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Thread: New barrels for my CVA 50 cal Hawken

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master

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    In my case, yes it is. It is not a necessity but it may be one day! I may not attempt it but wanted to know what the issue(s) was/are. It seems that maybe the breech plugs are a very tight fit from the factory and then once rust sets in a very, very tight fit... maybe.

    For now I guess if it ain't broke... don't monkey with it!

    Longbow

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    Okay... let me in on the secret then if you would. I have read different opinions before on the patent breech systems and I think I understand how they work but cannot understand why they can't be taken apart then reassembled again... or so the manufacturers say.

    Correct me if I am wrong here but from what I have found the breech plug is screwed in then the barrel is drilled through into the breech plug then tapped for the bolster. Is that correct?

    So disassembly would be to unscrew the bolster then the breech plug. To reassemble all you should need to worry about is getting the breech plug back in place so the bolster will screw back in.

    On top oi that I have read that some patent breechs are a "friction fit" on the threads for the breech plug as they are not intended to be removed (why not?). Is that the issue? Yet you said you have removed them. Was the breech plug reusable after you removed it or were threads damaged?

    I have no problem with the idea of the patent breech but I don't like the non-removable breech plug.

    I have a CVA Hawken percussion .50 cal. I built from a kit and I would like to be able to removed the breech plug. I can't say I have had to but I would like to be able to to ensure the bore and breech are clean.

    Anyway, if it can be done without destroying things I would like to do it.

    Thanks,
    Longbow
    The nipple drum I understand the why and how - open up the powder channel (un necessary but can make a case for it) converting to flintlock? definitely!! remove the drum and replace it with touch hole liner

    Quuick tip here ......best way to pull that drum is a mechanics injector spanner that is a neat fit around the drum - leave the nipple in firm seated and that drum will come out nice - have done several like that (all my CVAs are 1987 vintage so there been plenty of time elapsed and this still works)

    am absolutely mystified why would anybody want to pull the breech plug out of a shootable CVA barrel (or any other for that matter) I have been shooting these things since 1990 and never felt the urge to do that - comes under the heading of recreational gunsmithing for me (i.e. got the tools, am bored, lets do somethin that dont need doin to fill in some time) .....sorry guys I just dont have spare time that needs using up thataway

    all the 28 inch cva's I saw in 45,50,54 cal were 15/16" across the flats
    Long penslvania and kentucky rifles was 7/8" in 45 and 50 cal
    Squirrel rifle smaller ?
    Maybe the Mountain rifle was one inch ?
    but a one inch hawken ? maybe they changed to that later in production ..........................
    Last edited by indian joe; 07-08-2024 at 05:28 AM.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master AntiqueSledMan's Avatar
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    Hello Indian Joe,

    In the 1979 catalog they list the Big Bore Mountain Rifle available in Percussion only, in 54 caliber with a 1:66 twist 32” x 1” barrel,
    or a 58 caliber with a 1:72 twist 32” x 1” barrel.

    In 1981 they introduced their Hawken Rifle. Available in 50 or 54 caliber Percussion or Flintlock with 1:66 twist 28” x 1” barrel.

    In the 1989 Catalog they list a St. Louis Hawken with an option of 1:66 or a 1:48 twist barrel, in 50 (Percussion of Flintlock), 54 Percussion, 58 Percussion, but don't state the external dimension of the barrel. They do list a new Hunter Hawken Rifle with a 1:66 twist 28” x 15/16” barrel in 50 or 54 caliber Percussion, and a Hunter Hawken Carbine with a 1:48 twist 24” x 15/16” 50 caliber Percussion barrel.

    Also the .32 cal Squirrel Rifles had a 1:48 twist 25” x 11/16” barrel, available in Flint or Percussion, and the .36 cal Squirrel Rifles had a 1:48 twist 25” x 7/8” Percussion barrel.

