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Discussion Starter #1
Just picked this up today at my local gun dealer, I had it on layaway.

Haven't fired it yet, but it seems solid so far.

If you're expecting 1930's S&W fitting, look elsewhere, but this is my first Charter and it looks to be worth the $460 plus fees I paid for it.

The good:

Timing and carryup are perfect, cylinder locks up well before the hammer breaks on DA or locks back in SA. Virtually no endshake, tight lockup. Not the "rattle trap" some people claim Charter Arms to be.

Finish is good, a nice matte stainless. DA pull is actually very decent and Ruger GP100-like, SA cocking action is smooth, a little "hitch" in the final cocking stroke started to smooth out after only a few cycles.

The so-so:

Bore is drilled off center, you can look at the crown and see it's noticeably off center, I don't know if they just left a little more "meat" on one side of the barrel when they finished the gun, but as long as it shoots straight I could care less.

Rear sight blade is plastic, but whatever, it's a $450 revolver. Charter includes 2 extra white rear sight blades. Would be a good combo with a little Testor's Red on the front sight.

I'm kinda glad I never picked up the 5" .38 Special Police Bulldog, I think I would have been underwhelmed vs. my Rugers.

Otherwise, it seems like a neat gun, a 5-shot .40 revolver with a usable barrel length and sights. I won't be overly enthusiastic about it until it shows me it will still be tight after 10,000 rounds of cheap .40 reloads.

The reloading process is slow, you have to "work" the rounds in, the chambers seem tight and you have to slide them in past the ejector tabs with a slight push. On the plus side, you don't need moonclips and you can use a magazine as a speedloader.

If this one proves itself, I'd like to pick up the snubby version.

The 9mm version kind of lost points with me when they went to the 5-shot cylinder.......seemed the advantage of a 9mm vs. .40 defensive wheelgun was lost, when the 9mm became a 5-shot. This 5-shot .40 revolver will be a good sidekick to my .40 P944 DAO, also maybe along with the .40 snub.

I have a 9mm Blackhawk so I have no burning need for a 5-shot 9mm Charter, I'd rather wait for the 9mm 4" SP101.
 

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Righteous Dude
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Interesting. Certainly a novel and fun setup. I like the idea of a revolver that shoots pistol calibers. I personally expect better craftsmanship than you described for $450. I have bought new S&W revolvers recently with superb quality, sights, and soforth for $350 and $360. I may hold off on CA and just stick with S&W.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This was purely an "impulse" buy off GunBroker, when I saw the 5" version of the .40 I had to try one. Almost wish it was a 4" so it would fit the probably dozen or so IWB and pancake holsters I have for Ruger Six-S&W K sized 4" revolvers.......

The 5" Charter is light and pretty slim for a full size wheelgun, it would carry great along with a 15 round .40 Glock mag for reloads. .40 is a good "medium" round, a little more azz than a .38+P but less blast and recoil than a .357.

It was also a "consolation prize" since I really wanted a Clements 10mm GP100 conversion........but life circumstances have put the cost of that out of reach, at least for now. I had also thought about a S&W 610 revolver, but again, can't do $1,400 for a gun...... Especially now, since I'm beefing with my landlord and moving into a costlier (but better) apartment lol
 

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Righteous Dude
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All good. Nothing wrong with enjoying a gun and having it for fun. The system CA uses for retaining the cartridge is pretty interesting. I look forward to pics of your new wheelie.
 

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Interesting caliber for a wheel gun. The choices are plentiful for ammo. I agree a 10mm would be a great choice I need to check into the conversion.

As for gun snubs who cares about their opinions. As long as the charter is reliable and shoots well. Hope Charter arms quality has improved. Like to have another choice in good wheelers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have Pachmayr Presentations for it, but the factory "combat" rubber grips are growing on me.

