View Full Version : New to ML, have many questions

10-19-2006, 12:28 AM
Recently I was given a CVA Kentucky rifle kit in 45 Cal, twist rate is 1:48. It had been in storage since 1985. Love to tinker, so now I have a new rifle, have taken it out once & really enjoyed it. Now to the questions.
Does anyone have a majic load for Patched ball (PB I think)?
What would be the best mold for both accuracy and hunting?
How do read pressures signs in a BP (work up loads)?
I want to smooth the trigger up, sear metal appears soft and there are warnings from CVA on prematurely wearing it out without ample engagement. Has anyone heat treated one of these after polishing it up with Kasinet?
BP is unavailable here, so I'm stuck with the BP subs. Any preferences?
Sorry about all the questions, but I did search the forum before posting ;-)

10-19-2006, 01:33 AM
Ok first off since it is a One in 48 twist I would expirement with a conical for hunting over the round ball as while the 45 round ball will do the job it is a bit light compared to the 50 and 54 calibers. As far as conicals go for the 45 you will have to check and see what is available. I know that the TC Maxiball ( Conical is made in a 45) Since you cannot get black my first choice after being some what disatisfied with the substitutes I would use triple 7 first then if you cannot get that one of the others. I would find out what the load max is and work up to it with 5 grain increments until you find a load that is accurate. Black powder and its substitutes are not like smokeless where you work up a little at a time with these powders 5 grains at a time is the norm smaller changes will do nothing for you. All guns made have a maximum load and black powder measures measure at 5 grain increments so start low say for a 45 at 60 grains and work on up to the max what ever that is I would guess it would be under a 100 grains maybe 90? Most round balls have two different sizes for each caliber with the larger ball using a thinner patch and the smaller ball using the thicker patch you may have to expirement to see what works in your gun. .445 for the 45 cal and I do not know if they make another size than that or not. I know if you do use the round ball for hunting and yea it can kill a deer I would limit my shots to a closer range like 50 to 60 yards as at a 100 it only has about 350 foot pounds of energy. Now a conical at a 100 is a different story. You may have to use a shorter conical with that rate of twist but I would try to see what is available and try some if you have a heavier conical that is longer and it does not shoot well you like I said may have to go to a shorter lighter conical I would try what ever I could find and see what works for you. Conicals take less powder than balls do and they are slower than balls but retain their down range energy better because they are heavier. Not sure what problems you have with the trigger but most are either a set trigger usually a double trigger or a single trigger. which is usually a simple bar set up. I never have really heard of them wearing out and the set triggers can usually be adjusted for pull. If it is a single trigger that pushes the arm on the lock for the hammer they are pretty much what you see is what you get as they push up on the arm that trips the sear to let the hammer fall. They are pretty simple and not really adjustable. If it is a single trigger you may have to learn to live with it as is. CVA should be able to tell you what the max load is for your gun if you do not have any manual for it.

10-19-2006, 06:52 AM
CVA are not the nicest in the world, I would never BUY one, a free one I would drag home. Common on many inexpensive ML is a rough bore, that means you need a thicker patch. I have a hopkins/allen underhammer 45 that was my dads, bore was rough when mom gave it to him for christmas, so he used a .429 ball and a denim patch, he lapped the bore later but stuck with the thick patch because he had the mold, I mention that because the .429 rb mold can have some other uses too in guns that used fixed ammo :-).

I don't know where you are that BP is not avail, if it is avail it is worth a drive, I mention this because almost anything will light BP.....some of the analongs to BP have problems with being harder to light off, even if you used say 5-10 grains as a base chahrge with the easier to find 777 or pyrodex as a main charge it might work better.

