During the last few years, we’ve seen firearms manufacturers introduce a whole crop of new cartridges. We have many new 6mm, 6.5mm, 26-, 27-, 28-, and 30-caliber offerings — and Gun Tests has reported on a number of those. Two of the newest intros are the 6mm ARC (can they really bring more energy and range to the MSR platform?) and the 6.8 Western (can this one “magnumize” the 270 Win. the same way the 6.5 PRC has stepped up the game of the 6.5 Creedmoor?). Only time will tell which cartridges stick.
One of the newer cartridges is the 350 Legend. We examined three rifles chambered for the round in the July 2020 edition of Gun Tests. The concept is fascinating: produce a new cartridge that provides 30-30 Win. ballistics in the straight-wall case now allowed by many states in the Midwest for deer hunting. Do all that with a bit more energy, slightly better ballistics, and a little less recoil than the 30-30. We found the Ruger Ranch Rifle, Winchester XPR Hunter, and Savage Model 110 Hog Hunter to provide all that, albeit with a bit less accuracy than we would have liked from a scoped bolt-action rifle.
We received an email from Gun Tests reader Michael L. asking us to add the CVA Cascade Rifle to the list of 350 Legend test rifles and continue the comparison. We found that interesting since CVA didn’t do bolt-action center-fire rifles, at least not until they came out with the Cascade. Long a leader in the muzzle-loading world, CVA also has a great following in the single-shot rifle arena. Keeping in mind that CVA is part of the same corporate umbrella as Bergara, we jumped on the opportunity to test out what could be a value-priced rifle made with Bergara’s expertise. Is that what we found?
How We Shot
Testing was done at American Shooting Centers (AmShootCenters.com) on the west side of Houston. All shots were fired from a well-sandbagged position using a Caldwell TackDriver rear bag ($44 at MidwayUSA.com) and a T.A.B. Gear large/heavy rear bag ($39 at TabGear.com). Muzzle velocities were measured via a LabRadar chronograph ($559). We shot multiple five-shot groups using the same three different types of ammunition from the same lots as the previous tests. We checked out Winchester’s 145-grain full metal jacket cartridge, the Winchester 150-grain Extreme Point, as well as Hornady’s American Whitetail 170-grain soft point. Group size, muzzle velocity and standard deviation for those velocities, as well as muzzle energy and recoil energy, were tabulated and are found in the article. We mounted a Vortex PST II 3-15×44 FFP with an EBR2C reticle, about $899.
Gun Tests Grade: A (OUR PICK)
This may be CVA’s first attempt at building a bolt-action centerfire rifle, but you can’t tell it by looking at it. The engineering expertise supplied by Bergara is obvious, though there are still apparent differences. The stock reminds us of Bergara all the way. It is a synthetic with fiberglass reinforcement and overmolded with the company’s “soft touch” finish, using a design they called Veil Wideland. This pattern is a mixture of greens, browns, tans, and off-white that is complemented well by the Flat Dark Earth (FDE) Cerakote on the barrel and action.
CVA Cascade CR3907C 350 LegendOutstanding trigger and tons of features on a value-priced rifle. It tied for Our Pick with the Savage Model 110 Hog Hunter.
|Overall Length||42.5 in.|
|Barrel Length/Twist||22 in., 1:16 in.|
|Overall Height w/o Scope Mount||7.0 in.|
|Weight Unloaded||6.6 lbs.|
|Weight Loaded (145 grain, 5+1 rounds)||7.0 lbs.|
|Action Finish||FDE Cerakote|
|Barrel Finish||FDE Cerakote|
|Magazine Type||Detachable box|
|Drop at Comb||1.5 in.|
|Drop at Heel||1.8 in.|
|Buttplate||Crushzone Recoil pad|
|Length of Pull||13.9 in.|
|Receiver Scope-Base Pattern||Savage M110|
|Trigger Pull Weight||2.4 lbs.|
|Safety||2-position thumb rocker|
The stock is free-floating and fairly stiff. We could make the stock touch the barrel when squeezing it, but just resting the forend on a bag did not force any contact. The forend sports a raised checkering pattern that is effective without being abrasive. The shooter also gets two forward-mounted sling-swivel studs — one for a bipod and the second for a real sling. The wrist of the stock has a very nice palm swell with more of the raised checkering. We really liked the way this fit our hands and the way it created a good index for strong-side or support-side thumb placement while shooting. Length of pull was measured at 13.9 inches with a 1-inch spacer installed. That can be easily removed for a smaller-stature shooter. The buttstock is capped by a “Crushzone” recoil pad that did a good job of further mitigating mild recoil from the 350 Legend cartridge.
