Tag Archives: solid bullets

A Solid Season: hunting with Cayuga solid Bullets

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.

An average 5-shot group. Accuracy comes standard with these bullets.

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.

A young cow elk taken with the 151 Cayuga

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.

The destroyed lungs from the elk

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.

-CBM

Cayuga solid copper bullets: 6mm 100 grain

Some of you may have already read about my experience with the 6.5 Cayuga from a year or two ago. That may or may not have led you to this subject, but if you are seriously looking into the Cayuga as a hunting bullet then Iโ€™d recommend reading both articles.

The Cayuga
All Patriot Valley Arms Cayugas are solid copper monolithic bullets, lathe turned to perfection from the same alloy as traditional copper cup bullets. This allows them to be extremely consistent from bullet to bullet, and the CNC turning process also allows their profile to be controlled meticulously. The Cayuga solids boast much higher ballistic coefficients than comparably weighted bullets, but due to their lighter weight from lacking a lead core they can be shot at higher velocities. So to sum it up; higher bcโ€™s and lighter weight make them better for distance shooting and the lot consistency and gentile ogive make them accurate and easy loading.
Earlier this year, I started my second six millimeter project, a 6mm GT for my Desert Tech SRS M2. It took only a few minutes to fall completely in love with the Tiger, so when given the opportunity to test these new Cayuga bullets in it, I wasted no time. The 6mm GT easily pushes hundred grain bullets to the 3,000 fps mark, and the high BC of the Cayuga meant that it would hold onto that velocity and energy for quite a ways.


The Numbers

The 100 grain Cayuga didnโ€™t exactly come with an owners manual, PVA gave me some suggested data to work with which seemed to be spot on. I used a G7 BC of .270 which is very similar to the extremely popular Berger 105gr. I tested the Cayuga to beyond 1400 yards and as far as I shot with it, that .270 lined up perfectly.

Easily Loaded
Once I had the Cayugas in hand, I sat down at the loading bench to get busy. The go to powder for the GT is Varget, and for good reason. But if your reading this in the same era it was written, then you know how hard its been to get certain loading components. Varget was hard to come by, but I had eight pounds of Reloader 17 that I could make work. And boy did it!
The very first load I tried with the Cayugas was a modest charge of RL-17 that produced around 2960 fps from my twenty-four inch barrel. The first five bullets I tested went through nearly the same hole, I shit thee nay. Groups in the .2โ€™s and .3โ€™s were immediately achieved with ZERO load workup or seating depth fiddling. While I do consider myself to be both lucky and handsome, I think the generous curve of the bullets ogive likely bears more credit for the accurate shooting than any luck of my own.
I added a touch more powder to break the big three-o, and left the rest alone. From there I spent the rest of my test shooting validating drop and such to confirm the bc. The end goal here was the same for nearly every project of mine; what can I kill with it?

Hunting Season
The GT had accompanied me on a bear hunt to Montana, no kills were made there so the next opportunity would be the Mule deer hunt in my state of Utah. The Rocky Mountains that I call home are quite spacious, and the steep and deep canyons where we hunt our deer can often stretch for miles. Shots can be anywhere from one hundred yards, out to two or three ridges away. To put it simply, a five, six or seven hundred yard shot on a mule deer buck is about as common as anything. The Gay Tiger loaded with Cayugas had become such a predictably accurate shooter that anything in that realm felt like a chip shot as far as hitting my point of aim. So when opening day arrived, the GT road right next to me, and never left my side. We ended up using it for two separate shots on deer, both of which hang quietly in the shed in my backyard.
The first deer was shot at six-hundred and eighty yards, it was a perfect broadside shot that passed through leaving an inch and a half hole on its way out. The deer staggered about twenty yards before he tipped over.

The second deer was taken a few days later, at a distance just over a thousand yards. He too took a single shot and dropped straight to the ground where he expired. While the second shot may have had less energy than recommended by many, it certainly did the trick just fine.
Broken rib bones, shredded lungs, and bright blood stains against the dry yellow grass are exactly the kind of indicators that good hunters like to judge a bulletโ€™s performance.

Conclusion
Just as I had expected, the 6mm Cayugas are everything I had hoped for. Accurate and flat shooting bullets that make an impressive wound cavity through animals. We often joke that Im going to have to shoot an elk with a 6mm Cayuga if ever I want to find a fired one. But after seeing what I have, itโ€™d have to be really far away, or else Iโ€™d have to shoot him length-wise. We killed seven deer last week, just in my group. And the 6mm GT shooting Cayugas killed every bit as well as the larger cartridges used (6.5CM, 260, 308). If you are in need of a solid copper hunting bullet, or if your stuck in California for example, the Cayugas are just the ticket for six-millimeter big game hunting.

-CBM