Gun Test: CVA Accura Plains Rifle Package
The Accura Plains Rifle (PR) is a break-action, inline muzzleloader from Connecticut Valley Arms (CVA), and because it does not fire a metallic cartridge, the purchase of this style of firearm does not require federal paperwork, making direct ordering an option. The PR’s most distinguishing feature is its 28″ barrel—an upgrade compared to the company’s 25″-barreled Accura Mountain Rifle—which provides enhanced ballistic performance and extended effective range without stepping into the size and heft of the company’s 30″-barreled Long Range variant. CVA offers the Plains Rifle separately or in a gun/scope package, and our test rifle arrived fitted with Durasight rings and a Konus 3-10X 44 mm scope. Additionally, the PR includes a few tools, a soft case, a Quake sling and a rubber palm saver.
The Plains Rifle’s buttstock, like its fore-end, is polymer, with a soft, supple exterior that is finished in a Realtree Advantage Max-1 HD camouflage pattern. CVA caps its stock with a rubber CrushZone recoil pad. The stock’s wrist smoothly transitions into a Monte Carlo-style comb and bilateral cheek swell. Rubber grip panels utilizing diamond-shaped texturing are located on either side of the pistol grip and the fore-end for purchase. A sling stud is mounted near the stock’s butt, and another is found on the fore-end just rearward of the molded schnabel.
The fore-end is held in place by a slotted steel screw. Once removed, the barrel assembly can simply pivot off the receiver’s steel hinge pin. Grasping the beavertail extension of the trigger guard and squeezing toward the stock’s wrist unlocks the barrel assembly. This must first be completed before the barrel can be removed. From this position it is easy to access the gun’s breechface for cleaning. The company recommends that, after a day of shooting, the firing pin, spring, bushing and recess be cleaned. Made of aluminum and powder-coated matte black, the receiver on the PR model is specific to the premium Accura line, therefore stocks and various parts from other CVA muzzleloader lines are not interchangeable.
The heart of the Accura PR is its nitride-treated barrel. Built by CVA’s sister-company, Bergara, it is made of 416 stainless steel with 1:28″ right-hand twist rifling. CVA applies the treatment to its stainless steel models to further protect them against the corrosive effects of blackpowder and its substitutes. The process results in increased surface hardness and lubricity.
Additionally, the muzzleloader utilizes a substantially recessed crown that eases loading and cleaning, and, like a typical muzzle crown, protects the ends of the rifling lands from abuse caused by poor handling and excessive ramrod use. In this case, the rod is an aluminum unit that, due to its softer construction, will also minimize bore wear. Two blued-steel thimbles with plastic guides are mounted along the barrel’s underside to store the ramrod and to prevent scratching and rattling. Both ends of the ramrod are threaded to accept extensions meant to aid loading and cleaning. One end is capped in brass with external threads that serve as a patch jag, and the other is internally threaded to accept the provided jag extension or other accessories.
A removable Quick Release Breech Plug (QRBP), affixed to rear end of the barrel assembly, is designed to unthread easily, even after extended range testing. Breeched for No. 209 shotshell primers, CVA offers a specialized QRBP for use with Blackhorn powder, as well as a musket cap variant for hunters in states that limit use of “modern” muzzleloading equipment.
The test gun’s trigger was excellent, breaking at 2 lbs., 5 ozs. with zero take-up or staging. Its pull weight is adjustable by way of a screw found just behind the metal trigger guard—clockwise for more weight and the reverse for a lighter pull. The hammer, exposed on the gun’s tang, is fitted with a knurled thumb extension, which can be attached to either side of its spur via a threaded hole. We found that with an optic mounted on the rifle, room for cocking the hammer was limited. Having the 1/2″ extension on the side of the hammer greatly improved accessibility and function.
While firing the PR, we noticed its balance was very good, a trait we’ve noted in other models from the company. The stock design accommodated both left- and right-eye-dominant test shooters, and the stock’s texture helped in handling. For testing we used three load combinations of powder and primer through a seasoned bore, and the resulting groups are tabulated nearby. Between each shot a single spit patch was applied. One “cap” was “snapped” after patching.
Of the loads tested, the combination of Pyrodex RS powder, a Federal No. 209 shotshell primer and a 250-gr. Barnes Sure-Fire T-EZ copper sabot provided both the best accuracy and the most energy on target. Although designed for use when hunting wide-open country, the length of the Plains Rifle was not an issue, even in tight timber, and its heft allowed for a steady hold on those longer pokes. Accurate, feature-packed and affordable, the CVA Accura PR is a solid option for the modern muzzleloader hunter.