The “bottom metal” is all polymer, but it is nicely executed. The magazine fits flush and is held in place by a well-recessed magazine-release latch located immediately in front of the mag. The rifle’s specs say this is a four-round magazine, but we could get five rounds in the magazine and still retain the ability to close and work the bolt easily.
The barrel is 22 inches of 4140 steel. Twist is 1 in 16 inches, and the muzzle is threaded at 5⁄8×24 with a thread protector provided. Winchester currently markets a 255-grain subsonic load for the 350 Legend. Matched with the right suppressor and the CVA rifle, that could be a very interesting system, especially for hog hunting. The barrel is a medium profile measuring about 1.24 inches just forward of the receiver and about 0.680 inch immediately aft of the thread protector. This is obviously not a lightweight rifle, but it isn’t heavy either. We liked the heft, and it balanced right on the forward action screw.
The action is what really caught our attention. We already knew that we liked the trigger (which averaged a mere 2.4 pounds with less than 3 ounces of deviation from the average pull weight). There was no, repeat, no take up, and overtravel was minimal. When we pulled the barreled action out of the stock, we thought the trigger looked really familiar, so we contacted CVA about it. Turns out we were right. CVA wanted to make a great rifle without reinventing all the wheels. The footprint for the Remington action is one of the most common out there, with tons of aftermarket products produced for it. This rifle not only has a Remington-style action, it has an old-style Remington-esque trigger. Even more, they don’t require the sacrifice of your first-born male child before the owner is allowed to adjust the trigger. Instructions are actually included on how to do so in Section 6 of the owner’s manual. Read the manual. Those familiar with Remingtons will also notice the expected recoil lug sandwiched between the barrel and the action. This fits down into a mortise in the stock. Fit was tight, but the stock is polymer only. It could be interesting to watch what happened to that slot after shooting some of the larger calibers in which the Cascade is also chambered.
The bottoms of Remington-style actions may be easy to produce, but the top of those actions requires a good bit more machining than preferred. Accordingly, CVA patterned the top end of the rifle after a Savage 110 (modern style using the Accu-trigger). Production is simplified. Costs are down. Everyone is happy.
The bolt is a full-diameter unit that ran very smoothly no matter what we tried to do to it. The bolt head is a three-lug design that allows a shorter 70-degree throw. Empty case removal is accomplished via a plunger-style ejector and a sliding plate extractor. One of the few criticisms of the Remington action over the years has been the bolt stop, or the potential frailty thereof. For the average hunter shooting 20 rounds per year, that is a moot point. For the competitive shooter or varmint hunter who runs his rifle a good bit harder, that could become an issue. The CVA uses a largish bolt release, which also serves as the bolt stop, that is mounted on the left side of the action. A large stud projects from the release and fits inside a raceway that runs almost the full length of the bolt. It is solid, sturdy, and smooth. The safety shows its Remington-style heritage, being the expected two-position rocker located immediately behind the bolt and designed for release via the strong-side thumb. A smaller cocking indicator protrudes from the base of the bolt shroud when the action is cocked. The instructions even show how to field-strip and maintain the bolt. We repeat — Read. The. Manual.
The CVA fed and ejected all ammo types smoothly. That isn’t always the case with some of the lesser priced rifles. We’re not going to list the CVA along with the basement-priced models, but we do think it is priced very reasonably, especially considering some of the features included. This rifle has a limited lifetime warranty, a 14-day buy-back offer, and a minute-of-angle accuracy guarantee. The reader will certainly notice that our groups did not average an inch. But please note the guarantee is for three-shot groups (and we had many of those that were sub-inch), but we just weren’t able to do that with five-shot groups. We think, in large part, that may be due to the cartridge. Remember that the 350 legend was designed as a straight-wall cartridge-rifle substitute for slug-shooting shotguns. Range was never expected to be that great, and we are sure these 350 Legend rifles will outshoot a shotgun at distance. Recoil with the 350 Legend is a bit less and energy is a bit greater than the venerable 30-30. If the shooter is indeed comparing the 350 Legend with the older 30-30, the 350 holds its own just fine. And it is legal in the Midwest. And it works well with modern sporting rifles.
Our Team Said: Average groups for this rifle were a mere 0.2 in. larger than the Savage 100 Hog Hunter we tested last year. We think the CVA’s outstanding trigger and a couple of other features make up for that, so we are going to grade this rifle as a tie with the Savage. We think either would be a great choice for the Midwestern deer hunter.