I worked with a guy that had a CVA BP rifle, it was a caplock, and it would only fire about 1 time out of 3, but still he and his boys hunted with it, and got shots at deer, only to hear "snap"...I would have ashcanned the thing the FIRST time that happened :-). From what I inderstand the breech design is dedicedly lacking on them, too many twists and turns for the flash to take to hit the powder.

other than that one thing to remember is never ever point the gun at you while your loading it, dad had a buddy shoot a ramrod thru a hat brim once when the gun went off as he was loading it, I have fired a lot of BP shots and never had that happen, but that is why they tell you never to pour from a powder horn or flask directly into the bore. dad also had a shooting uncle that had a whole tin of top hat caps light off when he fired a shot, blew black frags into his face that were still visible 20 years later, never ever leave an open tin of caps near where you are shooting.

sooner or later everybody almost everybody anyway loads a ball with no powder underneath it. I have had luck with pouring some powder in once I removed the nipple AND then reseating the ball (sometimes a cap will move the ball a bit down the bore).

since you will have caps, balls, and powder around, you now have an excuse to buy a cap and ball revolver :-)


Old Ironsights
10-19-2006, 09:23 AM
IMO most 1/48 twist .45 rifles work best with the LEE REAL in 200gr. The 250 REAL is OK, but the 200 has always worked est for me.

What's nice is you can get the .440 Roundball and .45 REAL in a single combo mold from LEE for about $20.

As for loads, start with 45gr of BP or 777 and work up your most accurate load not to exceed 100gr.

Should be a decent rifle for you.

10-19-2006, 06:13 PM
I concer with most of what was said here. On rifles I start my loads at one grain per caliber and with pistiols I cut that in half or maybe a little less. I think you can go to the CVA web site and find the max load. I believe if I remember its 80 grains or maybe even 90. You could actually go over the max without worrying about blowing it up but I wouldn't recomend it and It wouldn't shoot good anyway with that kind of powder charge. There is nothing wrong with a CVA rifle. yes it is bottom of the line and the metals are of less quality than you other premium guns but most people don't shoot allot with BP anyway and it should last many years with care. The trigger spring will probubly be the first thin to go. 1/48 is a good twist rate and it should shoot RB's and conicals both well. I've shot the Real bullets and the combo mould mentioned earlier would be a good way to go and use as pure of lead as you can get!

10-19-2006, 08:50 PM
Thank you gentleman for your input.
Will definitely order the double mold.
I did jump the gun and order the oversized 45 Cal Lee Minie.
From the one outing, it grouped fair @ 25yds 1.5".
It throws a pretty heavy boolit using sticky WW (310gr).
Since CVA nor Hodgdon post any load data this weight boolit, I started at 40gr & stopped at fifty, fifty provided the best group.
Again, thanks so MUCH for the feedback ;)

Old Ironsights
10-19-2006, 09:01 PM
The Minnie is a great compliment to the other two rounds.

Sometimes you do need a heavier bullet, and a 310gr hollow base is just the ticket IMO.

But for GP and deer sizrd game, the 200 is tough to beat.

10-19-2006, 11:30 PM
I got something from CVA somewhere that says max loads. I'll see if I can find it. With the minnie you need power and soft lead to help expand that skirt for better group shots!

10-21-2006, 09:56 PM
I have had good luck with the Kasinite.After reworking and trying them out a couple times. Tear everything back apart and degrease parts. I use a propane torch with mapp gas.I heat part to a medium red,dip in kasenite.Should have a big blob of carbon stuck on.Heat till blob is a dull red.hold that for 2-3 minutes.Then I dip it again in the carbon and heat again.Then drop in a bucket of water or brine. This has worked well on the Italian musket locks.
I like the minne for deer.Just need to figure out that rainbow arc.Heck even I can hear that big ol slap of one hitting.Sounds like meat in the freezer

10-22-2006, 11:10 PM
Thanks Jim,
I took the lock apart today.
Took a little thinking, but I figured out how to seperate the hammer from the tumbler.
They must press fit it.
After removing the sear and mainspring, used the hammer screw, backed out slightly, and multiple light taps with a plastic hammer to seperate the two.
Can't believe all the rough spots/spurs on the tumbler.
Thing I noticed, before even starting, I may have to relieve the mainspring from the tumbler some to get it to cock after smoothing down the sear.
Will report back on the results ;)

10-24-2006, 10:39 PM
Polishing the mainspring and tumbler where they made contact did wonders to how smoothly the hammer cocks.
The trigger pull is at least half of what it originally was with no detectable hammer camming when pulling the trigger and sear disengagement is clean.
It's no where near to what can be done with other firearms, but I'd say it's a definite 50% improvement.
If the Kasenite treatment worked (thanks again Jim, I had lost the instruction sheet) then all is well :)

10-31-2006, 10:51 PM
Congrats and enjoy. The gun is better than you think. I got my Uncle's when he passed several years ago. I have some nice accurate semi-custom flintlocks, and many people look down on the CVA's as being "Cheap." I took that 45 cal caplock to a local shoot, and took 2nd place with it (offhand match). I got some bad looks from people, as if I broke some "snob code" or something.

