Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Shooting Bench -- Charter Arms .22 Pathfinder

I love supporting local manufacturers and Charter Arms of Shelton, Connecticut is an American firearms maker I've had my eye on for a while.  I finally picked up this little snubby from my local hardware store this morning so I would have a revolver to shoot when Wyatt and I head out to the range for some rimfire pistol practice. 

 I have also been considering which type of firearm that would suit me best as a concealed carry weapon. I've always been a fan of wheel guns and personally feel that if I was ever in a situation that put me under duress and having to consider the use of deadly force I would want a simple and reliable revolver. Racking slides and high capacity magazines of semi-automatic pistols while great for the Hollywood action movie are really best left to professionals like the police and military.  Certainly all firearms users public or private are entitled to their own opinions but if I ever found myself backed into a corner I don't want to be worrying about manipulating a safety or jacking the slide of an autoloader I just want to pull the trigger and make it go bang!  Another trait of the revolver that makes it shine as a defensive weapon is that in case of a missfire for whatever reason the double action trigger can be instantly pulled again bringing the next live round into battery.  A missfire or cartridge jam could potentially render an automatic pistol useless at the absolute worst time.

 While a .22 caliber such as the Pathfinder is too underpowered for a carry gun I like this model for several reasons.  The small frame rimfire revolver shares the same dimensions and weight as the centerfire .32, .38 and .357 magnum calibers in the Charter Arms lineup that would make ideal defensive weapons.  I would only consider a .32 caliber or larger for personal defense.

I believe that if one is to use a firearm for self defense that person must be exceedingly proficient in it's use.  The only way to achieve mastery of small arms is lots and lots of range time.  Having two weapons with identical controls and heft with one chambered for the inexpensive .22 cal rimfire and the other in a more potent centerfire caliber as the actual protection piece seems the logical system to employ.  Hours of enjoyment can be had plinking cans and punching holes in paper with the cheap .22 allowing for the big caliber to be brought out occasionally for live fire exercises -Saving money and wear and tear on a critical piece of equipment that may one day be called upon for that most important duty of saving your life.

Of no less importance is the fact that .22 rimfires are just plain fun to shoot.  In the afternoon the rain quit and things started to dry out.  Overnight the temperature dropped considerably and we had to break out our winter coats but that didn't slow us down a bit and we headed out to the range after lunch for some rimfire fun.


My partner brought his H & R Model 686 .22 convertible.  The single action six shooter has two cylinders, one for .22 long rifle and one for .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire.  He's not fired the gun with the .22 WMR cylinder but I have and it really cracks!

After about 65 rounds fired to figure out how to aim the little stainless snubnose I managed to get a few into the sweet spot.  The 2 inch barrel of this gun is really short.  The hits on the target pictured below were fired from a distance of 21 feet.  Wyatt and I have finally burned through a brick of 500 Winchester .22's and our stock now needs refilled.  This will provide an opportunity to try some other brands of rimfire ammunition  and put a few downrange from a little further back next time.



  1. Nice looking iron! Looks fun.

  2. What a great gun! I've been looking for a nice .22 revolver just like this for my boys, but have been surprised at how pricey the .22 revolvers are. I've been watching for a used one to perhaps come up, but they seem scarce out here. I must say I'm more than a little jealous. Perfect choice for a good gun.