You may have seen me talk about Cayuga solid copper hunting bullets before, but today we are going to go in a little deeper into these very high quality bullets from Patriot Valley Arms. I have always been a match bullet shooter, for targets or game. I suppose I didn’t know what I was missing out on with these solid match-grade projectiles.
What’s so Special about solid bullets?
If you’ve never looked into these or any other solid bullets, let me explain why they perform so well.
Cayuga’s are turned on a CNC Lathe from a solid bar of copper, this precise fabrication allows consistency and concentricity to be perfectly matched from one bullet to the next. So for one they are more consistent than jacketed bullets, even the open-tips are perfectly uniform. But there is still more to it. Solid copper bullets are lighter than jacketed bullets of comparable size, for example the 7mm 170 Cayuga is about the same size as a 7mm 195 jacketed bullet. The design of the Cayuga gives it a superior Ballistic Coefficient, (A mathematical score of the bullets efficiency in flight) This high BC gives the Cayuga it’s better than average flight characteristics for long-range shooting. The efficiencies of the BC also allow the bullet to cheat some of the effects of wind, high BC bullets like the Cayuga are affected less by wind as they fly through it on their way to the target.
But there is still more:
The lighter weight of the Cayuga bullets when compared to jacketed bullets means that they can be shot even faster. So not only are they more consistent, and high BC, but by increasing the muzzle velocity you can further increase the energy they carry and the range to which they are effective. And higher speed means they will arrive at the target faster, giving the wind less time to affect their flight path.
The owner of PVA and I have been talking for years about everything from terminal ballistics to airplanes, Josh is a bit of a mad scientist crossed with a pitbull who doesn’t let go.
A couple years back, he sent me some of his first Cayuga solid bullets, they were the 122 grain 6.5 Cayugas. We used them to take down a pair of cow elk from 475 and 520 yards from a 24″ 6.5 Creedmoor, both of them dropped in their tracks never to move again. Watch the video here
Last year, I tried the 6mm flavor of Cayuga bullets, they came in at 100 grains. We again used them to take down a couple small mule deer bucks, though taking them down from 680 and 1000 yards is no small feat for a little 6mm. Both bucks went straight down, and never got back up. The Cayuga’s fired from my 24″ 6MM GT were extremely accurate and very impressive.
This year, I wanted to get even more data on the Cayuga’s as a hunting bullet. We had plenty of ballistic data on how they fly and such, but more terminal data was needed to better illustrate the benefits of these bullets as a hunting projectile. So we loaded them up in a few different calibers to see just how many animals we could kill with the Cayuga.
First up was my son Leo’s antelope hunt. Since the GT performed so well last year, I thought we’d give it another chance. And 6mm’s are great for antelope hunts on the open prairie.
You can read the whole story here, but the salient facts are these; We took two mature doe pronghorn antelope from six hundred-ish yards, and the 100 grain Cayuga did an excellent job of dispatching the animals.
One reason I like using cartridges a little lighter than most, is because I hate loosing meat to bullet damage. The 6mm Cayugas did just the right amount of damage in my estimation, enough to kill the animal clean but not take too much of my delicious meat with it.
The next hunt up was the general season mule deer hunt. We had the whole family hunting with Cayugas solids this season, in 6mm, 6.5, 260 rem, 270 wsm, 7SAUM, and 300WM. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get them all in the right place at the right time, but does it ever work out to plan?
We did manage to take a few deer with the 6.5’s and .260’s though. The first 6.5 shot was on a small buck from a distance of approximately 175 yards, the shot placement wasn’t as good as I would have hoped and he made it about forty yards before laying down to die.
The second one fell to the same 122 grain Cayuga fired from a 16″ .260 Remington owned by my son. He made a quick shot on an escaping buck to drop him right in his tracks, the shot passed through the shoulder, disconnected the coronary plumbing and sailed through the other side. The distance of this shot was three hundred and thirty yards.
My other son put the moves on a small spike using the 6.5 Creedmoor and 122 Cayuga. This little buck was around 300 yards away when he took a Cayuga through his liver. He made it a little farther than I would have liked, but better shot placement is the only fix for that.
The last deer we shot was with the same 6.5 Creedmoor, this time it was my wife’s buck. He thought he had given us the slip, but he didn’t know we were waiting quietly for him to step out.
When he did, we were ready with another 122 grain Cayuga. The shot was just over two hundred yards, and it hit him like a copper train. He jumped a couple times into the brush stumbling around until his feet were in the air.
The Cayuga absolutely wrecked his heart, I’m always surprised to see an animal move at all after an impact like this.
The season wasn’t over just yet, I still had a cow elk tag to get before the end of the year. In the last few days of the season, we were able to close in on a couple cows. And being so short on time I wasn’t going to be picky when the opportunity was presented.
I carried with me that day my SRS M2 again, this time using the 7 SAUM barrel I’ve had for years. In the magazine were handloaded 151 grain Cayugas with a modest muzzle velocity of 3100FPS. I’d shot them with very predictable accuracy beyond one-thousand yards, so I was prepared for about anything.
As it turns out, the shot presented was only 250 yards away. The elk was quartering away but looking back, the shot impacted the right shoulder passing through both lungs and exited just in front of the left shoulder. She ran a short distance before expiring but the damage of the impact was very apparent as we butchered the animal. I would consider the minimal meat damage to be better than average, which I also consider a big plus.
As I had anticipated, it has been a season full of bounty. From the very first time I killed an animal with a Cayuga, I had a good feeling that these were essentially bottled-lightning. And after this successful season, I can again confirm that the flight-performance and terminal performance of the Cayuga is outstanding. If you are looking for something to enhance your hunting performance, give them a try.
During the fall of 2023 I again used the 100 grain Cayuga on a hunt for a Pronghorn Antelope buck. I was able to take a fine buck from 480 yards, he fell to a single 6mm Cayuga that impacted through his shoulder, passed through both the heart and one lung and liver before hanging up in the off side skin just in front of his hip.