Charter Arms Backpacker

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Lew Horton Distributing announced a special edition revolver from Charter Arms. Called the Backpacker, the new wheelgun is a Bulldog with a stainless steel frame and 2.5″ ported barrel. The grips are smooth walnut and “Backpacker” is etched on the left side of the barrel. This edition is limited to only 50 units.

As with standard Bulldog revolvers, this one is chambered in .44 Special. Five rounds are carried in the cylinder. A fixed front sight aligns in the rear notch for aiming. Standard Bulldog revolvers can be had with either a 2.5″ (unported) or 4″ barrel. Charter Arms also makes a Classic Bulldog with a 3″ barrel that is modeled on the company’s original .44 Special revolver.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • ostiariusalpha

    Uh… I usually have a carbine with me when I’m backpacking. No knock on .44 Special, but if I’m limited to 5 shots, I’ll want something a bit more potent.

    • Sub2000 in .40 cal (glock) comes to mind for light outdoor fun !

      • allannon

        I keep eyeing the sub2k, but I’d have to modify a S&W version and my XD mags to co-fit (I’d really prefer common mags).

  • smartacus

    hey i’m all for a Charter Arms buttpacker, but couldn’t they make it +P rated?

    • MB

      “buttpacker” :)))

    • floppyscience

      There’s no such thing as .44 Special +P so that would be difficult for them to accomplish.

      • smartacus

        OK then couldn’t they make it Elmer Keith Load rated?

        • The Buffalo Bore .44 Special specifically mentions not using it in Charter Arms revolvers.

        • TheGrammarMan

          That gun is called a .44 Magnum. It was invented to handle the Keith Loads – and then some – as the ammo manufacturers were not comfortable loading that level in .44 Special.

          • smartacus

            .44 Magnum is even bigger
            I sold my .44 Magnum and .44 Special, and kept my .41 Magnum

    • El Duderino

      That would be a .44 Magnum…go get a S&W 69!

      • smartacus

        69 is even bigger than the buttpacker
        (so to speak)

        • El Duderino

          Yah…it’s a Magnum after all. 22oz .44 Magnum sounds painful though the 329PD isn’t much heavier.

          • smartacus

            sold my 44 Magnum AND my 44 Special
            kept my 41 Magnum Tracker 🙂

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Didnt Mark David Chapman use a Charter Bulldog to shoot John Lennon?

    • Jeff Smith

      I believe he did.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Probably not the celebrity endorsement they’re looking for.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Hey, any publicity is good publicity…

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I think a lot of people wish he wouldve ventilated Yoko instead.

          • billyoblivion

            Or at least in addition.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Cold but true.

          • Don Ward

            It just bets better every time!!!

    • Jack Burton

      Also the Son of Sam killer, as well as the protagonist in Red Dragon/Manhunter. Always seemed like neat little guns, especially the older ones…I’ve read too much about suspect metallurgy and quality control to seriously consider buying one though.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Very popular with the psycho market.

      • Bill

        In the Red Dragon book it was specified that he loaded it with Glaser Safety Slugs. Good book, the Michael Mann Manhunter movie wasn’t bad, though that Hannibal Lector was no Hannibal Lector.

    • TheGrammarMan

      No, a Charter .38 Special.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Yeah I was thinking of Son of Sam the .44 killer.

  • allannon

    I think I’d rather a .357, preferably with aluminum frame where possible, to reduce weight.

    • Don Ward

      You want the weight when firing. And an extra six ounces isn’t going to make or break a backpack trip.

      • allannon

        I did say “preferably”. It wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

        Regarding weight for shooting, I used to have a .357 Airweight (now mom’s), and while I wouldn’t shoot competition with it, it was hardly unshootable. Been thinking of buying another as my pack gun, in fact.

        • Don Ward

          To quote a wise man, “Do Eeet”.

          • allannon

            If buying a few acres falls through, I fully intend to engage in some retail therapy at the LGS. 😉

        • Bill

          You gave your mom a .357 Airweight? What did she ever do to you? Great guns, but one of the few that even I think are not exactly pleasant to shoot.

          • allannon

            I said I gave her a .357, I didn’t say she shoots .357. 😉 She shoots .38spl, and carries it with 3x.38 and 2x.357.