I carried this 5" .40 today, it fit in a Bianchi 6 IWB holster made for a 4" L-frame, a little bit of barrel stuck out the bottom but carried all day today with no problems. It's a pretty light gun for the size. I had it loaded with 5 Winchester "Defend" rounds, with 5 more loose rounds in the watch pocket of my jeans. I feel confident in 5 .40's to stop a threat, with a reload in reserve. The same size gun in 9mm doesn't make sense as a defensive gun. The .45 ACP Charter Arms uses a larger frame, so the .40 seems like a good balance.

Still, 5" is an odd choice, Charter makes the 5" revolvers and advertises them as "small and light enough for concealed carry" but 5" is a bit too long for most people..........4" would have been a MUCH better barrel length.

People may ask "Why not just carry a .357 in the same size/type gun?" and yes, I do own many 4" GP100's and Six series revolvers that would carry just as well as the Charter.........the answer is I'm a Gun Nut (sorry Enthusiast) and I love to shoot and carry different types of American made firearms.

Guns like this .40 may make sense to people who aren't as "eclectic" as many of us, who don't have guns in 50 different calibers.........maybe a guy who has a .40 pistol, and wants an HD gun his wife can operate without having to add .38 to his list of calibers to buy for.

Maybe for a cop who uses a Glock .40 for on duty, and want a wheelgun for off-duty, or as a "kit gun" and doesn't want several different calibers.

If this .40 Charter proves reliable, it will be a great companion to my auto chuckers, and .40 is much more available than .38 Special.

I'm thinking I'm going to be picking up the .40 snub version too.

I'm not even a huge fan of the .40, I carried a Glock 22 .40 as an armed guard, it's a solid round, but I never really fell in love with it. Only recently did I discover a utility for the .40, as a good defensive round that's superior in stopping power to 9mm, but allows a few more in the mag vs. a .45.

With things getting as nutty as they are out there, with the front line being anywhere and everywhere........I went overseas to fight the war on Terror, but now it has come to our own soil in the US, so I have switched over to the Ruger P944 .40 as my go-to EDC gun, .40 just made more sense for a "fighting gun", although I just recently bought a 94 9mm as well, so I can have both options.

This Charter may find a use as a "car stash gun" so that if I need to get a gun to a parent/relative/friend/etc. in the event the worst happens, I can give them the Charter and feed them ammo from P944 mags I keep in my car. I know pretty much anyone can defend themselves with a revolver with it's "point and pull" interface, vs. trusting them to operate an autoloader if they are a "non gun" person.
 

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Righteous Dude
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Man, a 5" revolver would not come to kind to advertise as a carry revolver. A snub, 3", or even a 4" is a better option than a 5". Why not a 6"!? ;)

It does seem like it would make a nice gun for the vehicle or something to carry OWB. 40 in a revolver is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

The snub version sounds like a nice addition.... And much easier to carry! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I wish Charter would have either gone all the way with it as a range gun and made it a 6", then offered a 4" for the OWB - Kit Gun crowd, and then the snub for CC. It can't be that hard to forge 4" and 6" barrel for the same caliber, 5" seemed like they were shooting for an "in betweener" barrel length.

I emailed Charter and the owner's wife said a 4.2" .45 ACP wheelgun was in the works, at the $450 street price range.......now THAT's something that will sell.

IMO Charter dropped the ball by not working the kinks out of the 6-shot 9mm snub and 5" wheelie, going to a 5-shot was kind of a death knell for it. No one wants K-frame sized 5-shot revolvers. If I'm using it for CC I want that 6th shot in that frame size, otherwise there is 0 advantage over something like a 6-shot .38 Special snub like their own "Off Duty" snubbie.

At least the .40 ups the game as a fight stopper with a good Hollow Point, and the 5" bumps up the velocity enough to get that slug to open up effectively. There is no offical "+P" for .40 that I've seen but some of the stuff like Hydra Shok, or even the hot Buffalo Bore that's loaded pretty much to 10mm levels, would be good for defense. I wouldn't run a ton of the hot .40 through this gun, but if you can afford to shoot a couple 1,000 $1 a pop Buffalo Bore .40's through this, then you probably just need to get a S&W 610.
 

