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Thread: CVA Hunter in 44 Magnum

  1. #61
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    I had a lightbulb moment. What if I am pushing these lee boolits too hard? I still need to try and trap some one of these days, but what if I am just pushing them harder than they can take. I suppose I could try to cast some out of pure lino or something, but the other side of it is to try and slow them down considerably. I'm thinking I will try some loads with Unique and just see how they react.

    I did try some loads already with Unique, early on with those softer boolits. But I did not try to actually develop a load with it. I wanted to try and reach a certain velocity, but now I am wondering if that is blinding me to actually trying to develop a load the gun likes. Something to think about for sure.

  2. #62
    try unique and 2400. it could be your gun doesn't like like h110/win296.
    Last edited by 500Linebaughbuck; 01-16-2018 at 04:58 PM.

  3. #63
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    Rick Hodges's Avatar
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    I'm going to suggest that you slow down and make one change at a time...and shoot more than three shots to determine what your gun is doing. One three shot group means absolutely nothing. You change amount of powder, change scope setting and mountings, change bedding, change bullets....all based on one or two 3 shot groups. What are you learning by making multiple changes at once?

    I will say that my CVA Scout2 in .44 mag. likes a firm crimp with both WW296 and 2400. It shoots more consistently crimped, as evidenced in chronograph readings and group size, than uncrimped. I have only used 240gr JHP and 235gr. GC cast. Mine is not a MOA rifle...about double that...perhaps a little better with jwords and a little worse with cast, so far. I have not spent a lot of time trying to improve on that. Both of those loads will do what I need them to do...take a deer out to 150 yds.

  4. #64
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 500Linebaughbuck View Post
    try unique and 2400. it could be your gun doesn't like like h110.
    It may not with cast, seems to with the jacketed though. It is interesting for sure.

  5. #65
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hodges View Post
    I'm going to suggest that you slow down and make one change at a time...and shoot more than three shots to determine what your gun is doing. One three shot group means absolutely nothing. You change amount of powder, change scope setting and mountings, change bedding, change bullets....all based on one or two 3 shot groups. What are you learning by making multiple changes at once?

    I will say that my CVA Scout2 in .44 mag. likes a firm crimp with both WW296 and 2400. It shoots more consistently crimped, as evidenced in chronograph readings and group size, than uncrimped. I have only used 240gr JHP and 235gr. GC cast. Mine is not a MOA rifle...about double that...perhaps a little better with jwords and a little worse with cast, so far. I have not spent a lot of time trying to improve on that. Both of those loads will do what I need them to do...take a deer out to 150 yds.
    I have actually been shooting multiple 4 shot groups, just in order to rule out the odd flier. I also have been only changing one thing, then going back out to try loads again. That may be lost in the translation. I do shoot 3 shot groups when I find a load that 'seems' to work though, just to test and see if it was a fluke the first time around.

    I also did read up on some of your old posts about your experience with the CVA. It helped me to keep my expectations in check with this gun. In all reality, other than the odd fliers I am getting, it seems that my loads/gun is shooting about as well as any other CVA 44 mag out there.

    One thing that I have read, a few different times(from other locations), is how well it responds to the 300gr xtp. I might just break down and buy/try some for experimental sake. I really want to just shoot cast boolits in this thing for hunting. The thing that interests me about that is I can imagine the xtp is not really traveling that fast. I have not found anyone that has measured velocity with it yet with the touted accuracy of it, but I have found where some have shot factory ammo with the 300gr xtp and it seems to be well under 1500fps. One was recording around 1300 fps with factory ammo.

    So it did get me to thinking that I may be above the true accuracy node. I have witnessed this before in other smaller bore guns. I have hit a good accuracy node, gone above it with wide groups, then even further with seemingly tighter groups - but not as tight as the lower velocity ones. It deffinetly makes me wonder.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hodges View Post
    I'm going to suggest that you slow down and make one change at a time...and shoot more than three shots to determine what your gun is doing. One three shot group means absolutely nothing. You change amount of powder, change scope setting and mountings, change bedding, change bullets....all based on one or two 3 shot groups. What are you learning by making multiple changes at once?

