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Thread: Thoughts on Charter Arms undercover?

  1. #1
    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Thoughts on Charter Arms undercover?

    So I decided when I turn 21 in just 4 short months I want to get a .38 revolver as a CCW piece, now I already own a S&W Model 10 for an open carry piece plus a few holsters for it, so I was thinking about getting a J-frame size .38 for when concealed is better, or as a BUG or for open carry during weight sensitive times (I'm training to do some backpacking trips)

    so I've noticed smiths and rugers are fetching some coin right now, but the other day I found a charters arms undercover for like 250 bucks and then found more in other places for similiar prices. anyone familiar with Charters? they good quality? work well?
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    I had a C.A. undercover southpaw for a while. I didn't like it and got rid of it eventually. The trigger reset required me to almost remove my finger from the trigger to work and all the edges on the cylinder were too sharp and occasionally led to blood leakage.
    I regret my selling my Taurus 85 because it was better than the S&W 642-2 I currently have and leagues beyond The C.A.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Charter Arms seems to be brand where it is important to know not only the year the handgun was made, but the day of the week.

    QC has been a rollercoaster ride over the years - sometimes excellent and sometimes abysmal. My personal experience with Charter Arms is that if you go far enough up the food chain you can get sufficient attention so that your problem gets fixed. (I had a snubby Patriot in .327M that shaved leadd at the forcing cone. Six trips back and it still was not right - even with the company president down on the line watching them try to get it right. But because I had been so adamant and persistant I was offered a 4" barreled replacement carrying the same serial number as the snubby which would eliminate needing to have it transferred as a new purchase. I also was "gifted" several cases of each of the three flavors of .327M as a goodwill gesture.)

    I have never heard of a Charter falling apart. But I know of more than a few that were either sold unscupulessly off to unsuspecting noobs or appropriately introduced to a cut-off wheel.

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    I unfortunately brought 2 CAs revolvers in the late 70s. I haven't found some one I dislike enough to sell or give them too.

    If you have to wait and save the money for a smith, ruger or colt. IMHO Rugers are the toughest and best buy for the money but then I own almost as many smiths as Rugers.

    You might want to look at Taurus a cut of above CA not as good as the top three but I do own 2 that work well.
    Last edited by Firearms Iinstuctor; 06-07-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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    Despite what I said in my earlier post I do have a Charter Arms revolver that I like. It's a 3" SS Pathfinder 22lr that I have had for 30 years. In fact I was shooting it 2 days ago.
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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Charter Arms seems to be brand where it is important to know not only the year the handgun was made, but the day of the week.

    QC has been a rollercoaster ride over the years - sometimes excellent and sometimes abysmal. My personal experience with Charter Arms is that if you go far enough up the food chain you can get sufficient attention so that your problem gets fixed. (I had a snubby Patriot in .327M that shaved leadd at the forcing cone. Six trips back and it still was not right - even with the company president down on the line watching them try to get it right. But because I had been so adamant and persistant I was offered a 4" barreled replacement carrying the same serial number as the snubby which would eliminate needing to have it transferred as a new purchase. I also was "gifted" several cases of each of the three flavors of .327M as a goodwill gesture.)

    I have never heard of a Charter falling apart. But I know of more than a few that were either sold unscupulessly off to unsuspecting noobs or appropriately introduced to a cut-off wheel.

    stay safe.
    Most of the complaints I have heard have mostly been poor cylinder/barrel alignment, shaving lead. Seeing as it is a consistent complaint, it would appear that their tooling is not accurate, or has worn over the years allowing to many variables in tolerances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeeper1 View Post
    Despite what I said in my earlier post I do have a Charter Arms revolver that I like. It's a 3" SS Pathfinder 22lr that I have had for 30 years. In fact I was shooting it 2 days ago.
    Mine the front sight fell off in the first week sent it back fixed then after a few hundred rounds it wouldn't group into inch's at 25 feet. They re crowned the barrel now its ok for shooting stuff in traps 10 feet away or so.

