Teaching an old dog new tricks

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by 55andholding, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    Howdy folks

    I was given an old CVA Hawkens the other day and caught the bug. Problem is I don't know anything about black powder guns.

    This gun is a 50 cal.

    I don't even know what bullet to shoot, balls or a bullet shaped projectile.

    Would anyone be so generous as to start me on my way...What powder?

    Primers?

    Cleaning stuff...I can likely figure this out

    Bullet type , weight , Powder charge weight

    I have been around guns , own a few and hunt regularly, I'm not a city boy and learn fast.

    Hoping to be ready for Elk next year.

    Thanks
  2. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

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    The CVA is probably a 1:48 twist which will work well with lead conicals or patched round balls but isn't ideal for either. Black powder is best. Loose Pyrodex is second best(IMHO). Powder charge will depend on projectile used and the guns performance but will most likely be in the 90 grain range. Powder is measured by volume not by weight, this is very important where the subs are concerned as they all weigh less than real bp. Cleaning is with hot soapy water and vegetable based oils, not gun oil. BP fouling is not affected by smokeless cleaners but dissolves in water. Caps will be #11, I prefer CCI. The CVA has a drum breech where most sidelocks use a snail breech, so magnum caps might work a little better with subs. Always load a rifle from a powder measure. Never load from a flask even if it has the proper size nozzle for your powder charge. All it takes is one hot ember to turn a flask into a grenade. If you use conicals you will need a short starter as they are usually difficult to start.
  3. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    +1 on what Hawg stated

    pwder is way better than the pellets

    patched RB (round ball)loads typicall start around 70gr FFg, with 80gr an "accuracy" charge, up to a maximum load around 110gr,
    conical loads will run from 80gr to 100gr, with 90gr an "accuracy" load.

    50 grains of FFF Goex BP, a .015 ticking patch, lubed, and a .490 round ball is my plinking load ( tin cans at 50 meters)

    these i got and am damn impressed with http://www.mmpsabots.com/green.html

    and yes a starter a handle with a short ram rod to start the round down the muzzle ..

    much easier with a 4" stick eh

    oh and get a gadget for loading your caps much easier than fiddling with tins

    cheers and welcome
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  4. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, Hawg, Jack. I have a slew of questions but it is late here. Sleep time.
  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum, 55andholding.

    Ask away; there is lots of experience and wisdom on this forum, and people are always ready to help.

    Remember...there are no dumb questions on this forum. Better to ask than have a problem and get hurt out in the field.
  6. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    Thanks Eagle.

    I've been reading up on this subject today. I have a box of conicals I found in my gun shed, but I think I will buy a mold and make some balls.

    I'm wondering...What is a gun like this valued at. It seems like it is in good shape, everything is tight except the wedge that holds the barrel on. Is there a wedge on each side or just one wedge to hold the barrel ?
    I looked at new but there was nothing like this, just new composite stuff.
    It is 1 in 48, 28 inch barrel. Nice wood stock. Clean bore.

    I will make a trip to a store and get some powder and such and give her a try. Outta be exciting.

    Oh...I was looking and found other barrels for sale. Will other barrels mount to this? Say , 54 Cal ?

    Thanks in advance.
  7. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

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    I dunno if Green Mountain makes a drop in for a CVA but a CVA .54 will fit if it's the same width across the flats. CVA made a Mountain rifle with a 33 inch barrel, two wedge keys and an inch across the flats. It was also a round ball barrel only. The rest have a 29(I think)inch barrel that's 15/16 across the flats with one barrel key. The thing about CVA rifles is they have a drum breech where all the rest of modern makers used a snail breech. The rifle is practically the same thing as the TC and Investarmes Hawken which will interchange barrels but not with CVA because of the breech.
  8. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    Hawg, What I mean is my wedge pin just falls out. It is like it needs another one pushed in from the other side to make it tight. Is there a fix for this? Maybe crush (adjust) the piece on the barrel the wedge goes thru. (hammer)

    I Have picked up a bunch of "possibles" and am close to ready to try this gun out. I also re found an old kentucky pistol I bought 20 years ago in my gun shed, I think it's .45 cal.

    I went on ebay to look at things I might need and ended up buying a spare barrel and another complete Hawkens for $85. I just couldn't stop myself from bidding on it. lol.
  9. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    I do appreciate the wisdom you guy's are sharing.

    Thanks
  10. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    if you're gunnin' after elk with the .50, make sure to use conicals, round balls won't be very effective in comparison. But round balls are a great and inexpensive way to shoot and practice and I've taken a fair share of whitetails with roundballs.

    70gns of FFF is the 'standard' target load for round balls, I use 90 for hunting. most conicals I stick with about 85-95 gns.

    I would vote you try your hand at casting your own bullets if you've not already; very easy to do for black powder, get a .490 round ball mold and maybe try a .491 or .492 later just for kicks. Also T/C makes a good 'maxi ball' mold and there's plenty of other conical molds to experiment with. Use pure lead only, especially with the conicals.

    It's a fun but messy type of shooting (and slow) but it's a hellufa lot of fun!

    Not sure why the wedge pin in yours is so undersized, I would start by seeing if CVA will give you a new one or you could replace the brass plates on the stock with different ones that have a smaller hole maybe? or fab up your own brass plate and with a drill and file or dremel tool, cut the correct sized hole. That thing should be nice and snug.
  11. 55andholding

    55andholding New Member

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    So the wedge should need to be tapped in place pretty firmly? Are there different thickness wedges?

    Probably stupid questions.

    Maybe slightly crush the brass side plates to tighten things up?

    I just bought a .490 ball mold and have been collecting soft lead for years. Preppin for the end.

    I've always hunted elk with either a 30/06 , 220 grain slug or a 300 win mag. How would the knockdown compare to the .50? or is there any comparison.
  12. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    a .50 is roughly the same as a .44 mag or a little more depending on bullet; round ball isn't very impressive ballistically speaking, conicals have much more potential.

    The pin should be able to push in by hand or mild tapping but can't be loose. Best to error on the side of too tight vs. too loose. I don't know if there are different sizes other than buying one of each brand and measuring, I've no idea if they are all the same or not. It's something you could fab up but hopefully CVA can hook you up with an easy solution.

    If we could get people to measure their wedge pins, maybe we could compile a list here on this thread. I've got a CVA .32 rifle and some T/C .50 cal rifles so I can measure those for you if you want. Maybe you get lucky and find a different brand with a bigger pin that you could cut to custom fit.
  13. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

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    You can bend the wedge just a tad and tighten it up. Just a tad tho, it wont take much. Or you can put a small ding in the underside of the lug where it goes through. If was me I'd bend the wedge. BTW the wedge should come thru the other side and be flush or a little more.
  14. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    55 i've made new wedges for lots of folks and their CVA too ( and not just CVA either!!!! )

    needed one for a trade i had recent as well sadly its one thing that lets em down if you get one but its a easy fix

    make one
    less angle and same size
    and it'll lock up real nice

    i have designed a clip type one but dunno it your interested in that ( looks too non traditional for most folks but works great)

    spring steel U shaped with a ridge that stop it going all the way through and the legs hag lugs that lock onto the stock when it goes through

    you have to compress the legs together to get em out

    easy to make yourself if you can get the spring steel sheet and cant cut it accurate

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