Need Help With a Game Plan

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Cabin Fever

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Apr 21, 2019
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8
I recently sold my TC Black Diamond, to force myself to upgrade. Long story short, through a LOT of searching and reading, I've pretty much settled on getting a CVA Optima. I've probably read over 1000 posts on this site, while trying to come up with a good load and setup, but I'm still confused about a few things...

1. From everything that I've read, it sounds like I should shoot BH 209. I understand that there's a special breechplug that I need to get, and that I can get one from CVA or one from Western Powders? It sounds like the one from Western Powders is preferred?

2. I've been reading about the use of shims or O-rings for the breechplug? Is it one of the other? Do I need them?

3. I plan on starting with 300gr XTP's. From what I've read, these shoot well out of the CVA's and perform well (good bloodtrails are a big plus!). Thoughts?

4. I'm confused about different sabots. In the past, I've always just shot the sabots that came with the bullets. Pretty simple! Now, I'm reading about green, black, smooth, crush rib, etc... HUH? What's the difference? Better yet, just tell me where to start! LOL

5. With my previous muzzleloader, I always used Winchester primers. Are these OK with the BH or do I need to buy a different primer?

6. Is either a BDC or duplex reticle scope preferred? Opinions? Things to consider? I've never owned a BDC, but I guess for those long shots, they might be helpful. I'm open to scope suggestions for ~$200

Our muzzleloader season is only 8 days long, and after the regular season in NY, so I really don't want to invest a whole lot of money into this.

I'm sure I'll have more questions! I appreciate any help, as I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed.
 

Dougs136Schwartz

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Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,176
There are plenty of guys on this site that can give you good proven loads. I am only going to comment on a scope.

I personally do not like BDC scopes for what I consider a short range hunting gun. You made the statement you may be shooting sabots with XTPs . XTPs are a great bullet for hunting but not at all considered a long range bullet . With that said 200 yards would be what I would consider about max distance . With a normal duplex reticle and a 100 yard zero you should still be able to hold high on the deer to make a lethal shot . At 200 yards I’m gonna guess your bullet will drop 10 to 12 inches. Correct me fellows if I’m wrong I’m just guessing.

My point is I would rather have a plain duplex with a hundred yard zero because most times your shots will be less than 100 yards and if my shot is further know my load and gun then hold high. But that is just me . I’m positive there will be other opinions.

Several good scope choices in your price range
 

dragonfly

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Jan 13, 2018
Messages
156
Every gun is different. You must find out what your gun likes. It's a process. Expect some range time to experiment. You can start with proven loads from others. Maybe you'll get lucky. Have fun.
 

BuckDoeHunter

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Aug 29, 2009
Messages
2,846
I prefer BlackHorn 209, the price tag was my biggest complaint but since Walmart started to sell it, that's not an issue for me anymore, I can wait for a "end of the hunting season sale' and get it for half price. My BH209 plug came from CVA and it works great but I've read that many like the Western Powders plug better.

There is a good chance that if you use Winchester 209 primers with a BH209 breech plug, you won't get any blowback around the primer, that has been my experience so far. If you do get blowback, I would use the shim kit, then you won't have to mess with replacing o-rings every 20-30 shots.

I like all copper bullets for deer hunting but many use the 300gr XTP with good success. Nothing wrong with using the supplied sabot if you get good accuracy, but if you don't or the bullet/sabot combo loads too loose or too tight, you can try a different brand or different type of sabot til you find one that works for your rifle.

I like BDC reticles and have successfully used them for hunting. Holdover with a duplex reticle is probably the fastest way to get ready for a longer range shot but may be the least accurate, using a BDC reticle is not difficult but does require you to know your load and know where each hash mark hits, Nikon Spot-On is the one I use for my Nikon scopes and it works quite well. Turning your turret the required number of clicks for the desired range is probably the most accurate but is usually the slowest way to do it. It all boils down into what works best for you and what you may encounter where you hunt.

