A Compact, Capable Rifle

CVA’s Cascade SB bolt-action rifle delivers accuracy in a lightweight, maneuverable package.

A Compact, Capable Rifle

Best known for its extensive line of blackpowder rifles, Connecticut Valley Arms — or CVA — launched its first-ever bolt-action, centerfire rifle in 2020 with the Cascade. The Cascade was and is a fine rifle, well-made and accurate, and one of the best values for hunters looking for a rifle under $600.

But the Covid pandemic, ammunition shortages and regulatory concerns have gotten the bulk of the industry’s attention the last couple years, and the Cascade, like so many other new and improved firearms, received little attention.

This situation persisted through 2021 when CVA introduced its second bolt action, the Cascade SB or Short Barrel. Essentially a slightly smaller version of the original “big brother,” the Cascade SB was designed especially for use by hunters in tighter spaces like hunting blinds. And with suppressors becoming ever-more common afield, CVA figured the shorter barreled and muzzle-threaded Cascade SB would be great choice for suppressed hunting.

CVA was right on all counts.

The Cascade SB is available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win., both sporting 18-inch barrels, and in .300 Blackout with a 16.5-inch barrel. The barrel and receivers feature a Graphite Black Cerakote finish, while the stocks are done up in Veil Tac Black camouflage.

The Cascade SB series rifle may be the perfect choice for the deer or hog hunter who wants accuracy and lighter-weight maneuverability in a rifle. Given its size, the Cascade SB will also work great for smaller-framed and younger hunters, and has a lot of potential as a truck gun, too.

Getting Familiar

I received a Cascade SB in 6.5 Creedmoor for testing and evaluation, and in my time using it found the rifle was extremely accurate, functioned smoothly and was a pleasure to shoot.

The aforementioned 18-inch barrel on my Cascade SB was crafted from 4140 carbon steel. The rifle’s muzzle is threaded at a 5/8x24 pitch and makes the SB ready for the addition of a brake or suppressor. The bolt design incorporates a 70-degree throw for smooth and fast operation, plus generous scope clearance. The two-position rocker safety is conveniently located to the right and rear of the bolt for instantaneous operation at the push of a thumb or rearward tug of an index finger.

Ammunition is fed to the rifle chamber through a four-round detachable magazine that fits flush into the bottom of the stock. Extra magazines for fast reloads are also available from CVA.

The Cascade SB’s synthetic stock is fiberglass reinforced and features a SoftTouch finish for easy gripping even when field conditions are cold and wet — or hot and wet as I experienced at my range during the month of August. My solid hold on the rifle was further enhanced by the extensive checking present along the stock’s forearm and around the grip.

The SB’s buttstock is adjustable for length of pull by way of a removable spacer, while dual front swivel studs allow for the use of both a sling and a bipod at the same time.

Scoping up the CASCADE SB was easy thanks to the two-piece mounts that come mounted on the receiver. A 20 MOA one-piece base can also be purchased for the rifle from CVA.

Hitting the Target

For my test shooting, I mounted a new EOTech VUDU 1-10x28mm, first focal plane scope onto the rifle. The VUDU provided very clear and sharp-edged images, and the SR4 MOA reticle got me on target fast. Elevation and windage adjustments were very precise. 

At my outdoor range, I ran several brands of 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition through the rifle for function and accuracy evaluations, including: Federal Premium’s Medium Game loaded with a 130-grain Barnes TSX bullet; Hornady Outfitter and its 120-grain GMX load; and Winchester’s USA Ready featuring a 125-grain open-tip bullet.

The Cascade SB comes with an MOA guarantee, meaning that, when used with quality ammunition, the rifle should be capable of placing MOA or better groups. In my shooting, the MOA guarantee held up just fine.

Some of my best three-shot hunting groups, fired at 100 yards from a rest, included the Winchester USA at 1.2 inches (pretty decent, I thought, considering this is essentially range and practice ammunition), the Federal TSX with .80- and .90-inch groups, and the winner, Hornady Outfitter, with two outstanding groups of .60 inches.

There were of course larger groups but much of that was likely on the shooter.

Of note, though — and something to explain to potential buyers of the Cascade SB — is that the rifle barrel will heat up quickly, given the relatively short 18-inch length and especially when launching a speedster round like the 6.5 Creedmoor. When firing off rounds fast, a shooter can count on shots No. 4 and up going at least a little wide, and wider as the round count stacks up. 

The Cascade SB’s three-lug steel bolt worked smoothly through 200 rounds of use, while the detachable poly magazine loaded easily and popped in and out effortlessly. According to my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge, the SB’s trigger snapped off at a very clean 1 pound, 2 ounces, on average.

All in all, it’s a nifty rifle that can swing on target quickly whether in a shoot house or tree blind, with or without a suppressor attached.

Selling CVA

Given that the target market for the Cascade SB is definitely the hunter going after deer-size game, sales staff should stress the 1 MOA and better accuracy potential of the rifle, its adjustable trigger, and the dual front swivel studs that allow a hunter to run a sling and bipod at once. 

Staff showing the Cascade SB should also note the tough synthetic stock, and that the stock is fiberglass reinforced.

If the dealer has a couple suppressors on hand, consider fitting one onto a Cascade SB and displaying the suppressed SB next to a suppressed full-size rifle. That way, customers can see for themselves the length comparison of the two platforms and understand the space saving inherent in the SB rifles.  

Staff should also let customers know that CVA has a 14-day money back guarantee on all its rifles. If in the first two weeks the owner of a new CVA rifle decides that he or she doesn’t want the rifle, they can return it with a full refund — no questions asked.

In addition, CVA warrants all of its factory-finished firearms to be free of defects in workmanship or materials for the lifetime of the firearm. This Limited Lifetime Warranty only applies to the original consumer owner. This warranty is put into effect by the return of the authorized warranty card within 15 days of purchase and is not transferable. 

And all of this comes in a sub-$700 hunting rifle.

In store, CVA offers its dealers Cascade and CVA banners and swag.

According to information provided by CVA’s sales and marketing department, CVA staff offers both in-store and Zoom training for all dealer and distributor sales staff. CVA will also provide both co-op funding, as well as Territory Development Funds to help with various dealer marketing initiatives. And, CVA also has an Industry/Pro Program for sales or counter personnel so that they can earn credits towards CVA products.

CVA sells direct to Dealers and through two-step distribution. Some of the primary distributors that carry the Cascade include Amchar, Big Rock Sports, Bill Hicks, Chattanooga Shooting Supply, Farris Brothers, Grice Wholesale, Iron Valley (formerly Banger's), Lipsey’s and Sports South.

For larger marketing efforts, the Cascade is being featured on many hunting-based television shows including Buck Ventures, the Lindsey Way, Open Season, Shoot Straight TV, and Small Town Hunting. YouTubers are featuring the Cascade, too, while a number of hunting and review articles about the Cascade SB are slated for the fall of 2022 and beyond.

So, the word will be out on the Cascade SB, which is always a help to the FFL.


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