CVA also offers these rifles in 22-250 Rem., 243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Mag., 308 Win., 300 Win. Mag., and 450 Bushmaster. We would be interested in trying this rifle in other chamberings and see what it does.
350 Legend Range Data
Testing was done at American Shooting Centers (AmShootCenters.com) on the west side of Houston. All shots were fired from a well-sandbagged position using a Caldwell TackDriver rear bag and a T.A.B. Gear large/heavy rear bag. Muzzle velocities were measured via LabRadar (MyLabRadar.com, $559).
|Winchester 145-grain FMJ||Ruger Ranch Rifle||Winchester||Savage XPR 110||CVA Cascade|
|Average Velocity||2193 fps||2234 fps||2155 fps||2188 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||1548 ft.-lbs.||1608 ft.-lbs.||1496 ft.-lbs.||1542 ft.-lbs.|
|Best Group||2.09 in.||0.95 in.||1.83 in.||1.81 in.|
|Average Group||2.39 in.||2.10 in.||2.03 in.||2.10 in.|
|Winchester 150-grain XP||Ruger Ranch||Winchester XPR||Savage 110||CVA Cascade|
|Average Velocity||2251 fps||2308 fps||2223 fps||2270 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||1688 ft.-lbs.||1775 ft.-lbs.||1646 ft.-lbs.||1716 ft.-lbs.|
|Best Group||2.19 in.||1.54 in.||1.01 in.||1.18 in.|
|Average Group||2.42 in.||1.77 in.||1.33 in.||1.42 in.|
|Hornady 170-grain Soft Point||Ruger Ranch||Winchester XPR||Savage 110||CVA Cascade|
|Average Velocity||2211 fps||2250 fps||2212 fps||2233 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||1847 ft.-lbs.||1911 ft.-lbs.||1847 ft.-lbs.||1883 ft.-lbs.|
|Best Group||1.98 in.||2.35 in.||0.99 in.||1.39 in.|
|Average Group||2.71 in.||2.57 in.||1.52 in.||1.91 in.|
Value Guide Short-Action Bolt Rifle Scores
|Masterpiece Arms MPA BA MPR PRO 6mm CM, $2499||Apr. 2021||A||Our Pick. A heavy, yet graceful beast of a rifle. The MPA is one of the most popular rifles on the PRS tour.|
|Christensen Arms MPR 801-03035-01 6mm CM, $1799||Apr. 2021||A-||Lightest sample included in this group, tested for a sport that prefers heavy rifles, and it still almost won.|
|Ruger Precision Rifle 18032 6mm Creedmoor, $1599||Apr. 2021||B+||Good accuracy and dependability. We would have liked a crisper trigger and a wide, flat forend.|
|Savage M110 Elite Precision 57558 6mm CM, $1999||Apr. 2021||B+||Least accurate with the Federal ammo. Black Hills and Berger ammunition were much better.|
|Savage Arms 110 Hog Hunter 57018 223 Rem., $599||Feb. 2021||A-||Oversized bolt, adjustable iron sights, adjustable LOP, a box magazine, and a threaded barrel.|
|Christensen Arms Ridgeline 801-06015-00 6.5 PRC, $1793||Jan. 2021||A||Our Pick. Accurate with factory ammunition — even better with reloads. Carryover winner from Nov. 2020.|
|Seekins Precision Havak Pro Hunter 2 0011710059-F 6.5 PRC, $1895||Jan. 2021||A||Outstanding accuracy. We loved the stock and the trigger.|
|W’by Mark V Backcountry MBC01N65RWR6B 6.5 RPM, $2249||Jan. 2021||B+||Beautifully put together, but downrange accuracy wasn’t up to what we saw with other rifles.|
|Bergara Premier M’tn 2.0 BPR28-65PRC 6.5 PRC, $1999||Nov. 2020||A||A 100% carbon-fiber stock and trim 24-inch barrel make this a premier mountain rifle.|
|Browning X-Bolt Max LR 035438294 6.5 PRC, $1180||Nov. 2020||A||A little longer and a little heavier than our other test rifles. Beanfield rifle rather than a mountain rifle.|
|Savage M110 Hog Hunter 57534 350 Legend, $487||Jul. 2020||A||Our Pick. Compact size with a short, stiff, accurate barrel and a great trigger. Straight-wall chambering.|
|Ruger American Ranch Rifle 26985 350 Legend, $442||Jul. 2020||F/B+||First sample failed when the bolt disassembled itself. The replacement rifle wasn’t all that accurate.|
|Winchester XPR Hunter 535741296 350 Legend, $635||Jul. 2020||A-||A full-length rifle that looked great and handled well; dropped off half a grade for its just-average accuracy.|
