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.45 Colt - Charter Arms Bulldog

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 27,456 Senior Member
I’ve been waiting for this one to become available again for a year at a bit crazy price. Finally found one on BudsGunShop and ordered it. 
What showed up looked more like a Taurus than a Charter Arms. Some of the worst machining and finish I’ve ever seen. Well, almost as bad as a Taurus. The cylinder crane drags on opening. The crane itself looks like it was made by a village blacksmith in the 1200s. The star sticks and rotates just off enough that you have to rotate it back in place. The cylinder wobbles when open. Sheesh!  Why do I keep buying Charter Arms?!?
Anyway…….I decided to try my load for the Bond Arms Derringer first and then maybe my Ruger Hunting Loads. 

The 240gr HBWC launched at 825 fps and at 10 yards, struck about 5” low with a pretty bad group. 
Next, against my better judgment, I decided to try my hot 300gr WFN-GC handloads. I figured pain would be involved. Yep. First shot…..felt it. Second shot……yeah that hurts now. Third shot…..son of a!!!
Accuracy wasn’t bad and velocity was considerably more than anticipated at 1,020 fps!!!  But, I’m not going to do that again. Don’t want to break the gun and that hurts!
Lastly, I tried my 250gr XTP handloads with a book max load of H110. Accuracy was the best of the day and pain was less than the 300s but damn! I could see the fireball in the daytime!  This load is one I took some night shots with one of my Ruger SBH revolvers using a long exposure and delayed flash. 

The XTPs only clocked 950 fps and I’m not so sure how well they would expand at that speed or lower. 

So, none of these loads will work. 
I’m toying with putting the 300gr WFN-GC Bullets over a full load of Trail Boss and see how fast they will go. I suspect rather slow……but stopping a 300gr cast bullet…….no human body will. 
The other two options are loading up some 185gr & 250gr Gold Dots I have. Will run H110 for the 250s but I need to get some CFE-Pistol powder for the 185s. 
Hoping those two bullets will expand at snubbie velocities, not break the gun, and/or my hand. 
Thoughts on the future loads?  Recommendations?
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
«13456

Replies

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,324 Senior Member
    I think it may be time for an intervention.

    It's pretty clear C.A. is making crap.  No sense in encouraging them.  On the topic of cheap defensive sidearms, a crusty old retired cop once told me to place both hands in my back pockets, then grab a handful and tell him what I thought that was worth.  Message received.  From a firearm enthusiast's point of view, you're a race driver buying cars that barely even start, and since they're essentially Ford Pintos, you don't even have a vehicle you can make something out of.

    I'd suggest (again) you cease worrying about expansion & just let the front end of the bullet do the work.  Mushrooms are fun.  Shattered milk jugs are fun.  But you know better than any of us here that water isn't meat.  Flip your HBWC's around so they're travelling flat-first and drive them at a speed that isn't crushing your palms and lets you get 'em out in a hurry.  Identify the widest blood vessel in your prey and make multiple copies of it throughout the critical anatomy.

    Another one you might try:  https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=71&products_id=305&zenid=h6htslmd236m1b35vvuqv6uib7  That's Elmer Keith's 452423, which he cooked up for the .45 Auto Rim.  Unlike his other SWC's, he had no intention of that one being a long-range compromise.  It's got a .34" meplat, so it's basically a WFN.  At 250 grains and 900 (ish) fps) it's basically the vintage .45 Colt load that was intended to penetrate horses with a significantly greater frontal hammer face.  I've had a mold for it for a few years - it's a gleefully destructive projectile, even slow.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    If your going Trail Boss I’d go down to 250 or less if you don’t want the slugs to basically dribble out if the barrel….  That powder was designed for mouse fart speeds for Cowboy Action Shooters.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,739 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    ...
    What showed up looked more like a Taurus than a Charter Arms. Some of the worst machining and finish I’ve ever seen. Well, almost as bad as a Taurus. The cylinder crane drags on opening. The crane itself looks like it was made by a village blacksmith in the 1200s.
    (Charter Arms Company)


    ...
    The other two options are loading up some 185gr & 250gr Gold Dots I have. Will run H110 for the 250s but I need to get some CFE-Pistol powder for the 185s. 
    Hoping those two bullets will expand at snubbie velocities, not break the gun, and/or my hand. 
    Thoughts on the future loads?  Recommendations?
    Are you set on going with CFE? Just asking because  there's not that much load data out there for 185 grain jacketed HP's in 45 Colt.

