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Thread: CVA Double Rifle and Shotgun

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    CVA Double Rifle and Shotgun

    Getting back into black powder again. Have been away from it for around 25 years or so. Picked up a nice pair of CVA guns. Kind of a matched set. One is a 50cal. Express double rifle. The other is a CVA double shotgun. The shotgun appears to be unfired, the rifle looks to have been fired very little.
    Does anyone have experience with either of these? Any advice would be much appreciated.
    I'm looking at using RB in the rifle, with either real BP, or possibly Pyrodex. Am fairly well set up for shooting a 50, still have my 50 T/C Renagade, with all the loading stuff for it. It was the only ML I kept when I cleaned house.
    The shotgun will be used for lead shot for grouse, some clays, and would like to use for ducks as well. Not sure about using steel in it, but would like to be able to figure out a duck load.

  2. #2
    Boolit Man GEOMETRIC's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience with CVA specifically but I do have a Pedersoli .58 cal. SXS & a 10 ga. DGW SXS, which is actually an older Pedersoli 11 ga. but 10 ga. plastic wads will fit the bore. I am very pleased with both. I have had the shotgun since the 70s & it has Briley choke tubes in it. Don't ask me why but the shotgun fits me better than any gun I have ever shot. Everything I point it at consistently winds up dead! I have never shot steel in anything but I do shoot bismuth, Hevi-Shot, ITM & several of the tungsten composite non toxic numbers. With anything approaching or greater than the hardness of your barrel, it is imperative that the shot does not contact the bore. I got a real deal on 20 lbs. of HS & am experimenting with developing a load with a wad that will work in the muzzle loader & still not take all day to load. The Federal Flite Control wad has been suggested but I see other possibilities.

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the info. I'm a little leery about using steel as well, but have had to use it in modern guns sine the lead shot ban was enacted. Before that, I shot a 20ga with #6 lead for ducks over decoys. Dropped them like a brick if I did what I was supposed to do. Steel shot put an end to shooting a 20 for me. Have never used any of the newer non-toxics, but have been considering it. If they just weren't so blasted expensive. Might be the way to go though, as I have a Wm. Moore 13ga percussion double as well, and I'm def not going to run steel through 150+ year old Damascus barrels, wad or not....
    Do you shoot your gun with lead? Traditional OP/OS wads, or shot cups? I'm leaning towards OP/OS for grouse and clays, but the one thing I keep seeing over and over is that shot cups may be needed to increase velocity for hunting loads, to keep patterns from blowing out.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man GEOMETRIC's Avatar
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    Yes, the designer non toxics are expensive but I watch for deals & sales. Some are even making their own bismuth shot. The good news is they are more effective with less shot. Some folks are reporting good results with 20 ga. steel shooting ducks over decoys but forget it in the more demanding situations. Is your gun choked? I hear the Federal flite control wad can be bought as a "break down" component but I believe it is only made in 12 ga.. Sam Fadala wrote of experimenting with unslit steel shot wads in his, "Black Powder Loading Manual" with lead shot. That is reported to work if the wad doesn't tumble. Some folks use a tail or air brake attached to the back of the wad to keep it from tumbling & to cause the shot to cleanly separate from the wad. I haven't tried that but plan to do so.
    I have used & still use loads with just card wads, loads with card & fiber wads, plastic wads & about every conceivable combination of the above. I have only used lead to date in the muzzle loader. I would expect tungsten alloys to pattern tighter than lead.
    Every gun is an individual. You have to shoot it with various combinations to see what it likes & what works. You don't need high velocity with lead & even less so with higher density non toxics. Barrel damage is associated with high velocity, pellet size & pellet hardness.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    The gun is cyl bored, so it's going to be either wads or shot cups. I'll have to do some searching for sales on designer non toxics. I know steel with the right wad would work, but still hesitate. Biggest cause is that with steel velocity is the key. The newer steel loads are more effective, and they all have the same thing in common. Big fps numbers. Not going to happen safely with BP. I'm going to get a bunch of cards and wads, a few shot cups, 1-1/2Fg and 2Fg, and play with lead first. Going to be interesting, part of the fun too.
    Trying to get my Moore up and running as well. Will be neat to compare a modern BP double with an 1850's original.
    Hopefully will get to go out and shoot the double rifle this weekend. Still have all the stuff for my Renegade, so it's going to be PRB to start with. Maybe try some conicals later on

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Start playing with loads in both guns. You might be suprised at the patterns you can get from a cylinder bore. I have played with plastic wads at times, I can get better and denser patterns with a combo of cards and fiber. It just takes time to go through them. For water foul I use bismuth,yes its expensive but I get two to three years from a jug. I use several origonils and the modern Pedersolis, plus the trade guns. The first banded goose I killed was with a Brown Bess flint musket, 1 1/8 oz bismuth #5 and 80 grains of ffg. Dropped like a rock. We had a one goose limit that year, why not add something to the day
    Don't buy nuthing you can't take home

