NEW: .224 Valkyrie: A Gas Gun Hot Rod for Long Range Shooters — FULL REVIEW

Like many other successful cartridges, the .224 Valkyrie was conjured up in a shooting enthusiast’s mind. A “Wildcat” in concept, this .224 Valkryie new offering from Federal Premium was designed as a ballistic solution to solve an academic problem: how to take “America’s Rifle” to 1,000 yards and beyond.

Before we delve into the facts and figures of the .224 Valkyrie and how it performs, I must disclose that in addition to working full-time as a Power Plant operator, I represent both Federal and Savage as a Brand Ambassador. Before you decide this means that I can’t be honest in my evaluation, please read the article or at least browse through the factual data I have collected at the range.

Let the Games Begin with the .224 Valkyrie

Part of my job with Federal and Savage is to “ring-out” in real field conditions how new products work, and sometimes how they don’t work. That is my value to these companies and a testament to how they think: If something has a problem, I will find it. I sort and test, measure and analyze. I hack things apart, modify, reassemble and test again. I photograph and report my results to my contacts at each company. And they value that information.

MSRPs on the .224 Valkyrie’s Offerings:

  •  224 Valkyrie 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing / $31.95
  • 224 Valkyrie 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip / $26.95
  • 224 Valkyrie 100-grain Fusion MSR / $28.95
  •  224 Valkyrie 75-grain American Eagle TMJ / $12.95

My testing confirms the .224 Valkyrie is a 1,000+ yard capable cartridge in factory form. Using a Savage prototype MSR15 rifle, with a 22-inch barrel, I ran 10 shots of the Federal ammunition over an Oehler 35P chronograph.

“The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber,” explains Mike Holm, Federal Premium Centerfire Ammunition Global Product Lane Director. “It beats the ballistics of all other MSR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, it offers comparable performance to larger rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with roughly half the felt recoil—and at a more economical price.”

SPECS— Savage 224 Valkryie MSR

  • MSR 15 Recon platform built around the new 224 Valkyrie, which offers the best performance of any MSR 15 cartridge
  • Elite Series Cerakoted upper & lower
  • Two-stage trigger
  • Hoge pistol grip
  • UBR Gen 2 Buttstock
  • 18-inch barrel with 5R Rifling
  • Adjustable Gas block
  • MSRP: $1,499

This yielded an average velocity of 2,680 feet per second (fps) with a standard deviation of 9 fps. I plugged that value into a ballistic application along with the Brian Litz G7 drag model for the 90-grain Sierra MatchKing bullet. It offers up 1,130 yards as the point where the 90 SMK goes transonic. Be mindful that this data reflects my local range’s elevation of 1,270 feet and weather conditions at the time that info was compiled.  If I were in Colorado, 1,300 yards to transonic would be easy.

Barrels

Going beyond the ballistic solver, I shot the .224V out of 18-inch, 20-inch and 22-inch barreled Savage MSR15 rifles.  When looking at the photos, understand that what you see may not be what you will get as far as how the rifles are configured.  Savage sent me barrels, gas blocks, and handguards. I mixed and matched bits and bobs from my inventory to create the test rigs. You will note that the only work I did with the 18-inch tube was chronograph data collection. I decided to confine my range work to the longer barrels where muzzle speed was commensurate with the long-range application.

After screwing the guns together, I packed up and hit the 100-yard line to “season and settle” the 20- and 22-inch barrels.  I fired a total of 140 rounds about equally split between the two barrel lengths.  Even with stops along the way to tune the adjustable gas system the two guns managed to average 1.03 inches for ALL 140 rounds fired.  If I were to “cherry pick” the best 100 rounds the average worked to 0.86 inch. It’s not too shabby for “break-in” tune and zero.

Going the Distance

Feeling that I had a pair of solid shooters, I collected my gear and moved to the 450-yard bay.  Knowing that crosswind issues were most troublesome beyond about 420 yards due to a break in the side berms, I set up paper at 415 yards.  Here I shot “only” 35 total rounds, three, five-shot groups with the 20 inches and four, five-shot groups with the 22 inches.  Taking every round into account the two guns impressed me again with a group average of 3.26 inches at 415 yards. That calculates out to .75 MOA.