    I didn't say it couldn't be done 😁 just saying there's lots of other powders that can do that same job also.

    If I were dead set on that powder, I would start with a 10.0 grain load of CFE over that 185 grain GoldDot and test it using the Ruger SB, just to be safe. The Hodgdon website lists a 200 grain Hornady XTP with a max load of 10.0 grains and it's still around 13,300 psi. I figure you can safely load a 185 grain GoldDot at 10.0 grains and be well under the 14K mark. At least it'll give you a starting point.
    If it works out well then I'd consider testing it in the CA. Adjusting up or down as necessary.

    Just thinking out loud. Safety first, it's your hide on the line not mine. 👍

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,566 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    That is why God made Bill Ruger.  Well made guns at reasonable prices.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    That is why God made Bill Ruger.  Well made guns at reasonable prices.
    Have you checked Ruger prices lately 😱
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 8,494 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #8
    I think he just wants to play with all the toys that can be played with...Let the boy have his fun!
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    I think he just wants to play with all the toys that can be played with...Let the boy have his fun!
    Yep, this…. All guns are fun.  Some just more fun, and some are fun for longer than others!
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 1,319 Senior Member
    Holy fireball batman!!! 😲
    We've been conditioned to believe that obedience is virtuous and voting is freedom- 
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #11
    A .300 inch flat delivered at 950fps carried by 250grs of mass will do anything asked of a handgun.

    Just saying.
     :-)
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    I think it may be time for an intervention.

    It's pretty clear C.A. is making crap.  No sense in encouraging them.  On the topic of cheap defensive sidearms, a crusty old retired cop once told me to place both hands in my back pockets, then grab a handful and tell him what I thought that was worth.  Message received.  From a firearm enthusiast's point of view, you're a race driver buying cars that barely even start, and since they're essentially Ford Pintos, you don't even have a vehicle you can make something out of.

    My problem is Charter Arms is the only one making the platforms chambered in the cartridges I want at an affordable price. 
    9mm
    .40 S&W
    .44 Special
    .45 ACP
    .45 Colt
    Tell me another manufacturer making a revolver so chambered for less than $500 and not close to $750+. 
    Therein lies the rub. 

    I'd suggest (again) you cease worrying about expansion & just let the front end of the bullet do the work.  Mushrooms are fun.  Shattered milk jugs are fun.  But you know better than any of us here that water isn't meat.  Flip your HBWC's around so they're travelling flat-first and drive them at a speed that isn't crushing your palms and lets you get 'em out in a hurry.  Identify the widest blood vessel in your prey and make multiple copies of it throughout the critical anatomy.

    I think I’m ready to try that now. Problem was the accuracy and POI with them reversed. Do you think I should use the same load just flat forward or try a different powder with flat forward?

    Another one you might try:  https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=71&products_id=305&zenid=h6htslmd236m1b35vvuqv6uib7  That's Elmer Keith's 452423, which he cooked up for the .45 Auto Rim.  Unlike his other SWC's, he had no intention of that one being a long-range compromise.  It's got a .34" meplat, so it's basically a WFN.  At 250 grains and 900 (ish) fps) it's basically the vintage .45 Colt load that was intended to penetrate horses with a significantly greater frontal hammer face.  I've had a mold for it for a few years - it's a gleefully destructive projectile, even slow.

