Optima V2 Black Nitride Rifle Review

by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

The Optima Black Nitride Rifle Review
The Optima Black Nitride Rifle Review; Illustration Courtesy of Blackpowder Products, Inc.
James R. Clary Ph.D.
James R. Clary Ph.D.

Los Lunas, NM -(AmmoLand.com)- The original version of the Optima was introduced back in 2002 and immediately took the muzzleloader world by storm.

It was the first break-action that was affordable. Until that time T/C pretty much had a “lock” on the break-action market, but they were priced beyond the budget of most muzzleloader shooters. With the entry of the Optima into the market place, everything changed. Muzzleloader shooters could now afford a break-action gun that was reliable and did not break the bank.

It wasn't long before other companies “jumped” into the market with break-action guns, but CVA had such a lead that in the twelve year period from 2002 to 2014, despite very intense competition, they sold more muzzleloaders than any other brand in the country.

I loved the original Optima, although I did find myself hoping that they would change the breeching lever from in front of the trigger guard to the rear. They must have been listening, because at the 2013 SHOT Show, CVA introduced the Optima V2 (version 2). It had everything that a hunter could ask for. It incorporated the trigger guard breeching system, trigger design and internal parts of CVA's top of the line Accura. It did cost a bit more, but not when compared to its competitors.

I have hunted with the CVA Optima V2 Rifle, topped with Toby Bridges' Leatherwood/ Hi-Lux TB-ML 3-9X40 scope, for three years and it has never let me down. I was a very happy camper and had no issue with the fact that my bride preferred her Accura V2. Our discussions as to which was the better gun were routine on every hunting trip. However, she was never able to convince me to change my mind.

That was until I shot her new Accura MR with its black nitride barrel. Now, that is a fantastic gun. I found myself thinking that maybe I should change to the Accura MR.

Well, the folks at CVA must have recognized that they had a winner with the black nitride barrel because at the 2015 SHOT Show, they introduced the new Optima V2 with a black nitride barrel. I didn't have to change after all, I simply traded my original Optima V2 for the new CVA Optima V2 Black Nitride Rifle.

Testing the CVA Optima V2 Black Nitride Rifle

The following are the results of our testing with the black nitride Optima V2 over a two month period. With all of the bullet/powder combinations below, we were able to shoot three and four shot groups from 3/4″ to 1″ at 100 yards, more than adequate for all hunting conditions. On some days, when our shoulders were especially sore and we were not holding as steady, the groups opened up to 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″, still adequate for harvesting your game.

The Optima Black Nitride Rifle Review
CVA Aerolites (l) & Harvester Scorpion PTs (r)

Your muzzle velocities will vary depending on how you compress the load, air temperature and elevation, etc. The following values, recorded by our Caldwell Chronograph  at an elevation of 5,232′, are posted to give the reader an idea of the approximate velocities to expect.

Velocities with 100 gr. Blackhorn 209

  • CVA AeroLite 300 gr. – Mean MV 1,819 f.p.s. / 2,204 f.p.e.
  • CVA AeroLite 250 gr. – Mean MV 1,977 f.p.s. / 2,170 f.p.e.
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 300 gr. – Mean MV 1,907 f.p.s. / 2,422 f.p.e.
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 260 gr. – Mean MV 1,987 f.p.s. / 2,279 f.p.e.

Velocities with 2 IMR White Hots pellets

  • CVA AeroLite 300 gr. – Mean MV 1,650 f.p.s. / 1,813 f.p.e.
  • CVA AeroLite 250 gr. – Mean MV 1,780 f.p.s. / 1,758 f.p.e.
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 300 gr. – Mean MV 1,625 f.p.s. / 1,759 f.p.e.
  • Harvester Scorpion PT Gold 260 gr. – Mean MV 1,720 f.p.s. / 1,708 f.p.e.

The composite picture that follows clearly illustrates the accuracy of the Optima V2 with the new black nitride barrel with both CVA Aerolite and Harvester Scorpion PT Gold bullets.

The Optima Black Nitride Rifle Test
The Optima Black Nitride Rifle Test

By now, you are probably wondering why the black nitride barrel is so special.

Quoting from the owner's manual: “The Bergara barrel has been treated with a process known as ‘Salt Bath Ferritic Nitrocarburizing'. This process is widely used in modern military weapons. This steel treatment hardens the outer layers of the steel, substantially increasing corrosion resistance, wear resistance and lubricity.”

From personal experience with the CVA Accura MR Black Nitride rifle, the nitride process eliminates the need for swabbing while you are hunting and need to reload for a second shot.

Nitride treated barrel surfaces will not chip, peel or scratch like many painted-on exterior finishes. Most importantly the process also protects the inside of the barrel, forming a barrier in the bore that is impenetrable to rust. Any surface rust that does develop inside the barrel will wipe away easily with a bore swab.

In fact, CVA Nitride barrels are so tough that they are guaranteed for life against rust pitting. If the barrel ever develops permanent damage due to corrosion, just return it and CVA will replace it FREE.

The specifications for the Optima V2 Black Nitride are:

  • .50 caliber
  • 416 Stainless Steel, Fluted, 26″ Nitride Barrel with 1:28″ Twist Rifling
  • Bullet Guiding Muzzle – insures level and easy of loading bullets
  • Trigger-guard actuated breeching lever – provides a positive lock/unlock of action
  • 100% Ambidextrous Realtree Xtra Green stock
  • Solid Aluminum Palmsaver ramrod – the cap makes field loading easy
  • DuraSight Integral Scope Mount or DuraSight Fiber Optic Sights
  • QRBP -Quick Release Breech Plug – finger removable, no tool required
  • Reversible Hammer Spur – great for lefties like Jim
  • “Neutral center-of-gravity” trigger – reduces the likelihood of an unintended discharge
  • Trigger pull set at: 2 1/2 lbs – crisp with no creep
  • CrushZone Recoil Pad
  • 41″ Overall length
  • 6.65 lbs.Total Weight
  • 14″ Length of Pull
  • Lifetime Warranty

With a 2015 MSRP of $416 equipped with the DuraSight Fiber Optic Sights or $425 with DuraSight Scope Mounts, this new Optima V2 may well be the best muzzleloader buy on the market today.

James R. Clary, Ph.D.
Contributing Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.

Mary H. Clary, B.S., R.N.
Women’s Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine

  • 2 thoughts on “Optima V2 Black Nitride Rifle Review

    1. I’ve tried several bullet/pellet combo’s. My best results in the V2 Nitride barrel came from using 100 grains of 777 pellets with Hornady 240 Grain sabots. The 3-shot groups keyholed at 75 yards.

    2. Thanks for the review. I bought this gun. Have a Bushnell 4-12X40 scope on it. Shot 233 grain Powerbelts with 2 and 3 White hot pellets. Got about an 8″ group at 100yds. Same with Hornady 260grain SST bullets in sabot with tail. 180grain Hornady XTP bullets in green sabot with 2 pellets give me 2″ groups reliably. CVA recommends Power Belt bullets and IMR White Hot Pellets in the owners manual. I’ve already decided I dont like the PB bullets at all and the White Hot pellets give off a CLOUD OF WHITE SMOKE that is acrid and irritates my throat. Old Pyrodex pellets did not do that.

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