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Just bought a new CVA Optima 209 (nickel, hardwoods). MZ deer season opens here on November 3, so I need some fast track advice. Thanks very much in advance.

I'm new to muzzle loading. I need advice on bullets, powder charge, and primers. I plan to use pellets instead of loose powder.

I'll be shooting 125-150 yards absolute max, with a scope.

What bullets should I try first? And what powder charge? I'd like a relatively flat shooter out to 125 yards.

I've read something about a "reduced strength" 209 primer that is supposed to reduce the "crud ring" typical of regular 209 primers. Is this worth pursuing?

Please advise on bullets, powder charge, and primers to produce a relatively flat shot out to 125 yards.

Thanks!
 

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I can't help you with pellets...but others may...Congrats on the new CVA...and good luck this coming season...

Mac
 

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Welcome to one of the most addicting sports out there.

The Optima is a good rifle and will get the job done for you with a little experimenting and practice. My son has the regular Optima (26" barrel) and it shoots several bullets well. For deer I would check out the TC 250gr Shockwave for a moderately priced bullet that will perform well on deer size game and still work out to 150 yards. I would shoot that with 100grains of pellets (since that is what you want to use). That is more than enough to give you a 5 to 6 inch point blank range to 150 yards.

Another choice is the 200gr version of the Shockwave. It will be slightly flatter shooting than the 250 but will not have the down range energy of the 250 unless pushed a little harder. For 150 yard shots it shouldn't be a problem but if you try to reach out past 200 it gets kind of weak.

Some people like the Powerbelt bullets also and for the most part they shoot well out of some rifles. The problem with them come in when they are pushed too hard. They are designed around an impact velocity based on 80 to 100 grains of powder. If they are shot at higher velocities in close shot situations they can fragment on impact. The Platinum series bullets are suppose to be a bit stronger than the copper series so that may help if needed. The other problem is they cost $1+ per bullet.

There are other bullets out there that can get the job done so feel free to experiment. Don't fall into the trap of more is better on the powder side, more often means less accuracy. Also the difference in trajectory out to 150 yards is not enough to justify the extra powder, often less than 2" difference. 100gr of powder is more than enough for what you are describing with most bullets and will save you money on pellets and bruises on your shoulder.

I find the Winchester 777 209 primers work well and help with the crud ring that 777 powder sometimes causes in some guns. The Remington Muzzleloader primers work OK in my son's Optima. Walmart usually carries both of these if they have ML gear. The reduced power 209's help if you have a crud ring problem but are not necessary if your not having that problem. You may find they can make a difference in accuracy but only your gun can verify that.

Good luck.
 

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mine shoots 2 777 pellets and 295gr Power Belt very well. My first load and shot so well didn't need to try anything else. 245PB also works well.
 

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Mine likes 200 sst with 100 grans lose 777. it will shoot 2 in gropes @ 100 yards. Make sure that you run clean the barrel between shots when you dial it in.
 

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I have the optima Pro and mine like 100 grains of lose American pioneer ffg and the saber tooth bullets. It will shot 1 1/5 groups @ 100 yards.
 

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I shoot the 209 Optima Magnum and had great success this season. Knocked down a 5-Point and small spike on opening day of Early M/Loader and busted a nice young Doe last Sat. Used the Optima for Rifle season as I am waiting delivery of a NEF 308 Survivor that ships tomorrow.

I'm using the following load and can attest to "Instant" knock-down on 2 of the the three deer that I shot. The third one went approx. 40 yards and piled up with heart shot

150 Grains of Pyrodex (3/50grain pellets) I increased this from 100 grains last year.
Hornady 245 Grain HP (Hit the 5-pnt in the spine and must have mushroomed on impact as it had an entrance hole the size of a tennis ball)
Winchester 209 Primers

I can shoot out to 125 yards with this load sighted in approx 2" high @ 50-yards
 

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I had the optima pro mag, 29" nickel fluted barrel, camo stock. This season I switched up bullets. I shot 100 grains of 777 pyrodex and a 300 grain barnes expander. I sighted in at 1" high at 100 yards. The two dear I took; one was at 163 yards, the other was at 184 yards. Needless to say, they didn't go far ;D
 
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