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Old December 5, 2019, 03:23 PM   #1
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New CVA Paramount--a new benchmark set?

OK--first order of business--before anyone gnashes their teeth, pulls their hair out or jumps out a 50 story window over the fact I'm posting a review of a muzzleloader on a conventional cartridge-firing rifle forum--allow me to explain why: The performance of this new gun and bullet are so compelling it may be worth considering even compared to it's smokeless powder brethren.

This rifle is engineered by the fine Spanish stable of Bergara, so it's nothing like any of CVA's previous offerings. They even developed a new high BC powerbelt bullet exclusively for the Paramount--though it can be fired in other muzzleloaders as long as they are 45 cal. The gun is referred to a "magnum muzzleloader" since it's capable handling pressures (hence velocities) significantly beyond other typical break-open muzzleloaders.

Yesterday was my first time firing it, so it was mostly getting the "swing of things" and getting my Nightforce SHV tuned to it. Using CVA's range of 140 to 150 gr by volume recommended loads I was able to easily exceed 2400 fps and well over 3000 ftlbs of energy at the muzzle using the recommended blackhorn 209 powder. After analyzing the labradar data, I noticed I wasn't getting a good match for my grs by weight velocities for what CVA says should be equivalent to the grs by volume measures. This became immediately apparent today when I took the gun out for the second time and after firing a couple of shots noticed the discrepancy, so I emptied my pre-measured charges into a by-volume measuring tube (a rather inexact science) and used that to fire the last three shots. Here are the labradar results along with the target. I know it's a lame excuse (I'm the master, after all) but I think I could have done better with a more consistent powder loading. As is, three of the bullets overlapped forming a tidy .5 group at 100 yds--notice on the stats how well the bullet retains both energy and velocity. My impression after just two days of firing is that the sweet spot is better defined by velocity, which I think (so far) is somewhere around 2380 fps +/-.

The rifle has excellent balance, probably due in part to it's somewhat hefty weight, but can easily be fired free-recoil with no fear of any muzzle rise. The felt recoil I would put as about the same as a fairly potent 45-70 load. Not something you'd want to shoot all day, but reasonable enough IMO.

The blackhorn shoots remarkably cleanly--I had no problems firing 7 bullets in a row yesterday without cleaning or swabbing of the bore, and didn't do any today either. Swapping out the large rifle primers and recharging the powder and bullet is very fast compared to my older TC Impact.

I'm very, very impressed by this new rifle--I think it's a significant step forward in muzzleloader performance. Oh, and no FFL transfer required, you can have it delivered right to your doorstep.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 280 powerbelt 140 gr vol blackhorns.jpg (151.7 KB, 283 views)
File Type: jpg 280 powerbelt 140 gr vol blackhorn labradar stats.jpg (33.9 KB, 279 views)
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Last edited by stagpanther; December 5, 2019 at 10:53 PM.
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Old January 2, 2020, 03:02 PM   #2
The Big Game Hunter
Join Date: November 26, 2012
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I'm also a BIG fan of the CVA Paramount and have experienced results similar to what you described. When I was extremely diligent measuring my powder charges, I obtained amazingly consistent velocities and outstanding accuracy.
The Paramount is clearly a big step forward in technology and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it's one of the best muzzleloaders available these days.
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Old January 5, 2020, 12:56 PM   #3
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While the new CVA might be great, I will not go back to a non smokeless muzzleloader. I am hooked on smokeless.
For accuracy, Blackhorn has to be lit with a very hot 209 shotgun primer and powder has to be measured by weight. There are different tables for Blackhorn, weight and volume. You must use the proper table or proper conversion, but you MUST measure by weight for accuracy.
I am not sure if .45 is the way to go, but if it proves to be I will build a smokeless one.

Last edited by reynolds357; January 5, 2020 at 01:10 PM.
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Old January 5, 2020, 02:16 PM   #4
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Not legal for me here in Colorado, and neither is smokeless ML. I need full bore bullets, loose powder, and no optical sights and .45 caliber is no longer legal for elk and moose. I'm limited by buckhorn sights right now on all my muzzle loaders, but I've use BH209 by volume and have never had any issues getting the accuracy I could hunt with. It did require a new breech plug on one of my rifles, and it cleans a lot easier than other BP and Substitutes.

Nice shooting rifle!
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