Charter Pathfinder .22 has long held a special place in my
heart. Back when I was just a kid, I remember reading an article
by Mr. Hal Swiggett in which he described and pictured a
neat little Pathfinder that he used for squirrel hunting. It had
mounted atop the frame a Hutson one-power scope, that was
proportioned to the little sixgun. It was one dandy little
package! I have searched for one of those little scopes ever
since, to no avail. The original Pathfinder had a three inch
barrel and adjustable rear sight, but was also offered with a
six inch barrel. The little sixgun endeared itself to many a
hunter, fisherman, and woodsman. It was compact, lightweight,
affordable, and accurate. It would ride all day in a pocket
without being noticed until needed. I go to many gun shows, but
it is very rare to spot an old Pathfinder for sale. Those who
have them tend to hang on to them.
2000 has now brought back the Pathfinder in both .22 Long
Rifle and .22 Magnum chamberings. Like the originals, these are
compact little sixguns that are built of steel, but weigh just
over 19 ounces. The new Pathfinders that I received for
testing are all-stainless and wear two-inch barrels and have
fixed sights. Later, Charter has plans to offer the
Pathfinders with four inch barrels and an adjustable rear sight.
Pathfinder comes packaged in a hard plastic case with a trigger
lock and instruction manual. The finish is a matte
stainless, and the grips are checkered walnut. I like walnut for
grip panels. Most revolvers are supplied with either synthetic
or another type of wood these days, but it is good to see real
walnut used for grip panels. The design of the Charter revolver
has fewer parts than most other designs. The parts are robust
and durable. The barrel, front sight, and ejector rod shroud are
all made from one piece of steel. The Charter revolvers have no
removable side plate. It is a simple, compact design, and it
works well. The sights on the two-inch guns are fixed, and
consist of a square ramp front sight and a square notch rear
sight. Both sights are large enough to see well in most any
lighting condition. The Pathfinder has an internal
transfer bar safety, to preclude the gun firing unless the
trigger is held to the rear. The two guns tested are identical,
except for the chambering.
the Pathfinders was a real joy. Lately, I have been shooting
some heavy loads in a couple of big magnum revolvers, along with
testing a lightweight .45 autoloader using full power combat
ammunition, and shooting these little Pathfinders was a welcome
relief from heavy recoil. Whether Magnum or Long Rifle, the
twenty-twos are some of my favorite cartridges. The recoil and
noise are light, yet the killing power of the little rimfires is
much greater than their diminutive size would suggest.
After shooting the Pathfinders at paper targets, which proved
the little guns to be more accurate than I would have thought, I
spent a great deal of time just plinking at targets of
opportunity such as small rocks and twigs. The double
action trigger pulls on the Long Rifle and the Magnum measured
nine pounds and one ounce, and just over eleven pounds,
respectively. The single action pulls measured a crisp four
pounds. Cocking the hammer before each shot, hitting the targets
seemed almost too easy, despite the short sight radius of the
two-inch barrels. Twenty-five yard rested groups were in the two
and one-half to three inch range, which is about as good as I
can shoot a snub-nosed revolver. With each gunís favorite
ammo, they grouped right at two inches, when I did my part.
Sometimes I forget just how much fun a little twenty-two can be.
a twenty-two is not my first choice for a defensive handgun,
there are special circumstances where they can fill that role.
There are many people who, for whatever reason, cannot handle
the recoil of a larger caliber. The little Pathfinder chambered
for the .22 Magnum could serve well to defend against an
attacker, if needed. The little magnum penetrates very well, and
when using any handgun for defense, penetration is vital. The
.22 Magnum, I have found, penetrates much better than many .38
Special bullets, and does so with minimal recoil.
a handgun to carry for protection in snake country, I have found
that a small twenty-two revolver works well. Using CCI
shot cartridges, I prefer either of the twenty-twos to the
larger cartridges. All of the center fire CCI shot
cartridges that I have tested have patterned poorly, with
donut-shaped patterns containing a large void in the center.
However, the rimfire shot cartridges, while containing fewer
pellets, patterned much better. Either of the CCI rimfire shot
loads, and especially the .22 Magnum, have plenty of power to
cleanly dispatch a venomous reptile intent on ruining your day.
Unless you intend to load your own shot loads, the twenty-two is
the best way to go, and the little Pathfinder carries very well
in either a belt holster or jeans pocket.
am glad to see the return of the Pathfinder to the Charter 2000
line of handguns. They are light, accurate, durable, and
affordable little revolvers. Suggested retail is only $265
in the USA.
out the entire Charter 2000 line on the web at: www.charterfirearms.com.
Note: see Jeff's article on loading for self-defense against
snakes at Snake Stopper -
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