CVA started out making muzzle-loaders back in the 1970’s, but has continued to grow into a much larger company with an ever expanding product line. Their muzzle-loaders have modernized the more primitive ancestor to our modern firearms, and have been among the top selling muzzle-loaders for some time. Today we are talking about one of their more recent developments, the CVA Cascade is the companies first venture into centerfire bolt-action rifles. The Cascade is a bolt-action rifle using a three-lug seventy-degree bolt, and fed by a detachable box magazine.
The Cascade is available in many different and popular short and long-action cartridges. It comes in a synthetic stock available in either a grey color or their custom camo pattern. The rifle I am reviewing today is chambered in the 350 Legend cartridge, a great choice for short range hunting and one I am familiar with already. What remained unknown to me was whether or not the Cascade would meet my needs in a deer rifle.
A first bolt-action
After some initial inspection of the Cascade, I came to the conclusion 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 Ruger American action, they seemed quite similar though each has its benefits. The seventy-degree bolt-lift was very refreshing, I’m a big fan of easy to run bolts and this one is certainly that. The short lift and smooth stroke make the bolt very easy to run, and run fast.
The glass-filled nylon stock has a soft touch finish making it quite grippy and comfortable, the model I received came with the Veil Wildland camouflage pattern. Up front there are two sling sluds to instal 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 flush-mounted release lever 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 twenty-inch barrel is threaded 5/8-24 at the muzzle for those that want to add muzzle 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 Accu Trigger Scope bases. This may not sound like much, but being a very popular pattern opens the door for 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 I may as well install it before leaving. I also grabbed my Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N20 suppressor, being a titanium 9mm suppressor and rated for the 350L I figured it would be a perfect companion for the rifle. All that was left was some ammunition procurement to make as many holes as I needed to.
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 I always have a rifle with, and they are usually much heavier than this one. It was very refreshing to feel the light weight of the Cascade in my hands, it was easily carried one-handed with the grippy finish of the stock.
This rifle would be excellent for deer hunting in near 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 the rifle chambered in 7-08 or 6.5 PRC, or one of the many other excellent cartridges you can get the Cascade chambered in. This 350 Legend is better suited for shots inside two or three-hundred yards where its energy is still high.
I had bore-sighted the rifle prior to leaving the house, so I was ready to shoot the rifle on paper as soon as I’d setup 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 one 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. 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 from it by using it up. Once I switched over to a better ammunition type, things certainly looked better. Three shots were easily one MOA or better, which made me feel much better about the ability to hit a deer should I need to.
Shooting some Federal 180 soft point ammo definitely produced some better results, and being expanding bullets they would obviously be much better for hunting as well.
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.
Pros and Cons
The Cascade does an great job representing CVA’s first bolt gun. The quality and finish of the rifle are commensurate to its price point, and it holds its own on the range. As I mentioned I think the only thing I would change about this rifle is the chambering, I would love to have it in the 7-08. The fact that it is compatible with Savage scope mounting adds value by vastly opening your mounting options. The nylon stock could be better but it could also be far worse, I wont complain about shooting with it. The detachable box mag while perhaps a little cheap feeling functions flawlessly, and the factory threaded barrel saves you time and money if you want to add a brake or suppressor.
And to top if of, it is simply a handsome rifle. The camouflage pattern looks great, and fits into a great many landscapes.
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.