Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Equipment Review: CVA Wolf Muzzleloader

I’ve had quite an adventure so far with the CVA Wolf muzzleloader and Cabela’s. I decided to finally pull the trigger on a muzzleloader purchase this year after wanting one for many years. I wanted to benefit from the extended deer hunting season when using a muzzleloader. After a lot of on-line research I finally settled on the CVA Wolf muzzleloader from Cabela’s. I did not want to shell out the money for a top-of-the-line muzzleloader, so I had to do my homework to get a balance of price and features. I read a lot of on-line reviews and research, and I think I made a good choice with the CVA Wolf. I went with the complete package with camo stock, scope, and starter kit included.
Upon finally making my decision, and going to the on-line checkout, I found out that this model was on backorder. I continued because I was willing to wait. After I received my muzzleloader, I found out that the scope was not mounted to the rifle. I was expecting the rifle to arrive mounted and bore sighted. This was not the case. I took to the task of installing the scope mounts and scope. The scope mounts that Cabela’s sent me were not able to work with the scope. The scope touched the iron sights of the rifle because the scope mounts were too low. Even with the back sight removed, the scope still touched the site mount. I contacted Cabela’s to tell them I needed higher scope mounts. They agreed to send me a correct set. However, they sent me the same exact set of scope mounts. Now, due to these delays, I would not be able to take my muzzleloader along to the hunting cabin to sight it in. I was forced to drive to the nearest Cabela’s store to get this situation resolved. I waited an hour to get a customer service person to explain the situation. This customer service person at the Cabela’s store did not know how to resolve the situation. However, after some back-and-forth, he suggested that I get a “see-through” scope mount. The see-through mount sits higher and has a window that allows the shooter to use the iron sites or the scope. I took this set home and mounted the scope. Finally, I got my hands on a set of mounts that allowed me to properly mount my scope. After all this, I actually got a set of scope mounts I preferred. I like the fact that I can still use the iron sites. One disadvantage is that the comb of the Wolf stock was not designed for this higher scope mount. The comb rests a little low on the cheek when using this scope mount. For me, this was a minor inconvenience, and an acceptable trade-off to keep the ability to use the iron sites along with the scope. In Cabela’s defense, they exchanged the incorrect sights for the more expensive see-through sights with no hesitation.
Now that I finally had my scope mounted, I was able to fire the first shot from the rifle while I sighted it in. I used the Leopold Zero Point Bore Sighter to zero the scope. The bore sighter was able to get me on-paper at 50 yards. I used 100 grains of Pyrodex-style powder with .245 grain PowerBelt bullets. The PowerBelt-type bullets went down the barrel much easier than plastic sabot-type bullets I’ve used on other muzzleloaders.
Even though it was snowing hard, everything was going well while sighting in the rifle, when after pushing in one stubborn bullet the ram rod broke right in half. Once again I contacted Cabela’s. They are supposedly sending me a replacement ramrod that should be here by Thursday. If Cabela’s does not deliver in time, I will miss yet another weekend of the muzzleloader season. This is the last weekend, so Cabela's needs to come through. Luckily, I was able to get the rifle sighted in relatively close before the ramrod broke. The sight in was not perfect, but adequate. I will go with it for the rest of this season, and then try to get it more accurately sighted in next season.
Last night I took the time to clean the rifle from shots fired after sighting it in. The break action design makes cleaning relatively easy. I've heard stories about how difficult a muzzleloader is to clean. I did not have that experience. The black powder solution was able to easily clean the barrel after a few patches. The powder I used was advertised as "easy-clean", so perhaps that helped.

I’ve had my issues with Cabela’s and the CVA Wolf muzzleloader to this point, and I’ve yet to even get it out on a hunt! Despite all of this, perhaps surprisingly, I’m satisfied with the CVA Wolf muzzleloader. The Wolf has all the features of the most expensive muzzleloaders, but at a lower cost. I paid about $300 for mine with the scope and starter kit included. The Wolf is a break open design. The lever just below the trigger works to easily open the action. The breech plug is easily removed with a wrench that’s included with the rifle. The gun is short and easy to handle. The iron sights use fiber optics that makes them easily seen even in low light conditions. The hammer is accessible and easy to operate. Additionally, the gun produces good accuracy at 50 and 100 yards. The Cabela’s Powder Horn scope (that comes with the kit) has crosshairs designed for 100, 150, 200, and 250 yards. The scope is clear with no issues a 3 to 10X.

Now that my set up is adequate, I’m looking forward to trying the CVA Wolf in the field. I hope this gun will provide many, many years of service.

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