Full Review: CVA Cascade SB (Short Barrel)

Known for its long history of muzzleloaders, CVA recently branched out and designed the Cascade as its first-ever bolt action rifle. Debuted in 2020, the Cascade has been able to prove its worth over the past two years. New to the Cascade lineup is a short barrel (SB) version which features an 18″ barrel for 308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor, or a 16.5″ barrel for 300 Blackout. Boasting an MOA guarantee, 70° Bolt throw, threaded muzzle, detachable box magazine, and an adjustable trigger, the CVA Cascade SB checks most boxes people are looking for in a bolt action rifle

CVA loaned out their Cascade SB chambered in 308 Win. for me to review. Out of the box, first impressions were good, and I was very pleasantly surprised with how smooth the bolt is coming from a rifle in the $700 range. The tolerances between the receiver and the bolt seem tight, and there is very little wobble when running the bolt. Bullets feed great and eject well.

Eotech VUDU 5-25 sitting in a Black Collar Arms forged carbon fiber scope mount, and on a single-piece short action Talley Manufacturing rail
Bolt for the CVA Cascade

One feature I really appreciate about this rifle is the reduced movement it takes to operate this gun. CVA utilizes a 70° bolt throw which shaves 20° of movement from traditional bolt action rifles. While in reality, this saves minimal actual movement and friction, I will take every advantage I can get. The bolt knob is large and easy to operate. Again, the Cascade cycles well and I never had any issues with ammunition binding up as I have with other rifles in this price range.

Utilizing a two-position safety on the right side of the action, this works well for me as a right-handed shooter. While the safety is engaged, the bolt can still be cycled which allows for safely loading and unloading the rifle.

Two-position safety and oversized bolt handle knob

Triggers can be hit or miss for rifles in this price range, but the CVA Cascade did not disappoint! From the factory, the trigger pull weight is set to about 3lbs but can be adjusted from approximately 2-4lbs. The trigger in the rifle I received has absolutely zero creep. No takeup, no creep, and a crisp break. Beautiful.

Trigger weight adjustment

The fiberglass-reinforced synthetic stock features a slick “Veil Tac Black” camo pattern. While this pattern and others such as MultiCam Black don’t blend well with many things in nature, this pattern is much better than the standard matte black most rifles use. Accounting for the ergonomics of youth and adult shooters, the stock is adjustable to allow the removal of 1″ from the length of pull. This removable stock spacer fits the camo pattern of the rest of the rifle well and does not look out of place.

1-inch wide adjustable length of pull spacer right in front of rubber pad

Using two swivel studs, the Cascade easily allows for using both a bipod and a sling. Some bipods also come with a sling attachment, but these can cause the bipod to rub on your shoulder, so featuring two separate swivel studs is quite handy.

Dual sling swivels

For modern rifles, I fully expect them to come with a threaded barrel straight from the factory and CVA made it happen. Utilizing a 5/8 x 24 pitch, this rifle is ready to use any muzzle device or suppressor end users desire. For those who want to run the Cascade SB as it comes from the factory, don’t fret, it also comes with a knurled thread protector. After receiving this rifle, I immediately attached a SilencerCo ASR muzzle brake so I could utilize my SilencerCo Hybrid suppressor. The 18″ barrel is made from 4140 carbon steel and is coated with a graphite black Cerakote.

CVA decided to use a detachable four-round box magazine for the Cascade. The magazine seems solid with thick polymer walls. There is not an anti-tilt follower, but with only four rounds in a magazine, this is not a big deal in my opinion. The Cascade only comes with one mag from the factory, but extras look to run around $25. Again, this rifle runs smoothly, and the magazine feeds perfectly.

Magazine that fits 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win, 243 Win, and 7mm-08 Rem

The Cascade lineup utilizes a tapped receiver that is compatible with the Savage 110 AccuTrigger scope mounts. Coming with a two-piece Weaver / Picatinny base, the Cascade may be ready to mount most two-piece scope mounts. However, I normally use a single-piece scope mount, specifically the Black Collar Arms forged carbon fiber scope mount, and this two-piece rail system was spaced too far away to work for my scope mount. Due to this, I ordered a single-piece short-action Talley Manufacturing rail which worked perfectly. Finally, I topped this all off with the Eotech 5-25 and I was ready to get to shooting. I do want to note that using a one-piece mount on top of a rail makes the scope sit high up on the rifle. This in turn leads to a less natural cheek weld on the buttstock so a cheek riser would be ideal for a scope/mount setup such as this.

A well-balanced rifle

One thing that was annoying out of the box was the number of stickers on the actual rifle. There was one that was on the barrel and after removal left a bunch of sticky residue. Not a big deal, but I don’t understand why manufacturers think it is necessary to attach these to rifles.

