CVA Accura MR Black Nitride Rifle

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

CVA's Accura MR Black Nitride Rifle
Illustration courtesy of BPI, Inc.

We have shot a lot of different muzzleloaders over the past fifty years, from the .58 caliber Zouaves to .50 caliber Hawkens. Include the modern inline muzzleloaders and we have burned up a fair amount of powder. That being said, the new model guns that come out every year don't get us excited. At least that was the case until we laid eyes on the CVA Accura MR black nitride rifle at the 2014 SHOT Show in January. Both of us looked at the gun and imagined what it would be like to shoot. We asked Dudley McGarity, CEO of BPI Outdoors, the company that owns the CVA brand, if we could test that new gun. It finally arrived in March and it was just as nice a rifle as we remembered.

For those not familiar with black nitride treatments (the technical description of the process is salt bath ferriticnitrocarburizing), they are used in many industries to significantly hardens the outer layers of steel parts to make them more durable and more corrosion resistant. In fact, when used for rifle barrels, it is more corrosion resistant than chrome lining. The same black nitride process is used by several automobile manufacturers to harden the moving parts in their engines, rings, pistons, etc. Because muzzleloaders are susceptible to corrosion, this treatment goes a long way in substantially reducing the possibility that your gun will be ruined by corrosion.

CVA went all in with this, deciding to use it on their premium Bergara Barrels found on their high end Accura MR and Accura V2 rifles, and why not? If you already have a top selling, full featured rifle, it just makes sense to add a bit more frosting on the cake to make it even better. In our discussions with Mr. McGarity, he had data to show that barrels treated with the black nitride process had greater wear and corrosion resistance and lubricity when compared to blued carbon steel or untreated stainless steel. The lubricity aspect is what appealed to us, given the potential for an increase in muzzle velocities and greater ease in reloading for follow-up shots.

Features and Specifications

  • 416 Stainless Steel 25 inch Fluted Nitride-treated Bergara Barrel with 1:28 inch Twist Rifling
  • Bullet Guiding Muzzle
  • QRBP - Quick Release Breech Plug
  • DuraSight One-Piece Rail Base/Ring System
  • Ambidextrous Composite Stock
  • CrushZone Recoil Pad
  • Quake Claw Sling
  • Solid Aluminum PalmSaver Ramrod
  • Adjustable Trigger
  • Cocking Spur
  • Drilled and Tapped for Scope Mounts
  • 40 inch Overall Length
  • 6.35 pounds Total Weight
  • 4.5 inch Length of Pull
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Country of Manufacture: Spain
  • 2014 MSRP $592

Before we get into how this rifle shoots, we would like to talk about the Bullet Guiding Muzzle. Having shot CVA's on our last hunt, we kind of took for granted its benefit: no canting or deformation of the bullet as you load it into the barrel prior to using the ramrod. However, on the range earlier this month we had the opportunity to load and fire several other brands of muzzleloaders (they shall remain nameless). With the sole exception of the Savage 10ML, which is no longer made, all of the others required Jim to literally pound the bullet starter to get a second and third round loaded. Not only was it hard on the hands and a pain in the butt, but it required far too much time for there being any possibility of an effective second shot.

Not so with the Bullet Guiding Muzzle. On our Prickly Pear hunt, we both reloaded in plenty of time for a second shot, although it wasn't needed. In our tests on the range with the Accura MR, Jim loaded and fired ten rounds, without swabbing and with no difficulty. You can't appreciate the bullet guiding muzzle until you've used it.

Another cool feature of the Accura MR is the DuraSight One-Piece Rail Base/Ring System. Again, it is something that we took for granted as being really cool and an extra benefit on CVA rifles. The DuraSight mount make it very easy to mount a scope and is inherently more stable than standard mounts. The reason being is that there are fewer screws involved that can come loose over time. It just makes sense: a one-piece mount with two top rings versus a system with two bases, two ring bases and two tops. Three to six, no contest on that point.\ If you get the idea that we are really impressed with this rifle, you are correct. All that remains is to see if it shoots like it handles.

The trigger pull on the Accura MR was three pounds out of the box, very crisp and without creep. We adjusted it down to two pounds to match our target rifles. CVA should be commended for not installing a lawyer trigger on their rifle. With a target rifle trigger pull, it was easy to shoot accurate groups.

We were only able to conduct our tests with IMR White Hots and Hodgdon Triple7 pellets, as we had exhausted our supply of Blackhorn 209 and Alliant Black MZ powder. We will do additional testing with those powders when we get restocked.\ We fired multiple three shot groups at 100 yards with each bullet listed below, letting the barrel cool between shoots. In our first test we used two White Hots pellets and blue box Winchester 209 primers. We used a Sinclair tripod front rest and rear bag for stability to get the greatest possible accuracy. With the black nitride treated barrel, we did not have to swab between shots. However, we did clean the barrel between each 3-shot group.

  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 300 grain: smallest group 1-1/4 inch, largest group 1-1/2 inch
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 260 grain: smallest group 3/4 inch, largest group 1-1/8 inch
  • Powerbelt Aerolite 250 grain: smallest group 1.0 inch, largest group 1-1/4 inch
  • Hornady SST 250 grain: smallest group 7/8 inch, largest group 1-1/4 inch

We repeated our test with two Triple7 pellets and blue box Winchester 209 primers. The results were very similar. Once again, with the black nitride treated barrel, we did not have to swab between shots, only cleaning the barrel between each three shot group.

  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 300 grain: smallest group 1-1/2 inch, largest group 1-5/8 inch
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 260 grain: smallest group 7/8 inch, largest group 1-1/8 inch
  • PowerbeltAeroLite 250 grain: smallest group 1-1/8 inch, largest group 1-3/8 inch
  • Hornady SST 250 grain: smallest group 1.0 inch, largest group 1-1/4 inch

This rifle absolutely loves 250/260 grain bullets. With either White Hots or Triple7, it consistently shot tight groups. It was not as good with 300 grain bullets. However, that was not a surprise, as very few guns will shoot great with all bullet weights or powders. That being said, the accuracy of all the bullets we tested was more than adequate for hunting any North American game animals.

The new Accura MR is a muzzleloader that is long overdue. With the black nitride Bergara barrel, it leaves nothing to be desired. Even if you already have a favorite muzzleloader, you should try one of these. You won't regret it and will probably wind up using the Accura most of the time.

Now, my only problem is getting Mary to let me use the new CVA Accura MR for aoudad in the fall. However, I am afraid that she is going to insist on using it for her blackbuck hunt. Guess I'll have to use my Optima V2, which is a proven game getter.

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Copyright 2014 by Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.