Some range time with the Optima pistol today

Discussion in 'Inline Muzzleloading' started by MrTom, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. Aug 16, 2019 #1

    MrTom

    MrTom

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    I hauled a bucket load of bullets and a volume measure to the range today, primarily to see how the Barnes .44, 225 grain bullets were going to work in the optima pistol. I did powder charges with a volume measure since wind seems to be a constant around here and an electronic scale isn't wind friendly. I knew my pistol printed nice using .44 cal, 240 grain XTPs and a 90 grain [v] charge, but I needed to know how the Barnes pills were going to fly.

    For the Barnes, I started with 70 grains measured at the 50 yard mark where the XTPs would do right about an inch for 5 shoots. At 70 grains the 4 shots I did were pretty loose....maybe 3". 80 grains measured tightened things up about a half inch. The 90 grains got the Barnes bullets right back into the 1" area again but a tad bit higher than what the XTPs do...about an inch higher. Both green crush rib and smooth green sabots were tried to check for deviations and honestly none was evident.

    I put a fresh face on the target and did 4 shots using the 90 grains and the 240 grain XTP. Right where they've always shot. I changed up to a ,45 cal, 250 grain XTP with the 90 grain load and the group came open to about 2". I tried both smooth black and crush rib black sabots and no change.

    Its apparent that the pistol likes the 90 grain by volume charge and basically I can use either sabot or either bullet with confidence, as long as I am using a home converted plug using vent liners.

    Following Ron's instructions and using the tools he mentioned, other than a mill, I have converted a couple standard CVA quick out plugs for vent liner use and can say that the converted plugs are the way to go. Both a Western and a CVA 209 compatible plugs have been tried next to the home spun and both have less accuracy than the home spun plug. All of my converted plugs use Badger Ridge vent liners and with a Winchester [blue box] 209 primer I have never had a mis-fire or hang fire....something I cannot say of the other two plug brands. With no shimming on the firing pin bushing or any rubber or metal washers in the primer pocket my primers pop out with a finger and are as clean as when they went in. Zero carbon in the breech area.

    My plan is to go lead free this fall season and the Barnes certainly will fly from this gun. Today was a great "telling" day. All cleaned up and ready for the season, the Optima pistol is back in its case just waiting.....
     
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  2. Aug 16, 2019 #2

    herschel conyers

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    Sounds like a fun day there Tom. A few hours shooting muzzleloaders is good for the soul.
     
  3. Aug 16, 2019 #3

    BuckDoeHunter

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    Sounds like a good time at the range, looking forward to your success story later this year:lewis:
     
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  4. Aug 16, 2019 #4

    MrTom

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    Can't shoot at the club until 9AM and I got there early. Fridays usually fill up fast but today not a soul was there. May have been the wind but it really didn't seem so bad on the pistol range. Had the whole world to myself. Real relaxed shooting, not having to look over your shoulder all the time.

    Been a while since I had the hand cannon out for the amount of shooting I did. Really put a dent in the 209 jug today.

    Next up will be the Accura and some 250 grain Barnes. This gun is a super accurate one with the .44 cal XTP in 300 grain, non-magnum. Really swats the crap out of deer with that bullet, but again its one of the two primary guns that go to the field and I really want to strive for lead free in it as well. Hopefully I can luck into another day like today.

    Learned a lot of little things today and feel that the time spent there was very beneficial. And it really was good for the soul. My skin cancer has gone from the simple stuff to full blown melanoma and I have more surgery slated to the 26th. Then I have to find out what kind of after care [chemo, radiation] we're looking at and just how far this crap has gotten. So far everyone has been optimistic so hopefully the biopsy results of this surgery will come with positive news. Got a lot of thinking done this morning along with some relaxation.....which I have needed.
     
  5. Aug 16, 2019 #5

    herschel conyers

    herschel conyers

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    Sorry to hear of your battle with cancer, we, (several in the group) will be praying for a complete recovery. Have Faith!
     
  6. Aug 17, 2019 #6

    MrTom

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    It was only a matter of time for the melanoma to step up....been dinging with squamous cell for years. Thanks for the prayers and support all.
     
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  7. Aug 17, 2019 #7

    ShawnT

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    Sounds like those pistols are some fun. Plan to go to the club tomorrow for a little Mind Medicine myself.

    Hang in there Tom Prayers and best wishes from here too.
     
  8. Aug 17, 2019 #8

    twild

    twild

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    Sounds like a nice day Mr.T, I'll be prayin for ya.
     
