THE TRUTH ABOUT CVA MUZZLELOADERS

By Dudley McGarity

If you found this article while surfing the web or in a Google Search, you may have also noticed some other articles that present an extremely negative picture of both Blackpowder Products, Inc. and our CVA muzzleloading brand.  Unfortunately, this is nothing new to us, as most of it relates to Connecticut Valley Arms, Inc.’s Voluntary Recall — which was initiated way back in 1997.  Most of these negative “articles” are actually several years old, but it seems that every so often they resurface and cause a rash of new internet chatter.  As the CEO of BPI, I’d like to provide you with a little background information that will give you some insight as to why these persons would practice this “internet terrorism” against our company.

You’ll notice that all of these “hit pieces” originate from one of two individuals.   One of them has been engaged in an internet smear campaign against BPI and our CVA brand for several years now.  Interestingly, the last time we checked, he works part-time for one of our competitors, Savage Arms Company.  As for the other, he is a private investigator employed by a law firm that specializes in product liability lawsuits. Over the past several years, both of these men have essentially been working together for this law firm, apparently in the pursuit of clients for whom the firm can potentially file gun accident lawsuits against BPI.   As a part of this effort, the private investigator has recently set up a website on which he publishes, for the most part, information from the various court filings that were made in relation to accidents that occurred during the use of these recalled CVA guns – guns that were made in 1995 and 1996.  Needless to say, neither of these “gentlemen” could be considered unbiased commentators on CVA products.  To the contrary, both have a financial interest in publicizing only the information — be it selected, partial, distorted, and/or blatantly false — that would provide some sort of advantage to their law firm and/or publicly damage the reputation and business of BPI/CVA.

As for the recall, it is certainly no secret that, way back in 1997, Connecticut Valley Arms, Inc. did in fact initiate a voluntary recall of one design of an in-line gun that was made in 1995 and 1996.  And, it is also no secret that a number of people were injured with these guns.  However, Connecticut Valley Arms, Inc. took responsibility at that time by issuing the recall, and BPI (the current owner of the CVA brand) is continuing the recall effort in an attempt to find all of these guns.  So far, about 96% of the approximately 55,000 recalled guns have been accounted for.  The CVA Voluntary Recall is still in effect, and BPI continues to mention this in our CVA catalogs and on our CVA web page, and will be until every recall gun is found.  Other than the voluntary recall of these 1995 and 1996 guns, no other CVA gun model has ever been recalled for any reason. 

Now, in regard to the present rather than the past, the guns that are marketed under the CVA brand today bear little if any design similarity to those that were recalled in 1997.  In fact, none of the barrels we use today are sourced from outside vendors.  Rather, they are all made in the Bergara Barrels factory, a facility that is wholly owned by our parent company.  In addition to building the barrels for all CVA guns, Bergara Barrels also makes some of the most respected after market barrels available today, as well as providing barrels to many other highly reputed gun manufacturers throughout the world.  Because of our direct control over the barrel making processes, today’s CVA guns, when used as instructed, are as safe as any muzzleloader on the market.  Also, in terms of materials and construction, they are of equal, if not superior, quality to those of any of our competitors.  This fact has been illustrated by the success that the CVA brand has enjoyed for the better part of a decade now – as the # 1 selling muzzleloader brand in the world.

As a potential or present CVA owner, it is essential that you are able to use our guns with total confidence.  And, certainly, reading the ramblings of characters like those I mention above can understandably shake that confidence.  While there is nothing we can ever do that will erase the history of a product recall from 15 years ago, I do hope that I have provided you with a balancing perspective that will counter the misinformation that you may read about our company on the internet.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s CVA guns, and why they are now taking the market by storm, please check out our website at www.cva.com.

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756 Responses to THE TRUTH ABOUT CVA MUZZLELOADERS

  1. Ron says:

    100grains in a pistol may be possible but not a good idea. I shoot a bp pistol with no more than 50 and usually 30. For reasonable pistol distances it is enough. This is not a rifle so dont think you can use it as one. Use a bit of common sense.