    Mine was brought in 78 or 79 I'll take a S@W kit gun any day over it.
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    I regularly see blue Chief's Specials(model 36) in gun shops and at gun shows around here for $300-400. Most of the ones I see are pretty well worn but seem to be mechanically sound. I'd rather spend another $100 or so over a Charter Arms to get one of these.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    I regularly see blue Chief's Specials(model 36) in gun shops and at gun shows around here for $300-400. Most of the ones I see are pretty well worn but seem to be mechanically sound. I'd rather spend another $100 or so over a Charter Arms to get one of these.
    I believe prices will stabilize or go down, the lack of available ammo after a while will slow handgun sales. Considering how many J and K frames out there it is amazing they are fetching the prices they bring. But then less police departments are selling them, now they are destroying them. Completely stupid IMO. I wish S&W and Colt would bring their production back to the guns that made them famous, but until then one can still get a Ruger in a small frame.
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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    I believe prices will stabilize or go down, the lack of available ammo after a while will slow handgun sales. Considering how many J and K frames out there it is amazing they are fetching the prices they bring. But then less police departments are selling them, now they are destroying them. Completely stupid IMO. I wish S&W and Colt would bring their production back to the guns that made them famous, but until then one can still get a Ruger in a small frame.
    Smith and Wesson is building full lines of their classic revolvers.... or as classic as they can be. I never liked the transfer bar, my current S&W is a firing pin on hammer. I also like the light pinned barrels.

    also S&W's classic revolvers line costs more then a M&P...

    Colt will never bring anything good again. all their products are AR-15s and 1911s. once the government contracts expire colt is done. they've brought out nothing new for a decade..
    they love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living, when they're running down my country man they're walkin' on the fightin side of me

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    Smith and Wesson is building full lines of their classic revolvers.... or as classic as they can be. I never liked the transfer bar, my current S&W is a firing pin on hammer. I also like the light pinned barrels.

    also S&W's classic revolvers line costs more then a M&P...

    Colt will never bring anything good again. all their products are AR-15s and 1911s. once the government contracts expire colt is done. they've brought out nothing new for a decade..
    Your model 10 has a transfer bar, the firing pin type is just that. Floating firing pins have been used on revolvers before transfer bars were used. A gun can have a floating firing pin and fire if dropped, a fully functional K frame will not fire if dropped with FP affixed to the hammer.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joanie View Post
    If you happen across a S&W model 36 for 3-4 hundred, I'd say buy it fast and consider yourself very lucky. I bought two, a matching pair of those as thats what I wanted. On the first one, I was lucky to find it at 325 and didn't mind driving a long way to get it. the matching one I did pay more than I wanted to at 550, and it was in alittle worse condision than the first. Thing about mine is that they are 3" barrels, wit is what I wanted, also more rare than the 2" barrels, so when I seen the one for 550, I wasn't taking any chances that I might find a better deal down the road, at the cost of not finding the match to my other. I don't see too many model 36s listed, but the ones I do see are 475 - 550 and are 2" barrels.
    I hit the gun shows around here pretty regularly, and I do see 36s for the prices I mentioned, although admittedly they seem to move pretty quickly. I'm not buying them as I have a 36 and 438, and the next small frame I buy(if I buy another one) will be a Detective Special.

    Incidentally, I looked at and passed on a nickel Detective Special with the hammer shrouds fitted this past week for $540. It was nice with tight lock-up and good nickel, although I passed on it because I have an aversion to nickel for guns I might carry.

    Your model 10 has a transfer bar, the firing pin type is just that. Floating firing pins have been used on revolvers before transfer bars were used. A gun can have a floating firing pin and fire if dropped, a fully functional K frame will not fire if dropped with FP affixed to the hammer.
    I'm not sure if the hammer block on pre-MIM S&Ws is what I would call a transfer bar, if for no other reason than the fact that it moves out
    of the way. Compare that to a transfer bar like on a Ruger, which moves between the firing pin and the hammer when the trigger is pulled.

    The newer MIM S&Ws do have a transfer bar.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    I hit the gun shows around here pretty regularly, and I do see 36s for the prices I mentioned, although admittedly they seem to move pretty quickly. I'm not buying them as I have a 36 and 438, and the next small frame I buy(if I buy another one) will be a Detective Special.

