View Full Version : Found a CVA Frontier

September 5, 2008, 10:57 PM
I found a CVA frontier in a pawn shop today for $20.00, but it is missing the ramrod are they easy to replace? Is the gun worth messing with? I do not know anything about theese kind of guns but I definetly want to learn. It appears to be in good shape otherwise. Any advice for a newbie? It would be very appriciated!!:cool:

September 6, 2008, 07:26 AM
The CVA Frontier was available in two models and several versions.

The regular Frontier had brass furniture and a 28" octagonal barrel, but it was also available as a carbine with a 22" (I think) barrel. There were flintlock and percussion versions and left hand versions as well.

The Frontier Hunter had blued furniture and a 24" barrel, color case hardened lock and an adjustable rear sight. The later versions had a laminated stock. It also came in a carbine version, but all were percussion, I believe.

To answer your question, replacement ramrods are readily available in many materials, made to order or as a kit.

$20 is very suspicious. If you are new to black powder I'd be very, very careful. The entire worth of the gun is in the barrel condition, and the only way to check that out is with a bore light. The bore must be clean and shiny, all the way down. It should also be checked for bulges by running a tight fitting dry cleaning patch on a jag down the bore. The barrel should also be removed and the area under the stock checked for corrosion.

The other issue will be the condition of the lock; it should be removed and inspected with a strong light; also cycle the lock and look for smooth operation and lockup in both half cock and full cock sear locations.

Shotgun Willy
September 6, 2008, 09:21 AM
You might also take a dowel rod into the shop, to check to see if it's loaded. It's possible it's been dry-balled, too, and they think it's trash. If nothing else it can be a wall-hanger.

September 6, 2008, 12:59 PM
I do see some rust down the barrell, but I am going to take it apart and clean it up really good. It will make a good wall hanger if nothing else. I have read alot on here about Sam Fadala, and I have some of his books coming on blabk powder that I plan on studying indepth. You guy's are awesome thank you very much!!:cool:

September 6, 2008, 01:14 PM
The ramrod diameter on my Frontier Carbine is 3/8".
But first, follow mykeal's advice and check the smoothness & condition of the bore.
You can buy a ramord blank and the ends to make your own or buy one already made out of many different materials.
Unless you're going hunting, you can buy a much thicker wooden dowel at a hardware store that can be used as a range ram to simply load with. The thick ones that I buy are closer to bore size so they don't easily break.
But you will still need a BP cleaning rod or a threaded ramrod that you can fit a jag and other attachments to for cleaning.
Some guns shops do sell generic composite replacement ramrods that have one threaded end and the length can be cut to fit. But if it's not the right diameter, you still won't be able to put it into the ramrod channel while carrying the gun.
You're going to need many more items to load, shoot and clean the gun.
Don't forget to buy a nipple wrench.

You can buy a ramrod, blanks and parts from these outfits.
Dixie has hickory ramrod blanks, and just call and ask about the other parts.



This outfit sells finished custom ramrods and parts:


September 6, 2008, 03:45 PM
Be sure and check it to see if it was left loaded ..can`t stress it enough ..sometimes lazy folks leave them loaded after the last deer hunt ...then they end up in the pawn shops ....you can guess the rest of the story ..

September 7, 2008, 09:40 AM
Well it looks like I am going to go shopping for sme tools and goodies. I got the barrell of but everything else is going to have to wait for tools!! I have to get balls,powder, nipple wrench, the whole 9 yards! Any advice on size balls and powder to get for this thing?How about getting rust out of a barrell. A friend of mine at work told me to pour some coke down the barrell, somehow that don't sound to smart!!

September 7, 2008, 03:30 PM
I do see some rust down the barrell, but I am going to take it apart and clean it up really good.