          • Bill

            That’s good, or no more home-made cookies for you.

      • RocketScientist

        “an extra six ounces isn’t going to make or break a backpack trip.”

        Obviously spoken by a man who has limited experience with high country backpacking.

        • Don Ward

          Yes. An extra six ounces ain’t gonna make or break the trip. If it does, lose the extra gear, get in shape or don’t bring the gun since you are summit ing Everst. Holy heck people are lacking in practical outdoors experience.

          • RocketScientist

            “An extra six ounces ain’t gonna make or break the trip.”

            Again, its obvious you have limited or no experience with high country backpacking or mountaineering. Do 10 back-to-back days of 6000+ ft CEG at a mile or 2 of elevation, then tell me an extra 6 ounces ain’t gonna make or break the trip. I don’t care how great shape you are, less weight is less weight, and most of us have kits that are as minimalist as possible already, just the essentials. And when I’m days from civilization in country that rightfully belongs to my ursine and canine friends, some form of firearm is one of those essentials. If I could shave 6 ounces off mine, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Not trying to get into a pissing match or anything, but its ignorant to say that almost a half pound of weight is not an issue to people doing extended hikes in rough terrain. It might not be to you during your “practical outdoor experiences” but to me and my crew, it is.

    • Zebra Dun

      A .357 magnum would be good, a 9 mm better, shorter cylinder smaller package and maybe even turn it into a six shot.

      • allannon

        I’m not sure 9mm is enough smaller to reduce the cylinder size; the widest point favors 9mm (the rim), but the important bit (the case) is slightly smaller on the .357. .357 also has the ability to run .38spl, which is a perfectly good round for lightweight animals.

        You might be able to have thinner cylinder walls with 9mm (as it’s a milder round), but I don’t it’s enough I’d care to do that. I tend to be a bit paranoid where my appendages are involved. 😉

        • Zebra Dun

          I agree, I’m not sure a shorter cylinder would make that much difference overall anyway.

  • Swarf

    Hmm, stainless steel pack anchor with slick grips in .44 special or lightweight Ruger LCRx in .357 with Hogue grips and a fantastic trigger…

    Decisions, decisions.

  • Sulaco

    Why in the world would you port a 2″ barreled, low pressure round like the .44 SPL?

  • Don Ward

    Actually, it is not a bad concept and is a more practical take than the redonkulous .500 S&W monstrosities. The .44 Special is more than capable enough of handling most threats in the lower 48.
    That Charter Arms though…

    • Nashvone

      What about the S&W 460 with a 2.75″ barrel?

      • El Duderino

        Perfect for search and rescue. Fireball can be seen from space.

  • Jsim

    With a 2in ported barrel this thing is literally going to sound like a hand cannon.

  • It weighs 22oz unloaded, so not as heavy as I would have thought.

    However the .44 Specials rated for the Charter Arms are pretty meh, 180gr XTP @ 1000fps. Virtually identical the 40S&W 180gr load.

  • Kivaari

    I hope CA did not use an aluminum barrel shroud on this gun. They did that back circa ’97, in .357. Within 2 shots the shroud split and fell off. In the .357 they used a rotating cutter to cut a deep “V-shaped” groove in the barrel. Then slid the shroud on. The deep and wide cut hole in the barrel allowed gases to impact the shroud. Measure the bottom of the slots and you can imagine how big of a cut is used. If this gun has a should, and not EDM cuts in a solid barrel, expect it to blow off with the 5 shots.

  • Bill

    Are there actually 50 Charter Arms fans out there who will snap this up?

    I do have to admit that I have an ancient Target Bulldog buried away somewhere.

  • nova3930

    I’ve always wanted a .44 revolver of some flavor but I don’t think a CA will satisfy that hunger…

  • ozzallos .

    Oooh, a run of 50. Don’t get too ambitious.
    And in 50 years this limited edition run will be worth…. Eh, pretty much nothing.

  • Zebra Dun

    I’d go ahead and make it in .44 magnum so that type of ammo would be available also.
    Then again making this revolver in .45 acp would make more sense especially if the cylinders were made to accept the rimless cartridges without having to use the moon clips.