New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

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New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby FergusonTO35 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:55 am

I've always been a fan of Charter Arms revolvers and have had a few of them over the years. Apparently a lot of other people do too as prices on them both new and used have crept up a lot over the years. Was cruising Gunbroker and found this Undercover .38 for only $125.00. It looks to be in good shape other than a little surface rust on the frame so I went ahead and bought it. As a bonus, it is being rescued from the Democratic People's Republic of California.

http://www.gunbroker.com/item/641507936
"If magic is to be defined as the use of ineffective means to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must conclude that no society will ever be completely free from it." -Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1971.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby adam01364 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:45 pm

Nice score! I'll be interested in hearing how it works once you get it liberated.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby FergusonTO35 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:56 pm

Thanks. The Undercovers made in the 60's-80's and 2000's seem to be really good, the late 80's-90's guns not so much. They are also the most slim n' trim snubbies I've seen, even compared to the S&W equivalents. Should make a nice front pocket carry gun, I have some nice checkered grips for it in my gun junkyard.
"If magic is to be defined as the use of ineffective means to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must conclude that no society will ever be completely free from it." -Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1971.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby Flowmaster » Wed May 03, 2017 6:29 am

Wow, that's a really good price. I sold one of those that came in used about 2 months ago. We got $240 for it but the finish was better. Still, you got a good deal.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby FergusonTO35 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:23 am

I would guess the shop couldn't sell it under the glass in the DPRCA and so just wanted to unload it out of state.
"If magic is to be defined as the use of ineffective means to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must conclude that no society will ever be completely free from it." -Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1971.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby adam01364 » Wed May 03, 2017 8:17 pm

You're probably right. I scored a couple of steals on Hi-Point 995TS carbines out of Connecticut right after they passed their restrictive laws post-Newtown.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby FergusonTO35 » Fri May 05, 2017 2:11 pm

The seller contacted me and said that when he was packaging the revolver for shipment he noticed that the cylinder was not releasing all the way when the latch was pressed in. So, he went ahead and ordered the new part from Charter and gave me free shipping to make up for the delay. The seller is Majestic Pawn and Jewelry of Fresno, CA. Their Gunbroker name is pawnmania. Just thought I would give them some props for taking care of me!
"If magic is to be defined as the use of ineffective means to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must conclude that no society will ever be completely free from it." -Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1971.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby adam01364 » Fri May 05, 2017 4:50 pm

That's really decent of them!
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby adam01364 » Mon May 08, 2017 8:37 pm

FergusonTO35 wrote:Thanks. The Undercovers made in the 60's-80's and 2000's seem to be really good, the late 80's-90's guns not so much.


The late Jim Hauff was a noted H&R collector but also -by his own count- 26 1st Gen Charters in his collection.

Here's what he wrote: "Here's my ROUGH notes based upon over 1000 data points (serial numbers to models, magazine articles, company literature and catalogues, etc.) Hope this helps sort things out a bit with the Charter Arms history time line. I know virtually nothing about the MODERN Charter Arms firearms, so anything/gun made after 2000 will be a mystery to me:

The very first Charter Arms Corporation production began in 1965 in BRIDGEPORT CONN - earliest pieces - mostly Undercover model will have either NO address on the right side of the barrel or will have BRIDGEPORT CONN. Around 1974, address was changed to STRATFORD CONN - all pieces made after mid 1974 will be marked with that address on the right side of the barrel and all will have CHARTER ARMS CORP. as the first line. Sometime in 1991, Charter Arms Corp. ceased operations. This was the end of the FIRST GENERATION.

Around mid 1991 (may be as early as 1988????), the company was re-organized under new leadership and became known as Charter Arms Company - CHARCO, and was located in ANSONIA CONN. All second generation pieces will be marked on the right side of the barrel with that name and address in two lines. This is the SECOND generation and apparently the period which caused the most damage to the Charter name and reputation.

In 2000, the company was again reorganized as CHARTER 2000 and relocated to SHELTON CONN. All pieces made during this THIRD generation will be marked with the SHELTON address. Early production of this generation seems to have been spotty and reputation still lagged. About a year and a half ago, the company re-reorganized under the direction of MKS Marketing and seems now to be if not flourishing at least it is progressing in quality and market share.

From the limited data set that I have been able to assemble so far the following serialization seems to be valid: (NOTE: model name and caliber will be stamped on left side of barrel on all pieces)

FIRST GENERATION
0001 - <13500 1964 - ? CHARTER ARMS CORP. right side of barrel marking only, no address
~13500 - <315,000 ? - ~1965 CHARTER ARMS CORP. over BRIDGEPORT CONN .marking
~315,000 - <1,088,000 - ~1974 to 1991 - CHARTER ARMS CORP. over STRATFORD CONN. marking

SECOND GENERATION
>1,090,000 - ??? 1991 - 2000? CHARCO over ANSONIA CONN- marking

THIRD GENERATION
000001 - to date 2000 - 2011 CHARTER ARMS 2000 over SHELTON CONN marking.

This is the updated (6/11) serial number info that I have - based upon around 950 data points
The earliest 1st Gen - ~0 to ~13,500 have NO barrel ADDRESS and s/n is on lower right corner on right side of frame. CA company founded in 1964, first production pieces of the Undercover model produced in 1965
Bridgeport CONN address - ~13,500 to ~315,000 1967 - 1974
Stratford CONN address - ~315,000 to ~1,090,000 1974 - ~1991
All marked as Charter Arms Corporation

2nd Generation - CHARCO, Ansonia Conn address - 1,090,000 to ??? ~1991 - 1996?

3rd Generation - CHARTER 2000 - Shelton Conn - 0 to where ever they are today. 2007 Charter Arms/ MKS"


Man, I really miss guys like Jim Hauff, Bill Goforth, and Stephen Camp... they had so much knowledge.
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Re: New to me Charter Arms Undercover on the way

Postby FergusonTO35 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:34 am

Wow, the serial number on mine is 164xx. I guess its actually in really good shape for an inexpensive gun that is possibly over 50 years old and has had several owners!

Is Stephen Camp no longer around? His website has lots of good Browning Hi-Power info.
"If magic is to be defined as the use of ineffective means to allay anxiety when effective ones are not available, then we must conclude that no society will ever be completely free from it." -Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1971.
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