    Joel 3:10

  7. #7
    Boolit Man GEOMETRIC's Avatar
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    Like DIRT Farmer says, "start playing with loads------". One quote I keep repeating from H.P. White Laboratories is, "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions". The plastic wad approach could very well work for you but there are other options if you don't mind spending a little money. First, you could have a gunsmith (or if you know how to work with metal, do it yourself) jug choke the barrels. My DGW 10 ga. has a fixed modified choke in the left barrel & I had Briley install a choke tube in the right barrel. I would try the easy way first. If that doesn't work, you can always go to plan "B".
    Any time you shoot anything harder than your barrel, you take some risk but we have been banging away at ducks with steel for years now with little reported damage. CIP (European) proof has at least two levels of proof which are tied to velocity, pellet size & degree of choke. Velocity has proven to be the best way to increase the effectiveness of steel but you can also increase pellet size. Going through the choke is where the damage usually occurs but you don't have that problem. Have you read V.M. Starr's little book? You can get it on line free.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    i have a CVA DBL. hammer, muzzle loader that i bought as a kit in the late 60,s for $58.00. they are now over $600.00. what i shoot in it is a .600. DIA. patched RB. yes i know it is a 12 gauge, but with 80 grs of 1 FG. or 2 FG. behind it, it hit,s POI. at 50 yds, both balls about 1 inch a part. if i bare ball a .720 DIA. RB. with the same load, same point of impact. not bad for an old CVA, that every body used to puke on when you told them you had one!.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by GEOMETRIC View Post
    Like DIRT Farmer says, "start playing with loads------". One quote I keep repeating from H.P. White Laboratories is, "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions". The plastic wad approach could very well work for you but there are other options if you don't mind spending a little money. First, you could have a gunsmith (or if you know how to work with metal, do it yourself) jug choke the barrels. My DGW 10 ga. has a fixed modified choke in the left barrel & I had Briley install a choke tube in the right barrel. I would try the easy way first. If that doesn't work, you can always go to plan "B".
    Any time you shoot anything harder than your barrel, you take some risk but we have been banging away at ducks with steel for years now with little reported damage. CIP (European) proof has at least two levels of proof which are tied to velocity, pellet size & degree of choke. Velocity has proven to be the best way to increase the effectiveness of steel but you can also increase pellet size. Going through the choke is where the damage usually occurs but you don't have that problem. Have you read V.M. Starr's little book? You can get it on line free.
    That's very true, testing beats theory every time. I had thought about doing a jug choke, but I'm not convinced cyl bore is as much of handicap as some people would have us think. It worked in all those old guns for how many hundred years? I've never shot much of anything other than skeet or I/C in modern shotguns. If I missed it probably wasn't because of the choke lol.
    I could and prob would do the choke work myself, if it came to that.
    I do have V.M. Starr's book. Very informative. I think his loads might be a little hot even in modern guns, much less originals, but I'm still on the low end of the learning curve, so my opinion may not prove out to be true.
    “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”
    ― Thucydides

    “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
    ― Thucydides

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by toot View Post
    i have a CVA DBL. hammer, muzzle loader that i bought as a kit in the late 60,s for $58.00. they are now over $600.00. what i shoot in it is a .600. DIA. patched RB. yes i know it is a 12 gauge, but with 80 grs of 1 FG. or 2 FG. behind it, it hit,s POI. at 50 yds, both balls about 1 inch a part. if i bare ball a .720 DIA. RB. with the same load, same point of impact. not bad for an old CVA, that every body used to puke on when you told them you had one!.
    Yes, paid more than I should have I guess. Got it for $450. But it's unfired, near as I can tell.
    Have thought of the PRB option, going to try it I think. Always good to have options. That's good shooting with any double!!
    Nothing wrong with the CVA guns. They and T/C used to be about the only game in town, got a lot of people shooting BP again.
    “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”
    ― Thucydides

    “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
    ― Thucydides

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Biggest problem I'm having is finding BP. Have searched everywhere locally, none stocked anywhere. I have a couple cans of GOEX 3F left over, but that's not going to work. I'm going to have to go with Pyrodex RS for now I guess. Going to have to order BP.
    “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”
    ― Thucydides

    “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
    ― Thucydides

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    If you shoot originals you should find this interesting. Moore 13ga.
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    “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”
    ― Thucydides

    “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
    ― Thucydides

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRT Farmer View Post
    Start playing with loads in both guns. You might be suprised at the patterns you can get from a cylinder bore. I have played with plastic wads at times, I can get better and denser patterns with a combo of cards and fiber. It just takes time to go through them. For water foul I use bismuth,yes its expensive but I get two to three years from a jug. I use several origonils and the modern Pedersolis, plus the trade guns. The first banded goose I killed was with a Brown Bess flint musket, 1 1/8 oz bismuth #5 and 80 grains of ffg. Dropped like a rock. We had a one goose limit that year, why not add something to the day
    I don't think the cyl bore will be all that much of a handicap. It worked for how many years? I'm getting some cards and wads now, going to try them first. For ducks, I'm looking at going to the non toxics, just not going to fool with steel I don't think. I like the sound of bismuth. That's cool about the Brown Bess. One of the next things on my list is going to be a flint fowler. I'm working on getting my original 13ga percussion double up and going too. Going to take a little work, but it'll be worth it. Have to fix one of the locks, make a new part and a new spring.
    “The State that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”
    ― Thucydides

    “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
    ― Thucydides

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    what size wads / cards does a 13 bore take?

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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