Black Powder CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle Review

Black Powder CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle Review Quick questions (and answers for the impatient): How does the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle with […]
muzzle loader deer rifle CVA - kit

full kit with case, scope

Black Powder CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle Review

Quick questions (and answers for the impatient):

  • How does the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle with Konus Pro scope compare to other black powder rifles? Very well. Modern muzzle loaders are easy to shoot and maintain. The Optima V2 is a handy and accurate medium to large North American game rifle.
  • Is the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2  a good value at an MSRP of $602? At full MSRP, maybe. At the street price of about $405, definitely
  • Should I buy a CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2? This is a purpose built deer hunting gun. Black Powder is not for everyone. If you are considering a black powder rifle for deer hunting, then I highly recommend the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2.
  • Does the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2  have a good trigger? Trigger preference is very subjective. However, the Optima V2 has a very light and crisp trigger, which is what most hunters prefer in a deer rifle.

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Updated October, 2015

One shot, one kill

When the smoke cleared all that was left was a blood trail, and 15 yards away, a big buck succumbing to the .45 caliber, 250 gr sabotted bullet hole through both lungs and his heart.” – Jeff

Deer shot with CVA Optima V2 muzzle loader black powder rifle and Hornady SSTI am relatively new to deer hunting, with only 2 seasons under my belt. The first was a complete bust, the second saw 4 deer make their way into my freezer. The biggest of the bunch, a fairly large 8 point North Carolina Whitetail buck, was taken with the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle with Konus Pro scope, provided for review by The CVA performed flawlessly, delivering the big, slow Hornady SST-ML bullet right on target at about 20 yards.

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The results


CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 in Stainless Steel/Realtree Green with a Konus Pro Scope and carrying case - in the stand

CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 in Stainless Steel/Realtree Green with a Konus Pro Scope – in the stand

After shooting the CVA Optima V2 rifle at the range and in the field here is what I like:

  • Light weight at just over 6.5 Lb, especially for a black powder rifle.
  • Even with 26″ fluted barrel it feels relatively compact
  • Well balanced, unlike many muzzle loaders that are fairly nose heavy
  • Great accuracy, especially with sabot bullets.
  • Easy cleaning. The breech plug unscrews without tools and makes this break barrel muzzle loader a breeze to clean.
  • The Konus Pro scope is simple and easy to use, plus comes with bullet drop charts for an array of popular loads
  • The matte stainless finish looks good, but doesn’t glint or glare in sunlight
  • The realtree Xtra green camo is fantastic and matches the general pattern of the environment in which I hunt
  • The barrel is inlet a bit at the muzzle end to make it easier to start bullets

Looks right to me

I am right handed, and the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 rifle came set up for a right handed shooter. Josejuan, however, is left handed and he quickly pointed out that the entire rifle is designed to be ambidextrous. Simply unscrew the hammer spur and screw it in from the other side to switch from a right to left handed shooter. Although, when he has taken the Optima V2 into the field to hunt, Josejuan did not bother switching the hammer spur. It can be done, but is not really necessary.

Lighten up

While I like the very crisp, repeatable 2.5 Lb trigger break (measured via our GPS Firearms Trigger Scale), I have to admit that it cost me a deer. I carelessly put my finger on the trigger while I was bringing up the rifle to aim. I intended to simply place my finger on the trigger to be ready to fire the instant I had the crosshairs on target. What I actually did was put a bit too much pressure on the trigger, causing the gun to fire before I was on target. Lesson learned… In this case, I was fairly new to deer hunting and got a bit too excited when I unexpectedly saw deer on the way to my stand. My nerves were no match for the ultra-light trigger.

muzzle loader deer rifle CVA - konus pro 3-9x40 scope

What’s not to like about the Optima V2:

This particular model of CVA inline muzzle loader, which I fairly randomly selected for review, just happens to fit my shooting and hunting style about perfectly. However, here are two things I would change about the Optima V2:

  • The zoom adjustment ring on the Konus Pro 3-9x scope is a bit hard to turn. I might add a Cat Tail / break-away coaster to make it easier to turn.
  • While I like the shape and feel of the polymer stock, the length of pull is set at 14″. Not bad, but I would love the option to add/remove length from the stock. At 6’4″ I have what my wife calls “monkey arms” and like 14.5″ – 15″ LOP for a hunting rifle.

I suppose I should also ask for an adjustable trigger, given my embarrassing premature ignition. However, I doubt I would adjust it if I could. I just need to do a better job of controlling adrenaline when a big deer pops up in front of me.