    AntiqueSledMan
    Last edited by AntiqueSledMan; 07-08-2024 at 10:14 AM.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueSledMan View Post
    Hello Indian Joe,

    Thanks for the fill in ----
    In the 1979 catalog they list the Big Bore Mountain Rifle available in Percussion only, in 54 caliber with a 1:66 twist 32” x 1” barrel,
    or a 58 caliber with a 1:72 twist 32” x 1” barrel.
    I assumed the Big Bore Mountain rifle would been 1" being it was a 58cal - an 2 part article in a local gun rag on the "CVA Big Bore Mountain Rifle" was what got me into this game - read it - gotta get me one of them - alas poor yorick - they was all gone - only ever saw a couple of mountain Rifles in 50 cal - never saw one of the proper ones

    In 1981 they introduced their Hawken Rifle. Available in 50 or 54 caliber Percussion or Flintlock with 1:66 twist 28” x 1” barrel.

    I have a couple Hawken branded 54 barrels also a Missouri 50 cal - these are 15/16" but are 87 serial numbers - I always believed that meant 1987 manufacture ???? --some of the "CVA" stuff I have had is Dikar brand - so this is a bit of a puzzle

    Have believed for a long time that a certain Aussie importer went to Spain in the late 1980's and brought back a large consignment of what I would loosely describe as quality control rejects - stuff put aside as not up to scratch for your market - every one on these guns I bought (most of em super cheap) had defects or kits had minor parts missing
    - all resurrectable - in the end I paid proper price for a finished 50 cal pensylvania long rifle - the two nose cap screw holes had almost penetrated the rifling - could see little bulges - I called our friend (hes a thousand miles from me) "what do you want to do send it back?" - I want a shooter and I reckon it will come right so let me shoot it for a month then decide ? - ok done deal-----it came good, I converted it to flintlock and later that year I shot a ten shot group a whisker over 2" at 100 yards off sitting position (no sticks) in a match, no spotting allowed - best target I ever did

    In the 1989 Catalog they list a St. Louis Hawken with an option of 1:66 or a 1:48 twist barrel, in 50 (Percussion of Flintlock), 54 Percussion, 58 Percussion, but don't state the external dimension of the barrel. They do list a new Hunter Hawken Rifle with a 1:66 twist 28” x 15/16” barrel in 50 or 54 caliber Percussion, and a Hunter Hawken Carbine with a 1:48 twist 24” x 15/16” 50 caliber Percussion barrel.

    Also the .32 cal Squirrel Rifles had a 1:48 twist 25” x 11/16” barrel, available in Flint or Percussion, and the .36 cal Squirrel Rifles had a 1:48 twist 25” x 7/8” Percussion barrel.

    [COLOR="#0000FF"]seen a couple squirrel rifles but never had one - quite a few Kentucky rifle kits landed downunder mostly in 45 but an odd 50 cal out there 32" long x 7/8 /COLOR]

    CVA got a poor rep around the clubs - had a few problems a competent tinkerer could fix easy enough - locks - the early ones with no internal support were junk but I dunno if they were even CVA might been jukar or dikar - some had a long nose sear that would bend and foul up-easy fix with an oxy torch and file if you caught it before it broke right off (I posted that fix here somewhere years ago) - I never had a problem with mainsprings but some blokes did - I think that might have traced to the sear problem tho or just lack of maintenance ----all that said NOBODY made a better muzzleloader barrel as far as accurate or forgiving of loads NOBODY!
    AntiqueSledMan
    ....

  5. #25
    Boolit Master AntiqueSledMan's Avatar
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    Hello Indian Joe,

    I always liked the CVA's, even though I started with a Thompson Center Hawken.

    I purchased my first, a Frontier Rifle about 1980. Wanting to build a Kit, but at the time I could purchase a finished rifle for less. I stripped the barrel and re-finished it with plumb brown, and I changed the front sight. That rifle would out-shoot my Thompson every time. Unfortunately I sold it to a friend, what a mistake.

