Andrew O'Day Getting ready to load and shoot his CVA MuzzleloadersBefore loading you must make sure that the barrel is unloaded and free of obstructions. The best way is to remove the breechplug and look through the barrel. If you cannot see light through the barrel there is a load or other obstruction that must be removed. Use the ramrod to push the load or obstruction out of the barrel. If your rifle has not been shot since the last cleaning, it is recommended that you fire at least 2 primers without a load in the barrel. This assures that the breech is clear and dry. If you are using loose powder, also called granulated powder, carefully pour the powder into a powder measure that is set for the amount of powder you wish to use. Pour the powder from the measure into the barrel. Never pour powder directly from a can or flask into the barrel. It is possible for a small spark or ember in the barrel to ignite the new powder as it is poured into the barrel causing the can or flask to explode. If you are using pelletized powder, also referred to in some brands as powder sticks, drop the required number into the barrel. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your brand requires one end to be inserted first.

After loading the powder you must load and seat the bullet. Your CVA features a Bullet Guiding Muzzle™. This is a short unrifled section at the muzzle that allows easy insertion of the bullet into the bore. Press the bullet into this section with your thumb. Use a bullet starter to push the bullet into the rifling. Insert the ramrod or range rod into the barrel and push the bullet down the barrel until firmly seated on the powder charge. It is recommended that you place some kind of a mark on the rod that is even with the muzzle. This can be used as a reference point anytime this same load is used to be certain the bullet is fully seated in the barrel. After loading the powder and bullet, pull the breeching lever to the rear to open the action. Place a number 209 primer into the breechplug and close the action with a firm “snap”. You are now ready to shoot.

Always judge your target carefully. Know what is beyond the target in case of a miss or full penetration. You should always place the target in front of a backstop of dirt or heavy timbers when target shooting. When hunting, be sure of what is beyond the target. Do not shoot if your bullet may enter a camp, cross a road, or head toward a house or building. With the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, pull the hammer back until it stops. Carefully aim the rifle at the intended target and pull the trigger. When reloading it is recommended that you swab the bore between shots with a slightly damp patch. This will remove the bulk of the fouling from the last shot, making your loading more consistent and improving accuracy. It also helps to assure that there is no remaining ember or hot spot that may ignite the next powder charge prematurely.


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  1. Terry Bodenberg says:

    Optima Elite:2nd & 3rd rounds are almost impossible to push in with ramrod. Any suggestions to make it go easier?

    • William K Barnett says:

      I suggest carrying a bore brush and running it through after every shot. I do this and it helps significantly. And Thomas is absolutely correct different sabots are harder to load than others.

  2. Thomas says:

    What type(brand) of powder, primer and bullet are you using? Some combo’s will be harder to load than others.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Blackhorn209.. Its the ONLY powder that does not create that hard crud ring which makes reloading a second or third shot impossible.

    Otherwise you’ll be brushing between shots or better, swabbing with a damp patch to remove the crud ring.

    Make sure you mark your ramrod with a witness mark so you can see that the projectile is fully seated.

    Also, prior to loading, its a great idea to remove ALL traces of oils from the bore. Leaving oil or lube in the bore can cause very hard fouling to build up. A damp patch with alcohol or even windex will remove it. Dry patch, pop a few primers and then load up.