order.... until I met the Bulldog. I'm embarrassed to admit that it is kickin' my ass. :-[

I worked 2-3 hours on it yesterday, but had to walk away. I'll try it again later and see what fresh-eyes and fingers can accomplish.

All this, because I wanted to round off a sharp edge on the trigger that was drawing blood on my trigger-finger in DA mode. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tedak said:
I worked 2-3 hours on it yesterday, but had to walk away. I'll try it again later and see what fresh-eyes and fingers can accomplish.
That did it!!!! :)

I started playing with it after I finished the previous post and presto! I'm not lookin' forward to doing that again. ::)

The thing that was causing me the most grief was the trigger/pawl/rebound spring/transfer bar installation. That assy is held in with one crosspin and you almost need three hands to hold the assy into the frame, while setting the pin in place (getting the spring into the proper orientation is a PITA :p). After getting the assy positioned, I was having no joy in getting the crosspin in place, almost like it was too big to fit into the hole. This was where I walked away last night. During last night's bedtime stories, I read a 'smithing article in a recent publication (Guns, I think) and the author was chucking his pins in a drill, then softening the edge against a stone. I used a piece of emory-cloth instead, but it worked the way it was intended.
 

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Charter Arms Bulldog Early Bridgeport

Nice grab Ted. I've been holding out for one of the original .44 Bulldogs, but haven't found one that combines the condition I desire with the $$ I'm willing to spend.

There's seemingly not much available on the Charter dates of manufacture...not like Colt, S&W, or Ruger, but I did find this...

"The very first Charter Arms Corporation production began in 1964 in BRIDGEPORT CONN - earliest pieces - mostly Undercover model will have either NO address on the right side of the barrel or will have BRIDGEPORT.
Around 1970, address was changed to STRATFORD CONN - all pieces made after mid 1970 will be marked with that address on the right side of the barrel and all will have CHARTER ARMS CORP. as the first line. Around 1991, Charter Arms Corp. ceased operations. This was the end of the FIRST GENERATION.
Around early 1992, the company was re-organized under new leadership and became known as Charter Arms Company - CHARCO, and was located in ANSONIA CONN. All second generation pieces will be marked on the right side of the barrel with that name and address in two lines. This is the SECOND generation and apparently the period which caused the most damage to the Charter name and reputation.
In 2000, the company was again reorganized as CHARTER 2000 and relocated to SHELTON CONN. All pieces made during this THIRD generation will be marked with the SHELTON address. Early production of this generation seems to have been spotty and reputation still lagged. About a year and a half ago, the company re-reorganized under the direction of MKS Marketing and seems now to be if not flourishing at least it is progressing in quality and market share.
From the limited data set that I have been able to assemble so far the following serialization seems to be valid: (NOTE: model name and caliber will be stamped on left side of barrel on all pieces)
FIRST GENERATION
0001 - <4000 Bridgeport 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only
~4000 - <300,000 ? - ~1970 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over BRIDGEPORT CONN .marking
~300,000 - <1,080,000 - ~1970 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN. marking

SECOND GENERATION
>1,100,000 - ??? 1992 - 2000? CHARCO over ANSONIA CONN- marking

THIRD GENERATION
000001 - to date 2000 - 2008 CHARTER ARMS 2000 over SHELTON CONN marking."


And this...

"This is the updated serial number info that I have - based upon around 600 data points
The earliest 1st Gen - ~0 to ~3000 NO ADDRESS company founded in 1964, first production pieces of the Undercover model produced in 1966
Bridgeport address - ~3000 to ~31,500 1967 - 1969
Stratford address - ~31,600 to ~1,090,000 1970 - ~1991
All marked as Charter Arms Corporation

2nd Generation - CHARCO, Ansonia Conn adress - 1,100,000 to ??? ~1991 - 1999

3rd Generation - CHARTER 2000 - Shelton Conn - 0 to where ever they are today.

From the 26 pieces in my collection (all 1st Gen) and from dozens more that I've had the opportunity to observed and fondle, I'd say that around s/n 600,000 the finish was made a lot finer - although the integrals (lock work, action) was at least as good as the earlier ones. I have or have read magazine articles that cover pretty much of the production life of the 1st Generation, and during that period (around late 1980, early 1981) it seems that CA attempted to capture more of the market by doing so, also in April of 1981, they introduced Stainless Steel revolvers into the mix, for the first time. Some of the articles lamented that the earlier pieces, although rough finish, were rather inexpensive and when CA began their "modernization" process, the finishes got better but the prices increased to about 85 to 90% of the S&W line for comparable models.
During the 2nd Generation, the CHARCO (Charter Arms COMPANY), under new management and reorganized, the quality was definitely more spotty and haphazard. I've seen CHARCO produced guns with Stratford marked barrels, obviously using up old stock.
The earliest CHARTER 2000 pieces I had the opportunity to handle (some fairly early 4 digits s/ns - were uniformly, poorly fitted and finished and had some horrendous and gritty actions. That seems to have been rectified under MKS's new leadership and the most recent pieces I've handled - s/n's in the high 100,000 range have been "decent" but not as fine in finish and action as the mid years of the 1st Generation. This is simply my studied opinion based upon experience."


Roe
For your records. I have a pristine Bridgeport Bulldog with Serial 33435. Right side über Charter Arms...Bridgeport, Conn
 

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They don't call it the "Son of Sam" gun just because Berkowitz used one. ;)

Roe
I am waiting for the "Son of Sam" commemorative!:laugh:
 

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who digs up a 4 year old thread
 

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