    I also purchased a .32 Squirrel Rifle, that was a fun little thing. I sold it to purchase a Pedersoli Pennsylvania in .32, but this time in a flintlock. I fought the flintlock for a year, then I converted it to percussion. I love shooting that one, but with a 42" barrel it is clumsy walking through the woods. I did finally purchase another Squirrel Rifle in .32, but then I changed out the sights.

    I did build one of those CVA Kentucky Rifles, with the two piece stock. It turned out pretty nice and it shot very well. But I had a chance to trade it for a .58 Mountain Rifle, this is the only CVA which I had any troubles with. It doesn't always fire the cap, I've changed out the main spring with no luck. The alignment looks good and I can't find anything dragging, but one day I will figure it out.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  6. #26
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I should add that when I clean ther gun I remove the barrel and stand up in hot soapy water in a bucket then pump the soapy water up and down the barrel using a tight fitting rag on a jag. That works well for me.

    However, if I lift the barrel out of the soapy solution I get a stream squirting out of the breechplug threads when I pump water out of the barrel. So that tells me that the thread seal isn't good so is likely getting fouling in there and if not well cleaned out there could be corrosion occuring in tight crevices. I don't see any sign of gas leaking but there must be if water can get through.

    So I guess a little more than recreational gunsmithing since the breechplug threads shouldn't leak. Not sure that I can do much about it except possibly replacing the breechplug and maybe retapping the barrel threads.

    At least now I have a better idea of what to expect if I decide to try removing the breechplug.

    Longbow

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    I should add that when I clean ther gun I remove the barrel and stand up in hot soapy water in a bucket then pump the soapy water up and down the barrel using a tight fitting rag on a jag. That works well for me.

    However, if I lift the barrel out of the soapy solution I get a stream squirting out of the breechplug threads when I pump water out of the barrel. So that tells me that the thread seal isn't good so is likely getting fouling in there and if not well cleaned out there could be corrosion occuring in tight crevices. I don't see any sign of gas leaking but there must be if water can get through.

    So I guess a little more than recreational gunsmithing since the breechplug threads shouldn't leak. Not sure that I can do much about it except possibly replacing the breechplug and maybe retapping the barrel threads.

    At least now I have a better idea of what to expect if I decide to try removing the breechplug.

    Longbow
    Thats a problem needs sorted
    I'd proly pull that plug - make sure you have clear index marks so you can get it back right - if upon inspection theres enough thread engagement that you feel safe behind it - I would reinstall it with red loctite - just me - some here will be horrified
    Otherwise it needs a new plug and likely new nipple drum

    Never heard of one leaking like that

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    There was a thread on the ALR site a month or so ago that discussed this. The fella had a CVA Mountain Pistol that leaked water around the breech plug when he cleaned it. I had never heard of this either. I followed along with the comments as I have several CVA rifles and pistols. The general consensus was that it had rusted badly around the threads and was unsafe to shoot. The fella with the pistol wasn’t interested or capable to pull it apart to see for himself. He rather sell it, I’m sure to some unsuspecting person.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    I once came across a CVA barrel that leaked around the breech plug when I cleaned it.
    I thought someone might have pulled the plug out and didn’t put it back in correctly.
    I couldn’t find a new breech plug. So I used the same barrel but redrilled and tapped it for a larger plug of a different manufacture.
    But now that I read of several other leaking breech plugs , I think just the rust from improper cleaning might have been the problem with that barrel.
    The nipple drum tapped into the breech plug held the breech plug tight in the barrel.
    But that gas leak around the threads was still not safe IMO.
    But , How many people actually look for that leak around the breech plug when cleaning there barrel ?

  10. #30
    Boolit Master Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    I checked my cva stuff after reading about the pistol, they are all fine thankfully. Do you suppose that the breech plug could be welded to the barrel if it ever did become an issue?

  11. #31
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Some time ago Ken Netting pulled an old CVA breech for me and shortened the barrel. The breech area was toast but the barrel was worth saving. The breech end of the barrel was removed. That done and all the bolster, nipple, thimbles, etc relocated, I took that (now shorter) rifle out and bagged the biggest whitetail rack of my hunting career. Where there is a will there is a way.

