View Full Version : CVA Hawken vs. T/C

December 26, 2009, 05:49 PM
I got 3 teenagers. For Xmas I got two of them muzzleloaders and looking at a possible third. The T/C New Englander, and a CVA Spain-made Hawken. The CVA I read has a weird sidelock ignition design. Something about going all the way to the far side etc.

The question is, for side lock muzzleloaders are CVA and T/C equal with #11 caps. Seems like we ran a wet patch then dry in each gun between rounds. T/C always fired, CVA hung up, and 2 misfires. More sensitive, or just one of those things??

December 26, 2009, 06:08 PM
The question is, for side lock muzzleloaders are CVA and T/C equal with #11 caps.

Sorry to say that they are not at all equal in any way, including the price. :barf:

Be Safe !!!

December 26, 2009, 06:16 PM
Ok I was looking for opinions on whether the CVA Hawken is a decent rifle, reliable, etc. This one is allegedly an American made version.

December 26, 2009, 07:34 PM
The CVA should serve you well but if you have a choice between a CVA, anything and a New Englander, then go with the New Englander. The CVA should give you good performance. Other than the Hawken Model, TC no longer gives you too may options as just like all the rest, they have gone over to in-lines and 209 pimers. With 90%+ demand for In-lines of all sorts, it's getting harder and harder to find good side-cockers, unless you go to a custom shop.

Be Safe !!!

December 26, 2009, 08:34 PM

December 26, 2009, 10:30 PM
I'm confused. First you said the CVA Hawken was Spanish manufacture, then you said it was an American made version. There's quite a difference.

I own 1 T/C New Englander, 1 CVA Hawken (Spanish made kit, 1970's era), and 4 T/C Hawkens. The T/C Hawkens are all significantly better than either of the other two in all respects. The New Englander and the CVA Hawken are both fine rifles, however. I've owned and used the CVA Hawken much longer than any of the others and it has always provided good service.

December 26, 2009, 10:46 PM
There's nothing too weird about the CVA drum design. It's just different from the TC style patent breech.
The CVA drum has a larger cleanout screw that does provide better access for cleaning it out. But it may not be as strong of a design as the patent breech.
There truely are advantages and disadvantages to each ignition system. Some drums & flash channels are sized to work better than others and the same goes for patent breeches.
With a good nipple and proper maintenence both systems can be very reliable.

There's other percussion ignition designs too that folks have their personal preferences for - underhammers, mule ears and box lock styles having a rear hammer and a nipple more inline with the breech.
The ignition system may not have anything to do with how well a gun shoots, but rather more about how certain, fast and strong the ignition will be.
A bad shooting TC is worse than a good shooting CVA, that's for sure.
And a good shooting TC is better than a CVA having poor ignition.
I think that it's good to be familiar with both systems and they can both be enjoyable to shoot.
The overall condition of each rifle should be among the factors that help to determine which to buy. If both are in good condition then it becomes a matter of personal preference for the ergonomics, fit & finish as well as all of the other features that each rifle offers. :)

December 27, 2009, 03:56 AM
go with the cva hawken, the stocks on them are a lot more comfortable and handle recoil better. TC hawken stock is pretty straight and will beat the crap out of you with a simple round ball load.

Nothing fininky about cva's drum, they like all sidelocks, have a special way to ensure that the rifle will fire like lightening.

Heres a .54cal cva hawken that i worked on and restained to my liking.



The one thing you most likely will not like, are the front and rear sights. Very easy to make errors with them as they are not easy to see or use. Its a very cheap and easy error to fix!

December 27, 2009, 11:42 AM
I believe the T/C Hawken is made by Investarms of Italy. The same outfit makes the Lyman Great Plains and the Cabelas Hawken. All are good rifles.

December 27, 2009, 12:45 PM
TC is made by Thompson Center ( usa) investarms makes the cabelas hawken, lyman brand.

December 28, 2009, 11:49 AM
I believe the T/C Hawken is made by Investarms of Italy.
Bite your tongue, man .... :p
TC is made by Thompson Center ( usa) investarms makes the cabelas hawken, lyman brand.
Bingo !!!

I know you only mentioned TC and CVA but while you are at it, might want to look at Traditions or Lyman and heck, while you are at it, consider the kits and have some fun putting one together.

Be Safe !!!

December 28, 2009, 06:47 PM
I 2nd the kit idea, my wife got me a Cabelas kit Hawkins in 54 cal about 5 years ago and I've rediscovered the addiction of b/p. My brother and I built a kit gun in the early 60's as a scout project, it was a 45 percussion pistol and took a few rabbit. I now own 2 flinter and 2 perc. rifles and 4 pistols.

