CVA Accura V2 Muzzleloading Rifle
A lot of ink has been spilled over the past few years by writers praising or slamming the CVA muzzleloaders. The majority of the negative comments refer to the Apollo rifle manufactured in 1995 and 1996. Those rifles were subject to a voluntary recall by CVA that is still going on. The new generation of CVA muzzleloaders bears little resemblance to those of the past. All CVA barrels used today are drilled from bar stock and button rifled in the Bergara factory in Spain. The Apex and Accura V2 are equipped with the Bergara branded barrel which is manufactured out of 416 stainless steel. All Bergara barrels have been through a special honing process that simulates hand lapping, except that it is more precise. This process removes any deviation in bore diameter; i.e., no tight or loose spots. The front half of the Accura barrel is fluted to reduce weight and aid in cooling and is very well finished, including the crown. The Rockwell hardness is Rc 17 for the stainless Bergara and Rc 25 for the blued Bergara.
Our interest in CVA was sparked by the fact that Ed Shilen collaborated on the design and manufacture of the Begara barrels used by CVA. For those who are not familiar with Ed Shilen, he has been making top-of-the-line target rifles (Benchrest and F-Class) since 1967. Ed himself has set 13 world records with his rifles and long range target shooters who are fortunate enough to own one of his guns have won more medals and set more records than we can count. Given those facts, we felt that if Shilen put his stamp of approval on the Bergara barrels used by CVA, they had to be good.
Here are the features and specifications for the CVA Accura V2 rifle:
We decided to order our gun in the summer, so we would have time to test it on the range and then take it on our fall deer hunts. It didn’t work out quite as planned, as the Accura with the Realtree stock is very popular. When it finally arrived in early September and we opened the box, Mary remarked that she liked her new rifle! However, she would allow me to borrow it for my muzzleloader hunt, if I was careful.
As everyone knows, there is no standard 50 caliber size for muzzleloaders. Over the years, bore diameters have varied from 0.498” - 0.505”. That is one of the primary reasons for such a wide range of accuracy (or lack thereof), given the projectiles which were on the market. The Accura Bergara land-to-land dimension comes in at 0.498” (+/- 0.003” - 0). With tolerances such as these, we expected this gun to be very accurate.
The Realtree stock (in spite of its spectacularly ugly lines! -Editor), has a fit that is as good as most rifles with a wood stock. The stock is durable, light and stable in the field, excellent qualities if, like us, you venture into the Rockies. The upgraded SoftTouch coating on the stock and rubber grip panels are intended to prevent the rifle slipping out of your hands, even in the foulest weather. The 7/8” recoil pad is more than adequate for field or range use. My only complaint is that my Harris bipod will not fit on the Accura’s forestock, which has a recessed sling stud. None of the other CVA models have this recessed front stud, so it is not an issue with them.
The Accura is easily taken apart for maintenance and cleaning with the removal of the single screw on the forestock. That is a very nice feature. Couple that with the Quick-Release Breech plug and you have a muzzleloader that can be easily cleaned. Speaking of the breech plug, it is threaded for ¾“, compared to 5/8” on most brands of muzzle loaders. Being able to remove the breech plug with your fingers, rather than a tool, is a major plus. The 209 primer fits comfortably into the ignition hole and is easily removed after firing, rarely requiring the tool that is included with the rifle.
The small brushes available at most hobby shops for cleaning airbrush sprayers, along with 22 gauge copper wire and Q-Tips are ideal for cleaning the breech plug. We soak the breech plug in a mixture of soapy water and solvent for five minutes and use a small drill bit (size 0.10”) at low speed to core out the carbon after a day on the range. Then finish up with the Q-Tips, brushes and wire. Apply a bit of bore grease to the threads and screw it back into the breech.
We ordered our Accura with the DuraSight Dead-On one-piece mount and the Quake Claw Sling. The mount is stable and makes attaching a scope quick and easy. The Quake Claw sling is excellent, with padding molded right onto the nylon strap. The Claw Sling is well named, as it does not slide off your shoulder when climbing a hill. However, we didn’t like the Hush Stalker II swivels, which you have to unscrew in order to remove the sling. While they are quiet in the field, as well as very secure, they are a real pain if you wish to remove the sling in a hurry. This is a minor irritant.
