Charter Arms Mag Pug .357 review

Charter Arms Mag Pug .357 review

This is a discussion on Charter Arms Mag Pug .357 review within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I love snubbies, and have been eyeballing the Charter Bulldog .44 for some time to add to my ever-growing collection. However, I have a ton ...

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Thread: Charter Arms Mag Pug .357 review

  1. #1
    Member Array lowercase's Avatar
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    Charter Arms Mag Pug .357 review

    I love snubbies, and have been eyeballing the Charter Bulldog .44 for some time to add to my ever-growing collection. However, I have a ton of .38s, like shooting .38/.357, and didn't want to get another caliber that happens to cost something like 35 bucks for a box of 50 target rounds. With that in mind, I dropped the Bulldog .44 from consideration.

    I decided to get the .357 Mag Pug instead. It's made on the same frame, and has a 5-round capacity. It also has a ported barrel. I know that the reviews of Charters are all over the map, so I knew I was taking a chance with this one. No biggie. I also have a High Point C9, and a Rock Island 1911, so I guess I have a thing for "price point" guns.

    Out of the box, the gun looked fine, and the lockup was nice and tight. Fit and finish was exactly what I expected from this gun. Not S&W, not Ruger, but passable, and no defects or burrs noted. The trigger definitely wasn't in the same league as my K-Frame Smiths, but I wasn't expecting it to be, either. The trigger turned out to be okay, with the DA pull being a bit gritty and some stacking at the end of the pull. I bought snap caps and dry fired the heck out it before going to the range. This smoothed it out quite a bit.

    At the range, the gun was fed 150 rounds consisting of 50 S&B .38 148 grain wadcutters, 50 Bitterroot Valley .38 148 grain wadcutters (a LOT more powerful than the S&Bs), and 50 Bitterroot Valley .357 Mag 158 grain jhp.

    The gun was a lot of fun to shoot, especially with the .357s. Shooting .357 always brings a smile to my face. The lightweight gun was lively with the magnums, but it definitely wasn't punishing to shoot.

    Okay, now for the criticism. The gun shot low...WAY low. I was at an indoor range, and the gun was about 5 inches low at 14 feet, and probably 8 inches low at 21 feet. I'm probably gonna end up filing down the front sight vs sending it to the factory to fix. I'll have to take about a millimeter off of the big honkin' front sight to get it shooting correctly. With the .38s, and compensating for the low POI, I was able to get decent groups with the gun. However, the .357s didn't group nearly as well. Funny, because I read another review of the Mag Pug where it was just the opposite.

    On a good note, everything stayed nice and tight on this gun. I know that Charters have a reputation for loosening up, and my 1965-vintage Charter Undercover will loosen up its its crane screw during extended shooting.

    I have a set of Pachmayr Compac grips on the way for the gun because I like they way the Pugs look with them. The stock grips were fine for shooting, though. I also plan to get a simple holster like a JIT Slide for periodic carry of the Pug. Don Hume doesn't make a JIT for the Charter, but I've read that the ones for both the Colt Detective Special and the Ruger SP101 fit fine.



    Charter_Mag_Pug.jpg


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    Now shoot some hotter 125gr hp defence ammo and you may see that it is shooting to point of aim or close enough it could be you not the revolver. Slower heavier rounds will not have as much snap and will print lower , The 148gr wadcutter should have been the lowest unless one the 158gr was in slow motion also. I do see the 357 from BVAC is a dog to at only 1000fps. Before doing anything to the sights but something faster than that stuff. Most any short barrel 125gr defence ammo well be moveing along at better than 1200fps from a 2" barrel. 4" is closer 1400fps+. You may also find that setting the front sight on top of the rear well settle the slower ammo for practice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Danimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardluk1 View Post
    Now shoot some hotter 125gr hp defence ammo and you may see that it is shooting to point of aim or close enough it could be you not the revolver. Slower heavier rounds will not have as much snap and will print lower , The 148gr wadcutter should have been the lowest unless one the 158gr was in slow motion also. I do see the 357 from BVAC is a dog to at only 1000fps. Before doing anything to the sights but something faster than that stuff. Most any short barrel 125gr defence ammo well be moveing along at better than 1200fps from a 2" barrel. 4" is closer 1400fps+. You may also find that setting the front sight on top of the rear well settle the slower ammo for practice.
    In my personal experience I find that lighter grained loads shoot lower.