I only shoot black powder, because it ignites faster than Pyrodex-so that's what I used. Try aroung 50-60 grains of FFFg and a .445 ball, witha .010" thick patch. I use a lube of 1/1/1 ratio of murphy's oil soap/rubbing alcohol/hydrogen peroxide. I use the lube as a path lube, and as a bore solvent.

Key is to use a damp patch then a dry patch after every shot-for a consistent barrel condition.

Good luck. "It's the archer, not the arrow."

11-01-2006, 11:01 PM
Thanks catboot.
Current finances are going to restrict further mold puchases for a while.
Hope to get out and work with some various loads and the different boolits to see if I can find the sweet spot for each projectile.
My neighbor recently gave me about a 40# roll of pure lead, perfect timing:D

11-02-2006, 10:44 PM

Since you can't find FFFg blackpowder, I'd recommend Pyrodex P (pistol ) grade, and keep dosages moderate (in the 50-60 "grain equivalent" of black powder). Pyrodex is less dense than blackpowder (about 20% less). VOLUMES are the same-just set your powder measure for 50, 55, or 60 grains. The WEIGHTS with Pyrodex will be 50 * .80= 40 grains (by weight), 55*.80 = 44 grains and 60*.8= 48 grains by weight.

I haven't tried any of the other blackpowder substitues, so I can't comment on them. Maybe there are better products than Pyrodex-honestly don't know. I do know that RS grade (rifle shotgun, or ffg equiv) Pydrodex burned/lagged slower than P grade (pistol) Pydrodex.

If you intend to go over 60 grains volume of powder, use RS grade. Also, check your loading data for Pyrodex. I haven't used the stuff in over 15 years. I wouldn't be surprised for things to change in that time. I know they make pellets of Pydrodex-don't know if they are 30 or 50 grains each. This may be an option too.

11-04-2006, 04:50 PM
Topper, Sorry it took so long but my CVA manual says max 80 FFg powder for RB in a 45 rifle. It doesn't say for conical but the others it list for conical is the same powder amount RB or conical. If you would like I could send you some Lee real bullets to try in your rifle!

11-05-2006, 02:21 AM
I appreciate the offer.
I casted 150 200gr reals today.
If you have the 250gr mold, I would be interested in trying some in the future to see how they shoot.
From what I've read so far, the 310 Improved mini should be reduced at least 30% from the max load listed for ball.
I've loaded up to 55gr of 777 with the 310's and groups started opening, 50gr seemed to be the sweet spot.
Will see how these 200gr Real's work, maybe tomorrow if it doesn't rain ;)
Thanks for load data :)

11-05-2006, 11:56 PM
Sorry Topper mine is a 200 real also. I do have the 50 cal in the minnie and REAL. And the 58 in the minnie. The Minnie's are real important to shoot pure lead to open that skirt. I have used ww's with REAL's before and they worked decent but it takes a bit to get them started.

11-06-2006, 11:13 PM
Well, the Reals really do work well. :-D


The Improved Minie works pretty well too.


Range was only 25yds, but that's a good start point.
Load was 53gr Pyrodex RS for both boolits.
I made some denum wads using a 444 marlin case and a drill press.
Wads were stuck on to the bullet base with a little lube, bullet seated with a dry patch as advised;)

Thanks everyone for all the good advice.

11-07-2006, 12:00 PM
Excellent results! CVA was indeed capable of producing decent products it seems.

11-08-2006, 06:04 PM
Topper I have used my 200gr.swc sized .452 in a Thompson center 45 cal. with good results.---Mag