  2. Dudley McGarity says:

    Ron: Agreed. 100 grains carry quite a punch. I can be done, but not very comfortable unless shooting off a bench. One 50 grain White Hots Pellet works pretty darn good. Thanks, Dudley

  3. HAHA! 100gr powder in that light weight pistol would be worse than the dirty harry 44mag! I plan on starting off at 70gr volume, blackhorn209 with the 250gr powerbelt aerolite.

    The 200gr shockwaves/SST with 80gr Blackhorn209 are extremely accurate from this pistols.

  4. Dudley McGarity says:

    Jonathan: Indeed, if you are not holding on tight, it will “make your day.”

  5. Hey Everyone: I know that a lot of you were sort of using this blog as a forum for all kinds of subjects and questions. Well, we lost it in cyberspace for a while, but it is now back up an running. So, you can resume asking questions here, or on any of the CVA Blog posts. We’ll be sure to answer in a timely manner. Best regards, Dudley

  6. Robert says:

    My CVA Firebolt Ultramag .45 has fired over 2,000 rounds to date and is capable of keeping a 60mm group at 85 meters using loose powder and 250 grain Maxi bullets. I once made the mistake of loading two bullets on top of each other and NOTHING happened to me or the rifle when it was fired. I will not hesitate to buy another CVA rifle no matter what our antagonist writer says about them! R.W. should stick to telling jokes for a living, and stop grinding the “unsafe” Spanish muzzleloaders axe!

  7. Robert: I am glad to hear that you are loving your old FireBolt. We sold a lot of those guns prior to the CVA Optima break action models coming out in 2003. Then, everything changed to break action seemingly overnight. However, there are still a lot of happy shooters out there, like you, shooting those CVA bolt aciton guns. Thanks for your comment. Best regards, Dudley

  8. Neko says:

    Dudley, First off I’ve got to say you’re one heck of a guy, to take as much time as you have to communicate one on one with anoydby who shows up on this blog page, whether they’re fans of CVA or or not. To personally handle situations from customers needing help speaks volumes. It’s unheard of in this day and age of multimillion dollar CEO’s. You’ve won me over. I just bought an Optima Thumbhole 209 with the scope package and QRBP from Dunham’s and absolutely love it. Apparently I’m not using the optimum bullets and primer from what you recommended to another customer but I’m getting dead on results anyway. With 100 gr. of White Hot pellets, 245 gr. PB hollow points and Remington Cleanbore 209 s I had my gun sighted in in 3 shots at 50 yds. I then stepped back to 100 yds and using nothing more than a short bench type shelf for a rest for my elbows and in a kneeling position somehow I managed to hit almost dead center inside a 4 inch bullseye. What a gun! After I bought the gun I came across Wakefield’s articles and was somewhat concerned, but after doing a lot of research on both CVA and Randy Wakefield I soon came to the correct conclusion. CVA is a very upright and honest company that builds the finest, most accurate, affordable and reliable guns on this planet, and Randy Wakefield is someone that is very much less than reputable, among other things, in my opinion. I’ll leave it at that. Two questions, where is the serial number on my gun? I can’t find one.Second, I watched the Bergarra barrels video and while they stated they proof test the center fire barrels to 25% over rated capacity they made no mention of the proof testing of muzzle loading barrels. Can you tell me what they do to proof test these? After Wakefield’s accusation’s it seems CVA would be eager to make special proclamation of this. Thanks again for all you do and one heck of a gun. Can’t wait for deer season.

  9. Neko: Thanks for you comments. I am very pleased that you are so happy with your gun. In answer to your question, while center-fire guns are individually proof tested, muzzleloaders are tested on a sample basis. This means that a percentage of the production is put through progressive destructive testing all the way to the point of failure. We do not publish the “points of failure” simply because we do not want people to use this information to “push the limits” by using overloads or smokeless powders. We guarantee our guns to be safe for use with the recommended max loads, and, for the safety of our customers, we strongly discourage overloading under any circumstance or by any method. Thanks, Dudley

  10. Wes says:

    Dear Dudley, I have an older cva passed on to me by my grandfather when he passed away. I remember shooting it at the range in my childhood and still pack it up and shoot it today. Other than knowing it was a kit he bought at a Service Merchandise store sometime in the early 70′s I am not sure of what model it is. Can you help me preserve some historic info on it? It is a percussion cap civil war looking rifle with a matching pistol. Both of which still shoot as good as…well a couple days ago as I remember. lol Thank you.

