What You Need to Know About the New 224 Valkyrie

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This Federal 224 Valkyrie Match load uses a 90-grain Sierra Matchking projectile.

There’s always a new cartridge out there. Some grow legs while others remain relegated to small communities of Wildcat enthusiasts. Meet the Valkyrie.

Earlier this year, the folks at Federal Ammunition announced the 224 Valkyrie. Its purpose in life is effective and accurate long-range shooting. What makes it different is that it fits into the same “gun form factor” as the pervasive .223 Remington. Let’s explain that.

When I say form factor, I’m referring to the practical limitation – magazine dimensions. The well in AR-type lower receivers is only so big, so a cartridge that’s longer simply won’t fit and your rifle becomes a single-shot breech loader. The 224 Valkyrie, like the .223 Remington, uses a .224 diameter bullet but the brass case is different. The Valkyrie is based on the .30 Remington / 6.8 SPC cartridge. In fact, you can think of the Valkyrie as a necked-down 6.8 SPC. So, even though the bullet is the same diameter, you’ll need a 224 Valkyrie barrel due to the different chamber dimensions. You’ll also need a 6.8 SPC bolt although the upper receiver is the same.

A 6.8 SPC cartridge (left) and 90-grain 224 Valkyrie (right).

A 6.8 SPC cartridge (left) and 90-grain 224 Valkyrie (right).

Like the 6.8 SPC, the Valkyrie will expect a tweaked magazine made for the round since the geometry is different. So, the practical takeaway is to use 6.8 SPC magazines for your Valkyrie rifles even though the lower receiver and the corresponding magazine well are the same as any other .223 Remington rifle. You might get a .223 mag to work, but you also might find erratic feeding. Spend the extra few bucks and get the right ones.

Here’s why the Valkyrie is particularly interesting. While there are other great long-range cartridges available in larger AR-10 platforms, the 224 brings that type of range to the smaller AR-15 family. Standard loads range from 60 to 90-grain bullets, so the projectiles are heavier than most .223 Remington bullets, and since caliber is the same, the Valkyrie bullets are long and slippery. That means that they will carry velocity better over distance. That also helps with minimizing wind drift. So, the Valkyrie drops less and is less affected by wind.

Left to right: 55-grain .223 Remington, 77-grain .223 Remington, 90-grain 224 Valkyrie.

Left to right: 55-grain .223 Remington, 77-grain .223 Remington, 90-grain 224 Valkyrie.

Marketing materials claim that the .224 Valkyrie can stay supersonic to 1,300 yards. That’s true, at about 5,000 feet above sea level. Where I am, barely above sea level, it stays supersonic past 1,000 yards with ease. With no accuracy-killing super to subsonic transition until well past 1,000 yards, you have predictable performance to four-digit yardage territory.

To put real numbers on that (considering average atmospheric conditions where I’m located) a 90-grain Valkyrie will drop 381.08 inches over 1,000 yards while a 55-grain .223 bullet will fall 452.99 inches. The difference in drift with a 10 mph crosswind between those two is 59.92 versus 101.5 inches respectively.

The Valkyrie is an interesting cartridge and I’m thinking it’s gonna catch on.

Tom McHale is a committed learning junkie always seeking a new subject victim. As a lifelong student of whatever grabs his attention on any particular day, he thrives on beating rabbit trails into submission. In between his time as a high-tech marketing executive, restaurant owner, and hamster cosmetology practitioner, he’s published seven books and nearly 1,500 articles about guns, shooting, and the American way.

  • http://netzero.com/ SomeJackAss

    Honda had a new Valkyrie motorcycle for North American market back in the 1990s where it barely made it out of that decade before sales waned.

    There’s just too many unnecessary firearm calibers out there now. The Valkyrie may last about as long as the 300 blackout which, at least, was premised off an established 300 Whisper.

    Pretty cool though.

    • John L

      Why use 300 when we have cheep 762 x 39!

      • AR-PRO

        Its a hellova lot easier to suppress than 7.62×39!

        • John L

          Subsonic yes, there is more factory ammo available. The 39 case has more capacity. If I were really interested in subsonic I would use 45 acp 230 grain inherently subsonic and way cheaper to buy and shoot.

  • Charles Edward Driggers

    Another caliber for people to buy a new gun that will eventually sit in there safe because they really have no use for it. Then they will try to sell it and nobody will buy it because all the hype has gone and no one wants it.. When will these companies learn.

    • John L

      You only need an upper? I have an unused receiver so barrel and bolt and I’m good to go, no 6.5 creed necessary!

      • Charles Edward Driggers

        So you will have an upper for sale.

        • John L

          LOL, sorry no sir. I have a receiver to put the barrel in and a left over lightweight handguard.

        • John L

          Nope

    • Todd Buh

      sounds like charles has a safe full of bad decisions and assumes the rest of us do too. I do not. and while many like charles might buy this caliber knowing nothing about it, it is their own fault for not doing their homework 1st. but if you want long range distance from an AR15, this is an impressive round. easily ping’s steel at a mile away and not from a AR10 .308 cal. platform. people like charles fail to consider that we don’t all live in the city and limited to 100 yd. ranges. My closest gun range has a 600 yd. max.

      • Charles Edward Driggers

        Really? Are you in any place in the gun industry? Do not make assumptions about me or anyone else you do not know about. I have seen more calibers come and go than many and since the early 90’s this idea of making new cartridges every year has gotten out of hand. So you think I live in the city? How would you know? Like all the other variants for the AR 15 platform; there will be a push to buy ,then it will go flat. Bad decisions………..get real.