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The Optima Report

first range session

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#1 cayugad

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:46 PM

The Optima Report...

I got my work done early today. Ran to the big city and grabbed a set of steel Weaver bases that fit the Optima. Did a few other things and headed home.

At home I decide to see how the open sights would shoot. Set a target up at 26 yards. I took with me some Pyrodex RS and some BlackHorn 209. I also took some 240 gr .430 Hornady XTP and crushed rib sabots. And some 348 gr Aero Tip Powerbelts.

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My concern today was not so much accuracy but just to see how the rifle functioned, and swabbed, etc.. So I started with 80 grains of Pyrodex RS and the XTP's. I shot four rounds with the open sights and as I have said countless times.. I am not a fan of fiber optic sights!! The sun was to my right and it caused the red front sight to grow a moon from the glow of it. Also the stock on this rifle is very hard to get behind.

I discovered.. to really set that sight deep in the rear sight I have to almost get off the back of the rifle. Or there is part of the check piece that really presses into my cheek and is not comfortable to shoot, trying to get down, into the stock.

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I realized that if the rifle had a scope on it, it would raise me enough off that stock to make it comfortable. So I went in the house, and mounted the Weaver Bases. Not real happy with them. Far to restricting on where the scope has to be placed. And I grabbed a $19.99 Simmons Pro Sport 4x32 scope off the shelf where I keep extras. And then I mounted that in a set of QR rings I had laying around.

Since I had swabbed the barrel clean, I decided.. lets try some BlackHorn 209 and see if this breech plug will shoot the stuff. Well even with a Winchester W209 primer I shot off BlackHorn like there was nothing to it. I shot four rounds of the XTP's with the Blackhorn and was surprised they hit higher.. but it was obvious that either the charge was wrong or the rifle does not like XTPS or crushed rib sabots.

So I swabbed the rifle clean and got out the powerbelts. All I had were 348 grain Aero Tip. I loaded 80 grains of Pyrodex RS and shot 5 rounds of them. Surprising was.. they hit even higher then the XTPs. And while at the distance I was shooting.. it should have been a ragged hole.. I really was not worried about accuracy at this point.

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After 13 rounds.. the open area of the breech plug is still very very clean. No fouling on the back of the rifle where the firing pin lays, and the plug looked clean. Very impressed with that.

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The firing pin is hitting nice and deep and dead center in the primers.. again pleased with that.

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After shooting, I break the rifle open and tilt upward and the spent primers fall right out. Notice how pristine in condition they are. There just is not a lot of fouling out of this rifle.

So I ran the target out to 50 yards and decided to shoot at a picture on the target...

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The bottom hit was 80 grains of BlackHorn 209. The top hit was 80 grains of Pyrodex RS. I was aiming dead center on the picture of Blackhorn 209 of course.

Cleaning the rifle was just a breeze. I took the fore end off and removed the barrel. The breech plug turned right out, easy, as advertised. I had used Slick 50 One Grease on it, and it was still the green anti seize. I was impressed. No blow back. A few patches later and the barrel was spotless. I ran two alcohol patches for the benefit of the Black Horn 209, and then two patches of Simple Green. A couple dry patches and an oil patch. Just a real easy rifle to clean.

So I have a lot of load work to do. I was going to order a BlackHorn breech plug but after today, to be honest.. I think when the BlackHorn runs out, I will be happy with the other powder. I do want to find a real accurate load. When the new scopes come in, this rifle will get a Cabela's 3-9x40mm PowderHorn Muzzleloader Scope. They were on sale for $28.95 and for that price.. I want to see what they are like.

A very nice rifle so far. Next time out, it will be pellets. Any bullet suggestions?

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#2 MyShootinStinks

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 04:52 AM

Nice rifle Cayugad, I was at walmart the other day and handled the Cva Optima like yours, it had the black synthetic stock and the stainless barrel. it's only $217.00 I'm thinking I may have to get me one. I have always had good luck with pyrodex rs in my inlines. I used to have a Knight Disc and a Traditions pursuit Pro rifle, but I sold them both, now I just have traditional muzzleloaders. I would like to get a t/c inline, but I think for the money that Cva Optima looks like a pretty good deal.

Edited by MyShootinStinks, 30 October 2012 - 04:59 AM.


#3 sschneid73

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 05:50 AM

I also have an Optima but it is the Magnum and I load it with 150 grns of pellets and shoot the Hornady SST 250 gr sabot. The accuracy is pretty good. I will shoot 10 rounds before I clean. I love this gun. I am thinking of switching to a powerbelt though as my brother in law tells me they are more accurate out of his T/C. I have sighted in out to 200yds. and am all around the center of the target with my load. Hope this helps and good hunting.

Steve

#4 cayugad

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 08:17 AM

I do intend to shoot some Shockwaves also. But not 150 grains. While this is able to handle that much powder according to the manual, I don't like to shoot that much. But I am going to try two pellets of Pyrodex RS. I will give the shockwaves a try. Thanks for the idea. Good luck this hunting season.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#5 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 03:30 PM

As you know I shoot XTPs in my Knight. I got fair accuracy with the 240 gr bullets. I then shot some 250 gr bullets and the accuracy improved. I then tried some 260 gr bullets just for kicks and surprise accuracy improved again. I then found that Hornady had the 300 grain XTPs in .452 and that combo was very accurate with the crush rib. Mu son in law tried that same combo out of his CVA and claims he has finally found his load for that rifle. I use 85 gr of 2f bp and my sil uses 70 gr of 3f bp. That is what we used in Kansas this year to take 3 deer.
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#6 cayugad

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

Well I will have to give that a shot.

