Thanks Grey,No Wolf bashing from me. I like all CVA products.
I have a Stainless CVA Optima.
I don't have any magic combos and my groups aren't all that great but I blame it on my failing eyesight.
I agree that the 240 gr. bullet is best for deer. Anything lighter may lack proper penetration at greater distances. In theory, the 1-28 twist should like the heavier bullets but don't rule out the 200 gr. Hornady XTP until you try it. I don't shoot my Smoke pole all that often but I'll share some older photos of my results.
All these targets were with the fiber optic iron sights. All were 44 cal. bullets with a sabot.
The first photo was the first shot out of the box using the 265 gr, FTX ahead of 100 gr. of 777 granular.
Photo #2 is a 3 shot group from 25 yards using the 200 XTP ahead of 100 gr. of 777 granular.
Photo #3 is a 4 shot group from 25 yards using the 265 gr. FTX ahead of 100 gr. of 777 granular.
Photo #4 & #5 are 4 shot groups at 50 yards using the 265 FTX ahead of 100 gr. of 777 granular.
All these shots were with iron sights. I would expect that would improve if I had a good scope. I have tried 80 gr. & 90 gr. loads but haven't seen much difference in the groups.
Those pink dots (actually they are orange) are 2'' dia.
I have used Pyrodex P at times just because I have some on hand. I used to use it in my side lock rifles to get better ignition. When I use it, I only use 90 gr. because it burns faster/hotter.
I know that CVA says that you can use up to 150 gr. equivalent but according to Hodgdon's, you should never use more than 100 gr. equivalent. Probably for liability reasons. 100 grs. is all you need for deer anyway. I would only consider using more if I was hunting bear or moose.
I recommend that you experiment to get the best that you can. As you say, it's not a Thompson Center or other high dollar rifle but plenty good enough for "minute of deer".
I have been using RS Select and at first it shot great. Could be the time of year...last September. About the same temp...who knows? I do remember now the best group I had...I found the target in my Target Photos folder. I used 80 gr 777. I thought I used a 240 gr but it was a 260 gr XTP. Now I have my answer where to start. Check this one out...3 shots, 2 in one hole at 50 yards. I almost impressed myself...
PS Good shooting. I got my eyes fixed last year so now I KNOW it's the gun shootin crooked...or it is windy or the rain got my powder wet or something. Anyway, when you mentioned 777 it got me to thinkin...and remembered the targets from last year.
I may go out tomorrow. I worked on my Kodiak Magnum/.45. I needed the scope for a different rifle so I took the scope off the Kodiak and used it elsewhere. I put a Tru-Glo front and rear sight on the Kodiak. But I installed the Ghost Ring. I can see any sight or the target as clear as a bell in my darkened apartment. I think I am going to enjoy shooting open sights again, now that I can see to line up the sight. I cannot believe how bright the Tru-Glo's are.
OH, something else I wanted to mention...filthy dirty clogged breech plugs...How do you keep yours clean and open? I just got a breechplug cleanup tool and have ordered some pin vises to hold the small bits I will need to make my own cleanout tools. I want to have one set for the possibles bag and one for the range box. Actually, homemade tools I am piecing together cost 1/2 what the CVA product does. If youre interested, when I get the homegrowns setup I will post some pics.
I did not know about using drill bits...or I forgot but when I got the cleanout tools in the mail I went right to work and cleaned the breechplugs. I have the original from the Wolf, the Original from the Kodiak, but may need to replace it, and a new quick release breechplug made for Blackhorn 209 and other granulars for the Wolf. I admit, my breechplugs were all fouled badly. But the stock Wolf plug took some real work to clean it. But now all are shiny and like new.
Now I am anxious to try to get some good groups. I will let ya know.