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Old 03-21-2013, 09:29 AM
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Default Old Charter Arms Bulldog .44spl. for SHTF?



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I've yet to find a good, solid, reliable .357 revolver within my price range of no more than $350. In our local secondhand news in which people commonly overprice guns and ammo to oblivion, there's an Old model Charter Arms 3 inch Bulldog in .44 special for $300 bucks. I have done some research on the old bulldogs, and from what I have gathered, they are tough, reliable, accurate revolvers with a smooth trigger pull, very fast lockup time, and solid one-piece frame. Where I live, defending one's self from four legged critters as well as ones with two legs will be nessicary, I know that .44 special will be harder to find than .38/.357. I know that .44 special is a highly underrated round that performs similarly to the .45lc and .45acp, but would it do for some light Black Bear defence as well as defence from two-legged vermin? Can it handle pretty hot loads?

.44 special is of course impossible to get. Hopefully, i'll soon get some Lee Loaders (have no room for a press, and don't need to make huge batches at a time) but I can't reload right now because of...err...complications, but I have a family member that reloads and has .44 spec. brass, and I found an old box of Sierra Sportsmaster 240 Grain JHPs in the old gun cabinet...loaded pretty hot, would that make a pretty versatile load? My dad will also be using the gun for CCW. After all, "And I'm a-tellin' you son It ain't no fun Starin' straight down a .44"... Does anyone make an IWB holster for them?

I know a .357 would be more versatile, but as I said, I can't find one that we can afford. A small, light, 3 inch .44 special is still a good concept, right?
Old 03-21-2013, 10:15 AM
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If it was me I would still hold out for a .357/.38. Just look around and one will pop up in your price range. The .44special would definately work against two legged vermin. Black bear defense I dont know, though im sure you could use one to hunt deer. I dont own a .44special so im not terribly familar with them so cant help you on ammo selection. Though i can tell you that i can count on one hand how many times i have seen it on a shelf. You have one box right now and a relative has some brass, in a shtf situation how long is that going to last you. In my oppinion there are better options out there. I would rather carry 6shots of .357mag then 5 of .44 special. As far as IWB i think it would be quite uncomfortable. Doin a quick search I see that some Ruger SP101 and J-Frame holsters fit
Old 03-21-2013, 10:30 AM
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There are some fairly hot, heavy bullet loads for the .44 special. I just don't know how well the Bulldog would hold up to them. I carried a .44 for years as my concealed carry gun and I never felt undergunned. It's a helluva cartridge.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bigntasty50 View Post
If it was me I would still hold out for a .357/.38. Just look around and one will pop up in your price range. The .44special would definately work against two legged vermin. Black bear defense I dont know, though im sure you could use one to hunt deer. I dont own a .44special so im not terribly familar with them so cant help you on ammo selection. Though i can tell you that i can count on one hand how many times i have seen it on a shelf. You have one box right now and a relative has some brass, in a shtf situation how long is that going to last you. In my oppinion there are better options out there. I would rather carry 6shots of .357mag then 5 of .44 special. As far as IWB i think it would be quite uncomfortable. Doin a quick search I see that some Ruger SP101 and J-Frame holsters fit
There was a Ruger Security Six at a LGS for $400...and a Dan Wesson M15 at a pawn shop for the same price... but adjustable sights and concealed carry don't really mix. It would be nice to have two different guns, one for CCW and one for defence, but we can't afford that. Not right now atleast. We still have to build a cellar, buy ammo when we can, continue buying canned food, store water, etc. and that all takes money, something we don't have very much of. Thanks for the advice, though.
Old 03-21-2013, 12:21 PM
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I agree with you somewhat on the adjustable sights and ccw. I prefer fixed sights on my ccw guns as well though i know plenty of people who carry with adjustables and havent had any issues. Understand the money situation as several of us are feeling that right now and its goot to have your priortys in order. Best of luck to you in whatever revolver you purchase
Old 03-21-2013, 12:31 PM
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I would hold out for the 357/38 or get a 44mag. At least with the mag (which I would prefer for bear protection), you can shoot both. Just use the specials for personal defense and target. Getting just a 44 special doesn't make sense unless you're getting a really good deal on it. I think if you hold out, you can find a Mag version for close to that $300 mark. What state are you in and I'll see what I can find for you... maybe another pair of eyes will help.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:34 PM
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There are some fairly hot, heavy bullet loads for the .44 special. I just don't know how well the Bulldog would hold up to them. I carried a .44 for years as my concealed carry gun and I never felt undergunned. It's a helluva cartridge.
Since the frame is one single, solid piece,(atleast on the older ones), it should be pretty darn tough, right?
Old 03-21-2013, 12:46 PM
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That is a Good Old Design. It is really capable. Not as Powerful as the .44 Mag. It will serve you well, IF YOU RELOAD! .44 SPL Commercial Ammo is Expen$ive!!!

Plink and Practice with Reduced Power Loads, and only Carry Hot Loads. A Steady Diet of Hot Loads will Disassemble/wear out ANY Firearm after a while.