The next morning had me thinking of where I could push the Valkyrie a little farther. Day three of testing and this time the targets were steel.  This short outing had me shooting just the 22-inch rifle from the back of my Honda Element. The steel was set at 621 yards. The first volley of five rounds of the Federal 90SMKs was collected: in an oval group about 2 1/2 inches tall and measures 4 3/4 inches at its widest point!  In the video, you can tell that I am obviously stoked!

To commemorate this shooting display, I went to snap a couple of photos for this article. To employ the camera, I foolishly set the unloaded rifle muzzle-up against the target. When a small breeze passed through and down falls this just-proven wonderful rifle.  It slammed into rocks on the range floor, smacking the steel target stand on the way down.

Article Continues Below

Infographics Courtesy of Federal Ammunition

More Testing

One could never convince the “Internet” that one great five-shot group is any real proof of accuracy, and I suspect you don’t think so either. So I headed back to the firing line, my now-dinged-up rifle in hand.

Rather than risk ruining that nice sub 3/4 minute group on the big target, I launched a couple at the little one without a hit.  The shots went high because the elevation turret was spun up 0.3 mil during the fall.  Pulling that back out, I settled in and fired a third shot at the 10-inch steel, right off the edge at about 9 o’clock. Hit! Better known as a 3-gunner, who often runs Irons or 1X optics, “seeing” hits isn’t a usual part of my routine.

I drove downrange and found a five-shot group that was 4 inches at its widest. Then, I fired a second 621-yard group that backs up the first one and both together average .69 MOA. Is this rifle and cartridge combo accurate? Absolutely.

Lasting Impressions

A brand new cartridge, shot out of two equally new rifles, driven by a humble 3-Gunner put 185 of 188 total rounds fired  at three different distances into an average group size of .83 MOA.  Not only that, but it nails the velocity numbers required to perform this well to beyond 1,000 yards.

For more information about Federal’s .224 Valkryie, click here.

To purchase a Savage MSR on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Robert February 19, 2018, 3:41 am

    A 223 WSSM or a 243 WSSM will fit in a AR platform and with faster velocity

  • Mike Kelly February 16, 2018, 2:22 am

    A friend of mine keeps telling Me
    about a “Henry” upper called
    25/45 and that the ammo is only
    made by one company. Have You
    ever heard of it ?

    After a long while of not shooting rifles,
    I bought a 223 Wylde “Live Free Armory”
    18″ barrel and the buis “DiamondHead” flip
    up sights I bought don’t seem to do well
    for Me at 100 yards or 300. I guess they
    are not for target shooting.

    I liked Your article, but I have been
    buying IMI 62 grain, and keep my
    rounds at $.27 per trigger pull.
    The valkeri and other calibers
    are going to cost to much for me.

    Thank You !!!

    • William Lehtola February 22, 2018, 12:21 pm

      I’m building an 18″ .223 now but still in an early enough stage to switch to .224 valkyrie. The only available upper or barrel and bolt assembly I can find that keeps my build in my budget range is stag arms 18″ offering. I have a 300 win mag bolt gun I use for long range hunting now so if my .224 suffers some from loss in velocity I’m not super concerned. But I am curious what your thoughts are how would you compare the valkyrie to a .223 round out of an 18″ barrel performance wise. Would it be worth switching in your eyes or would you stick to my present course. I am a little concerned with lack of immediate availability of reloading supplies. Do you think this will change in the near future? I see tons of potential but I also see so many naysayers. I don’t think many realize yet how well this round can fit into the ar15 niche. I have no desire to switch to an ar10 platform to get anything to outperform this round.

  • Justin Donner January 29, 2018, 10:28 pm

    Thank u for the review. Really enjoyed it

  • Shane Ferguson January 16, 2018, 8:17 pm

    What velocities were you getting through the 18 inch barrel compared to the 20 and 22? Thank you

    • Patrick E. Kelley January 19, 2018, 2:32 pm

      Chronograph data with Federal Premium 90 Sierra Matchking ammunition.
      Average Feet Per Second from the Savage MSR15’s
      18” 2533
      20” 2628
      22” 2680
      Sorry this did not make the article.

  • James M January 12, 2018, 2:53 pm

    Old coot driving nails! As far back as I can remember I have always kept friends twice my age. Learned a lot over the years from those much wiser than I. Hopefully I will be in as good shape when i get there!

