U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Right now when we feel of a 22 Magnum handgun, we are most likely going to conjure up an image of a compact double-action revolver like the Smith & Wesson 351 or the Ruger LCR. Going additional down the rabbit hole of defensive handguns in 22 Mag is the plethora of North American Arms mini-revolvers that reside in numerous-a-pocket, like mine. But there is an normally overlooked contender that may possibly be worth the look–the Charter Arms Pathfinder.
Charter Arms has been in the business enterprise of creating effective, economical revolvers due to the fact 1964. Founded by firearm designer guru, Doug McClanahan, Charter Arms pioneered a couple of simplistic innovations like the a single-piece frame and a traditional transfer bar security. Even though the firm has been by way of a couple of various incarnations more than the years, they have produced pretty the catalog in current years. The Pathfinder series of 22 caliber revolvers was component of the initial line-up and I was rather shocked to come across how small information was out there. So I decided to search the internet and track a single down.
Charter Arms Pathfinder Lite 22 Magnum
The Pathfinder is out there with various barrel lengths, finishing schemes, and the option of 22 LR or 22 Magnum. The fundamental Pathfinder is an all-stainless steel six-shot revolver, but at 20 ounces it is pretty heavy compared to the competitors. Classic Firearms had the lighter, 16-ounce aluminum-framed version, the Pathfinder Lite, out there, so I stacked just more than 3 Benjamins and had the pistol in inventory in a couple of days.
Solid… On The Surface
The Pathfinder Lite comes in a couple of various barrel configurations and frame colors. Mine came with a two-inch barrel and a black-anodized aluminum frame. The barrel, cylinder, cylinder release, and hammer spur are left in a matte stainless finish.
Operationally, the Pathfinder Lite is a traditional double-action revolver. The revolver might be fired in double-action by just pressing the trigger. The gun comes with an exposed hammer that might be cocked for a lighter, shorter trigger pull for target operate. The cylinder release on the left side is thumbed forward and the cylinder swings to the side for loading and unloading with an ejector rod to knock out your empty shells all at when. The cylinder holds six rounds of 22 Magnum ammo and the sights consist of an unmoving front blade and a groove in the best strap of the receiver. There are no manual safeties to feel about, but Charter revolvers–like Rugers–use a transfer bar security that prevents the gun from firing unless the trigger is depressed. To finish out the presentation, the Pathfinder comes with the very same bulbous, however hand-filling rubber grips that Charter Arms puts on most of their guns.
Even though the grips are ill-match, hugging more than the trigger-guard and the backstrap of the grip frame, the rest of the gun appeared to be strong. The finish on all the components was exceptional and I dug the black/matte stainless contrast regardless of the truth that I choose matching garments. As for match, the machine operate was effectively-completed with no burs or machine marks anyplace. The checkering on the hammer and trigger have been good additions that was most likely unnecessary on a spending budget-oriented revolver. The gun locked up like a drum and I was a pleased camper. But these grips bothered me sufficient to want to alter them out. Altamont tends to make some lovely wood grips for Charter revolvers and I decided to take off the current grips to verify the profile. As I did, I noticed anything that I missed from my initial inspection.
The grip frame was created from low-priced gray plastic, injection mold voids nonetheless imprinted. The grip frame homes the mainspring that tends to make the gun go bang. The grip frame is topic to some continuous stress as the spring compresses and decompresses. This plastic was on the thin side, injection mold holes nonetheless visible. Have you ever broken a plastic toy and observed what the insides appear like? And then I noticed the grip frame essentially extended to the trigger-guard. How did I not notice this?
I attempted not to really feel as well negative about it, due to the fact this small detail is not listed by Charter Arms or any of the retailers that stock their guns. As my pal, Jason from Buffalo Outdoors would say, “There is a flaw in the slaw.”
Does It Even Shoot?
I like to place my personal spin on gun critiques, displaying the great and the negative. It would have been quick to send the point back, but much more individuals required to know about this. If I am going to be stuck with it, I may possibly as effectively shoot it. I took the Pathfinder Lite out on a couple of variety trips and burned by way of 3 hundred rounds. I fired an equal mix of CCI Maxi Mag 40 grain FMJs and 30 grain HP+V rounds, as effectively as Speer Gold Dot 45 grain and Federal Hydrashock 50 grain hollow-point loads.
The heavier loads, which look to fly correct out of my other 22 Magnum handguns, did not do so with the Pathfinder Lite. Even as close as 5 yards, my paper targets have been peppered with elongated holes. The bullets have been tumbling into the target–keyholing. My gun liked the hotter 30 grain HP loads most effective. They created neat small holes, holes that I could coax into a two-inch group firing off-hand in double-action from a distance of seven yards. Speaking of firing, I shot most of my ammunition in double-action. Firing this way, the trigger pull is heavy and a small on the rough side. But it got less complicated as time went on. In terms of weight, it maxes out my Lyman trigger scale and I would guess it at about fourteen pounds. The single-action trigger pull, with the hammer thumbed back, is incredibly crisp, setting off at two lbs. two ounces.
In terms of function, the sights have been on correct out of the box with no filing required, even though I only shot the gun out to about ten yards. I did come across that the black/stainless contrast did assistance me choose up the sights. This is not the case in a lot of small revolvers, exactly where you have black on black or gray on gray. The couple of complaints I could actively come across on these guns is difficulty when it comes to extracting empty instances. I had no problems in that regard.
The only genuine objection in terms of shooting the gun have been constant misfires of the ammunition. About when every single twenty-5 rounds, I would get a click and no bang. The firing pin would hit the rim of the case, but not set the round off. Misfires are much more probably with rimfire ammo, exactly where the priming compound that sets the round off are not constantly evenly applied. In my encounter, 22 Magnum ammunition tends to be much better created and much more trusted than comparable 22 LR loads, but even then I nonetheless encounter misfires sometimes. As soon as out of every single twenty-5 rounds is not occasional.
One particular theory of unreliability revolves about spring tension. Commonly, rimfire guns are equipped with a heavier mainspring. This would let the hammer to smack the rounds tougher, growing reliability. However, this added spring weight also increases the weight of the trigger pull in double-action. I got to questioning if the springs have been kept somewhat light to keep away from stressing that plastic grip frame?
The Bottom Line
When all is mentioned and completed, I likened the Charter Arms Pathfinder Lite to a modern day American automobile. American automobile makers when created strong vehicles that individuals wanted to acquire. But as time went on, quick-term considering got into their heads and they began creating their vehicles less expensive and much more plasticky than ever. The outcome is a item that breaks down prior to its time, chasing away committed brand followers for great. Worse, they have been downright dishonest about style flaws that got individuals killed. Charter Arms appears to be going that route with at least some of their guns.
About Terril Hebert
Terril Hebert is a firearm writer native to south Louisiana. Below his motto-Guns, Under no circumstances Politics-he tackles firearm and reloading subjects each in print and on his Mark3smle YouTube channel, exactly where he got his start out. Terril has a soft spot for ballistics testing, pocket pistols, and French rifles. When he is not burning ammo, he is indulging his unhealthy wildlife photography obsession or operating on his most current novel. Scourge of God, published in 2017. See much more from Terril on youtube beneath Mark3smle