I like my Nikon Omega and XR scopes for their 5 inches of eye relief. The latest Nikon muzzleloader scope, the P3, seems to not have 5 inches, which is disappointing.
 

sabinajiles

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Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
476
I'll give you my thoughts point by point.
1. Either breech plug will work fine. They are identical. The only difference is Western Powders includes a pin vise and drill bit for cleaning the flash channel.
2. I would shim the firing pin bushing for .002-.003" crush with a Winchester 209. Do it once and you never have to mess with the o-rings.
3. 300 XTPs do shoot well from the CVA rifles and give great terminal performance. Actually, the newer CVA rifles aren't very load picky and will shoot a variety of good bullets very well.
4. Proper sabot/bullet match is one of the most important factors for maximum accuracy, IMO. Generally, the tighter the bullet/sabot fit, without having to hammer the load down the bore, the best accuracy. My experience with 3 different CVA rifles is that they generally shoot best with smooth sabots than the crush ribs. There are exceptions. The Harvester short, smooth, black sabot works well for most .452 bullets and the Harvester smooth green sabot works well for most .429 bullets. Some .451 bullets do shoot a bit better with a red crush rib sabot. None of these combos are written in stone however, so it is important to try different combos but keep in mind that a bullet/sabot combo that takes firm two handed pressure on the ramrod to load and seat usually shoots best.
5. Winchester primers aren't the hottest but I have never had any problems igniting BH209 with them in my CVAs or other rifles as long as there is not excessive primer blow back.
6. I personally do not like BDC reticles either. Too much clutter in the scope, which can be confusing in a split second you may only have when taking a shot, and they are no more accurate that compensating for drop, as Doug mentioned, at long range. Totally unnecessary, IMO.
 

mnoland30

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Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
113
I tried Blackhorn once, but powder costing about $0.60 a shot was a big drawback. It comes in 10 oz. cans instead of 16 like everyone else. I shoot a clean barrel because that is what my first shot on game will be, so I clean between shots. Blackhorn is easier, because you don't need to swab between shots. I can buy 777 for much less, and the velocity is almost identical, and I could tell no difference in accuracy. I'm retired, and shoot a lot, so cost is a big factor. I picked up a bunch of Black MZ from Sportsman's Warehouse for $10 a lb. It shoots the same as 777 for me. Great for working up loads.

With a 300 gr. bullet, I'm guessing your bullet will drop about 6" between 100 and 200 yards. For years, I just used the top of the post on my duplex reticle for the 200 yard shots. Or, you can just aim at the top of the spine. That said, when I changed to a BDC, it is much more accurate, and the Nikon Spot On program is cool. Be aware that Nikon has a lifetime guarantee, but only good for the original purchaser with both warranty card and receipt. My reticle on my used Nikon broke (What?) and I found out the hard way. Amazingly, it is still accurate if I can remember when piece of the reticle to aim with.

I shimmed my Encore breechplug but screwed up and used the non-removable one first. I couldn't close the gun. I had to drill it out a bit by hand to make it fit. Now my primers come out clean, and my scope isn't covered in burnt powder. If your primers come out black, you need to fix it.

BuckDoeHunter, what part of the country do you live? I can't even find 777 at Walmart here in NM anymore.
 

ENCORE50A

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Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
4,017
I tried Blackhorn once, but powder costing about $0.60 a shot was a big drawback. It comes in 10 oz. cans instead of 16 like everyone else. I shoot a clean barrel because that is what my first shot on game will be, so I clean between shots. Blackhorn is easier, because you don't need to swab between shots. I can buy 777 for much less, and the velocity is almost identical, and I could tell no difference in accuracy. I'm retired, and shoot a lot, so cost is a big factor. I picked up a bunch of Black MZ from Sportsman's Warehouse for $10 a lb. It shoots the same as 777 for me. Great for working up loads.

With a 300 gr. bullet, I'm guessing your bullet will drop about 6" between 100 and 200 yards. For years, I just used the top of the post on my duplex reticle for the 200 yard shots. Or, you can just aim at the top of the spine. That said, when I changed to a BDC, it is much more accurate, and the Nikon Spot On program is cool. Be aware that Nikon has a lifetime guarantee, but only good for the original purchaser with both warranty card and receipt. My reticle on my used Nikon broke (What?) and I found out the hard way. Amazingly, it is still accurate if I can remember when piece of the reticle to aim with.

I shimmed my Encore breechplug but screwed up and used the non-removable one first. I couldn't close the gun. I had to drill it out a bit by hand to make it fit. Now my primers come out clean, and my scope isn't covered in burnt powder. If your primers come out black, you need to fix it.

BuckDoeHunter, what part of the country do you live? I can't even find 777 at Walmart here in NM anymore.
Estimated...……… 120grs volume BH with a 300gr SST

84 and 300.JPG
 

Travis299

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Joined
Jul 18, 2015
Messages
242
CVA BP Rifle primer blowback problem.