    • Patrick E. Kelley January 19, 2018, 2:33 pm

      Well, that is a first for me. I am now and “old coot”

  • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Thanks Gents for the comments and well thought out replies!
    It is great to have smart guys in the group.

    Happy New Year!
    Patrick

  • Ken January 2, 2018, 8:53 pm

    Nice round the Valkyrie………………….I love my 22-243AI in a bolt gun running 3600 fps with 75 gr. A-Max bullets. Would love to see 3300 fps in a 90 gr. 22 cal. for the Auto’s.
    I understand the 3000 fps magic number (2600-3100) for match shooting…………..I have a 6mmbr and love it to. Just slow.
    Great article about this new round……………..

  • bill January 2, 2018, 6:57 pm

    What scope are you using on the black Valkyrie rifle . Thank you and keep up the good write-ups .

    • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:35 pm

      Bushnell DMR2 3.5×21

  • Todd P. January 2, 2018, 6:34 pm

    I too am a power plant operator/mechanical engineer. Great article the .224 is definitely in my future!

    • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:36 pm

      If we have to have a JOB it is a pretty good gig.

  • Russ H. January 2, 2018, 5:16 pm

    Great article and thorough on the ballistics. Having said that, I would like to have seen the energy this round produces at various ranges in addition to the ballistics and (as it\’s new), some photos of the 224 Valkyrie standing next to it\’s competitors and other common rounds. Thanks for the nice write-up.

  • kerry purcell January 2, 2018, 5:04 pm

    a 6mm would have made more sense,,,,i doubt it has much energy at those plus thousand yard ranges,,,,,a 6.5 grendel in the real world beats it,,,,all this big talk at extended ranges, dont mean much unless you have, the power when you get there,but this is a paper punchers world now,,,, make belive,, and look tactical,,,and talk shit,,,,,

    • FAL Phil January 3, 2018, 8:29 am

      At 850 yards, the curves converge for the 90 grain VLD Valkyrie and the 123 grain SMK Grendel. You can quit talking shit; the math is easy.

      • Mike s January 21, 2018, 10:58 am

        Lol. I love it. There is always one that has the better caliber no matter what the statistics prove otherwise.
        Thanks for making my day

        Good article. Piqued my interested in a new build. Thank you for sharing.

    • Capn Tevo January 14, 2018, 2:20 pm

      There is a 6mm based off the 6.8 SPC case. It’s a wilcat but it’s called the Tac 6. Check it out! Berger 105’s out of an 18” barrel are pushing 2700 fps+, no B.S.! Beats 24” Grendel pushing 123’s

  • Ron January 1, 2018, 6:46 pm

    How does it compare to the 22-250?:)

    • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:38 pm

      Not a fair comparison…as only one works in an AR15.

      The 224 Weatherby and 220 Swift kick 22-250 butt.

      • Ron January 6, 2018, 12:13 pm

        There are quite a few custom AR’s that fire the 22-250 and you might want to check the ballistics again as all three of these rounds are close. The big difference is that there is a far greater selection of factory 22-250 that can be found anywhere.

      • Ron January 6, 2018, 12:27 pm

        Olympic Arms sales a AR in 22-250

        • Patrick E. Kelley January 6, 2018, 3:43 pm

          Oly Arms has closed their doors.

          And yes customs can be hand in all kinds of cool calibers, some outperform the old 22-250!

  • Paul January 1, 2018, 3:08 pm

    Haven’t had the pleasure of shooting the .224 Valk , the Nosler or the Creed . But I have shot a lot of .556 out of various AR platforms . It seems to me from what I’ve heard the Nosler brass is toast after one firing making reloading speculative at best , the pics of fired .224 Valk brass look well smoked which I believe is a good thing from a pressure standpoint , more reloadable brass . Performance is similar , but I believe over the long haul the .224 will prove to be more efficient and the Creedoor isn’t on the same platform so why compare ?

  • Tommygun851 January 1, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Great article! Looks like you had a lot of fun! And that’s what it’s all about. Question, what is 5r rifling? Does that mean one turn for every 5” of barrel? I have an extra upper for my AR15 (who doesn’t?) in a VERY heavy 16” bull barrel configuration with a 1 in 8” twist rate and I would like to drop a reamer down the chamber and turn it into exactly what you have, a long range heavy hitter but my research tells me the twist rate is not fast enough. I need a minimum of 1 in 7” to stabilize heavy bullets so I think I’m stuck with what a got. Back to my question, what is 5r rifling?

