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Old August 11, 2013, 08:34 PM   #1
jmquinn05
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CVA Hawken .54 cal

I was loaned a CVA Hawken .54cal from a relative. I have never shot black powder so don't know a whole lot about it. Barrel is pretty rusty not like it was I cleaned it some with what I have but its not perfect. Questions are what do I clean it with what powder, loads, bullets equipment and so on? Thanks for any help.
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Old August 11, 2013, 09:45 PM   #2
Jbar4Ranch
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As long as it's already rusted, scrub the hell out of the bore with a solvent, such as Hoppe's, and a brass bore brush. If you can get the nipple out, remove it and make sure it is open all the way through and that the channel is open into the chamber. If the flame from the cap can't get to the powder, it isn't going to work. If you can get it in serviceable condition, go buy some powder, balls, patches, and caps. For .54 cal, FFg granulation is what you'll be seeking. You can use real black powder from Goex, KIK, and others, or substitutes such as Pyrodex R (R for Rifle, as opposed to P, for Pistol), APP (American Pioneer Powder), and others. Then you will be looking for .530" round balls and patches. Patches can be pre-lubed or plain and you can lube 'em yourself with Crisco. The thickness of the patch is dependent on the fit of the ball in the bore, but you'll probably be looking for a thickness of about .015" - .025". You should probably buy an inexpensive black powder measure too - something that will measure up to 110 grains or so - and caps, #11 size.
Make sure the barrel is clean & dry before you start. Some folks like to fire a cap or two in the empty gun to make sure any residual oil is out of the nipple and flame channel. For an initial test, start with about 80 grains of powder down the barrel, place a lubed patch on the muzzle, place a ball on the patch and drive it down the bore and firmly seat it on the powder. A "short starter" works well for getting the ball started, then drive it the rest of the way with the ramrod. Don't grab the ramrod at the end and attempt to push or you're almost sure to break it sooner or later. Grab it a few inches at a time and keep pushing the ball down until it's seated firmly on the powder charge. Thumb the hammer back to half cock, seat a cap on the nipple, point the barrel downrange, thumb the hammer all the way back, squeeze trigger, and smile.
Black powder residue is water soluble, so cleanup after shooting is done with hot soapy water, dry patches, and oil. I like to remove the nipple every time I clean so I can clean the threads and make sure no rust will develop and seize the threads. The nipple doesn't have to be screwed in tight - it doesn't contribute to structural strength and tight can be a pain in the arse to get out later. Put a tiny bit of breech plug/nipple grease on the threads and screw it back in. Make sure it's seated, but you don't really need anything more than "finger tight".
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Old August 11, 2013, 09:59 PM   #3
jmquinn05
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CVA Hawken .54 cal

Thanks alot for the info its great help. Only other question is most of the equipment sold at someplace like Academy or Gander Mountain?
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Old August 11, 2013, 10:04 PM   #4
Jbar4Ranch
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We don't have either of those stores around here, so I can't answer that question. Sportsman's Warehouse will have everything but the black powder, but they carry a couple of subs, including Pyrodex.
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Old August 12, 2013, 08:17 AM   #5
Rifleman1776
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DO NOT USE A BORE BRUSH
A bore brush will very likely get jammed in the bottom. They should not be used with a muzzle loader. The bore can be scrubbed with a bit of bronze brillo or green scrubbing pad.
I recommend the use of real black powder and a patch lead round ball.
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Old August 12, 2013, 08:59 AM   #6
jmquinn05
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CVA Hawken .54 cal

Good point. Next question is what do I use to get the pad in there?
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:19 AM   #7
Captchee
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Rifleman makes a good point .
the brush needs to be one designed for a breech barrel . IE it must be a crushed brush .
Which is basicly nothing more then a spiral type brush that’s been crushed down so the bronze bristles are matted to resemble steel wool

a spiral brush can be used but you will most likely need a follower tube in order to get it out when it gets stuck
If you have a shotgun cleaning rod , you can also use the eye tip and slip a small piece of brillow pad through the eye .
Another option depending on how bad the bore is , is to wrap your cleaning jag with some 0000 steel wool … but be carful as to much and it can also get stuck
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Old August 12, 2013, 01:55 PM   #8
Jbar4Ranch
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Good catch! The bristles would have to bend back the other direction, which would definitely take some force, and if it worked, they would start breaking off in short order.
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