Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 revolver
by AK Church
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in 1970 as the "Pocket Target" the Pathfinder was quickly renamed the
"Pathfinder". Allegedly the earlier name violated a Colt copyright.
revolver was a compact 6 shot double action .22 LR chambered weapon. It came
with click adjustable sights, and its swingout cylinder mechanics were based on
the other Charter handguns. Sideplateless, chunky and the ejector unshrouded, it
bore an immediate family resemblance to the Charter Undercover.
from 1973 Shooter's Bible, the 1971 issue announcing the gun as the "Pocket
Target" lacked full specs.
.22 long rifle
length: 3 inches
length: 7 3/8 inches
18 1/4 ounces
regular grips $87.50
Bulldog grips $94.00
clearly this is treading on S&W Model 34 Kit Gun territory, the 4 inch
barreled Smith being 4 1/4 ounces heavier, and in blue costing ('73) $105.50.
The Smith is smoother and more nicely blued, but the much cheaper Pathfinder was
and is certainly up to good work. It is also of interest to note that during the
inflationary 1970s, the base model Pathfinder moved up to a MSRP of $120 by
Variations were introduced over the years, including .22 WMR versions,
stainless. Some were catalogued, but I've not seen, such as a 2 inch, an end of
production shrouded ejector variant, and a 1971 cased anniversary Pocket Target.
A 3-inch stainless .22 WMR I've seen, shot and shared a canoe with does not
appear to have ever been catalogued.
stainless guns appear to have come out around 1983, and overall Pathfinder
production ended in 1991.
The revolver pictured is a 3" stainless .22 LR, found new in box by a good friend approximately 6 years ago. It came with a bulky but wonderfully comfortable pair of Herrett grips,
a Charter thumbreak holster,
the original box, instructions, and warranty paper work.
Like John Dunn's Ozark Arms Wildcat rifle, the firm backing the warranty folded before the gun was ever fired. Why someone went to the trouble of obtaining premium grips for the budget handgun, and then never fired it is unknown. I was later given a set of used Charter standard grips-the Herretts are a universe better. Gunshow cost was $140 plus assorted government inconveniences. It is interesting to compare this gun to the carriage trade Smith & Wesson M63.
is decent and utilitarian-a very matte stainless possibly beadblasted. The
underlying polish appears to have been decent. If there are any toolmarks,
they’ve eluded me.
confess when I describe triggers, it is entirely subjective. I am too cheap to
buy a trigger pull gauge. Single action, to my thinking, is nicely light. Double
action is rougher, though it seems no heavier than my Model
10 Smith & Wesson. My approach to the trigger business has been to shoot
is a basic mechanical attribute of most of the Charter series that pulling
forward on the ejector rod can open the cylinder. Presumably the underlugged
guns eliminate this quirk-it hurts nothing, but has always bugged me. Anyway,
the test Pathfinder does this.
miles' dad shows how to open the cylinder without using the latch
terms of handling, the Charter seems superior to me. I am fond of the basic
little revolver/big grip approach. The sights are very nicely visible, as well.
falls into that super subjective “just right” niche for the job. The one
opportunity I had to play with a Smith and Wesson M43 Kit Gun Airweight (14.25
ounces), it somehow seemed too light to hold steady. The extra few ounces of the
Charter make it feel more substantial to me, but still leave it convenient for
minimalist pants belt carry.
reproduced are a couple of targets shot at 25 yards @ the JbarT Ranch shooting
I think you'd find this adequate for bunnies & pest control.
I think you'd find this adequate for bunnies & pest control.
WW SuperX Remington gold box
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NOTE: Author Church regrets that he is unqualified to do appraisal, and cannot establish a value on your gun.
And he do get email folks! (miles)
Wonderful little article. I just acquired a like-new, blued, 3" Pocket Target through Gunsamerica.com for a paultry sum.
It's shoots wonderfully but the factory grips, while attractive and nostalgic, do not allow consistent hold from shot to shot. Since you made note of the fact that this other fellow spent the bucks on custom grips for a budget gun, I had to comment. I have been shooting Charter 3" revolvers in .44 Spl. (and 2" undercover .38s) for years and recently a 3" undercover too. (The first 3" undrcover I have ever seen.) I have always removed the factory stocks and put on Pachmyer "Compact" grips before even firing the guns. The Pachmyer is still concealable, does not throw off the balance, preserves the factory wood and provides an excellent purchase on the revolver's grip. Oh, and they are under $20 through Midsouth Shooter's Supply in Tennessee. They also keep you from busting your knuckle on the trigger guard. On the .44s, you've had enough after a box of 50 but you can shoot the .38 all day. The .22 can be shot well into the night, of course. In any event, having grown very familiar with, and fond of, these fine and unjustifiably disparaged revolvers, I would not hesitate to spend a few buck on custom stocks. The price of the revolver does not reflect the quality of design an usefulness. A bit like putting a $400 scope on a Remington 788. The gun has the stuff even though it's price is not commensurate with its performance level. n I actually was thinking about a set of Herret's on my Pocket Target (ironic) after reading Briann Pearce's article in the latest Handloader. Alas, the economy caught up with my employeer, I am sudddenly without work and I will settle for the Pachmyers for now.
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