December 29, 2009, 09:38 AM
The CVA has the drum go all across the bore at the breech end. It goes partially into the far wall of the off side barrel wall. The problem that creates is that you can't get to the area behind the drum in the breech end of the barrel to wipe oil or moistue that an foul ignition. The best thing to do with a CVA before hunting is....dry the barrel of oil.....plug the nipple and pour alcohol down the barrel and swish it back and forth. That disolves oil behind the drum in the breech end. The alcohol will evaporate overnite or with a warming from a hair dryer or on the wood stove or whatever. A simple way,and what CVA recommends, is to load and fire the gun and then reload to go hunt. Problem with that is the gun may not fire the first time. Depends on how oily it was from storage.
The other problem with the CVA drum is the right angle to it's flash channel. The drum is installed in the CVA barrel and then the flash hole is drilled thru the front of the barrel with a long drill. That makes the hole that penetrates the drum to connect to the hollow drums flash or clean out hole. Using the clean out hole to free the flash channel of oil or fouling leaves that area that was drilled from the front oily or dirty. That area can also be full of burrs from the drilling. The flash channel of the CVA has to be dry and free of oil and fouling to be reliable. Some powder from the loading of ther powder has to get inside the drum to be really reliable. That means the hole in the front of the drum that was drilled thru the muzzle end after the drum installation needs to be clean and oil free. That way some powder can fall into the flash channel. Dribbling a little powder into the drums clean out screw hole can help that first shot ignition also.
The drums of CVA's have a tendency to loosen and to tighten them the nipple gets turned forward and the hammer can't hit the nipple properly after the tightening. A shim needs to be put between the drums shoulder and the barrel wall to adjust the position of the drum/nipple.
When a CVA is cleaned a lot of plungering in a bucket can help get the fouling from behind the drum where the patches or breech plug face can't be reached.
Anyway, the Thompson Center Hawken is superior in it's breech plug design having the patent breech it was called back in the day. That has the flash hole drilled at an angle so it its a straight thru flash to the main powder charge. Easy to clean or wipe free of oil with a pipe clewaner. There's a powder chamber to the face of the breech plug also I believe. Memory fadding I quess.
The design of the TC is stronger also if you think about how the CVA's drum weakens both sides of the barrel walls. A patent breech plug is superior in design compared to the drum desogn even when the drum has a hole on only the lock side of the barrel wall.
Anyway...the steel of the CVA Spainish rifle is inferior to the steel of the TC rifle. The CVA will be harder to keep free of rust and can bulge or burst easier than the TC.The TC has steel that isn't really all that strong also but better than the CVA's steel. The TC rifle has the 12L14 steel I suspect or have read somewhere.
Information about burst or bulged barrels with a list of the loads and the manufacturers barrels showed that the CVA had trouble in that area more than the other rifles including all the makers of the side locks. I read that report many years ago.
The biggest and more prevelent cause of bulges and bursts not related to short started projectiles was the loads using heavy conicals and heavy loads (80-120 gr.) FFFg powder. The Spainish guns had the most barrel/load failures.
All the manufacturers had failures related to heavy conicals and heavy FFFg powder charges.
Anyway, knowing there's a spot at the breech end of the CVA that can't be reached with a cleaning patch is the first step in maintaining the rifle properly and getting the rifle ready to fire first time everytime when pointing at a big buck. I've heard more stories from CVA rifle owners about missing out on the "big buck" bevcause the gun misfired than any other manufactures rifle. That I imagine is because people don't fully understand how to clean the oil from the breech end of the rifle barrel.
I'd recommend using "Butches Bore Shine for Black Powder" when clewaning the CVA's. That cleaner does a good job of having black powder fouling loosen up so that a plunger job with a tight patch in a bucket of hot water can get the fouling from behind the CVA's drum.
Even though the CVA has that type of drum installation they are nice rifles. Deal with the cleaning (alcohol and plungering) and the before the hunt ritual of removing all the oil with alcohol or firing the rifle and then reloading before the hunt(or target shoot) can make the gun more reliable.
CVA's rifle barrels can be very accurate and can handle hunting charges that are heavy enough. Just steer away from heavy FFFg loads and heavy conicals. If not then remember to stay away from FFFg powder in the large bore rifles.
That's my take on the subject. I've instructed many people to clean the CVA'd with alcohol to emove oil from behind the drum and not one has had a misfire when they clean that way. Of course one has to make sure the alcohol is evaporated from behind the breech too.
Test firing the rifles before the hunt is a sure fire way to get a reliable ignition if the "big buck" appears in your sights within range.

January 12, 2010, 10:23 PM
Thanks for all the info guys...

January 12, 2010, 11:00 PM
i would go with tc ! hold on i have a tc :D:D. if you had good luck with the tc over the cva then you already made up your mind.my tc hawken .45 was a kit made by my dad in the early 70's and it shoots great .I got my first buck with it .:):)

January 12, 2010, 11:22 PM
50cal cva hawken @ 100 yards with 90gr APP .018 pillow t ick and 490 round ball.

January 14, 2010, 12:17 AM
+1 The CVA Hawken are incredibly accurate. I have two and they shoot very well with conicals, Hornady great plains bullet.

January 14, 2010, 06:36 AM
TC will be able to fix or repair much quicker than the importers( i lost the ram rod head off of my new englander 12ga shotgun, one call to tc and i recieved the part in 4 days,without a charge. i had a friend who dropped his .50 hawken flintlock in a cold winter hunt breaking his stock in two at the wrist. a call to TC and a new stock was on its way in a week,again no charge. it was a bare finished stock, he had to use his metal. but i heard no bitchen from him. from one of the other makers you may have gotten this type of service, but i know you will from TC. eastbank. ps, by the way new englender 12ga. is no longer made and i still got the part i needed.

January 19, 2010, 07:15 PM
if you want better fire with a sidelock go with a mag spark i have them for most of my muzzleloader side locks.they use a 209 primmer . use to use the accra shot that shot a rifle primmer for more fire power . these mag-spark take the problem of low fire in the hole to all the fire you need