I’ve been fascinated by the big-bore snub nose revolver ever since the early 80’s when I read about a woman who rotated the tables on a would-be rapist. When he grabbed her, she grabbed a .44 out of her purse and ensured he would never harm anyone ever again.
The Charter Arms Bulldog was always the gun I imagined her carrying. Yes, there were other big bore snubby revolvers on the market, but the Bulldog always seemed to be the gun I envisioned. I suppose the name “Bulldog” helped conjure that image.
The Bulldog has been around for almost 40 years now, and it has undergone a few refreshes over the years. But the same basic gun has always been there: a short barreled, five-shot revolver throwing a big chunk of lead downrange.
.44 Special Tiger
The Bulldog I reviewed was the model 24420, which is outfitted with a handsome black and OD green stripe pattern similar to the Tiger Stripe cam patterns.
As with other contemporary Bulldog revolvers, this one was chambered in .44 Special and had a 2.5” barrel. The hammer is exposed, allowing for double action or single action fire.
The double action trigger pull was somewhat heavy, averaging 11 pounds 8 ounces. Although not as smooth as a Colt Python, the trigger was not bad, and certainly acceptable for a defensive handgun.
The single action trigger pull ran a touch over 3.5 pounds, and was very nice. There was just a slight amount of take up in single action mode and then a clean break.
The sights are fixed, with a ramp front and notch rear. The sights are machined into the barrel and frame, so there are no easy adjustments or swaps if you are so inclined.
The hard rubber grip is full sized, meaning your pinky won’t fall off the end. The grips feel good in the hand, but somewhat narrow. If the rear of the grip was a little wider, I think that would have filled my hand perfectly.
As with other Charter Arms revolvers, the cylinder on the Bulldog rotates clockwise.
The ejector rod is shrouded, which is a nice extra.
The unloaded weight of this gun was 21 ounces, though it felt lighter. When held, the weight was clearly distributed forward toward the barrel.
A 4” model of the Bulldog is available. That gun has adjustable sights and a stainless steel finish, with an unloaded weight of 23 ounces.
MSRP on the Bulldog Tiger is $466.
Proof is in the Shootin’
I won’t lie: I was pretty stoked to carry this out to the range. I’ve shot other .44 Specials & Magnums, but never the Bulldog.
I took along a variety of practice loads plus two Hornady hollowpoints: the 165 grain Critical Defense FTX and the Custom 180 grain XTP loads. All of the loads were 100% reliable with the Bulldog.
As you might expect with the .44 Special, none of the loads could be described as punishing, and all were more than accurate enough for self defense work. At 15 yards, none of the loads escaped a 4” circle.
The best load out of the revolver, for pure accuracy, was the Magtech Cowboy Action ammo. This load features a 240 grain flat point lead bullet rated at 761 fps.
As recounted in a recent review on the Charter Arms Off Duty, my chronograph appears to be possessed by demons from the Brady Campaign, and is out of commission. So, I do not have any velocity numbers for you.
The only gripe I had about the Bulldog was the black front sight. I know some people like having sights that are completely blacked out, but I’m not one of them. I like big, bright front sights.
The front sight on the Charter Arms revolver was large enough, but with it being black, I had trouble finding it quickly. I’d prefer a bright orange insert on that ramp, but that’s just me.
Ever Meet a Star?
I don’t know if you’ve ever met one of your childhood heroes, but I have. For some people the meeting is an utter disappointment, while other people find their hero is even better in person.
I had high hopes when I got the Charter Arms Bulldog, but was worried it might not live up to my expectations. Fortunately for me, it did.
I found the Bulldog to be a solid, well-built handgun for a very reasonable price. The Tiger paint style just added to the cool factor.
For fans of the big bore revolver, the Charter Arms Bulldog is well worth consideration.