Prepared for battle!
I set off October 11th for Raleigh to hunt the NC Eastern Zone with my muzzleloader. I got a taste of it when I hunted the morning of the 9th in the Western Zone up at South Mountains Gamelands in Rutherford County and was ready to get to a more familiar place with a better deer population. I had made up my mind the night before that I would hunt where I shot a 9 point on Butner-Falls of Nuese Gamelands back in 2009 so when I saw a small buck laying in the ditch not far from the parking area I knew they had been moving and felt good about my chances.
In celebration of the Eastern NC muzzleloader season starting tomorrow, here is the story of Paul's first buck with his CVA Accura...yea, we know it's a NY buck, but it's still a good story to get you pumped down here in NC!
I bought a CVA Accura muzzleloader in 2008 and hunted with it during the Regular New York Deer season. I headed out on Opening Day in 2008 with only my muzzle loaded I had decided that since I just spent a good chunk of change on this new "toy" I'd better hunt with it! I had spent many hours at the local range sighting this gun in and I was confident out to 200 yards with the Accura.
I was settled into my stand and around mid morning I saw a very large buck come out about 150 yards away in the thick swamp area behind my stand. I scoped the buck and saw that he was in fact very large! He was moving quite fast and would not give me a good shot, the only shot I had due to the thick cover he was in was a head shot which I was not willing to take at that range, there are too many factors that could cause you to miss, especially shooting in the type of cover he was in. I watched as he walked around me and passed all of the other hunters I was with that day, all who were hunting with slug guns and non of them could get a shot either he was just keeping too much distance from us.
About an hour later I had a small doe probably only about a year old come right out from behind me and walk about 10 yards next to me. Although not a shooter, what better to draw in a big buck than a live doe decoy ;) I watched as she feed near me and kept a close eye out behind my stand where she had exited the thick cover hoping a buck would come out. Within about 10 minutes one did! He must have been walking right in the Doe's tracks! I turned around in my stand and got a solid shooting rest thanks to a branch in my tree! When we got within about 25 yards of me I had a great broadside shot and I took it, as the smoke cleared I saw the buck run right past my stand and stop about 50 yards in front of me, the doe was about 30 yards away from the buck and both had just frozen not knowing what had happened.
A million thoughts ran through my mind and the first was "Dang how did I miss him!!!!", the second being "Man, I wish I had my slug gun with me so I had a quick follow up shot" and the third being "How am I going to explain missing a deer at 25 yards??!!". I started to reload as fast as I could while both deer just stood there! I got the 777 pellets loaded and the sabot seated onto them and pulled out a primer and then he dropped!!!! Boy was I happy when I saw him go down! I had a double lung shot on him and it just took him a minute to go down! I took a huge sigh of relief as now I could relax and tell everyone on the radio that I had a huge buck down!
I'm not 100% sure if this was the same buck that I saw a bit earlier but it sure looked like it, the left side of his rack was pretty memorable and it looks to be the same deer but I can't ever be sure, but I'd put my money on it as we did not see another buck that large the rest of the year. I unfortunately was leaving to take a job in NC in a few days and was unable to get this deer mounted ( I still take some grief from folks for this ) but I have the memory and that is all that matters to me! I've attached some photos for your viewing pleasure, once of which is the antler mount that I put together that is hanging in my living room!
Soon after this hunt the muzzle loaded started to experience some mechanical problem, the firing pin spring was not working properly so I had to send it in for service. It was low down on my to do list and took me nearly a year and a half to get it sent out, however CVA got it right back to me and I have it in hand and ready for this upcoming season! I can't wait to get out with the Accura again, it's a great gun!
I just wanted to share a recent experience that I had with CVA. I bought an Accura from CVA about two years ago. I used the muzzleloader for a season, harvesting a very nice 8 point buck during the open day of gun season in New York while my Step Dad harvested a nice doe on one of the last days of the season. My overall experience has been great with this gun as it shoots very accurately. I'll leave the details of the gun for another post; however I do want to share a good experience I had with CVA's repair service.
After the first season, I noticed that the firing pin was not recessing back into the breech face bushing. Basically, once the gun was fired it could not be fired again without pushing the firing pin back into the bushing. I concluded that the firing pin spring must be either broken or dirty. I tried again and again to remove the breech face bushing....without success. Fortunately CVA offers a lifetime warranty on all of their rifles! I packaged the gun up, filled out an easy form found here and mailed it back to the factory for repair.
To my surprise, within 3 weeks I had my gun back! The repair was free of charge and the shop performed the following:
- Repaired the bushing and cleaned the firing pin and firing pin hole
- Cleaned the entire gun (top to bottom!!!!)
- Sent a tube of good grade cleaning gel
- Best of all they attached a 30% off VIP discount coupon good on one item...even one of their rifles!
Customer service like this is what keeps folks coming back to buy more guns as well as recommending these guns to fellow hunters and shooters. I was very impressed with the job they did and the speed in which they performed the repair.
I'll get off my soap box now and let you take a look at their rifles...if you are in the market for a new muzzle loader, take a look!
So I thought I'd do a small series on what you can find if you took a look in my gun and bow cases, while giving you my brief opinion on each gun/bow. First up is my CVA Optima .50 Caliber Muzzleloader. I've had this gun since 2007 and love the way it shoots, especially with its thumbhole stock. The break-action is definitely a great thing to have as it makes putting in the 209 primer (ignition source) a snap as well as getting the breach plug out and cleaning very easy. I shoot two White Hots pellets as my powder behind a 295 grain Powerbelt hollow point and it has killed them dead every time (A cowhorn spike, 6 point and two does).
I have missed two shots around 125 yards or so however, but both times I believe operator error was the cause. I missed the 6 point a day before I was lucky enough to get a second shot at him because I did not have a steady rest and rushed my shot. I missed last years doe before I had dropped her in her tracks at 50 yards due to forgetting about tree branches I was using for cover being right in front of the barrel. In neither case do I believe the bullet dropped too much at the 100+ yard distance. Ideally I like to keep my muzzleloader shots within a 100 yards but I make sure to sight in 2 inches high at 75 yards to allow for some drop with my heavier bullet in my allocated effective/maximum (and comfortable) range of 150 yards with this gun.
I'll leave you with the only con I have for this gun: The ramrod. It has a twist out end used to lengthen it by a few inches that I find annoying to use as it doesn't want to hold very well when extended. My original ramrod also had issues with rattling and not stay put in its holder area under the barrel, though the new one I got for it at Christmas does stay put, so far.
All-in-all, CVA makes great guns and my Optima is one of them. I'd suggest it to anyone looking for a new muzzleloader or wanting to get into the sport.
Sometimes the great ideas that we have just need something to bring them to the forefront. The Inside Out team will be putting our talents to work and sharing our knowledge and love of the outdoors with anyone who wants to listen.
Curran's Outdoor Adventures
GoBlog (Get Outdoors)
Grants Blog (Growing Deer TV)
Hunt Like Your Hungry
inFOCUS (Campbell Cameras)
inMotion (Heartland Bowhunter)
Make It Happen Outdoors
Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
The Rivah Blog
The Will to Hunt
Wired to Hunt