I've had no problems with my Charters. Like Jeepnik I have an original Bulldog and a newer one. Taurus also made some compact revolvers for 44 Special and 45 Colt, keep an eye out on Gun Broker. Far as I can remember most of those 44 Specials are either lower priced guns (not any more) and the really high end guns. I wish Ruger made one.
I have had multiple Charters since the late 70's. I have had two Bulldogs(.44 spcl). The last I bought has a cartridge casing from 5/16/13. It is SS with a 2.5 inch barrel, and according to the literature sent with it, shows it is rated for +p ammo. I have had no problems with this gun specifically, nor my other Bulldog. The several .38's I had, only one ( first one) needed to have the screws re tightened after a range session, and the pins pushed back in. All the Charters were light weight and accurate. Good luck.
I have had 3 of the older Charter Bulldogs over the years and all 3 shot right to POA and shot nice groups. I haven't fired one of the newer Bulldogs. I now have a stainless Rossi 720 that I REALLY like.
Another member of the CA Bulldog fan club here. Mine an older 3" SS one. Am anxiously awaiting my next Ruger wish, per the Lipsey's announcement coming soon, but will throw out the another wish, a .44spec GP...Until then my .44spec concealed option is by Charter Arms. Spread the love, boys.
The 329 is a different animal than the 629. In particular, it's equipped with a blast shield above the b/c gap that protects the alloy top strap from flame cutting that is a sacrificial part - a buddy of mine that convinced me to buy a 329 has had to send his back to S&W 3 times in 3yrs, as he's cut through the blast shield. If you're ok with that (like I am), then a 329 is a decent option - if not, then you need to look elsewhere.
I'm a snubby 44mag fanatic. The Kodiak Backpacker is a great revolver. I also have 629's in the Mountain Gun and an MG clone, a Bulldog, a couple of the Taurus's in mag and spcl, and sold my 44mag Alaskan once I got the Backpacker. The Kodiak and the Smith's are of far greater quality than the others.
The 4" Redhawk is another great option (not in 44mag, of course).
If I could only have one, a KB or a 629, it would be a 629 - even though I'm a die hard Ruger fan, and a firm believer that the Redhawk is the stronger built revolver.
For .44 specials I love the Charter Bulldog. I have had good luck with 2 Charters. Not so much luck with Smiths and the Backpacker from Ruger shines with full mags but seems like overkill to the extreme for specials.
I am quite surprised nobody mentioned S&W 624. I know it is 6-shot, same frame as 629, but with short barrel it is still fairly handy. And if you can find -3 or -4, it will have so called Endurance Package, such revolver will last you several lifetimes, and than some. See these:
I am still kicking myself for one 624-4, 6.5 long.