"Some Rust" would not concern me and after you clean it up, you might still see some pitting. Again, a small amount would not concern me. As far as a Dog-Knot, ring or bulge, look down the outside of the barrel and see if you can spot one. Check your crown as well. I make replacement rods and if you are half way handy with tools, you should not have a problem. Once you get in some range-time, retrieve and check your patches as an indicator of how bad your bore might be. Be conservative with your loads.
A friend of mine at work told me to pour some coke down the barrell, somehow that don't sound to smart!!
This would be in an effort to remove the iron oxide (rust) there are betters ways but I would first try some agressive brushing. Remember that bluing is an Oxide and most chemicals you would use, could remove your bluing as well. I have learned much from reading Sam Fadala even though he can get a bit technical. That's OKAY.:) Good luck and enjoy !!!

Be Safe !!!

September 7, 2008, 08:21 PM
Frontiers came in .45, .50 and .54 caliber. The size ball you need depends on the caliber; should be stamped on the barrel.

.45 cal - .440 ball
.50 cal - .490 ball
.54 cal - .530 ball

You can increase each ball size by .005 if available and the others are not, but you should use thinner patches if you do so.

Powder: ffg real black powder or RS Pyrodex; fffg and P Pyrodex are usable if ffg/RS are not available.

Load: start with 0.010 thick lubed patches and 50 gr by volume of powder. Work up in 5 gr/volume increments to 80 gr in the .45 cal and 90 gr in the .54 cal to find the load that groups the best.

September 8, 2008, 12:01 PM
If the barrel is rough or pitted, I would use slightly thicker .015 patches so the patches don't rip when they're loaded.
But first, get all of the rust out by using a bronze bore brush, 3M Scotch Brite pad or fine steel wool. If it's still rough or badly pitted you may need to lap the bore with valve grinding compound from an auto parts store.
It can be fired if it's pitted, but accuracy may suffer and the powder residue is more difficult to remove from the pits afterward.
Pyrodex P is finer grained powder and flows into the drum and flash channel easier, or use any fffg powder although Pyrodex RS or ffg should also work good.
777 and American Pioneer (APP) powder isn't corrosive but the residue still needs to be thoroughly cleaned up afterward. Don't buy APP unless it's the smaller grained fffg because the ffg granules are too large.
Real BP ignites the best.
If using 777 powder, use 15% less volume.

Always measure by volume using a volumetric powder measure.
After the powder is dropped into the barrel, tilt the gun with the lock angled downward and slap the lock area a few times so more of the powder goes into the drum.
This helps to insure better ignition.
Then try to load and ram the ball while the hammer is in the 1/2 cock position, so the air escaping through the nipple helps to push the powder farther up into the drum.
Clean all of the powder residue off every surface of the gun afterward, because BP and Pyrodex is corrosive and will quickly cause rust afterward.
777 and American Pioneer (APP) powder isn't corrosive but the residue still needs to be removed because it will attract moisture.
After cleaning, lube everything well with Bore Butter patch lube.
If petroleum oil is used in the bore, it should always be removed before shooting. That's not as critical with Bore Butter which doesn't flow downward into the breech.
Don't forget to buy or make a nipple pick to clean out the nipple hole when shooting. Thin piano wire or a sewing needle should work. If you have a misfire situation and can't get the gun to shoot, poke through the nipple hole, recap and try again. If it still won't fire, remove the nipple and pour a few grains of powder under it, then recap and try again until it fires off. A few grains is usually enough powder to expell a "dry ball" where the powder charge was never dropped into the barrel. The ball may fire off so quietly that you'll need to check the bore with the ramrod to see if it has been emptied or not.
Make 2 witness marks on your ramrod: one marks the ramrod where it meets the muzzle when your barrel is completely empty, the other marks the spot on the ramrod where it meets the muzzle when your barrel had been loaded with powder and ball.
This helps you to check to see if you loaded either powder or ball into your barrel or not during the loading sequence, and to avoid loading double powder charges.
Always firmly seat the projectile on top the powder charge to avoid bulging the barrel.