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sweet! There is just something about wheel guns that get you to smile!
 

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i bought a early SS 44 special CA 2" barrel with factory bobbed hammer in the box for 225.00, and it has been a very good CC revolver and not much harder to hide than my S&W SS 60 in 38 spl. i also have a early blue .22 mag 6" pathfinder that has been a fine field carry revolver and have not had any problems with either firearm. eastbank.
 

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Nice find. A few questions:
- are there speed strips that will fit .40? Gotta be a quicker reload than loose or magazine

- am I to understand you carried a defensive gun without firing it? :eek:

- when is the 4" 45acp coming out? I agree that ought to sell like funnel cakes at the state fair. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yes, I did commit the cardinal sin, I carried an "unproven" gun for CC. It got dark out the day I got it and I couldn't test fire it, but I had the "itch" to see how it carried, so I figured I would roll the dice and hope nothing went down at the Christmas tree farm and Perkins that would require me to use it:) My function testing gave me enough confidence that it would go bang.

Tuff Strips claims the .38 Speed Strips will fit .40, I don't know how well a speedstrip will be for reloading the Charter, since you have to "push" the rounds in to seat them against the extractor tab, where the Speed Strip basically requires the rounds to "drop"in that last 1/8" or so. I have some .38 Speed Strips so I'll give it a shot.

I think her name was Linda , anyway Mrs. Ecker responded to my email, saying the 4.2" .45 ACP will be out "in the near future", the president is Nick Ecker so I assume it's his wife, or daughter who responds to the emails. The range reports of the .45 ACP snubby say the recoil is a little stout to put it in "range fun gun" status, but would be a good CC gun.

I did fire it today, it worked great, I'll post a quick range report after I get my daughter in bed, so I can have time to post the pics and the detailed review of it:) I'll put one in the "Range Reports" forum section too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
OK, here's the mini range report for the .40 Charter Arms:)

The left target was fired in DA at 10 yards, the right target from a sandbag in SA, at about 13 yards. The "fliers" are from me firing 5 rounds of Federal Aluminum Case in fast DA, I just wanted to see if aluminum case worked........it did, fired and extracted fine.

The right sandbag target shows a wierd 5-shot group that's pretty much strung horizontally, with a pair of two shots touching and then the 5th shot to the right. Probably just me altering my sight picture a hair, I think this gun is capable of 15 yard cloverleafs.

Short of the rear sight needing to be moved a little to the right, it is actually an exceptionally accurate revolver. I was shooting factory reloads, using once-fired brass of different brands.
It was 165 grain.

Recoil was not mild, it definitely feels like .40 out of a lighter revolver.

Being used to Rugers, the hand(pawl) and cylinder stop seem very fragile and thin, both of these parts are made of very thin pieces of steel. Probably less than half as beefy as the Ruger parts. These are, obviously not Rugers, but they are functional and utilitarian revolvers. It remains to be seen if the "medium" Charter frame can handle a lot of .40, they use the same frame for their .357 Pathfinder, but I don't think they are intended for tons of Magnums.

One mechanical issue, the forcing cone is not 100% square, the forcing cone is tighter at the top. After 10 rounds, once some carbon got on the cylinder face and forcing cone, the DA and SA cocking action got slightly "hitchy", the top part of the forcing cone was rubbing on the cylinder face.......

Not to instantly bash Charter, I have a brand new GP100 that had the exact same issue, but worse, it actually bound the gun up solid after 12 rounds. Ruger fixed it for free.

One of my pet peeves in life is having to tinker with a brand new gun, I'm going to contact Charter Arms and see if they will pay for the shipping to fix the forcing cone. I am not paying anything, I need them to clean up the forcing cone cut. If I can find time tomorrow I will call them. My initial urge was to just touch the top of the cone with a bastard file and clean it up, but I shouldn't have to gunsmith a $450 gun to get it 100%. The gun "works" as is, but it's not to my standard, that I expect from a brand new, out of the box gun.
 

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