CVA's top-end muzzleloader is improved by a rust preventative, cool-looking finish.
Seeing how it gets dark at midnight during Saskatchewan's June black bear season, I had much time to run my fingers over CVA's new Accura MR Nitride muzzleloader—when what I really wanted was to caress the plush hide of a soon-to-be bear rug. By now, however, after sitting for 8 hours each day watching a week-old beaver bait deteriorate 15 yards in front of me, I'm a bona fide expert on deterioration. But before I get to this rifle's new anti-rust finish, let me tell you about the gun itself.
I've written several times that the Accura MR in .50-caliber is my top choice for a modern, inline muzzleloader, basically because to me it feels closer to a modern centerfire rifle than anything available right now.
Its straight-line stock is coated with rubbery Dura-Touch, an armor that's quiet in the woods and grippy when wet. Its shadowline buttstock aligns the scope with my eye, and CVA, as most companies should, has accepted the fact that most hunters won't use iron sights at all, so why put them on just to snag brush. (For states where scopes are illegal, CVA offers iron-sighted versions.)
An inline muzzleloader is simply a barrel, a stock to hold it, and a trigger system to fire it. Therefore, the term action when applied to a muzzleloader is a misnomer. The shooter moves the bullet into battery, not an action. So I prefer an action type that merely makes loading, unloading and cleaning easier, and at this time the break-action does this best. In the Accura's case, just press the flange on the rear of the trigger guard to open the action, revealing the flash hole where a No. 209 primer is inserted for ignition. From that position, the breech plug can be removed by hands in seconds, a wonderful feature for unloading the rifle if you do not wish to shoot it and scare all the bears in the woods after a fruitless sit. But nearly all modern inlines have these features.
What makes the Accura MR special is its excellent, 3-pound trigger that sends a bullet down its fluted, 25-inch inch Bergara barrel. These pipes are made in Spain by CVA's sister company, which also sells them to many other gun manufacturers that you'd probably know if only they didn't have an agreement not to tell. Most Bergara muzzleloader barrels I've fired are capable of 2- to 3-inch accuracy with any load (very good for a muzzleloader despite what you may have read), but most Bergara-barreled CVAs can do even better if you experiment with various combinations of powder charges and bullets.
I'm using a 405-grain Powerbelt, because, quite frankly, I just want to see what that behemoth will do to a big hairy bruin. Certainly it's not a long-range load, but again, the rotting beaver carcass was a mere 15 steps in front of me, and so I was not expecting a major poke.
The MR stands for Mountain Rifle, because it only weighs 6.35 pounds, and that's a huge asset. Who wants a heavy rifle when you're only going to shoot out to 200 yards anyway? Not this guy.
But what makes the new Accura MR new and unique is its nitride finish.
Although it looks like a ceramic, baked-on coating like Cerakote and a handful of others, ferritic nitrocarburation is actually a chemical process that 1. turns the Accura's 416 stainless steel a matte black color, and 2. hardens its outer layer to make it more impervious to rust.
Notably, the process is applied to every surface of all metal parts, so the inside of the barrel is also nitrided. And we all know, muzzleloader bores get fouled fast and lead to major accuracy loss, and so this is a significant addition to an already great rifle.
CVA claims the new finish is slicker and therefore produces approximately 100 fps higher muzzle velocities than the standard MR rifle, but I am not sure about this claim yet. I will test and report on this soon.
What I know is this: If this new nitride finish makes cleaning easier—which it does because it's like a non-stick frying pan compared to a cast iron skillet—I'm all for it. And as much as I hate to admit it, the black barrel and Realtree Max-1 camo just look cool together, and that alone is worth the extra $35 to me.
Now if I could only buy a black bear.