    As to the OP interest in a re-bore vs a new barrel, one of the considerations is that you get to pick your new rate of twist. I've done several .50's to .54 / .60 / .62 and got to choose the new rate of twist. Since I'm a round ball kinda guy, that choice is right up my alley. YMMV

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    If the breech plug an barrel threads are ok , but loose enough that they leaks the gas out. Just sweat silver solder the breech plug threads to the barrel.
    The nipple drum provides a firm lock for the breech plug. The solder can take up the extra space in the threads.
    That will seal the plug better if needed.
    Soldering the plug threads will be removable if ever you need to again remove the breech plug.
    But welding the plug to the barrel is a fix that you won’t ever be able to take apart.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    Great idea, I do a lot of welding, I’ve never soldered anything. I should probably learn how to solder. I read a lot of good things about the strength of silver solder.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    Soldering is very easy.
    Basic you take out the plug.
    Clean the threads on the plug and barrel.
    Then heat up the metal to the point it melts the solder.
    Apply your flux and spread the moltin lead so it coats the threads.
    Wipe it down so the threads just look like they are plated.
    Apply flux to the threads and reassemble them. Then just re heat the barrel and plug to make the solder on the threads remelt.
    Let it cool and you are done.

  15. #35
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueSledMan View Post
    Hello Indian Joe,

    I always liked the CVA's, even though I started with a Thompson Center Hawken.

    I purchased my first, a Frontier Rifle about 1980. Wanting to build a Kit, but at the time I could purchase a finished rifle for less. I stripped the barrel and re-finished it with plumb brown, and I changed the front sight. That rifle would out-shoot my Thompson every time. Unfortunately I sold it to a friend, what a mistake.

    I also purchased a .32 Squirrel Rifle, that was a fun little thing. I sold it to purchase a Pedersoli Pennsylvania in .32, but this time in a flintlock. I fought the flintlock for a year, then I converted it to percussion. I love shooting that one, but with a 42" barrel it is clumsy walking through the woods. I did finally purchase another Squirrel Rifle in .32, but then I changed out the sights.

    I did build one of those CVA Kentucky Rifles, with the two piece stock. It turned out pretty nice and it shot very well. But I had a chance to trade it for a .58 Mountain Rifle, this is the only CVA which I had any troubles with. It doesn't always fire the cap, I've changed out the main spring with no luck. The alignment looks good and I can't find anything dragging, but one day I will figure it out.

    AntiqueSledMan.
    Two lock plate sizes for CVA's - from memory the Mountain Rifle had the smaller one ?????????
    Also two different sear's one has a longer more flimsy nose (the bit that engages the notch in the tumbler) some of those long nose sears would over time bend upwards and start to foul/hang up in the half cock notch - maybe the fly in the tumbler was not functionimg properly as well ? You would get intermittent fail to fires - recock - fire again = all good (until it got worse/broke)
    Pull the lock and check the sear nose that its absolutely straight along the bottom - easy to check it -
    I posted a fix for this up above
    in the sticky "My fix for a bad trigger on a CVA pistol" post 28 - 32 (by Indian Joe)

    And then theres simple stuff that we all know but forget from time to time - like a dead cap stuck to the underside of the hammer - or a nipple a little deformed from many shots
    Last edited by greyhawk; 07-11-2024 at 06:15 AM.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtrubicon View Post
    Great idea, I do a lot of welding, I’ve never soldered anything. I should probably learn how to solder. I read a lot of good things about the strength of silver solder.
    On P14 and 17 actions I save the threaded portion of the old barrels and bore them out. The new barrel blank is turned on the chamber end, to just fit inside the stub of the old barrel and is silver soldered into place. The barrel is then tapered and chambered. All Remington 760’s and 742’s, were built that way, and the newer models still are. Silver solder has some amazing strength when applied properly and in the proper applications.
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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