CVA steps into the bolt-action world with a custom-grade tack-driver

by Pete Rogers

I always look forward to range day at the annual SHOT show (just one of many industry events that have been cancelled this year). Here, I get to see industry friends and try out many of the new guns being introduced throughout the coming year.

At last year’s event, I was on my second lap of manufacturer exhibits when I noticed the CVA banner and recognized my friend Tony Smotherman. Tony is one of the most knowledgeable marksmen in the industry and is a cornerstone authority in the muzzleloader world.

While we talked, I noticed a bolt action rifle on the bench. Tony immediately saw my perplexed look and began spilling all the “can’t miss” attributes to the newest thoroughbred in the CVA stable—the bolt-action centerfire Cascade available in .22-250 Varmint, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 7mm-08, .308 Win, .450 Bushmaster, .350 Legend, 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win Mag.

As you can tell from the chamber offerings, the Cascade appeals to a broad swath of hunters and shooters.

Although I’m more of a hunting writer than a dedicated gun writer—that distinction is reserved for Jack O’Connor, perhaps the best gun writer to ever put pen to paper—I do get to test and write about a lot of guns each year. During my 25-plus years of doing this, I have seen and shot many bolt guns. They are the workhorses of the hunting world for a reason: they are dependable and usually quite accurate.

CVA has long been one of the leading manufacturers of muzzleloading rifles, so when I saw the bolt gun on the bench, I was intrigued. As Tony began explaining the rifle, I opened the bolt to ensure it was unloaded and began handling the rifle. The first thing I noticed was how balanced it felt in my hands. Coming in at between 6.85 and 7.25 lbs. depending on the caliber, it was a light rifle—something I appreciate. The rifle in hand was chambered in the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. The barrel was covered in an earth tone Cerakote finish and the synthetic stock dressed in one of the Veil Camo patterns.

A few of the first things I noticed, other than the original appearance, was the crisp trigger (more on this in a minute) and the 70-degree throw of the bolt, which makes for faster reloading. Built on the Savage 110 action, the Cascade felt like an expensive rifle.

Tony finally asked if I wanted to shoot it. Without hesitation, I threw down my backpack and sat at the bench. A few shots at the 200-yard targets revealed a lot about this rifle. Then we began to stretch it out to 300, 400, 600, and finally at 875 yards, where I was able to hit the metal target four out of 6 shots. Yes, I am blaming the 11-mph cross wind for the two misses. I was sold, and asked Tony if I could get one to put through some thorough testing at my home range. He agreed.

After months of anticipation, the CVA Cascade arrived at my local FFL dealer. The rifle came with a Picatinny rail and sling and, as requested, chambered in .308 Winchester (a personal favorite for our South Carolina deer and pigs).

I purchased a Leupold 3-9×44 scope for the Cascade along with some Warn rings to hold it. After all was mounted and torqued to spec, I headed to the gun range.

Testing began with a trigger scale to measure the trigger pull weight. When I do this, I pull the trigger 10 times to get an average. The Cascade averaged 1.55 lbs. from the factory. Right out of the box, the Cascade exhibited trigger characteristics that would cost north of $150 in an aftermarket upgrade. I was impressed. As all shooters will tell you, extreme accuracy begins with the trigger, and this is one of the best factory versions I’ve tested.

For hunting purposes, I like my triggers at 1.5-2.1 lbs. Virtually every trigger in my safe has been modified to this range. The Cascade arrived right on the mark.

Another welcome feature of the CVA Cascade is the flush-mount removable magazine. Holding four rounds, the polymer magazine is durable and efficient. Being able to remove the entire magazine to unload the rifle is convenient and safe. The barrel is threaded at the factory to accept a suppressor or a muzzle brake.

Once bore-sighted and zeroed, it was time to see if my previous experience with the Cascade was a fluke or if long-range accuracy is inherent to the platform. In short order, the 1:10 twist barrel and I were dialed in and shooting sub-MOA groups at 100 and close to the same at 200 yards with 168-grain Federal Premium Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing.

In sum, I feel the Cascade is one of the finest rifles I have ever tested in its price point. For a rifle with an MSRP of $657.95, the refined machining, finish, trigger, and overall fit and feel of the Cascade place it in the category of rifles costing twice as much. With ten calibers to choose from, there is no reason a CVA Cascade (or two) shouldn’t find a place in your safe this year.

CVA Cascade Specifications

  • Calibers: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, .308 Win, .450 Bushmaster, .350 Legend, .22-250 Varmint, 6.5 PRC, 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag
  • MOA Guarantee
  • 22” 4140 Barrel finished in FDE Cerakote
  • Threaded muzzle 5/8 x 24
  • 1:10″ Twist
  • 70° Bolt throw
  • Two-position safety
  • Flush fit, detachable magazine
  • Synthetic stock with fiber-glass reinforcement in Veil Wideland
  • SoftTouch finish on stock
  • Adjustable length of pull
  • Dual front swivel studs
  • compatible with all two-piece mounts built for the Savage® 110 AccuTrigger™ models
  • Lifetime Warranty
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