    Incidentally, I looked at and passed on a nickel Detective Special with the hammer shrouds fitted this past week for $540. It was nice with tight lock-up and good nickel, although I passed on it because I have an aversion to nickel for guns I might carry.



    I'm not sure if the hammer block on pre-MIM S&Ws is what I would call a transfer bar, if for no other reason than the fact that it moves out
    of the way. Compare that to a transfer bar like on a Ruger, which moves between the firing pin and the hammer when the trigger is pulled.

    The newer MIM S&Ws do have a transfer bar.
    I believe that is what it was called, back when I owned them. It transfers the energy of a falling hammer to the frame, unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear of the gun. When the trigger is fully pulled it drops allowing the energy to strike the FP to the primer. On Rugers I believe the bar rises and the hammer strikes the bar transferring the energy to a floating firing pin. In both revolvers they will not fire unless the firearm's trigger has been fully pulled to the rear. I believe it is also called a transfer bar on the CZ 82 semi auto, but it actually blocks the hammer from striking the firing pin. In any case it is a mechanical safety device that those guns utilize, and is functioned very unnoticeable by the shooter. The only part of newer guns I do not like is the coil hammer spring on revolvers, it has a very progressive feel different from leaf springs. I am not sure if S&W has changed to coil springs like Ruger. It is one reason I own no Ruger revolvers, I have owned a BlackHawk, two Vaqueros, and security six. I sold or traded them all.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    I believe that is what it was called, back when I owned them. It transfers the energy of a falling hammer to the frame, unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear of the gun. When the trigger is fully pulled it drops allowing the energy to strike the FP to the primer. On Rugers I believe the bar rises and the hammer strikes the bar transferring the energy to a floating firing pin. In both revolvers they will not fire unless the firearm's trigger has been fully pulled to the rear. I believe it is also called a transfer bar on the CZ 82 semi auto, but it actually blocks the hammer from striking the firing pin. In any case it is a mechanical safety device that those guns utilize, and is functioned very unnoticeable by the shooter.
    I understand what you're saying, I think that we just have a terminology difference. I had never heard the S&W(and Colt) style hammer block called a
    "transfer bar" but I don't doubt that it has been.

    The only part of newer guns I do not like is the coil hammer spring on revolvers, it has a very progressive feel different from leaf springs. I am not sure if S&W has changed to coil springs like Ruger. It is one reason I own no Ruger revolvers, I have owned a BlackHawk, two Vaqueros, and security six. I sold or traded them all.
    The J frame has always used a coil mainspring, although the smaller I frame from which it was developed used a leaf spring. As far as I know, the K, L, N, and X frame all still use leaf springs of the same basic design as S&W has been using since the 1890s.

    My J frames have dramatically better triggers than my SP101, although I was able to improve the SP101 quite a bit by carefully polishing the rough spots off some of the not so well finished parts.

    I find that my J frames are fairly even up until close to the end of the DA travel, when the pull falls off slightly. The pull on my Ruger seems to peak somewhere around halfway, then falls off and then stacks again until close to where the hammer falls(I find the SA trigger mushy, too). The larger frame S&Ws seem to me to be dead even all the way back. The V spring Colts stack as the trigger is pulled back, but in my experience it's fairly predictable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joanie View Post
    I thought the detective speical was a medium frame, isn't it a 6 shot? But whatever the cost, I'd highly recomend to the op the mod36 S&W only with the aftermarket oversize grips. The small grips that come on it might jar in your hand too much.
    Detective Specials are on Colt's D frame, which is slightly larger than the J frame and a fair bit smaller than the K frame. The cylinder is roughly the same size as the K frame(in fact the speedloaders are interchangeable) but with a little bit less "meat" around the outside to make the outer diameter slightly smaller. The frame around the cylinder is around the same length and height as a K frame, but a fair bit skinnier, and the grip frame is a lot smaller than a K frame.

    I find that D frames feel a lot more like J frames than K frames.

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    I bought an undercover back in 81 or 82 and it was a great gun. I guess I was lucky but I never had a bit of trouble with that revolver.

    I recently owned a model 85 Taurus also. It seemed to be a decent gun but the double action trigger pull was terrible.
    Last edited by jayspapa; 06-08-2013 at 02:22 AM.

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