  11. Wes: Wow! That one predates me. Probably an Italian-made version of a Springfield on Enfield rifle and an 1851 Colt Navy. Check to see origin. The Connecticut Valley Arms company imported and marketed such guns back in the 1980s and early 1990s. Best regards, Dudley

  12. Darrell says:

    I have a CVA owner since 1975. My first Cva was a Kentucky long rifle kit and was very accurate. My next muzzleloader was a .50 caliber , made by one of CVA’s competitors(still today) I could not hit a flock of barns with it.Luckily that gun was stolen. Being a bit strapped for cash and muzzleloader season fast approaching, I stopped into one of the big box stores and purchased a CVA Eclipse .50 cal. If I remember correctly , I paid $ 106 with tax . This rifle, with Powerbelt bullets, is as accurate as any muzzleloader I have ever been around. So, needless to say I am a CVA fan. I recently purchased a CVA Apex, camo and stainless in .35 whelen. After zeroing my scope , my first 4 shots at 100 yrds, were touching . Cant wait for next deer season!

  13. Darrell: That is fantastic! I always love to hear from long time CVA customers who have purchased CVA guns for years and years. Your CVAs are a great example of where our company has been, from the early days of all traditional guns to high-tech modern rifles like your CVA APEX. Thanks for sharing. We are proud to have satisfied customers like you! Good hunting, Dudley

  14. Wes says:

    Dudley: The long rifle is stamped made in the U.S.A. on the barrel. It has a 32″ barrel, double trigger, double wedges to hold barrel to stock, patch holder in the side of butt of stock . The pistol doesn’t have U.S.A. or Spain stamped on the 9″ barrel just CVA spelled out and black powder only(even looked on underside). Both are 50 cal. Best I have found is that they might be the “Hawkins” models? Could I send you some pics to see if I am correct? Thanks again.

  15. Wes: Wow! That’s and old one if it is stamped “Made in USA.” Probably made in the early 1980s. Is the barrel browned or blued? If browned, it is most likely one of the early “Mountain Rifles,” which was the top of the line back in the all traditional days. Patch box would also be browned rather than brass. Nose cap would be German Silver. Relatively rare, and highly valued among traditionalists. Best regards, Dudley

  16. Wes says:

    Dudley: Both rifle and pistol are defiantly browned colored. And a one piece stock from butt to forestock on the rifle. Thank you for your time to help me pass on info on these to my son as he never met his great grandfather. But loves it when we get out “ole smokey” as he calls it to shoot. One other thing, what is the recomened load for packing in the rifle?

  17. Wes: Well, then it is one of the original Mountain Rifle, and probably a Mountain Pistol. Congratulations. Give this, it would be a 1:66 twist, which would mean it is a “patched round ball gun.” You may also get good results with T/C Maxi-Balls. I have shot both in my Mountain Rifle with good results. I use 90 grains or real black powder — FFG. Good shooting, Dudley

  18. Wes says:

    Dudley: Thank you for this info. Very nice shooting guns. Love them both. Plan to keep them in the family for generations to come. It’s CVA all the way for me!!

  19. Wes says:

    Dudley: If you ever need a “beta” tester for new products give me a shout. Would like a chance to test some new things. Just email me.

  20. Tony Little says:

    I have a 2011 CVA OPTIMA .50 cal. muzzle loader and I want to know if a Optima Elite centerfire rifle barrel will fit on it. It would be nice to switch out for other seasons.

