Jump to content
Practically Shooting

Charter Arms .44 Bulldog


Recommended Posts

I have one on the way, an early original from the first three years of production. 

I know they have a reputation for questionable quality, but they have always intrigued me.  I well remember when they were a fairly hot item due to them being the sole object of their type.   A .44 caliber belly gun still isn’t exactly commonplace.  

I am a .44 Special fan, so feel an appreciation for the Bulldog for helping bring the cartridge back from near obscurity.   I have been reloading it for some time so I’m set there.  

The speedloaders I have for my S&W 696 and 69 work in the ‘dog.  Somehow or another, I have a set of factory wood grips for the Bulldog.  

When you put it all together, there is no reason I shouldn’t have one. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, wwillson said:

You absolutely need one and you should have one!


How is the recoil with the 44 Special?

Recoil in my Blackhawk .44 Special is pleasant. 
Recoil in my S&W 696 is not bad at all.  
Recoil in the last Bulldog I fired stung a bit as I recall.   

I hope to shoot this one Thursday.  We will see if my memory is accurate.  

All the .44 Special ammo I had loaded was a little stiffer than the Bulldog should probably see, so I loaded some more.  I have fifty rounds ready, using seven different bullets.  I’m mostly trying to see what bullet weight/velocity range is going to let it shoot to point of aim, then I can work from there.


When I picked up the lil’ doggie, I had a 2” S&W model 12 in my jacket pocket.  That’s a K-frame, so none too big.  The Bulldog is almost identical in size except for having a 3” barrel.  That’s not a lot of metal for shooting a .44 of any kind!

FWIW, It has an early serial number so I emailed charter asking when it was manufactured.  The Bulldog came out at the beginning of 1973.  The answer came back that mine was made in late ‘72.  I knew it was made in the early years because of the company address on the barrel, but I didn’t know it would be that early.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took the Bulldog out today.  The 240 grain loads all shot high.  I had loaded slow ones, fast ones, and in-between ones.  All shot from 3” to 4.5” above point of aim at 50 feet. 

I got 200 and 230s to hit POA.  

I even got a couple of nice groups.  Really, most of the groups were better than I expected.  

One bullet tumbled.  One shot.  I’ve read of older Bulldogs doing that, but I thought it was odd that only ONE shot did, and I had mostly decent groups.  FWIW, it was a cast Lyman 429421 250 grain SWC.  I shot a few other groups using the same bullet and didn’t see it.  

Recoil?  Nothing I shot was all that hot, nor would I want to use such in the Bulldog for safety reasons.  Felt recoil wasn’t as bad as I remember.  I think it was easier on the hand than the 9mm Ruger LCR I got recently.   The LCR probably didn’t recoil any more, it’s just snappier.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Since I got the Ruger LCR 9mm around the same time as this Bulldog, I’ve generally taken both to the range if I’ve taken either.   Therefore, I’ve had a fair amount of side by side comparison whether they are similar enough to compare or not.  
If you had asked me beforehand which one I’d shoot better, I’d say the Ruger 9mm without hesitation. 

And I would’ve been wrong.  


The Bulldog makes smaller groups.  I’ve got several loads already that would work well in the Bulldog, but I’m still searching for something better than “OK” in the LCR.  Recoil is “friendlier” with the Bulldog.  I’ve figured out bullet weights/velocities with the ‘Dog so point of impact is centered but I’m still struggling with the LCR in that area.  

The only practical difference in being able to shoot them is the LCR has an enclosed hammer so it’s DA only, but it stages easy so I can get a letoff that is SA-like.  

A .44 Spl that’s only around three ounces more than a 9mm is the easier to shoot of the two.  Go figure.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...