Sticker residue staying on the barrel after removing the decal

CVA states that the CVA Cascade “rifles are guaranteed MOA capable. Consumers have 14 days from date of purchase to test fire the gun and verify it to be accurate as advertised.” Speaking with one of their reps, they said that this is the guarantee for 3-round groups. Norma and Hornady both were gracious enough to send ammo out for testing, so these are the rounds I used for the accuracy portion of this review. While 3-round groups are good, I prefer to shoot 5 round groups and due to this had average sizes over the guaranteed MOA group size. I had multiple sub-MOA 3-round groups, but I seemed to always have at least one flyer somewhere in the midst of everything. For example, when using Norma’s 180gr BondStrike, the second round was a flyer, but the other 4 rounds grouped at 0.403 MOA.

Ammo Type5-Round Group Size in MOA
Hornady 150gr InterLock Whitetail1.072
Norma 175gr Golden Target1.325
Norma 150gr Whitetail1.692
Hornady 178gr ELD-X Precision Hunter1.765
Norma 180gr BondStrike1.812
Hornady 168gr BTHP Match3.342
5-round groups shot from 100 yards. Top left: Hornady 150gr InterLock Whitetail, Bottom left: Hornady 168gr BTHP Match, Bottom Right: Hornady 178gr ELD-X Precision Hunter
5-round groups shot from 100 yards. Top left: Norma 150gr Whitetail, Bottom left: Norma 175gr Golden Target, Top Right: Norma 180gr BondStrike

Even though I wasn’t able to achieve as sub MOA 5-round groups, my buddies and I still had no issues shooting steel targets out to 500 yards with this setup. These targets were full C-zone though so a small plate would have been more tricky.

Shooting out to 500 yards

All in all, the CVA Cascade SB is a decent budget contender. I love the magazines, the action is smooth, the trigger is great, and it comes with a threaded barrel and camo chassis. Accuracy was reasonable, and this SB or short barrel version as a great option for shooting from small blinds, or even running as a truck gun due to its maneuverability. MOA is scaled with distance and a 1.5-inch group at 100 yards is a 3-inch group at 200. Everything has a purpose, and this bolt gun has the potential to do all that most hunters will ever need it to. MSRP is currently listed as $745, so now it is up to you to decide if this is the rifle for you.


  • Calibers for Standard Cascade: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, .308 Win, .450 Bushmaster, .350 Legend, .22-250 Varmint, 6.5 PRC, 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag
  • Calibers for Cascade SB (Short Barrel): 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 Blackout
  • Standard: 42.5” – 45.5″ Overall Length / Cascade SB: 39″ – 40.5″ Overall Length
  • Standard: 6.85 – 7.25 lbs. Total Weight / Cascade SB: 6.75 Total Weight
  • Threaded muzzle 5/8 x 24 (.450 Bushmaster 11/16 x 24)
  • 70° Bolt throw
  • Two-position safety
  • Flush fit, detachable magazine
  • Synthetic stock with fiber-glass reinforcement Veil Wideland™ (Standard) or Veil Tac Black (Cascade SB)
  • SoftTouch finish on stock
  • Adjustable length of pull
  • Dual front swivel studs
  • Compatible with all two-piece mounts built for the Savage® 110 AccuTrigger™ models. You can also purchase a 20 moa one piece base from our shopping site at cva.bpishopping.com
  • Beginning in 2021, Cascades will ship with a two-piece Weaver / picatinny base
  • 4140 Barrel finished FDE Cerakote™ (Standard) or Graphite Black Cerakote™ (Cascade SB)
  • Lifetime Warranty*
  • 14 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • MOA Guarantee

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About the author: Mitchell Graf is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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  • Lisa Page May 9, 2023, 4:10 pm

    What is the Twist Rate?

  • Louis March 13, 2023, 1:05 pm

    Glad to realize that good entry level rifles still exist. I am sure you know but I will say it for everyone interested ; many sub-moa rifles for 3-shot group are a bit over moa for 5-shot group so no alarm here, it is honest petformance for a hunting rifle.
    Thank you for presenting this rifle Mitchell.

  • Derol F. Briscoe March 13, 2023, 3:01 am

    Only an amateur would mount a scope so high above the bore. A two piece mount would have been much cleaner and you would have abetter cheek weld. The factory does not guarantee a 5 shot 1″ MOA group. Their guarantee is for a 3 shot group which these rifles will easily do. Even Weatherby only guaratees a 3 shot 1” group @ 100 yds. with premium ammo.

    • Louis March 13, 2023, 11:20 am

      Really ?

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