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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am very interested in hearing impressions of owners of newer Charter Arms pistols. My significant other recently got her CCW permit and the .38 S&W 642 packs a little too much punch for her. An auto is out of the question because there is too much to think about and/or go wrong at the wrong time. I am especially interested in the .22MAG Charter Arms Pathfinder. Your impressions of build quality and overall value would be greatly appreciated. The S&W .22 MAG (341PD) looks nice but it is way too expensive to consider without first looking at offerings from some other makers. Thanks for your input.

Charter Pathfinder .22 Mag #72324

 

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No experience with the newer Charter Arms, but my understanding is they are making a quality product. The .22 Mag is not really a good choice for a defensive round. Have you and her looked at the possibilities of the .327 Mag? It actually gives you 3 options. It will fire .327 Mag, .32 H&R Mag or .32 S&W rounds. While none of them are ideal, they beat the .22 Mag. in my opinion. Charter Arms makes a 5 shot revolver chambered for the .327 Mag.

Charter Patriot 73270
 

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Not much experience with Charter Arms. The 642 is an extremely light weight revolver. Is she having problems with +P ammo, or all .38 ammo in the 642?

Instead of looking for a smaller caliber, why not look for a little bigger, heavier .38 revolver. The Ruger SP101 comes to mind, especially if you get it in the 3" barrel. the extra weight really tames recoil. Shooting std power .38's in this frame should be very reasonable. There are several standard power loads that are good SD rounds.
 

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Yes, my wife is a lefty and has the Undercover Southpaw in .38 spl

It lacks the refinement of a Smith & Wesson. The trigger pull is a little rough and can be a little heavy. It is pretty light weight and can be CCed with little problem.

They seem to be a good value for the money. We bought it because it is the only true left handed revolver.

My wife is pretty pleased with it so far.
 

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I can understand your dilemna. I would use a .22 mag only after I'd tried everything else under the sun. Personally, I would try a regular .38 or a .38 wadcutter in an all stainless steel version of the J frame. since those can be expensive, I'd go for the Ruger SP101 with a 2" barrel. The key will be how it fits in her hand. That combination will be as light recoil as you can get and still be shooting a viable defensive round. The Ruger is less expensive than the S&W although not as inexpensive as the charter but it's a much better firearm. You can replace the mainspring on it for $8.00 in parts and 10 minutes of your time and I mean you really can do it. It's ultra simple.

The grips on the Ruger absorb a lot of recoil.

I would encourage you to take a pause and rethink your strategy. I think you'll find that you can help her to find a revolver that's comfortable to shoot with .38's.

One last thought, if she's new to guns, it might be that anything is going to "seem" like too much right now. If the way she holds the gun or her stance is wrong it can make it feel worse. I've seen folks who aren't used to shooting stand up and actually lean back at the shoulders and lock their arms straight out in front of them and that'll make a .22 feel bigger than it is!

Just some thoughts but I'd driver her everywhere to see how a Ruger SP101 fits. I'd also recommend the factory spurred hammer version in .357. Even if you never shoot .357's it adds a bit of weight that helps with recoil and if you end up not liking it, it'll be much easier to sell it with less loss of value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can understand your dilemna. I would use a .22 mag only after I'd tried everything else under the sun. Personally, I would try a regular .38 or a .38 wadcutter in an all stainless steel version of the J frame. since those can be expensive, I'd go for the Ruger SP101 with a 2" barrel. The key will be how it fits in her hand. That combination will be as light recoil as you can get and still be shooting a viable defensive round. The Ruger is less expensive than the S&W although not as inexpensive as the charter but it's a much better firearm. You can replace the mainspring on it for $8.00 in parts and 10 minutes of your time and I mean you really can do it. It's ultra simple.

The grips on the Ruger absorb a lot of recoil.

I would encourage you to take a pause and rethink your strategy. I think you'll find that you can help her to find a revolver that's comfortable to shoot with .38's.

One last thought, if she's new to guns, it might be that anything is going to "seem" like too much right now. If the way she holds the gun or her stance is wrong it can make it feel worse. I've seen folks who aren't used to shooting stand up and actually lean back at the shoulders and lock their arms straight out in front of them and that'll make a .22 feel bigger than it is!

Just some thoughts but I'd driver her everywhere to see how a Ruger SP101 fits. I'd also recommend the factory spurred hammer version in .357. Even if you never shoot .357's it adds a bit of weight that helps with recoil and if you end up not liking it, it'll be much easier to sell it with less loss of value.
I appreciate everyones thoughtful comments. She is very petite at only 4' 10" tall and 103 pounds and tiny hands so I really have to consider overall dimensions and weight here too. I am a tad over 6 feet and about 235 lbs and I love the SP101 and have many pistols but none that really fit her dimensions nicely. I considered a Beretta Jetfire in .25 but it just seems like it's not up to the job. .22 WMR seems like a lot of punch for the weight/cost. I will look again at the suggestions here and decide in the coming weeks. Thank you for your input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, my wife is a lefty and has the Undercover Southpaw in .38 spl

It lacks the refinement of a Smith & Wesson. The trigger pull is a little rough and can be a little heavy. It is pretty light weight and can be CCed with little problem.

They seem to be a good value for the money. We bought it because it is the only true left handed revolver.

My wife is pretty pleased with it so far.
Would you rate the overall build quality as good? I am not looking to cheap out on her but I can't cost justify $700+ for a S&W if I can get close to the quality for half the price.
 

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Charter puts out a 2" and 4" Patriot revolvers (in .327 Federal Magnum.) The 4" barreled Patriot would serve her very well. Look on their website and then make a decision. (BTW, Federal Cartridge Company's 115-grain load for the .327 Fed. Mag is a potent number!)

Your wife will like the versatility of the revolver (muti-cartridge capabilities) as well as its reasonable price. If you absoulutely MUST have an S&W, their 3" barreled version of the .327 Fed. Mag. revolver has a muzzle port. While I don't like them, she may find that it reduces the handgun's recoil. I believe that the muzzle port causes shooter disorientation, through enhanced muzzle flash and blast. The 4" barreled Charter Arms Patriot revolver uses these gasses as it should, to propel the bullet from the barrel.
 

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Given other options, I would not choose a rimfire for self defense. Ignition is just too spotty compared to centerfire ammunition.

I have to ask - what ammo were you shooting in the 642?

Just a couple of thoughts here. If you have, or can borrow, a full-size .38 (like a S+W Model 10, or 64, or Ruger Security Six), the heavier weight may take away some of the snap felt with the shorter and lighter snub. Let her build confidence with a full-size piece. Especially if she's new to shooting a handgun, even a "mild" .38 will seem like a handful in a snub.

Another suggestion is to try finding some 148-grain wadcutters. This was the standard target round for .38s for nearly forever, and Federal and possibly Remington still load them. What it gives up in muzzle energy compared to a .22 magnum it makes up in frontal area and sharp edges on the bullet. As one gun writer put it, "if you're gonna stop 'em you gotta make 'em bleed" and a wadcutter will indeed do that. My guess is that it will be a lot easier on your lady's hand in the 442 than most other .38 loads. Over time, she can step up to heavier loads.
 
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