|Winchester M70 F’wt SS 535234220 308 Win., $951||Apr. 2020||A||Our Pick. Smooth handling, very good accuracy and classical styling.|
|Tikka T3x Lite Stainless JRTXB316 308 Win., $748||Apr. 2020||A-||Best Buy. Functional polymer stock, the smoothest bolt in the group, and the best out-of-the-box trigger.|
|Remington Model 7 CDL 26423 308 Win., $798||Apr. 2020||A||A nice piece of wood, a good trigger and a compact 20-inch barrel on a rifle that could really shoot.|
|Ruger Hawkeye Compact 37139 308 Win., $691||Apr. 2020||B+||This rifle has a short length of pull and a 16.5-inch barrel. Could be a great truck gun.|
|Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $879||Dec. 2019||A||Our Pick. This is a trim rifle made for the small-statured or still-developing hunter.|
|Howa Model 1500 Youth 22-250 Rem., $529||Dec. 2019||A||Best Buy. With youth- and adult-length stocks available, this is a great rifle.|
|Bergara B-14 B14S104 22-250 Rem., $879||Dec. 2019||A||Designed with the full-sized hunter in mind, this would be a great companion on a coyote hunt.|
|Browning X-Bolt 035395291 6mm CM, $2400||Aug. 2019||A||A superior varminter that is good enough to shoot in competition, and certainly in the field.|
|Howa 1500 H-S Precision HHS62203 6mm CM, $1220||Aug. 2019||A||This is a great all-around rifle at a reasonable price. It will outshoot you for many years.|
|Barrett Fieldcraft Rifle Threaded 6mm CM, $1929||Aug. 2019||A-||This is a super-lightweight precision build you’ll want to take everywhere.|
|Savage 110 Scout 57139 450 Bushmaster, $829||Jul. 2019||A-||Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.|
|Ruger Scout Rifle 6830 7.62 NATO, $1139||Jul. 2019||B+||The Ruger Scout comes closest to the original Scout rifle concept, but it falls short due to weight.|
|Mossberg MVP Scout Combo 7.62 NATO, $780||Jul. 2019||B||Not a true interpretation of the Scout Rifle concept. Accurate, well-handling short rifle at a good price.|
|Savage 110 Apex Storm XP 57344 6.5 CM, $605||Jun. 2019||A-||Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.|
|Mauser M18 M18065P 6.5 PRC, $628||Jun. 2019||A-||Accurate and reliable. Expensive compared to the others.|
|Savage Axis II XP Rifle 57289 6.5 CM, $400||Jun. 2019||B+||A credible and accurate rifle for hunting. Superior stock treatment.|
|Ruger 77/44 Model 7401 44 Remington Mag., $754||May 2019||A-||The 77/44 offers accuracy and power in a lightweight rifle. We disliked the magazine.|
|Ruger American Rifle 6903 Standard 308 Win. $382||Dec. 2018||A||Light enough, accurate enough, and inexpensive enough for us to want to keep it.|
|Savage Axis II XP 57095 308 Win. $411||Dec. 2018||A-||Best Buy. It works well, is accurate enough for hunting, and it is affordable.|
|Savage Model 12FV 18393 308 Win., $420||Dec. 2018||A-||Most accurate rifle tested. Modest recoil. The rifle never failed to impress us.|
|Mossberg Trophy Hunter 308 Win., $240||Dec. 2018||C||Overall, the rifle was worth the modest price, but there are better choices.|
|Uintah UPR-10 Bolt AR-10 Upper 6.5 CM, $1295||Jun. 2018||B+||Capable of very good accuracy, this was a dream upper in need of a little refinement.|
|Ruger American Rifle Ranch 06968 300 Blackout, $420||May 2018||A-||Shot well both suppressed and unsuppressed. Short length would make it handy.|
|Remington Model 700 SPS-T 84205 300 Blackout, $680||May 2018||A-||Shot well in 300 BLK supersonic and subsonic.|
|Savage Arms 10PT-SR 22356 308 Win., $550||May 2018||B+||Good build. It did shoot sub-MOA with one round. We loved the handle and AccuTrigger.|
|CZ-USA CZ 527 Youth 03050 7.62x39mm, $650||Mar. 2018||A-/B+||Grade A- for adults; Grade B+ for youths. We would trust it to work for a lifetime.|
|Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter 7mm-08 Rem., $578||Mar. 2018||A-/C+||Grade A- for adults; Grade C+ for youths. Too much rifle and recoil for younger shooters.|