IMO, when the primer is fired there is a lot of resistance or back pressure on the primer ignited hot gas caused by the small size of the fire/flame hole, .028 to .033. This resistance/pressure means that it is imperative that the primer is sealed into the primer pocket to prevent the hot gas from escaping back around the primer and exciting to the rear, blowback. This blowback can foul the firing pin assembly in addition to the fact that it is wasted hot gas that is intended to ignite the powder charge. The sealing of the primer is also made more difficult because all primers are NOT the same length. If the fired primer has black coloring on the sides of the primer than this is an indication of the blowback problem. I have found, from recommendations on BP forums, that using the rubber O-Ring in the primer pocket that the blowback problem is solved for whichever primer I am using. The O-Ring will last for 10/20 shots and you get 100 O-Rings for about $5. This is the site for the O-Ring.

https://www.mcmaster.com/9262k611

This O-Ring can be seated into the base of the primer pocket using a primer to push the O-Ring in. When loading the primer into the BP rifle, point the open action down while inserting the primer and then close the action with a firm snap. Also check that the firing pin bushing is flush with the face of the receiver with no indention or protrusion. This will insure that the action will open/close without any problems.
 

rangerod

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Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
1,331
I've seen reticles that I thought were very busy. Just not BDC reticles. Especially not something like a a Leupold ultimate slam. Almost all of my guns have BDC reticles and have made my shooting much more accurate. A long shot where I hunt would be quite rare. But what if it's there? I prefer the option of the long shot. The BDC gives me that. You absolutely must know your distances. When it comes to the shim kit I have to wonder (since I haven't used one) just how durable a shim that's only a few 1/1000 thick would be. CVA recommends periodic removal and cleaning of the firing pin/bushing assembly. Will the shim tear from repeated loosening and tightening? I've always used the o-ring with no problem.You can purchase 100 count for just a few bucks. If one lasts 25 shots you'd get 2500.
 

rangerod

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Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
1,331
Scopes? Howabout Sightron sih 4-12x40 Hunter Hold over reticle. Same as BDC. I have this scope. Very good. Amazon for $190.00. It can also be bought in a a duplex reticle.
 

GM54-120

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4. I'm confused about different sabots. In the past, I've always just shot the sabots that came with the bullets. Pretty simple! Now, I'm reading about green, black, smooth, crush rib, etc... HUH? What's the difference? Better yet, just tell me where to start! LOL

5. With my previous muzzleloader, I always used Winchester primers. Are these OK with the BH or do I need to buy a different primer?

6. Is either a BDC or duplex reticle scope preferred? Opinions? Things to consider? I've never owned a BDC, but I guess for those long shots, they might be helpful. I'm open to scope suggestions for ~$200
4) I would suggest starting with "smooth sabots" from Harvester or MMP HPH-24 sabots. Green for .429 bullets or black for .452 bullets. The new 458 sabots from Harvester might also be an option. There are a few nice 458cal rifle bullets made for 45/70 that should perform well at muzzle loader speeds. Im fond of the Sierra 458 300gr FNHP just because it expands very well at milder speeds.

5) In a good plug the standard Win209 shotshell primer works well with BH209. NOT THE Win209 MADE FOR MUZZLE LOADING. Another one worth trying is the Nobel/NSI 209 primer. They are a little fatter than a Win209 and might fit your plug a tiny bit better.

6) Im with Doug on this one. I dont care for BDC reticles. Its just more clutter. I have a older Nikon Omega and a couple Redfields with the "Accurange" and i just cant warm upto them. I sorta like the way the Accurange/Ultimate Slam looks on a round target but not for hunting....Aside from the BDC im fairly pleased with the Redfields but mine were first year models and i got them sorta cheap too. ATM you can probably get a better scope for $200.

My main suggestion is look for scopes that fall between 3.7"-4" of eye relief. Shorter you risk scope bite and much longer hurts field of view. A 300gr bullet and a good dose of BH209 will generate some solid recoil in the Optima....Scope bite sucks big time.
 

Dougs136Schwartz

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Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,176
My picks for $200 scope

Sightron SIH

LEUPOLD 2x7x36

Redfield Revolution 3x9x40

If you want a scope that you can dial with BDC reticles . My buddy and I have been playing with Discovery scopes . Air gun optics sells these scopes in the US . They are China made but have very good glass . They track very well and are holding up under some very stout loads . These scopes were made for springer pellet guns.Cheap scopes scare the HECK out of me ! But so far I have been very impressed with these scopes. You can buy a lot of scope for $200 In the Discovery line .
 

ENCORE50A

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Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
4,017
I always wanted just a 4-plex type scope, mostly to eliminate clutter.

Went from this...…..

Nikoplex_Reticle.png

Now to this...…… Took some learning.