    I will say that my CVA Scout2 in .44 mag. likes a firm crimp with both WW296 and 2400. It shoots more consistently crimped, as evidenced in chronograph readings and group size, than uncrimped. I have only used 240gr JHP and 235gr. GC cast. Mine is not a MOA rifle...about double that...perhaps a little better with jwords and a little worse with cast, so far. I have not spent a lot of time trying to improve on that. Both of those loads will do what I need them to do...take a deer out to 150 yds.
    i agree with that.

    i don't have a 44 mag rifle but i do have a 500 linebaugh rifle. i have to use a heavy crimp on 450gr lfn gc and 16.0gr of hs-6. i used a light crimp and medium crimp but i still got burned powder in my barrel. a heavy crimp resolved that and it shrunk my group(about 1/8" less). i would also go with alliant 2400. it may not beat you up so much, like h110/w296 does. i use my ruger sbh in 44 mag and 2400 just because it does beat me as bad. hs-6 is a good one too. in case you are wondering, i am a sissy when recoil comes around. recoil never bothered me, until i discovered my age. thats the day when my shoulder hurts, my knees hurt and i hurt. but i still love my big bores and downloading, gotta love downloading!!

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by newton View Post

    So it did get me to thinking that I may be above the true accuracy node. I have witnessed this before in other smaller bore guns. I have hit a good accuracy node, gone above it with wide groups, then even further with seemingly tighter groups - but not as tight as the lower velocity ones. It deffinetly makes me wonder.
    i shoot a tc encore in 444 marlin and a 280gr wfn gc with 25.5gr of 2400 and a tuft of dacron, it will go 3/4"+/- at 100 yards (thank you larry gibson), it will go 1700fps. i've used to use a heavy charge of rel 7 but for some reason i like 2400. the 444 is a far cry from 2300fps to 1700fps.

  8. #68
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    Have you tried the old lever action 'trick' when shooting from bags? Hold the forearm in your hand and rest your hand on the bags. It is a known method for levers, especially those that have the magazine tube under the barrel. Not sure why it works. Less upward pressure on the barrel, damping out barrel/forearm vibrations, ???

  9. #69
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    Have you tried the old lever action 'trick' when shooting from bags? Hold the forearm in your hand and rest your hand on the bags. It is a known method for levers, especially those that have the magazine tube under the barrel. Not sure why it works. Less upward pressure on the barrel, damping out barrel/forearm vibrations, ???
    I have not actually. I had thought about putting a soft pillow type thing under it. Maybe a beanie hat or something. I might just have to try the hand thing.

  10. #70
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Need some thoughts.....

    I am in need of the wisdom from those who work on/with break open rifles a lot. I have come to the conclusion that there is definitely something wrong with the gun itself. Since these single shots are pretty simple pieces of equipment, the only thing I can think of is the frame and barrel being loose when locked up.

    I went out last night to just try a little higher load with those jacketed bullets and the POI at 100yds was ~4" to the right. I thought it could just be the change in how much powder I used, so I went back to the load that I used on Monday. Exact same load. It shot ~4" to the right, and another ~4" higher. A complete POI shift from Monday. It grouped ok(what little I did shoot), but I cannot live with a gun that changes POI that much.

    One thing that has been happening more and more is that the action will pop open after a shot. Yes, I have thoroughly taken it apart and cleaned it - making sure to not have ANY lube on where the frame locks up. It is dry as a bone. I first noticed it opening after a few of the heaviest loads I tried with the big 310gr boolits. Now it is happening with moderate loads using the 240gr jacketed bullets.

    If I hold the gun by the grip with one hand, I can shake it back and forth and feel(and even see a little) barrel moving in the frame. It does not really do it with an up/down motion.

    I took the scope and mount off. It was rock solid, nothing loose. I am positive it is not that end of things. I did try putting a soft folded cloth under the forearm and even using my hand under it. POI shifted a little - but not 4", more like an 1" or so.

    I have 'free floated' the barrel aside from the two pillars it rests on. But along with that, this POI shift is not a hot/cold barrel issue. So the pressure on the barrel is the same from shot to shot - definitely no different than it was on Monday.

    The ONLY thing I can think of at this point is that because the barrel moves in the frame, that with each shot - depending on how much it recoils and such - it changes how and where the cartridge head is supported. The scope is mounted to the barrel, so its not moving it. The only thing I can see changing is how the barrel is fitting to the frame.

    I am going to get ahold of CVA today. My question is can a difference in how the case head is supported cause such significant POI shifts? Is there something else I am missing?

  11. #71
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    I have been toying with the idea of getting one of these in 44 Mag for several months now. All of the on-line reviews I have read have been very positive. However, after reading about your experience I think I'm going to pass...

    Good luck with this thing and I'm going to keep track of your progress.

  12. #72
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    One thing about CVA is they are quick to get back with you. I have already heard back from them. They asked if I am using hand loaded or factory ammo. They said they see this often with hand loaded ammo. I really question this myself. I am not sure what they mean by "this" in reference to what they "see". Are they talking about the action opening/moving side to side, the lack of grouping, or the POI shift.