  21. The Optima and Optima Pro are purely muzzleloaders and will only accept muzzleloading barrels. The Optima Elite will accept center fire barrels and muzzleloading barrels.
    -Thomas

  22. John Linney says:

    Over the years, I have owned several CVA rifles, all but one, were good shooters, and I say good, I mean “GOOD!!”
    Several of the rifles, easly out shot T/C rifles.
    Keep up the good work!

  23. John: Sorry to hear that you had one that was not up to par, but happy all the others did so well for you. For sure, the word about CVA muzzleloader accuracy has gotten out, as our top of the line muzzleloaders, the ACCURA series rifles, are all selling incredibly well. These are the guns that feature BERGARA barrels, and are guaranteed to outshoot any muzzleloader the purchaser has ever shot, or CVA will refund the purchase price! Details of the guarantee are on our website — http://www.cva.com. Best regards and good luck this season, Dudley

  24. LEO E. RUNYON SR. says:

    I HAVE A 50 CAL. CVA. STALKER RIFLE, MADE IN SPAIN, 91 784251, IF THAT TELLS YOU ANYTHING. OLD BUT GOOD. GET AT LEAST ONE DEAR A YEAR WITH IT. HUNT WITH BALL & PATCH BECAUSE IT COST TO MUCH TO WASTE A GOOD SHOT AT END OF DAY IF I DON’T SHOT A DEER. I DON’T LIKE TO AMIT IT, BUT I HAVE TAKEN 4 SHOT’S A ONE DEER BEFORE I GOT IT. LOVE MY RIFLE.

  25. R. William Henderson says:

    I just purchased a 50 caliber percussion muzzle loader on Gunbroker.com. The gun is not an inline model. However, the serial numbers are similar to the ones that are/were recalled. Is this gun safe to shoot and how many grains of black powder(FFg) should I use when shooting a 50 caliber (.490) round lead ball?

  26. R. William Henderson says:

    In my previous comment concerning the 50 caliber percussion muzzle loader I failed to mention it is a sidelock model. I apologize.

  27. William: No problems with that gun. Recall was only for in-lines. For that set-up I would use 90 grains of loose Pyrodex RS or real FFG Black Powder. Good hunting, Dudley

  28. James says:

    I have a 14 year old son and he is going to enjoy a youth day hunt in Pike Co. this year. I need a rifle that is accurate at 200 yards but won’t kill a young man to pull the trigger. He is even at 14 a experiencined shooter. We spend most of summer shooting rifles out to 500 yards. Is the Accura V2 going to be the best choice for us to purchase for a young hunter? And of course he will be supervised and never out of arms reach of myself. I have read a lot of articles saying that the V2 is extremely accurate out to 250 with 3 pellets. I just don’t feel he is ready for three pellets and is the rifle going to produce tight groups with just two pellets and a 250 grain bullet? Thanks

  29. James: When it comes to accuracy in muzzleloaders you cannot beat the CVA Accura V2 or MR. In fact, we guarantee them to be the most accurate muzzleloader you’ve ever shot or we will refund your money. In answer to your load question, the gun will be no more or less accurate with 100 or 150 grains — except to the extent that most guns will “like” one particular combination of propellant, amount of propellant and bullet type and will acheive maximum accuracy (at any range) once that combination is found. That being said, the big factor in long range shooting is compensating for the drop. The greater the propellant charge (up to the 150 grain max) the less drop you will see at long range. Therefore, the less powder you use, the higher your point of aim must be to hit the same place on the target. Therefore, your son will be perfectly fine shooting just 100 grains at 200 yards if he knows the drop of the bullet at that range and correctly compensates for that drop — and the groups will likely be no worse or no better because he is not using a magnum charge. Good luck with your shooting! Best regards, Dudley

  30. R. William Henderson says:

    Thank you, Dudley. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.