    Nice write up lowercase. I have two Charter Pugs in .44 Special, a .38 Off Duty, and the .327 Patriot. I think that a lot of the negativity towards Charter Arms is second hand trash talking from folks that don't have any hands on experience with the brand.

    lowercase and CaptSmith like this.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    All I can say is not for me. Not in 30 years. Now I ain't talk'n about some 125gr 1000fps. More like 125gr at 1300fps + compaired to some slow poke 125gr or 158gr at 1000 or 1000fps. Those faster loads when all is the same will print higher.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    Shoot some 158gr SJSP in front some H 110, Will bring closer to POA ; ) PS About 1175 FPS out of 4"
    A Native Floridian = RARE


    IT'S OUR RIGHTS>THEY WANT TO WRONG
    H/D

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardluk1 View Post
    Now shoot some hotter 125gr hp defence ammo and you may see that it is shooting to point of aim or close enough it could be you not the revolver. Slower heavier rounds will not have as much snap and will print lower...
    This is a very common misconception. It's true at longer range, but at SD distances, a slower, heavier bullet will almost always print higher than a faster round.

    It's because the slower bullet takes longer to exit the barrel, giving the gun more time to recoil (i.e. more muzzle flip) before the bullet leaves the barrel. So, the gun is actually pointed higher by the time the slug exits the barrel. Over a short distance, this results in a higher POI. At longer yardage, the slower bullet drops more, so you get a lower POI.

    Regards,
    Jim

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    Charter Arms makes nice, inexpensive but serviceable revolvers. They're a lot like a modern Iver Johnson in my opinion.
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    .
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    kilowat you think what you wish I will know what I know. Thats with 35 years of loading an shooting a 357mag. Not mild loads.

  9. #9
    Member Array GettingOld2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowercase View Post
    ... The lightweight gun was lively with the magnums, but it definitely wasn't punishing to shoot.

    Okay, now for the criticism. The gun shot low...WAY low. I was at an indoor range, and the gun was about 5 inches low at 14 feet, and probably 8 inches low at 21 feet. I'm probably gonna end up filing down the front sight vs sending it to the factory to fix. I'll have to take about a millimeter off of the big honkin' front sight to get it shooting correctly. With the .38s, and compensating for the low POI, I was able to get decent groups with the gun. However, the .357s didn't group nearly as well. Funny, because I read another review of the Mag Pug where it was just the opposite.
    ...
    Charter_Mag_Pug.jpg
    I picked up a Charter Arms .327 Patriot in an auction a while back and my experience matches yours, POI was low by the same amount. Two other people tried it and experience the same thing. After much internal grumbling, I used the laser as a reference to adjust the aim point by filing the front sight. At half the weight of my Ruger SP101, I would have expected the impact to be high if anything due to increased recoil.

    The light weight and short barrel make for a convenient occasional pocket carry, but I find the recoil bordering on brutal. I'll keep it for its convenience at times, but I would not purchase another Charter Arms.

  10. #10
    Member Array lowercase's Avatar
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    Here's a pic of my Mag Pug wearing its new Pachmayr Compac grips. I think they make it look a lot better.

    Charter_Pachmayr.jpg
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  11. #11
    Member Array Sledge's Avatar
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    I'm diggin those Pachmayr grips. I went with a Ruger sp101 recently because the mag pug isn't on the CA roster. I've been wanting the Bulldog myself. That one IS on the Roster
    lowercase likes this.

  12. #12
    Member Array lowercase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sledge View Post
    I'm diggin those Pachmayr grips. I went with a Ruger sp101 recently because the mag pug isn't on the CA roster. I've been wanting the Bulldog myself. That one IS on the Roster
    Can't go wrong with an SP101. An SP101 with Eagle "Secret Service" grips is a beautiful gun.

    I may have to eventually get the .44 Bulldog Pug myself....if I ever get off my butt and start reloading ammo.

  13. #13
    Member Array Sledge's Avatar
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    Yeah, the Ruger was actually my top pick but I've been wanting to get a Charter Arms for some reason. Maybe because I already have a Ruger and S&W revolver. Mix it up a little.

    Oh yeah, just checked out those Eagle grips, may have to get those

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