Will My CVA Muzzleloader Blow Up?

This is a question asked over and over again by our readers; a question that many advertising-driven publications would not dare to talk about, much less investigate. It certainly is valid, and obviously important to muzzleloading hunters that value their own well-being, as well as the health of their family members, neighbors, and friends. No one expects their wives to drive them to the emergency room a couple of hours after they buy a new CVA-- but, that is exactly what has happened.

After numerous CVA muzzleloader failures, and numerous life-changing personal injuries, a representative sampling of current and recently failed CVA product has been catalogued, and sent to several independent facilities for evaluation at great expense and time. Their findings should trouble you, if not shock you.

In a report from the renowned H. P. White Laboratory, Inc., dated January 24, 2007, H. P. White found when examining a failed recent production CVA rifle, "The combination of relatively soft steel and tapered threads would have created a dangerous situation. One in which the blow-out of the breech plug was likely." This report is straight from Lester W. Roane, H. P. White Laboratory.

Consumers need to know how muzzleloaders compare in materials used. The metal used in CVA guns is soft and weak, too soft and weak to be used in modern inline muzzleloaders as far as I'm concerned. In the very same report from H. P. White, the hardness of CVA rifles was measured. H. P. White reports, "Further, the breechplug [Rb 99] is harder than the barrel [Rb 85] on the Black exemplar. Both of these hardness readings are low for this application. In standard engineering handbooks, the Rockwell "B" scale readings are headed "Soft Steel and Non-Ferrous Alloys" or something similar."

H. P. White continues, "A U. S. made Thompson Center Arms Renegade rifle gave a hardness reading on the barrel of Rc 18. This is more appropriate for the application."

Dr. William J. Bruchey, of Port Deposit, MD, analyzed three CVA rifles memorialized in a report dated March 24, 2007. Dr. Bruchey concluded his lengthy report by stating, "Other anomalies, such as tapering of the breech hole, or manufacturing or engineering design defects are a more likely cause and should be pursued further."

This information has been arrived at independently; it can and should be shared with the muzzleloading hunting community. This is only a small portion of the body of analysis collected; there are more victims on a regular basis, and the costly process of independent analysis continues with each additional incident. If this article saves needless pain and suffering, needless 911 calls, needless loss of body parts-- well, it has to be said. It must be said.

The number of cases I've evaluated grows regularly. Naturally, the more representative data we have the more pointed my opinions become based the most credible evidence we can gather. We have seen that CVA barrels are far softer than reputable brands of muzzleloaders, including Knight and Thompson-muzzleloaders that handle many of the very same loads that CVA owners are told to use in their owner's manual, including the "3 pellet magnum load." We are seeing not only relatively soft materials, but non-existent quality control. It is not plausible that shooter error is a factor in several incidents; it is not plausible that these guns were ever proof-tested or ever fired with so much as recommended loads (much less proof loads) before the consumer is directed to develop 25,000 PSI (or more, actually up to 49,000 PSI with crushed Triple Se7en pellets) a few inches from his face. Then, needless and sadly, it is too late.

As you have read above from H. P. White Laboratories, CVA inline guns tested are made from softer, weaker, inferior metal than even an old Thompson Center sidelock such as the Renegade. So soft in fact, CVA materials had to be measured on the wrong scale, the Rockwell "B" scale that is used for soft metals, not suitable firearms materials. Note that the Thompson Renegade is not a "magnum muzzleloader," is not recommended to be used with 150 grain charges, yet the old T/C Renegade is a clearly better built muzzleloader than current CVA inlines tested using stronger materials as verified by H. P. White testing. The difference should send chills up your spine, when H. P. White finds CVA materials hardness as "low for the application" and a T/C sidelock's materials as "more appropriate for the application."

H. P. White is the most respected independent ballistics laboratory in the United States, and has been for decades. "H.P. White Laboratory, Inc. was founded in 1936 by Mr. Henry Packard White as a ballistic research and development facility. Since that time, we have become acknowledged as the leading privately owned laboratory engaged in small arms and ammunition research, development and testing."

It is vital to consider the sources of information. Note, as published by H. P. White: "H.P. White Laboratory, Inc. produces no manufactured item and is in no manner affiliated with any other research organization, manufacturer, agency or end product user. We are, therefore, the only truly independent ballistics laboratory in the United States. This unique independence has enabled the Laboratory to maintain an objectivity difficult to duplicate elsewhere."

It is my clear and steadfast opinion that yes, based on the very best evidence we have-- a new "used as directed" CVA muzzleloader may certainly severely injure or destroy some of your body parts that you don't care to have damaged or destroyed. Far, far too many incidents have already taken place to validate that; lamentably and regrettably so.

A more thorough discussion of the issues appears here: http://randywakeman.com/DangerousMuzzleloadersAHistory.htm



Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.

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