Just as Engines have only so many Horsepower-Hours in them, Guns can only digest so much Powder before they need Major Overhaul. If you shoot mostly reduced-Power loads (only shooting the Heavy Loads Once a year, or only when You need them for Defense), Your Gun will probably last longer than you do (with normal Maintenance).

.44 Spl makes Great Big Wound Channels. Big Slow Bullets deliver all their energy to/in the Target Animal. Great for Personal Protection!
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:58 PM
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I would hold out for 357, 45colt, or 44 mag. 44 special is a great round but there is much more versatility in 45 colt and 44 mag.

44 sp. is still a great round though I wouldn't trust it with bear or much in the way of hunting. 45 Colt can be loaded pretty hot with a good Ruger revolver and the 44 mag speaks for itself.

For a house gun or self defense, the 44 sp. is great.
Old 03-21-2013, 05:01 PM
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I'd like to have a good .357....but then again i'd LIKE to have the 93' Colt King Cobra I just saw-and felt- in a local pawn shop. Looked like it had never been fired before. I swear, that gun felt like it was meant to be in my hands. Such balance, such elegance, such beauty... Sadly, I don't have $1400 dollars.
Old 03-21-2013, 05:27 PM
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I love the .44spl, my Taurus Revolver in .44spl is probably my favorite handgun to shoot for fun. Too bad ammo is so expensive when you can find it (and that was before "the great scare")
Old 03-21-2013, 08:18 PM
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I recently picked up an old 3-inch Bulldog, and I have a new stainless one as my daily carry piece.

I wouldn't fire those hot loads through it, but it's a nice little revolver. You could sure do a heck of a lot worse than a Charter Bulldog. Great gun.

Here is my vintage Bulldog:



Here is my current production Bulldog wearing vintage grips:

Old 03-22-2013, 10:12 PM
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The general consensus here is to get a .357...Maybe I should take another look at that Dan Wesson M15. You can get a 2.5 in. barrel for them, as well as the 4 inch this one comes with, and a 6 inch for hunting. That's pretty versatile, right? It's just as strong as the S&W Model 27/28, so it should be able to handle full-house loads for bear. The grips somehow got swelled up, but Pachmayrs or Hougues are better than wood anyways, right?


BTW lowercase, how good does the vintage bulldog shoot?
Old 03-22-2013, 10:49 PM
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.44 Special is a great round, but very costly. If you have the cash the .44 is fine. I couldn't shoot .44 Special on a regular basis or build up an ammo cache because of the cost. If you want power, a .357 mag would do well and you could shoot .38's though it for practice.
Old 03-22-2013, 11:44 PM
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I carry a new model Bulldog as my EDC, and would feel much more comfortable with it for 4 legged critters than a .357. I would have to count how many .357s and .38s I own, but carry the .44. It is a heavy powerful round that will take most off their feet...fight's over...I'm lucky in that I have reloaded for 35 years and ammo does not break my bank. I do not, and would not practice with heavy loads. I practice with my cast 200 gr, but I carry Hornady 240 XTPs. After practicing with 240s, you think after about the 6th reload, do I really want to shoot this some more? A 240 XTP @ about 850 fps will get the job done. A .44 and reloading is the way I go.
Old 03-22-2013, 11:49 PM
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If it was good enough for Son Of Sam it is good enough for me.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:52 PM
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.44 Special is a great round, but very costly. If you have the cash the .44 is fine. I couldn't shoot .44 Special on a regular basis or build up an ammo cache because of the cost. If you want power, a .357 mag would do well and you could shoot .38's though it for practice.
Cash is something I don't have much of.
Old 03-23-2013, 12:20 AM
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As a beginner go with the .357. .38s are less expensive to practice. A .357 has been getting the job done for years. As you get settled down and financially situated (it took me years) consider reloading. I buy my components in large bulk and cast my own boolits. I can reload .357s for about $3 per 50 or .44s for less than $4 per box (50). It's kinda expensive to first get in to it ($1000 for everything, equipment and bulk components) but I love it. $4.00 per box of .44s, what's not to love.
Old 03-23-2013, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tap Water View Post
I love the .44spl, my Taurus Revolver in .44spl is probably my favorite handgun to shoot for fun. Too bad ammo is so expensive when you can find it (and that was before "the great scare")
In this current insanity, I can actually find .44spl easier than 9mm, and cheaper, too. I never thought I would see 9mm priced higher than .44spl.

My LGS was carrying limited quantities of S&B fmj 9mm for 39 bucks for a box of 50!

Right under it were boxes of .44spl cowboy action loads at $33 per box. Not exactly the cheapest stuff out there, but actually 4 bucks cheaper than its usual price.

Another LGS had absolutely ZERO 9mm and .40, but had a decent supply of .44spl 200-grain Silvertip in stock.

Weird times, and makes me glad that I actually have diversified calibers.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:57 PM
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I say wait another week or two and save another 300 bucks and get a ruger sp101. If you must or just really want the 44spl get it as any gun come shtf will be better than none. If your cash strapped and truly worry about ammo availability forget the 44spl all together take your 300 dollars get a mossberg 500 and 50 dollars worth of shells. for those 300 dollars you could have all your shtf needs met for ranges under 100 yds. Self defense, birds, rabbits, coyotes, deer and fowl (small and large game).
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