    We shall see what they say. I asked them to recommend a factory ammunition to try. I will break down and purchase a box just to see, but as I told them, I do not see how factory ammunition is going to not pop open the action and make the POI shift go away.

    In other words, if I am loading well within 'normal' range and loading rounds the exact same(most people would agree that carefully hand loaded ammo is MUCH more precise than factory stuff), then how is the factory ammo going to do away with my issues?

    I could see if I was just having trouble getting a group down to decent size. But my issues are I get small groups and large ones, they are in one spot on the target one time - then move the next.

    I have never had this happen with any other gun. I have had a few guns that took a long time to nail down a good shooting load - but I have never experienced what I am with this gun.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyReel View Post
    I have been toying with the idea of getting one of these in 44 Mag for several months now. All of the on-line reviews I have read have been very positive. However, after reading about your experience I think I'm going to pass...

    Good luck with this thing and I'm going to keep track of your progress.
    I honestly hope that its a fluke. I read all the reviews I could find also, and same as you they were positive. There are not many online reviews for the gun though(compared to a lot of other 44 mag rifles). I think that at 50yards or so the gun would be considered "acceptable" by most. The POI shifts do not seem to be as pronounced up close. I was tickled to death when I saw that one group with the jacketed rounds, and then I honestly thought I had it nailed when I saw they were decent at 100yards. I figured I could work with that.

    But then to go out last night, with the exact loads I shot before, and have it hit so far from the point it was hitting before.......that just made my stomach turn.

  14. #74
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    I got another reply to my email.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us.



    I would suggest running some factory ammunition through the rifle since that is what they are built around. We typically shoot 300 grain Hornady ammunition. Anything 300 grain should group well out of the gun. Sometimes the lighter stuff doesn’t group quite as tight.



    Also, please be sure you are firing the rifle from a sand bag which allows it to freely recoil. Lead sleds do not produce great results with our break action rifles.
    I replied back with asking if the factory ammunition was going to correct the POI shift and the mechanical problems this gun is having. I think I might have to call them and actually speak with someone. I really think that they feel like I am griping about group size. When, in fact, I am griping about the randomness of where the groups are ending up - plus the mechanical issues.

    Is it truly logical to think that factory ammunition will actually eliminate the opening of the barrel after a shot, and the POI shift?

    I know on the surface people have to wonder if I actually know what I am doing reloading the ammunition. I could see how ammunition that is thrown together, without care, could cause some really wide swings in the size of a group and it changing the POI on the target. All I know is that I have never had this happen before, I am not that new to handloading, and I have been very diligent to put together uniform handloads.

    I am trying to not let it affect me. I have read enough on here about people having issues with all sorts of different firearms for various reasons. It just stinks that I get to be one of the "lucky" ones that now have to deal with it. I was so looking forward to having fun with this gun.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    And yet another reply from my double checking with them that they understand the full set of issues. I have to say, I am pleased with their responsiveness. It was one reason I did go ahead and decide to buy the CVA, I have always heard they were good about customer service - I just hoped I would never have to use it.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us.



    No sir, I feel I am fully grasping what you are trying to communicate. However, you are experiencing a POI shift, inaccuracy, and your breech is popping open. All of this is under your hand loads and no factory loads. All of these symptoms are synonymous with hand loads based on my experience in the warranty department for the last two years. When we build and chamber our rifles we do it according to SAAMI with one particular brand of reamers. The only ammunition we recommend shooting out of our rifles is factory ammunition and it is what we fall back on when the rifles aren’t performing how they are supposed to. You have yet to try any factory ammunition which in my opinion is causing a false indicator of an issue on your end since you have only tried your hand loads. If you were to send that rifle back to us we would literally load it with factory Hornady ammunition and we will shoot it at 100 yards. I’m definitely not doubting you and do not think anything malicious is going on but it’s hard to establish a base line for a warranty repair when the gun has never been fired with factory ammunition.



    If you insist on sending it in for repair we will still create you an RMA to have the rifle looked at. I don’t want you to think we are putting you off. We are simply trying to provide some useful information so you are not without your rifle for extended periods of time. Our current lead time for repairs is roughly 7 weeks and growing daily. Over the next couple of months a more realistic time frame would be nearly 10 weeks or so based on the past years repairs.



    Thank you,
    I am going to buy some factory Hornady 300 grain ammunition to shoot in this gun. It sickens me to have to do it, but at the same time I would hate to have them send the gun back and say that it shot fine with factory ammunition - and me not have a basis to refute it.

    Since I started handloading, and especially since I started casting, I have only bought factory ammunition for one gun - and that was because I got it on sale and was needing some brass anyways.