    I’ll look at that one. 
    Thanks. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    I don’t prefer cheap guns either. But, as stated above, they unfortunately are the only dance in town for the platform/chambering sim looking for without selling a kidney to get them all. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    If your going Trail Boss I’d go down to 250 or less if you don’t want the slugs to basically dribble out if the barrel….  That powder was designed for mouse fart speeds for Cowboy Action Shooters.
    It has surprised me on occasion at the velocity it can generate when you use their fill the case procedure. But, I agree that getting the 300s moving realistically could be a lesson in futility. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    If your going Trail Boss I’d go down to 250 or less if you don’t want the slugs to basically dribble out if the barrel….  That powder was designed for mouse fart speeds for Cowboy Action Shooters.
    It has surprised me on occasion at the velocity it can generate when you use their fill the case procedure. But, I agree that getting the 300s moving realistically could be a lesson in futility. 
    I think so.  The 250gr loads I’ve shot were powder puffs so I have no hope it’ll move a 300gr slug, especially considering the even further decreased capacity, at much past a vigorous hand throw from you.  As you said, it COULD surprise, but I think it’s an exercise in futility since there are much better powders out there for the heavies.  I also would not use anything that’s too slow burning in the short barrel.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    Zee said:
    ...
    What showed up looked more like a Taurus than a Charter Arms. Some of the worst machining and finish I’ve ever seen. Well, almost as bad as a Taurus. The cylinder crane drags on opening. The crane itself looks like it was made by a village blacksmith in the 1200s.
    (Charter Arms Company)


    ...
    The other two options are loading up some 185gr & 250gr Gold Dots I have. Will run H110 for the 250s but I need to get some CFE-Pistol powder for the 185s. 
    Hoping those two bullets will expand at snubbie velocities, not break the gun, and/or my hand. 
    Thoughts on the future loads?  Recommendations?
    Are you set on going with CFE? Just asking because  there's not that much load data out there for 185 grain jacketed HP's in 45 Colt.

    Just thought of that one because Hodgdon had data for 180gr Bullets and it was fastest velocity of the powders available at my LGS. 

    I didn't say it couldn't be done 😁 just saying there's lots of other powders that can do that same job also.

    If I were dead set on that powder, I would start with a 10.0 grain load of CFE over that 185 grain GoldDot and test it using the Ruger SB, just to be safe. The Hodgdon website lists a 200 grain Hornady XTP with a max load of 10.0 grains and it's still around 13,300 psi. I figure you can safely load a 185 grain GoldDot at 10.0 grains and be well under the 14K mark. At least it'll give you a starting point.
    If it works out well then I'd consider testing it in the CA. Adjusting up or down as necessary.

    There is no comparison in my Ruger’s durability compared to the CA. If…..I go with the CFE-Pistol, I can start at the min load and work up to comfort, accuracy, velocity. 

    Just thinking out loud. Safety first, it's your hide on the line not mine. 👍

    I appreciate and your responses are always reviewed and considered meticulously. I appreciate them. You are a scientific kindred spirit. Or knowledge junkie. Of just stupid like me. Either way, I take your thoughts serious. And then pass my beer to someone. 😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    That is why God made Bill Ruger.  Well made guns at reasonable prices.
    Ruger is my favorite revolver maker. But, they don’t offer the platforms I was looking for or the couple that they do, are either unobtanium or out of the price range I’m willing. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Agree with Slug.  You're far more tolerant of bad workmanship than I am.  And I won't buy cheapass guns.  Not always the best, but I never buy bottom of the barrel.

    I wouldn't worry about expansion, either.  The big ass bullet is going to penetrate and if it mushrooms, fine, but if it doesn't, it still penetrates deeply.  Expansion always limits penetration and to me, penetration is king.
    That is why God made Bill Ruger.  Well made guns at reasonable prices.
    Have you checked Ruger prices lately 😱

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    I think he just wants to play with all the toys that can be played with...Let the boy have his fun!
    I’m looking for the only game in town. There ain’t many. Thanks 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    I think he just wants to play with all the toys that can be played with...Let the boy have his fun!
    Yep, this…. All guns are fun.  Some just more fun, and some are fun for longer than others!
    Are we still talking about guns?!?
    😁
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Holy fireball batman!!! 😲

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    A .300 inch flat delivered at 950fps carried by 250grs of mass will do anything asked of a handgun.

    Just saying.
     :-)

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    I think he just wants to play with all the toys that can be played with...Let the boy have his fun!
    Yep, this…. All guns are fun.  Some just more fun, and some are fun for longer than others!
    Are we still talking about guns?!?
    😁
    Ahhhhhhhhhh……. Mmmmmmm… sure, let’s go with that… 😎
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,324 Senior Member
    Regarding your HBWC's in the .45 Colt case. . .

    My gut says to treat it like a true wadcutter and seat it deep to where you're crimping over the front edge of the bullet, THEN pretend that you're loading a .45 ACP with Bullseye.

