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.
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.
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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.
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.