  9. Aug 17, 2019 #9

    MrTom

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    I've owned three of the CVA Optima pistols and sold a couple off to people looking for one. I also have a couple of the Traditions Vortex [?] pistols. The CVA guns are 100 grain [volume] capable while the Vortex guns are 70 grainer, again by volume. The Vortex guns are not as accurate regardless of how much the charge weighs. I think what has stymied sales of the CVA guns is word of mouth from people with big ideas of letting loose really heavy loads with heavy bullets.

    I use mine for hunting so what I look for first is accuracy, then add more power, keeping an eye on the accuracy. Since I limit my shots to a very reasonable distance.....25 yards or less as a rule unless I have a target within 50 yards totally unobstructed and standing absolutely still broadside....I use bullets that are lighter but which have expansion abilities within the velocity range at which the bullets fly inside that "shoot zone", comfortably. I tried the heavy....300 grain XTPs and 100 grains by volume stuff.... and it was way beyond what I wanted to deal with in recoil. I think this is where some have gotten into trouble and word got out about ugly recoil.

    I shoot the 240 grain bullet with 90 grains [v] comfortably but then I was a carpenter most of my life and feel I have very strong hands, wrists and arms, plus I weigh in at about 235-240. With this load I realize recoil about in line with a .41 magnum. The 225 grain Barnes mentioned above at the 90 grains [v] is actually a one hander off the rest but I always use a two handed grip even in the rest. With the 240 XTP load I was seeing right in the neighborhood of 1548 fps as an average. I didn't have a chrono available yesterday when I shot but I can see this Barnes 225 grain with the 90 grains zipping along at about 1600fps or thereabouts. Using either bullet I am assured that they'll operate accurately and as they're supposed to inside this 50 yard sight in and shooting limit. This should be everyone's goal who hunts with these short guns. Bigger is not always better.

    Like at the range, I have a couple areas in the stand here I have added rests to the side-walls which afford me about 290 degrees of accurate shooting. The other 70 degrees are tree. These guns even with open sights are HEAVY, barrel heavy especially, so a rest is just common sense. I have walked up on a deer and used a tree as a rest with good results. At the same time, the videos showing guys popping off pussy loads using one hand or with their nose and forehead ten inches back from their hands is simply unrealistic in the field. Hunting loads are going to buck. Period. My philosophy is that one should shoot the strongest load he can comfortably and accurately using bullets that have GREAT expansion histories. That may mean 70 grains to so, maybe 80 grains to another or like me 90 grains with lighter bullets to keep recoil in its place. While I could shoot a 300 grain pill over the max load of 100 grains while hunting, it costs more, kicks more, is less accurate and doesn't add a thing to the end game.

    When the first edition of the CVA Optima hit the stores I had one and have gotten a couple others since the V2 model was released. I've collected several deer with them. They are fun to shoot and are a serious addition to one's hunting arsenal, when one recognizes the limits that come with the guns.
     
  10. Aug 17, 2019 #10

    GM54-120

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    There is a semi cheap bullet that just might work ok in the Optima pistol. Its the Hornady 45cal 225gr FTX. Its made for 45LC lever gun loads. 100 bullets are around $32 or so. I think they offer it or something similar in 44cal too. I do really really like the 225gr XPBs.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2019 #11

    Chris W.

    Chris W.

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    Yep, they make a 225 gr .430 FTX for the 44 mag. I've been tempted to pick up a box to play with in the pistol. My Optima pistol shoots the .429 225gr XPB really well, so it would be interesting to see how the 225 gr FTX shoots.
     
  12. Aug 17, 2019 #12

    MrTom

    MrTom

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    I looked at those but really wanted lead-free and did the Barnes. The 225 grain Barnes are shooters and will loaded this fall in the pistol. I was thinking that the 225 grain, .430 FTX might be a good one for target work in the off season since they're a bit less expensive. Its my plan to grab a box of those FTX bullets to see if they fly like the Barnes for off season tune up shooting. I was aware of them but had to make a choice for fall.
     
  13. Aug 18, 2019 #13

    Chris W.

    Chris W.

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    With that fat hollow point and all copper construction, that 225 gr Barnes should do a number on game. I load mine with 85 gr of BH209 by volume. Didn't get a chance to pull the trigger on anything last season though, so no field report. I'll be heading out to the range in the next few weeks....have a new 45-70 to sight in. I'll take the Optima pistol and see if I can get some chronograph data.
     

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