My first Charter Arms firearm was a Pathfinder .22 that I began using several years ago, which features a 3-inch barrel and adjustable sights. Like “The Undercover”—a five-shot .38 Special revolver—that first Pathfinder was designed by company founder Douglas McClenahan. These two guns didn’t feature the sideplate design favored by other revolver makers. Instead, they have tough, one-piece frames. They also had fewer moving parts, which added strength and simplified manufacturing.
The Pathfinder was a light, compact revolver that made a great trail gun. I took a number of rabbits and squirrels with the little .22, and I also used it to eliminate rattlesnakes that loved hanging around the high mountain stream I regularly fished. The rocky shoreline was a haven for rattlers, and I usually encountered two or three in the course of an afternoon. In deference to possible ricochets, I loaded the gun with rimfire shotshells whenever I went fishing. At a range of 4 feet—safely beyond the maximum striking distance of the average rattler—the swarm of No. 12 pellets from the Pathfinder was deadly. At that range, the snake’s head made a pretty fair-sized target, and I usually managed to hit it.
I also carried a box of soft-nosed .22 LR loads in my pocket for plinking and small-game duties. The combination of regular .22 and shotshell ammunition made the little Pathfinder a highly versatile companion. I wore the Pathfinder in a shoulder holster, where it rode high enough to keep it from being dunked in case I missed my footing or stumbled into a deep pool. For dry land excursions, I kept the revolver in a Charter Arms belt holster…
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