  31. Morris says:

    I have a blazer I bought years and years ago. I have killed alot of deer with it. I e-mailed cva awhile ago because I needed a breech plug for the rifle. I was told to mail it in and they would send me a new rifle. I plan on doing that but it took me months to decide to send it back. Just because of sentimental reasons I thought I might keep it. Then decided I might as well send it back just in case so nobody gets it and tries to fire it, as is it would not be safe any more. I am so going to miss that rifle a lot. I sure hope the replacement is inline with a hammer. I can honestly say I would never spend the big bucks for some other brands of muzzle loader when cva has produced such an accurate rifle. My blazer has been in a box and labled for shipping for about a week. I guess I should get it in the mail, I’m sure gonna miss it.

    Morris

  32. Morris: Send it on in and we will replace it with our Wolf Rifle — which is a break-action in-line with a hammer. Best regards, Dudley

  33. Morris says:

    Thank you I have it boxed I just have to get it in the mail Should I open it back up and add a note so I get the wolf rifle or is that the standard replacement?
    Thank you again
    Morris.

  34. Kevin says:

    Hello. I received a Kentucky rifle model from my father the serial number is no close to the recall numbers 0128420. It has never been fired, it is ok to shoot?
    Thanks

  35. J Mac says:

    Anyone shoot the new accura mr with just open sights?

    Just got a blackhorn breech to shoot. I have tru glo muzzel bright sights but you have to bury your cheek so far in the stock to align sights it Feels like ur getting punched while shooting.

    Anyone else experience this? Suggestions?

    Utah hunt requires open sights.

    Thanks

  36. Morris: The Wolf is the standard replacement. Dudley

  37. J Mac: I have bad news. The Accura MR stock is not designed to work with open sights but rather with optics. The comb is too high. This is why we do not sell the gun with open sights. We have yet to find a set of after market sights that will work well on it — some are barely acceptable, but only to shooters with skinny faces. We could swap your gun for one of our refurbished Accura V2s that we have here. Those guns work fine with open sights. Best regards, Dudley

  38. Kevin: No sidelock was ever involved in the recall. No reason not to shoot the gun. Best regards, Dudley

  39. J Mac says:

    Dudley, Thank you for a reply. for your information this is from your websight today when you click on the MR:

    Only 6.35 lbs. with WeatherGuardTM Coating with 416 Stainless Steel 25” Fluted Bergara BarrelTM,Bullet Guiding MuzzleTM,WeatherGuardTM coating, and 1:28” Twist Rifling. QRBP – Quick Release Breech Plug, DuraSight® DEAD-ONTM One-Piece Scope Mount or Fiber Optic Sights.

    Or fiber optic sights?

    I Picked the scope mount version becaue I live in michigan, but I do go to utah to hunt, so I put some sights on it. Considering most “Mountain” states have a no scope requirement i did not think anything about it. I feel a little misled….

    I am new to CVA, this is my first gun from you. I Drew a LE elk tag, and wanted to upgrade my #11 cap gun for this hunt, and also wanted to shoot Blackhorn powder. After purchasing rifle, I ordered the breech plug from you for blackhorn. After two weeks after you charged me I called and was then told it was on back order (No email or notice prior). I canceld order and got a different plug elsewhere. I am still waiting for refund and for customer service to e-mail be back to confirm.

    I did choose CVA for customer service and your advertized accuracy. I appreciate your prompt and truthful response but with time lost from breech blug, I dont have time to wait for another round of shipping to prepare for this rare tag .Thank you again for your time.

  40. Morris says:

    Thank you Dudley. I sent in the blazer today. Can’t wait to get the wolf and try it. I have already bought a bolt action cva but I prefer the hammer so I imagine the wolf will be my go to muzzle loader. I mailed it priority. The usps site says it will be there Wed.

    Thank you
    Morris.

  41. J Mac: I fully understand that you feel misled. The fact that the barrel was drilled and tapped would lead anyone to believe that the open sights were available for the gun. This was our mistake. Yesterday, because of your issue, we changed the specs on the Accura MR and the Apex to remove the sight screw holes. At least this way, people will never be confused as to the gun essentially being “scope only.” So, that being said, you have a great gun to use in Michigan, but you are still in a pickle for Utah. Above you state that you wanted to “upgrade my # 11 cap gun for this hunt.” Are you referring to a different gun, as the Accura MR is 209 only. Does Utah also require # 11? What can we do to help you out? Our customers are important to us, and we want to do right by you. Best regards, Dudley

  42. Morris: Very good. We will be on the lookout for your Blazer. Thanks, Dudley

  43. J Mac says:

    Dudley

    The mr was a replacement to my older different brand #11 cap gun. I wanted a 209 that could handle magnum loads which lead me to you and the mr. 209 is fine in Utah, scope is not (technically 1x is ok but I am not a fan of 1x).