NXS - MOAR file.jpg
 

GM54-120

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My picks for $200 scope

Sightron SIH

LEUPOLD 2x7x36

Redfield Revolution 3x9x40

If you want a scope that you can dial with BDC reticles . My buddy and I have been playing with Discovery scopes . Air gun optics sells these scopes in the US . They are China made but have very good glass . They track very well and are holding up under some very stout loads . These scopes were made for springer pellet guns.Cheap scopes scare the HECK out of me ! But so far I have been very impressed with these scopes. You can buy a lot of scope for $200 In the Discovery line .
Mine is the Revolution. Made at the same plant as the Leupolds. I cant speak for later made but the first year were very similar to VXI-VXII glass. Mine sure looked as good as VXI or slightly better. Specs are nearly identical to the older Leupold 2x7x33 also. Sure looks a lot a like and about $50 less than the loopy.

https://www.leupold.com/scopes/compact-scopes/vx-1-2-7x33mm

https://www.swfa.com/redfield-2-7x33-revolution-rifle-scope.html?___SID=U

The one i wanted to try is the Redfield TAC-MOA 3x9x40 but its a little over priced unless you can find one on sale. Ive seen them as low as about $220 on sale before.
https://www.opticsplanet.com/redfield-revolution-3-9x40mm-tac-moa-riflescope.html
 

rangerod

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Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
1,331
I always wanted just a 4-plex type scope, mostly to eliminate clutter.

Went from this...…..

View attachment 4320

Now to this...…… Took some learning.

View attachment 4321
I always wanted just a 4-plex type scope, mostly to eliminate clutter.

Went from this...…..

View attachment 4320

Now to this...…… Took some learning.

View attachment 4321
This is the scope you use? But don't like BDC's scopes because of clutter?............Hmmm.
 

JIMYJAC

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Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Messages
49
I`ll chime in. I have a Black Diamond XR. Always served me well. Bought a CVA Accura. Both nice rifles,just different. The BD has more of a center rifle feel a big plus. The BD sports a 2x7x32 plex. The Accura was outfitted with bushnell DOA. On the range I did great with it.In a hunting setting I missed with it more than I care to remember. That did not happen with my BD. I have since taken that scope off and replaced it with a plex reticle. Guess what? Deer down. For me I have to keep it simple stupid. I use a bh breech plug with bh209. Easy clean up and has served me well. I believe sometimes we over think stuff. Good luck!
 

Doccbst1

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Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
119
I've bought 2 new rifles this year one low price one mid price.
It's hard to give a suggestion not knowing your budget. And knowing budget for accessories. You'll spend another 1/2 or more for accessories.
Glass, bullets, slings, powder, primers, loading tips, cases, pouches, tubes, measuring devices, targets, etc.
I'm the king of cheap, and best value for the $. Give me you budget, dislikes and general location I'll try to help.
A lot of sales/clearance deals going on now from online and local stores. Good time to buy.
 

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michiganmuzzy

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I'll give you my thoughts point by point.
1. Either breech plug will work fine. They are identical. The only difference is Western Powders includes a pin vise and drill bit for cleaning the flash channel.
2. I would shim the firing pin bushing for .002-.003" crush with a Winchester 209. Do it once and you never have to mess with the o-rings.
3. 300 XTPs do shoot well from the CVA rifles and give great terminal performance. Actually, the newer CVA rifles aren't very load picky and will shoot a variety of good bullets very well.
4. Proper sabot/bullet match is one of the most important factors for maximum accuracy, IMO. Generally, the tighter the bullet/sabot fit, without having to hammer the load down the bore, the best accuracy. My experience with 3 different CVA rifles is that they generally shoot best with smooth sabots than the crush ribs. There are exceptions. The Harvester short, smooth, black sabot works well for most .452 bullets and the Harvester smooth green sabot works well for most .429 bullets. Some .451 bullets do shoot a bit better with a red crush rib sabot. None of these combos are written in stone however, so it is important to try different combos but keep in mind that a bullet/sabot combo that takes firm two handed pressure on the ramrod to load and seat usually shoots best.
5. Winchester primers aren't the hottest but I have never had any problems igniting BH209 with them in my CVAs or other rifles as long as there is not excessive primer blow back.
6. I personally do not like BDC reticles either. Too much clutter in the scope, which can be confusing in a split second you may only have when taking a shot, and they are no more accurate that compensating for drop, as Doug mentioned, at long range. Totally unnecessary, IMO.
I agree with all this except #2, I prefer the O-ring. Just my opinion, its cheap and easy, just stick it in the hole, replace it every couple dozen shots or more often. you can actually find orings at a decent hardware store. I had trouble finding shims that would stay put in my accura bp. The primer pocket seemed bigger, looser than other bp primer pockets.
 
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