What loads work best with the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2?:

Hornady and Pyrodex muzzle loader black powder rifle loadSo far, I have had the best accuracy using Hornady SST-ML .50 caliber Sabot with .45 caliber, 250 Grain jacketed Flex Tip bullets (Brownells link). However, the day I took the big buck with the Optima V2 I had run out of the SST-ML and was in a stand with short shooting lanes (longest possible shot 100 yards or less). I used a Hornady .50 cal sabot with .45 cal 300 grain XTP Mag bullet. The bullet made a clean pass and was not recovered, but it dropped the buck fairly quickly and left a big exit hole and associated blood trail.
I have tried Hornady Great Plains .50 cal 385 grain lead alloy flat point bullets and found the accuracy to be acceptable for close shots, but groupings really spread out past about 50 yards. I might consider the Great Plains bullets for a stand that has really tight shooting lanes… like 35 yards or less. Anything longer and I am sticking with the XTP Mag or SST-ML bullets.
In all loads above I use Hodgdon Pyrodex 50/50 Pellets (50 grain volume equivalent for .50 cal in-lines).

For target shooting I will generally use 1 Pyrodex pellet for youth and 1 or 2 Pyrodex pellets for adults.
For hunting I have always used 3 Pyrodex pellets. However, at close ranges, like where I shot the buck at 20 yards, I may dial it back to 2 Pyrodex pellets since velocity and bullet drop will be less of an issue and I would rather have a bullet that does not overpenetrate and fully pass through. A full pass through means that some of the bullets energy was retained by the bullet and NOT passed to the target. I want ALL of the bullet’s energy dumped into the target.

Product Description from

“CVA Optima V2 .50 Cal Stainless Steel/Realtree Xtra Green – DEAD-ON Mount

With the Optima V2 shares the name of its popular predecessor, the “Version 2” gun has a completely different design in many ways. Modeled after CVA’s top-of-the-line ACCURA V2, the OPTIMA V2 features the same trigger-guard actuated breeching lever, internal parts, and “neutral center-of-gravity” trigger. Add in CVA’s Quick Release Breech Plug (which is finger removable without any tool what-so-ever), 100% ambidextrous stock, and CrushZone recoil pad, and you’ve got a gun with more quality features than any other muzzleloading rifle in its price range.

Equipped with a 26″ 416 grade stainless steel barrel, the Optima V2 is easy to maneuver in the tree stand and comfortable to carry in the mountains. And it comes standard with a DuraSight®DEAD-ON™ one-piece scope mount and CVA’s solid aluminum PalmSaver Ramrod.

stock photo of CVA Optima V2

stock photo of CVA Optima V2


– 416 Stainless Steel, Fluted
– Bullet Guiding Muzzle
– 100% Ambidextrous Standard Stock
– QRBP – Quick Release Breech Plug
– Reversible Hammer Spur
– CrushZone Recoil Pad
– DuraSight DEAD-ON One-Piece Scope Mount
– Includes Konus Pro Scope


– Caliber: .50
– Barrel: 26″ Stainless Steel
– Stock Finish: Realtree Xtra Green
– Overall Length: 41″
– Length of Pull: 14″
– Weight: 6.65 lbs expert reviews of hunting and shooting gearAdditional Specifications

Barrel Length (in.): 26
Stock: Camouflage
Finish: Stainless Steel
Scope: With Scope
Kit: No


There is a lot to like in the CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 Muzzle loader Rifle with Konus Pro scope. It is not the cheapest option on the market, but the combination of modern in-line muzzle loader easy of use, great balance, and proven shootability, we think the CVA hit a home run with this model.

Gear Score
Handy, accurate, easy to clean, easy to shoot. What's not to like?

Blue Ridge Firearms

The Gear Report team would like to thank the fine folks at for providing a CVA .50 Caliber Optima V2 in Stainless Steel/Realtree Green with a Konus Pro Scope and carrying case. We are a bit different than most review websites in that Gear Report won’t guarantee a good review in return for a retailer providing products to test. This scares away some retailers, and that is fine with us. We only want to be associated with great retailers that know their products and stand behind them. In our dealings with Blue Ridge Firearms we have been impressed and feel confident in recommending them to the Gear Report nation. Unlike many big box retailers, Blue Ridge Firearms is run by folks that know their stuff and can be trusted to steer customers towards the right product to meet their needs. Please check out and tell them your read about them at Gear Report.


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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.