Although when I said I had trouble seeing the rear sight. I discovered why today.. the slide part fell off. Not the main base, the left right slider that held the fiber optics. I thought it was the sun in my eyes or my old eyes, but without the sight.. its kind of hard to see. Then when I was checking the scope, I was going to take it off.. well I turned the release levers the wrong way and snapped them off. Guess I don't know my own strength. So I said to heck with it.. I called CVA and told them to send me a DuraSight single base with rings, another breech plug, and a new rear sight. All that is on the way.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#7 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

Lol that is funny, expensive but funny. Yes a rear sight is kinda important to the aiming process. Arm strength comes from splitting all that firewood.
If God had a refrigerator would your picture be on it.
Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the titanic by professionals.

#8 Spirithawk

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:19 PM

Congrats on the new rifle Cayugad. I think you'll like it. I liked mine and the only reason I got rid of it was to put a .50 barrel on my Encore. My son still has an Optima 209 and an Optima Elite. The Optima's are quite acurate and a pleasure to shoot. I liked T/C Shockwaves in mine but they shoot Powerbelts quite well too. Best of luck with your's. :)

#9 cayugad

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

Thanks Spirithawk.. what kind of powder and charge did you use? I am still playing with loads. Also did it like a tight sabot or a loose sabot?
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#10 cayugad

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:42 PM

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I mounted up the new DuraSight one piece base. Wow is that a solid set up. And then I put a 3-9x40mm Cabela's PowderHorn Shotgun Scope on it. The scope is actually made for Muzzleloaders also. It has no fancy BDC and that's fine with me. I of course wanted to shoot the rifle real bad. But today it was in the 30's and light drizzle/even a few flakes from time to time, over cast and just not the kind of day that most people would shoot.

So out to the range I went... of course.. :shock:

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When I called CVA to find the correct mount height, he assured me that the medium height mount would accept a 40mm scope or less. Well he was not telling a lie.. but look at how close that front bell comes to the barrel. I had to pull the rear sight. And its so tight to the barrel I can not fit the scope cap on the rifle without modification to the cap itself. I modified that cap with a Dremel tool, by cutting off a section of the cap the width of the barrel. So the cap now rests over the scope, but slides over the barrel.

Having no idea where this rifle would shoot, and not really wanting to waste expensive sabots.. I started with roundball at 25 yards. I have found in the past this is a excellent way to break a rifle in, even an inline. They are normally pretty accurate. and cheap to shoot, since I cast them myself.

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Shot one showed way to high.. so I adjusted. Shots 2&3 not too bad, and then to see what would happen... I did not swab the bore and shot #4. It was hard to load, and was not in the group. But it got the scope close enough that I knew I could move it back to 50 yards.

So again, I swabbed the bore clean.

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First I decided to shoot a roundball with the same 70 grains of black powder. The shot was about 2 inches high and half an inch to the left. So I made a minor correction. (actually I forgot you had to double the clicks being on half the distance to 100 yards.) and shot two of the Harvester Scorpion PT 260 grain in a Harvester Crushed Rib sabot. The first two were encouraging. But a few things I did not like...

The drizzle had increased. I was swabbing and it was cold. Also with the Crushed Rib sabots.. these projectiles could be classified as a slip fit. No short starter needed. I even doubted I had put powder in the rifle once, as the projectile slid down the barrel so fast and smooth and then came to a stop. So I took out my witness marker and checked it.. it was right. They just loaded that easy. I think if the sabot would have more thickness, the accuracy would improve. Especially if I were shooting Black Horn 209.

After 1&2 I made another scope adjustment and then started shooting and swabbing. Again, the loose fit of this projectile made me suspicious of their accuracy, but... I was cold and too lazy to go in the house after new sabots. And besides.. I only wanted to get the scope in the ball park. I have no idea what load this rifle is going to like.

#3 came sailing in and you ever have that moment where you wonder.. Did I move that scope click in the right direction. But them I shot 4-6 and was a little more convinced that all was well. So now it is a matter of finding out.. what load does this rifle like. Next time out, it will be with the BlackHorn 209 breech plug and some Shockwaves.

I just have to mention clean up. I have never with all my rifles.. cleaned a rifle as easy as this Optima. The finger quick release plug is as advertised . it just turns right out. I only used tape on it this time, and the tape was still white and clean. There was no blow back behind the breech plug were the firing pin housing is. The threads inside the rifle were clean even. I ran a saturated soapy water patch through it. Then a Rusty Duck Black Off patch through it. Then three dry patches through it. And that barrel was spotless. And I am very fussy with my rifles. So I ran two patches of BreakFree CLP through the barrel, this oiled the barrel but also.. CLP will pull any dirt if there is some in there. I was pleased to see the CLP patches came out clean also, other then being oil colored.

The one piece DuraSight mount and ring combination is just solid. When I put the scope on, it came right to the perfect mount eye position. Although the front bell is close to the barrel, this should only be a benefit accuracy wise. Just a real nice mounting system. So far.. when I find the sweet load.. a very impressive rifle.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#11 Spirithawk

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

Thanks Spirithawk.. what kind of powder and charge did you use? I am still playing with loads. Also did it like a tight sabot or a loose sabot?


Both my son and I use two 50 grain pellets of 777. Seems to burn much cleaner than Pyrodex. My son likes the looser fitting Powerbelts but my Optima Pro, while still shooting the Powerbelts well, seemed to like the tighter fitting Shockwaves even better.

#12 cayugad

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

thanks.. I will run them in a tight sabot then.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."




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