  16. #76
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Just so you all are kept in the loop, here is the last email I got from CVA. I'll be sure to update you all(and CVA) when I get done testing factory ammo. I think I will get a box of 240gr(of some sort that uses the hornady xtp's) along with the box of 300grain Hornady Custom ammo. Makes me sick to think I am going to spend over $1 per round - however, I will take the opportunity to take apart one of the rounds to see what their powder looks like and what volume they use. Should be useful for future things.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us.



    The group sizes will vary depending on many different factors. Id say anything from roughly 1.5’’-2.5’’ would be acceptable out of a break action rifle shooting factory ammunition. Guns will differ as well. Some guns will shoot the lighter bullets while others prefer something heavier. Generally speaking, the heavier bullets will group an inch to an inch and a half tighter than the lighter bullets.



    If the factory ammunition does not fix the issue simply respond to this email chain and we will be happy to take care of you.



    Thank you,
    For reference, I asked what an acceptable group was if they were doing the testing.

  17. #77
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    After some rest this weekend, I think I may have had been fighting a virus on Friday, known by the name 'footinmouth'. I am not 100% sure just yet, but I did start going back over the last months testing and it could be possible that my issues are all directly related to my handloads.

    What I did this weekend was load up the few remaining 310's I had, and even tried some of the Lee 240gr SWC's with Unique. I shot the 310's at 50 yards. What I did was to load a round, and then kinda lay the gun on one of its sides, and 'pat' it to try and simulate the barrel to frame movement. Then I did the same thing on the opposite side, just to see if it would change POI/group size. If that makes sense. It is the only thing(besides the action opening up) that would be gun related inaccuracy.

    What I found was a nice little group, right around 1", same POI for both side 'pats'. It was obviously not an extensive test, but it was interesting to say the least. I am pretty sure that whatever play there is in the barrel to frame fit is not the cause of the POI shift.

    I then shot the 240gr SWC with 10gr Unique, and the first couple of hits at 50yd were on top of each other with the next 1" away. I tried it out at 100yd just for fun, and they grouped ~3". Very interesting I thought. Went back to 50yd just for the heck of it and shot a 6.5" group - which made me scratch my head.

    I really started thinking about it all. There are so many different things that could be happening to cause this. Brass is all the same, primers are all the same, powder is all the same - but the boolits may not be. Maybe a gas check is coming off mid flight? Maybe there is enough of the boolits being out of round, or otherwise unbalanced on their axis?

    Normally, I would not think unbalanced would affect things so much, but I came across this video(which has been previously posted in a thread on this site about unbalanced bullets) and it really made me think hard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9Dylxy3zJc

    Around 1:34 into the video the guy shoots a round that he pretty much just filed the nose off flat. I am sure there is some unevenness to it, but it's flatter than not. More or less turned it into a 22 wad cutter. That particular bullet completely curved out of the path. I am not sure anyone knows of an absolute why, but my immediate thought was that it is due to air resistance on the nose.

    So who/what is to say that my 310's are not slightly unballanced, and then coupled with the big flat nose, they are being erratic. I am usually pretty good with culling my boolits, but at the same time, I have found that in my other guns a boolit does not have to be perfect in order to get decent accuracy. The difference here is that I have never shot this large a boolit at rifle velocity, at long range. And especially one with this type of profile. ALL of these things could be adding up and truly causing the issues I am seeing.

    Anyways, those are just some of my thoughts over the weekend. With all that said, it's not going to supprise me if I shoot those Hornady factory rounds and I get good results. Its just going to make me rethink how I am going to approach handloading for this gun.

    I still don't know how the factory rounds will fix the action poping open after a shot. Maybe that will be something I can fix without having to send it back to CVA.

  18. #78
    Good luck. I'm still thinking this will be my next gun. I have a single shot 357 at traditions right now but I think this would be a great addition. Have you slugged the barrel? maybe I missed it.

  19. #79
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wagnerwerks View Post
    Good luck. I'm still thinking this will be my next gun. I have a single shot 357 at traditions right now but I think this would be a great addition. Have you slugged the barrel? maybe I missed it.
    I did slug it. It came out right around .429".

    I'm going to try and be optimistic, saying that its all my handloads fault and not the gun. I'll know more in a week or less. I am not going to shoot today because of the high wind we are experiencing. I want to make sure that wont be a potential issue.

  20. #80
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    I am concerned with your action opening. I have the Scout2 and two Wolf muzzle loaders (they have the same action as the Hunter). Neither of them are loose side to side nor have they demonstrated any tendency to open up on their own upon firing. My 44 mag 240 XTP load is very near max of WW296 and it has never tried to open itself upon firing. That should not be happening.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check