    If you are asking I would first request ken or someone in customer service return my email and cancel my order and credit my card back (approval number 01306) .

    Then if i could be so bold, a new V2 next day shipped to me with a paid return label for the mr. I need to work up a load this weekend for my schedule. I leave in 43 days and need range time. Thumb hole stock unless that comb is too high also for open sights. Assuming my blackhorn breech will work for V2.

    If blackhorn breech will not work and/or if you can’t accommodate request above will you refund my purchase price for the mr? I want 1 muzzeloader with scope for Michigan and open sights for out west , which is what I thought I was getting with the mr.

    I have a backup t/c omega that I have borrowed that I have been shooting and will use If we can’t work anything out. Was hoping for your gun to outperform it but it did not considering issues I had with open sights only shooting it one day.

    Although I am not a very satisfied customer your response to this blog is impressive and respectable.

    Hopefully you have my email from blog or customer service if we need to work out any details outside of this blog.

    Thank you again for your time.

  44. J Mac: Ken will be contacting you shortly to arrange for the swap. Sorry for the inconvenience. Good luck on your hunting trip. Please send us some photos if you are successful. Best regards, Dudley

  45. J. Wall says:

    Just wanted to brag on CVA for their customer service. Purchased my first CVA rifle and developed a load that shot extremely well for an upcoming annual Deer hunt out of state. Took the rifle home to give it a thorough cleaning. Disassembled the rifle and had an itch to clean the trigger group. Big mistake, and had I completely read my owners manual I would have known this. Being pretty handy I thought I’d put the action back together. After several hours and much frustration, the action was still in pieces. I called CVA and arranged to send it back for repair/reassembly. I was quoted $40 for the reassembly and 4-6 weeks turnaround. While cutting the grass today, the UPS man showed up with my action–after about two weeks. Opened the box and looked at the invoice—NO CHARGE and REPLACED THREE PIECES FREE OF CHARGE! For those wondering, the pieces replaced were ones I had scratched or stretched in my own attempts to reassemble the gun. I am impressed with this level of service and just wanted to say thank you. I will be a CVA customer in the future no doubt.
    J Wall
    PS- Just a suggestion for future rifles, a removable and serviceable trigger group would be a really nice feature to add to CVA products. Overall a GREAT rifle and a real SHOOTER to boot.

  46. J: Thanks for taking the time to complement our great Customer Service Team. They really do a great job and love to hear from satisfied customers like you. Good luck this season! Best regards, Dudley

  47. Morris says:

    I just checked my tracking number and see my blazer has made it to the cva exchange address. Can’t wait to get the replacement gun back so I can get it sighted in for hunting season. I am really going to miss my old blazer. I have made some really good shots with that old rifle.

    Morris.

  48. Morris: Yes, that old gun was indeed a trail “BLAZER.” It was, in fact, the first in-line gun to be marketed in modern times. A bit ahead of its time though. You’ll love the CVA Wolf that we will send you to replace it. Dudley

  49. Morris says:

    Thank you Dudley. I am really going to miss that old gun. I am also looking forward to trying the wolf. I bought a bolt action type cva muzzle loader about 7 or 8 years ago as a back up for my blazer but never used it until last year. The rifle is accurate I’m just not a fan of the bolt so that one will remain the back up gun.

    Morris

  50. mike says:

    hi mr McGarity i own one of the old apollo ss inline cva i dont remember the date i bought the gun but i know it was close to the date of the recalled ones. and cva is all i have ever owned but w/ the recall im alittle scared to fire. any advise?

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