Opinions on Charter Arms .38 revolvers?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by mjp28, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    anytown, OHIO
    I'm scouting out a few new guns CCW or desk guns, I've been through S&W, Ruger, Taurus but I don't know anyone personally who has any Charter Arms guns.

    .38 +P 2" bbl, DAO Undercover, SS, 16 oz retail $459... local dealer $307
    .38 "Pink Lady" Undercover Lite 12 oz, retail $$365...local dealer $293
    .38 DAO concealed trigger, 2" bbl, retail $365...dealer $293
    .38 undercover FC, 20 oz. retail $393....dealer $279
    .38 DEMO, Retail $339....dealer $250

    I'm looking for something for the wife, a newbie and me an old revolver guy.

    Any opinions on Charter Arms?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  2. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charter arms can be researched at Wikipedia.

    Charter Arms revolvers are of sound mechanical design. CA has had a bankruptcy and ownership changes.

    Since the late 1960's my own experiences evaluating them has been from good to unacceptable. A lot will depend on when the revolver was made. I HAVE NO EXPERIENCES WITH RECENT MADE CHARTER ARMS REVOLVERS.

    I prefer S&W "J" frame revolvers made before they started installing the key lock feature around 2003.

  3. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    anytown, OHIO
    Thanks...I have plenty of older guns including an old cop .38 Special, too big for CCW.

    I also noticed that most all comprable .38 S&W, Ruger, Taurus and others are a little to a lot more expensive than CA, sometimes but not always a tip off.

    I also did just check out Wiki, I've looked at CA.com (but mfgr sites always say their guns are great), I like to get real experienced shooters ideas.

    This I'm looking at (or similar) for my sweetie:

    53830 Pink Lady Undercover Lite,
    Pink & Stainless Standard

    Model: 53830 Finish: 2-Tone: Pink & Stainless
    Frame: 7075 Aluminum Grip: Standard
    Barrel length: 2"
    Capacity: 5-shot
    Caliber:.38 Special +P
    Hammer: Standard Weight:12 oz. Sugg Retail: $422.....and I can get it for $293?
    But I want both similar or the same so we can use either. I also have a few boxes of .38 ammo around.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  4. Ive never owned a "current production" Charter revolver. I HAVE owned some of the early production ones, including a "Son of Sam" .44 3" unshrouded Bulldog, and a similar "age" Undercover. They were excellent revolvers, and I have no complaints. As for current production, I can only say that from the aspect of "mechanical similarity" to the early ones, assuming that the same design plans and tooling are still in use, should be of decent quality. If I am not mistaken, all the CA revolvers are or WERE built on alloy frames, so you should take this into consideration if you plan to digest a lot of +p stuff and you are really interested in a carbon or stainless steel frame. I personally have come to PREFER alloy framed carry revolvers as they are simply WAY more comfortable to carry and therefore they are WAY more likely to be WITH you if you arent "burdened" with em. I guess dollar for dollar, it would be accurate to compare the CA's to Taurus and Rossi revolvers, rather than Ruger S&W & Colt, as they are certainly "cheaper" production arms. I have long wondered what sort of "quality" one can expect from the ArmsCorp revolvers from the Philippines. If anyone has any experience with em, I would appreciate some info.
  5. yetiman

    yetiman Member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Mayfield, KY
    I currently own and carry the CA undercover lite. I have only put 3-400 rounds through it but it is easy to site and easy to conceal, btw, it is the gun my wife used in the handgun permit class. She only missed the target once and has only shot guns since late last year with me.
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    I have a buddy who bought an early Charter Arms Undercover not long after they first hit the market, in the late 1970s, and still owns it, and shoots it regularly. I shot it once a long time ago in the 80s and liked it so much I always told myself I would buy one "someday."

    However, maybe 10 or so years ago after their second or third "reorganization" I handled the same gun that was "new" and it just did not feel "right," and that's when I started hearing bad things about them. I did not shoot one of the then "new" ones however.

    BUT I have heard from a few people that own one of the NEWEST reincarnations and they say they are as good as the originals.

    My buddy owns a newer one too, now, and says it is "OK," but he prefers his older Undercover better.

    I ALMOST made an offer on a used Undercover at a gun show last month, he had $275 on it but said he would "deal," but at the last minute I passed when I couldn't figure out when it was made.

    Yeah, I would prefer a J frame Smith, but the Undercover was about 2 bills cheaper than a comparable condition Chief's Special...
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  7. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2009
    Ohio NRA Member
    I got a nephew that owns an early Charter Arms Undercover and I've been trying
    to get that from him for a few years now, for the fact, he talked about parting with it
    a time or two.
    I've shot it on several occasions and it's a nice shooter and well made, IMO.
  8. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    anytown, OHIO
    That's what I was wondering, I can get a DEMO, 98% wear (+/-) for $250 for me, still want a good new or very good gun for my wife for self defence not just range shooting.

    And yes they are a few big bills less than the comprarable S&W guns. I also need CCW holsters, some new ammo....might go for a package deal.
  9. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    I have owned CA pistols for something like 30 years. I have never had but one problem in all that time. The .44spcl that I currently own had a problem with sticking brass after it had been shot. $10 at the smiths shop sloved the problem, he honed out the cylender. I use the Off Duty .38 as my BUG, but would not feel under armed if it was the only thing I had on me. These guns are not supposed to be tack drivers, but some of them are. I will buy other guns from them as I can. And they are American made.
  10. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    1st handgun I ever owned was the 357 Bulldog. Worst firearm I've ever owned.
    I could throw it more accurately than it would shoot. :rolleyes:
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