CVA’s First Bolt Action Runs Smooth In Cascade Rifle
CVA started out making muzzleloaders back in the 1970s, but has grown into a much larger company with an ever-expanding product line. Today we are talking about the company’s first venture into centerfire bolt-action rifles: the CVA Cascade. This rifle uses a three-lug 70-degree bolt and is fed by a detachable box magazine.
The rifle I am reviewing today is chambered in .350 Legend, a great choice for short-range hunting and one familiar to me. What remained unknown to me was whether the Cascade would meet my needs for a deer rifle.
After my initial inspection, I concluded that CVA had done a little homework before making this rifle. The three-lug bolt is indexed on the keyway-like bolt catch on the left side. It works double-time by keeping the bolt timed properly and acts as a stop when pulled to the rear. The action reminded me of the similar Ruger American action.
The 70-degree bolt lift was refreshing. I’m a big fan of easy-to-run bolts, and this one certainly is easy, with its short lift and smooth stroke. This bolt likes to run and run fast.
The Cascade is available in many popular short- and long-action cartridges. It comes in a synthetic stock available in either a gray color or CVA’s custom camo. The model I received came in the Veil Wildland camouflage pattern.
The glass-filled nylon stock has a soft finish, making it quite grippy and comfortable. Up front there are two sling studs to install both a sling and a bipod, which is quickly becoming standard equipment. The safety is mounted on the right side of the action tang.
Underneath the rifle is the detachable box magazine, released from the front with a lever mounted flush to avoid accidental release. The magazine is made from a polymer blend and holds five .350 Legend cartridges. I assume the other short-action cartridge magazines are slightly different than this straight-walled .350 L magazine. The 20-inch barrel is threaded 5/8x24 TPI at the muzzle for those who want to add embellishments.
Before hitting the range with the Cascade, I needed to get a few things squared away. I mounted up a good scope from Crimson Trace in a set of Warne 30mm rings. I was pleased to find out that the Cascade is compatible with Savage 110 AccuTrigger Scope bases.
This may not sound like much, but this popular pattern allows you to use a wide variety of quality scope-mounting components. Once I had everything mounted level and eye relief set, I torqued down the rings.
Next, I installed a Harris bipod on the front sling stud. I rarely shoot without a bipod of one kind or another, so I knew to install it before leaving. I also grabbed my Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N20 suppressor. As a titanium 9mm suppressor rated for the .350 Legend, I figured it would be a perfect companion for the rifle. All that was left was to procure ammo so I could make as many holes as I needed.
It was time to have fun with this little rifle, so I loaded up my gear and headed into the snowy Rocky Mountains to see what it could do. I spend a lot of time hiking through these mountains and always have a rifle with me – but they are usually much heavier than this one. It was refreshing to feel the light weight of the Cascade in my hands, and it was easily carried one-handed with the grippy finish of the stock.
This rifle would be excellent for deer hunting in nearly any country, but I think the .350 Legend cartridge is better suited for flatter country. For these big Rocky Mountain spaces, I would feel better with a rifle chambered in 7mm-08 Rem or 6.5 PRC, or one of the many other excellent cartridges you can get the Cascade. This .350 Legend is better suited for shots inside 200-300 yards where its energy is still high.
I had bore-sighted the rifle prior to leaving the house, so I was ready to shoot paper as soon as I set up my target. After adjusting a few shots to get a solid zero, I fired my first group to see if the Cascade lived up to its 1-MOA guarantee. The first two groups were not what I would consider acceptable, but I can assure you that can be squarely blamed on the ammunition (more on that below).
I spent the rest of the afternoon getting comfortable and familiar with the Cascade. I really like how smooth the bolt runs, and the polymer magazines are perfectly slippery to let the rounds slide into battery. The trigger feels great and is easily anticipated to control where you place your shot. Adding a suppressor to the rifle was a brilliant move on my part – the Legend is a fairly tame cartridge, and once suppressed it is even more pleasant to shoot.
I was shooting Winchester 145-grain ammo, which is notorious for inconsistency. I would probably have thrown it out if ammo wasn’t such a hard thing to come by – instead, I figured I would just harvest the brass by using it up.
Once I switched over to a better ammunition type, things certainly looked better. Three shots were easily 1 MOA or better, which made me feel much better about the ability to hit a deer if needed.
Shooting some Federal 180 soft point ammo definitely produced some better results, and expanding bullets would obviously be much better for hunting as well.
Chambering – .350 Legend not suited to long ranges
Detachable box mag feels a little cheap
The CVA Cascade is a great venture into the bolt-action rifle world. I like that CVA didn’t start out with a no-frills bargain-basement rifle destined to sit behind glass in a Super Walmart sporting goods department.
The Cascade fits right into the large group of sporting rifles that perform well enough to make you wonder how we’ve come so far in firearms manufacturing. It wasn’t that long ago that bolt guns made inexpensively with cheap imported parts weren’t worth the ammo you’d waste shooting them.
But nowadays, it seems like you can get a great performance from what was once a bargain price. If you’re looking for your next deer rifle, the CVA Cascade won’t disappoint.