We tested the Accura with the 250 grain and 300 grain Powerbelt AeroLite bullets and the 260 grain and 300 grain Harvester Scorpion PT Gold bullets with black Crushed Rib Sabots. Given the various game department regulations across the country, as well as hunter preference, we felt that hunters needed to know if this rifle would shoot gas checked, as well as saboted, bullets.
The cavity on the loading tip of the ramrod was perfect for loading the Aerolite bullets. However, the threads at the base of the loading tip cavity tended to snag the polymer tip of our saboted bullets and deform or pull them out when we removed the ramrod. This was easily rectified by using our case chamfering tool to open up and deepen the cavity. Our ramrod now loads Powerbelts and multiple brands of polymer tipped saboted bullets without a problem. We have had the same problem with the ramrods of other muzzleloaders, so CVA was not alone. They have since changed the design of the loading tips on all 2012 CVA models, so this should no longer be an issue.
The trigger pull on the Accura V2 was 2-½ lbs out of the box, very crisp without creep. CVA should be commended for not installing a “lawyer’s trigger” on their rifle. With a target rifles trigger pull, it was easy to shoot accurate groups at the range.
We fired three 3-shot groups at 100 yards with each bullet, letting the barrel cool between shoots. Our first series of tests used 100 grains (by volume) of Blackhorn 209 and Winchester 209 primers. We used a Sinclair tripod front rest and rear bag for stability to get the greatest possible accuracy from our testing. As expected, no swabbing was required between shots with the Blackhorn 209. However, we cleaned the breech plug and barrel between each 3-shot group.
Muzzle velocities will vary depending on the condition of your barrel; how you compress the load, etc. These, taken from our Chrony, are posted to give the reader an idea of the approximate velocities to expect. However, as with any inline muzzleloader, you are throwing a heavy projectile downrange and as long as the velocity is sufficient to produce enough energy to take out your game, your primary concern should be the accuracy of the load/bullet combination, rather than the velocity. As such, if you have to back off or increase the above load to improve your accuracy, so be it. Accuracy and bullet placement are more important than a few feet per second.
We repeated our tests with two IMR White Hots pellets and Winchester 209 primers. The results were very similar; however, with the pellets, we swabbed the barrel after each shot. Once again, we cleaned the breech plug and barrel after each 3-shot group. Having to swab the barrel between shots does not detract from our preference for IMR White Hots or Hodgdon Triple Seven pellets when hunting. Most muzzle loaders require only one shot and if a second shot is needed, you can quickly drop in the pellets. Loose powder is susceptible to “buck fever” spilling.
Our comparison of the Aerolite gas check bullets to the Scorpion PT saboted bullets would not be considered fair by a lot of folks. Most hunters will tell you that a saboted bullet will outshoot a gas checked bullet every day of the week. Well, on this day of the week, it didn’t happen, as both bullets produced superb results. Regular Guns and Shooting Online readers know we have previously reviewed the Scorpions and used them on a successful Ibex hunt. As such, they would expect some prejudice on our part in their favor and we would be lying if we denied it. However, we were amazed and pleasantly surprised at the performance of the Aerolite bullet. You cannot argue with success.
Jim got carried away after our tests and decided to shoot the last five 300 grain Aerolites. He put all five into a group that measured under ¾”. That was a bragging target for Jim, so he hung it up in his reloading room. For those of you who live in states that do not allow saboted bullets, or if you prefer to shoot gas check bullets, the Aerolite is an excellent choice, not only for accuracy, but also for cost.
We concluded the CVA Accura V2 is an excellent muzzleloader, well worth the money and destined to be a best-seller for CVA.
Author's Note: We would like to thank B.P.I. and Harvester Muzzleloading for providing us with the bullets for our tests. We burned a lot of powder, pellets and bullets and their contributions significantly minimized our expense.
Copyright 2011 by Dr. Jim Clary and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.