    The deal is that you're loading with a case conceived for black powder.  The result is that you have more volume than you need for smokeless.  The slower burning fuels won't help you in those short barrels anyway.

    I'm guessing that if you can get those 240 grainers up to 850-900 fps, you should get 6-8 jugs out of it - probably rupturing the first four.  My .455 Webley MKIV HBWC's came out at about 230 grains and dented jug #5, bouncing back into #4, and that was using thicker pool chlorine jugs and were probably down around 600-650 fps.

    As I recall, I used Unique when I loaded the Keith 452423 in my 4.25" Redhawk and had them going around 1000-1100 fps.  Not a bad load, but I'm really coming to appreciate the higher RPM I can manage with such things at a lower .45 ACP-ish recoil level.   If you accept that the wound diameter won't differ by much at all, and you have a boatload of penetration at any sensible speed, the desire to make multiple large holes in a hurry becomes clear.

    Now one nice thing about the .45 Colt is that it's big enough to make some truly FEROCIOUS snake shot loads.  I have a steady supply of #9 shot that I mostly melt for bullets, but 90 grains of it atop 5 grains of Bullseye with a few card wads and a candle wax top seal work's GREAT for a .357 case.  Pattern density at 3 yards is all you could hope for.  I suspect you could EASILY double the payload for a .45. . . 



      
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    If I get the CFE-Pistol Powder, I can try the 240gr HBWC Reversed as well. Maybe they will like more speed out of this gun than TB provided.

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    May need to try some of these. 

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,324 Senior Member
    Within it's limitations, that 200 grain cast HP should be a good SD and varmint slug - just don't expect a lot of depth out of it.  20-1 lead/tin is a popular choice for a low/middle velocity expander - it's a tough "chewy" alloy that holds together well.  I.M.E., accuracy tends to degrade when you take it above black powder rifle pressures and speeds, but below 1200-1400fps, you should be fine (it's probably optimally a 900-950 fps bullet).  No provision for roll crimping on the ACP bullets - watch for recoil creep.

    I'm kind of a 230 grain purist when it comes to .45ACP, but there is a kind of magic to the reduced recoil of 200 grains at slightly higher speeds out of 5" 1911's.  If you're doing the non-expanding solid thing, the HG-68 SWC match bullet has a sizable following: https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=71&products_id=195  No big meplat drama, but still plenty of penetration if you aren't trying to hold back a cavalry charge.

    I dunno. . .depends on what you're trying to do.  The 452423 is optimized for tissue damage inside of 100 yards (most of Keith's other SWC's were LFN precursors with delusions of riflery).  Since you might be alternating between side shots on coyote and raking shots on hogs, it's not a bad broad-spectrum option.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,980 Senior Member
    You don’t need a provision for roll crimping 45acp bullets in the Colt case.  I loaded hundreds if not thousands of 230 grain cold swayed bullets (which by the way tend to be wicked accurate) for CAS over a few grains of Unique and all I did was push them a little deeper in the case and crimped right into the relatively soft bullet.  Never had a problem with creep.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 7,365 Senior Member
    I too want a 45 colt double action, I missed a smith mountain gun a few years back that haunts me still, missed it by seconds. That said I’d rather have one good quality revolver in the price range that stings than 2 of marginal quality that exceed the price of the one good one. I’ve held to this habit and have wound up with some nice guns. Its kind like the guys that have 3 heritage rough riders and say a single six sure would be nice, but they are expensive….
    Don’t get me wrong I LOVE  the range reports. Life’s to short to drink bad beer and accept  poor quality guns. 
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #30
    I wouldn't sell a kidney for a gun but I might sell an appendix.  Zee is working on load development and requiring cheap firearms, apparently throw-away after they've done their job. At least I can't see keeping them after he's done with them.  Can't see much pride of ownership in crappy revolvers, but pride of ownership is not what's being tested here.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Very true. My problem is that nobody makes the platform other than Charter Arms.
    Nobody else makes a moon clip-less small revolver in 9mm/40 S&W/.45 ACP. Nobody else makes a
    snubnosed revolver in .44 Spl and .45 Colt. 
    So, I’m kinda screwed for options. But, I make them work. Just pisses me off at the workmanship. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
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