    • Bob January 1, 2018, 5:20 pm

      5R rifling is five grooves, Right-hand twist.

      It has nothing to do with the twist rate, which is expressed as you did as 1:8 for one turn in 8”.

      • Tommygun851 January 2, 2018, 8:34 pm

        So if a 1 in 8” twist rate is sufficient to stabilize those heavy 22 caliber bullets, I will definitely try to re-chamber my 5.56 bull barrel to try to throw out some of those 100 grain projectiles to get more stopping power out of one of my spare AR 15 uppers

        • Jeff R January 3, 2018, 1:39 am

          Sorry bob, 5r does not mean 5 grooves, right hand twist.
          It means 5 grooves with a radiused lands. The lands are not square cut, they have a radius edge

          • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:51 pm

            Thank you Jeff!

            And Kyle, the 1:7 twist worked just fine with the 90’s, the 100’s? I agree probably not.

        • kyle January 3, 2018, 5:34 am

          1/8 is most definitely not going to stabilize the 100gr Fed fusion bullets. It won’t even stabilize the 90gr bullets. Perhaps if they came out with a 90-100gr bullet that had a very rounded nose a 1/8 might be able to.

  • Brunotom January 1, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Splitting hairs fellas. For the average Joe hunter all of the information is meaningless. The .223 does anything one might ask it to do. And it can be bought at Walmart. There is such a small notch of shooters that will use the new rounds the ammo companies are coming out with I can’t see any of them being a great success. Selling rifles for a cartridge then stopping production of ammo seems like a dirty trick to me anyway. RCMs and others have been real flops.
    Try to find ammo for any of the Winchester super short guns. Good luck. I am all for improved ammo. Ackley improved were a great idea. Standard ammo can be fired in the rifle if improved ammo is not available. Of course good ideas don’t always sell.

    • JoshO January 2, 2018, 4:30 pm

      Maybe it depends on where you live. Out West it’s easy to find somewhere to shoot out to 1200m or even a couple miles if you wanted to. Lot’s of guys who shoot in my area shoot long range and a cartridge like this will do well. Personally, I own a couple LWRC Six8 rifles and will picking up once of their uppers as soon as they drop.

  • JoshO January 1, 2018, 11:50 am

    So you tested a round designed for 1000+yd shooting…but not at a thousand yards?

    • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:41 pm

      Yea, I know. Not having local access to 1,000 made that task difficult within the article deadline.

  • Johnny Raygun January 1, 2018, 11:46 am

    When comparing recoil or felt recoil, it is difficult if not unfair to compare a 60 grain to a 140 grain projectile. For those who do not reload, purchasing Nosler and Valkyrie ammo for target shooting can be cost prohibitive. Final thought, with so much ballistic improvement concerning new calibers, when does one decide to throw money at the latest and greatest, only to see it become second fiddle. Good article and plenty of info to digest.

    • George January 3, 2018, 1:20 pm

      Valkyrie ammo is actually cheaper than 6.5 Creedmore ammo. Prices will undoubtedly fall as more ammo manufacturers come on board but 6.5CM has bottomed out and it ain’t gonna get any cheaper.

  • Tom Walker January 1, 2018, 11:40 am

    Just wondering, how many rounds will fit in a mag the same size as a 30 round .223?

    • Jeremy January 1, 2018, 8:43 pm

      It uses a 6.8 SPC case, so it will probably use the same mags and capacities.

      • Barry Thomas February 12, 2018, 11:00 am

        Have seen comm. Mags for 6.8 spc available at 28 Rnds.

  • Van Kennedy January 1, 2018, 11:04 am

    Patrick,

    I really appreciate the time invested in running a new combo through the paces, and the resources dedicated to getting that combo to the range in the first place. However, I tend to agree that this round is an underperformance alternative to the Nosler. I am a big fan of Federal premium ammo (I feed my long range 308 their factory fodder regularly), and of Savage rifles. Heck, I firmly believe that the 6.5 Creedmoor was accelerated in popularity due to Savage’s willingness to chamber it in a factory rifle. As a reward for their faith, the MSR 10 in 6.5 Creedmoor, one spectacular long-range MSR. I understand the merits of lighter recoil and all that jazz, but the 224 Valkyrie might just be a little too Nancy niche.

    • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:46 pm

      Van,

      Thanks for the comment.
      The market will decide, I just report.
      And as far as the Nosler goes, it can’t touch the Valk with 90’s and that was one of the end goals.

  • Grant Atkinson January 1, 2018, 10:26 am

    That looks like a nice round. I’m not a AR platform kinda guy. Are there any plans to make a bolt rifle in this caliber? I would be on it in a hot minute depending on the rifle set up. It would be a fun build to create if there isn’t a bolt rifle in the works. Great article and video. Bigger behind the trigger Atkinson.

    • JoshO January 2, 2018, 4:32 pm

      The whole appeal of this cartridge is its utility in the AR platform. There are better choices through a bolt gun.

    • FAL Phil January 3, 2018, 8:42 am

      If I were going with a bolt gun, I\’d step up to a 22-6mm. Lots of experience and reloading data out there for it, and you can get 4000+ fps without breaking into a sweat.

  • DAVID January 1, 2018, 10:05 am

    that more punch less kick graph seems misleading sure it has less kick, but more punch?

  • Tim January 1, 2018, 8:09 am

    I’m all about achieving the best possible long range performance from an given platform, so I think the concept of the .224 Valkyrie is fantastic! However, I can’t get past the misleading numbers put out by Federal in their attempt to make this round look somehow superior to the 22 Nosler. The rounds are almost identical with the 22 Nosler having a higher case capacity! Both the 224 Valkyrie and the 22 Nosler are intended to be precision long range calibers. Everyone that is serious about precision long range shooting takes the time to load their own ammo and fine tune that ammo to their weapon. This being the case the 224 Valkyrie and the 22 Nosler can only be honestly compared firing the same bullets! It is not fare to compare a 77gr offering to a 90gr offering. Why doesn’t Federal compare their 75gr ammo to the Nosler 77gr? I suppose they thought no one would notice? I believe this is the reason that the 224 Valkyrie has received so much hate in the online community. People don’t like being fed misleading information! I don’t own a 22 Nosler and probably will never, so I don’t have a dog in the fight, I’d just like to see a fair comparison.

    • Jeremy January 1, 2018, 8:49 pm

      I think the point is the Federal can use 90gr bullets with the higher BC, and the Nosler cannot.

      • Patrick Kelley January 4, 2018, 1:47 pm

        Jeremy is ON IT!

  • michael grenko January 1, 2018, 3:56 am

    I am not sure how it “flattens” a 6.5 Grendel, my favorite bullet coming out of a 24 inch barreled mega arms AR15 prints 0.38 inch at 100 yards, real work values shot on a 1000 yard range in Albuquerque are:
    130 grain hornady ELD match
    2675 +/_6 (as per Magnetospeed choronograph)
    330 inches of drop at 1000 yards (so routine it is boring 32 clicks up pull trigger hear 8 inch plate ring, 800 rounds and counting)
    wind drift of 8 clicks in a 10 mph wind.
    The Valkyrie stands on its own quit well from your numbers, but why reinvent what is already out there, the 22 Nosler runs an 80 grain bullet out the barrel at 2981 +/- 9 (real world at the 1000 yard range in Albuquerque).
    That is 288 inches at 1000 yards (again real world, about 500 rounds so far), you say the Valkarie drops 391.5.
    To use your terms that flattens the .224 Valkyrie, the nice thing with the 22 nosler is I can use the same carrier group I use for my 5.56, (it has a rebated head) so all I have to do is change the barrel.

  • Ditto December 22, 2017, 9:15 pm

    Didn’t you mean “wring out” and not “ring-out”?

    • Patrick Kelley December 25, 2017, 3:36 pm

      Ditto!

      You are quite correct! Wring-Out. Love my sharp readers!

      Thanks
      Merry Christmas!

      Patrick

  • Zach December 17, 2017, 11:40 am

    Huge fan of all your work, especially the out of the box reviews. You have got to be one of the most honest, unbiast reviews that I have come a crossed. This review is no exception. Thank you for another great vid and keep up the good work.

    • Patrick E. Kelley December 30, 2017, 2:21 pm

      Thank you for saying so Zach! That kind of feedback keeps me going and going and going…

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