Federal Premium's .224 Valkyrie

Federal Premium's .224 Valkyrie
The new .224 Valkyrie from Federal fits nicely into 6.8mm SPC mags, and it's able to handle super-long, heavy-for-caliber bullets for great downrange performance.

Federal introduces the .224 Valkyrie, the latest effort to best the 5.56 in AR-15 rifles.

A while back it seemed as if the industry was releasing a new sporting cartridge a week, and while some were interesting, few have offered a substantial improvement over much older designs. Occasionally, though, one shows up that really catches the attention of shooters. One brand- new offering, Federal's newly released .224 Valkyrie, just may be another success story.

It appears to bring a lot to the table compared to the 5.56x45 NATO round, the standard by which all AR-15 cartridges are judged. In profile it is similar to a scaled-up 5.45x39, an AK cartridge. Conceptually similar to the .22 Nosler, the .224 Valkyrie was developed to fit into the confines of an AR-15 magazine while offering a noticeable increase in performance over the 5.56.

The .224 Valkyrie shares the same parent case as the .22 Nosler: Remington's 6.8x43 SPC. However, there the similarities end. While the .22 Nosler features a rebated rim, the .224 Valkyrie retains the standard 6.8mm SPC case head diameter. More importantly, the .224 Valkyrie case has been shortened to facilitate the seating of long and heavy-for-caliber projectiles.

While the .22 Nosler is intended for use with traditional 5.56 NATO-weight bullets, the Valkyrie is not so limited. Factory loads include not only traditional weight, but also super-heavy 90- and 100-grain bullets—bullets featuring high ballistic coefficients and sectional densities. Even these long bullets fit neatly within the confines of an AR-15 magazine, and they can deliver surprising performance to 1,000 yards and beyond. For example, while Sierra's famous and well-respected 77-grain MatchKing has an advertised G1 ballistic coefficient of .372, the 90-grain Sierra MatchKing, loaded by Federal in the .224 Valkyrie, has a G1 BC of .563. Even when driven at modest velocity, the MatchKing has impressive exterior ballistics and long-range performance.


Recently, I had the opportunity to do some limited testing of the .224 Valkyrie using Federal's new 90-grain Gold Medal Match load and two LaRue Tactical rifles. The first sported a short 11.5-inch barrel while the second measured 20 inches. Average velocity from the 20-inch barrel was 2,687 fps while the 11.5-incher averaged 2,353 fps. That's an average loss of 39.2 fps per inch. Both Valkyries shot sub-m.o.a. five-shot groups at 100 yards, with the 20-inch gun averaging 0.8 inch during initial testing.


https://files.osgnetworks.tv/10/files/2018/04/224VAlkyrierounds.jpg
Both the .224 Valkyrie (l.) and the .22 Nosler are roughly based on the same 6.8 Rem. SPC case, but the Valkyrie was designed to handle heavy, 100-grain bullets.

I shot the Valkyries side by side with identical-length LaRue Tactical models in 6.5mm Grendel. Recoil of the Valkyrie was, of course, noticeably lighter than the 123-grain 6.5mm Grendel rounds due to the Grendel's heavier payload.


The cartridge seems capable of bridging the gap between the 5.56 and the Grendel. The ammunition weighs less than the 6.5mm Grendel, offers milder recoil yet provides a flatter trajectory and less wind drift. Even when fired from a short 11.5-inch barrel, a 90-grain MatchKing remains supersonic past 1,100 yards. When fired from a conventional 20-inch barrel, it remains supersonic to more than 1,300 yards. It's certainly a step up from the 5.56.

Federal is also supporting this cartridge by offering four initial loads. In addition to the 90-grain Gold Medal Match load ($32), it is offering a 100-grain Fusion MSR hunting load ($29) and a 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip ($30). And, importantly, Federal is producing an economical 75-grain American Eagle total-metal-jacket practice load priced at $14. These four loads will allow you to hunt both medium-size game and predators, compete at long range and enjoy a fun day plinking at the range.

As for the platform itself, building an AR-15 in .224 Valkyrie is simple. All you need are a .224 Valkyrie barrel and a 6.8mm SPC bolt and magazine.


Since its introduction, the 6.5mm Grendel has been the choice for long- range work when using an AR-15. With the right bullets, though, the .224 Valkyrie can actually beat the Grendel when it comes to bullet drop, wind deflection and retained velocity. This is an impressive feat in and of itself. The ability to throw 100-grain bullets is eye-opening, and I have to wonder about the possibilities of even perhaps a super-heavy subsonic load down the road.

I'm betting the .224 Valkyrie will eclipse the .22 Nosler, but time will tell. Most new cartridge introductions invoke little more than a polite yawn from me. This new offering from Federal, though, has real potential in many different areas.

https://files.osgnetworks.tv/10/files/2018/04/224ValkSpecs.jpg

Recommended for You

Want to get into the long-range game and not go broke? Check out the Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle. Reviews

Review: Mossberg MVP Precision Rifle

J. Scott Rupp - March 21, 2019

Want to get into the long-range game and not go broke? Check out the Mossberg MVP Precision...

Browning's new X-Bolt Max Long Range rifle is an accurate rifle tailored for long range accuracy. Bolt-Action

Browning's New X-Bolt Max Long Range Rifle

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 11, 2019

Browning's new X-Bolt Max Long Range rifle is an accurate rifle tailored for long range...

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and promises versatile performance. Ammo

Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo

Brad Fitzpatrick - April 30, 2019

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Gun Clips with Joe Mantegna - BULLPUPS

Gun Clips with Joe Mantegna - BULLPUPS

Joe Mantegna talks about the origins of Bullpups.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle. Bolt-Action

Ruger Precision Rifle Now Chambered in .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC

Rifleshooter Digital Staff - April 27, 2019

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle.

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and promises versatile performance. Ammo

Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo

Brad Fitzpatrick - April 30, 2019

The Federal Berger Hybrid Hunter Ammo combines high BCs with a forgiving bullet profile and...

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority. MSR

Review: Savage Arms MSR 15 LR

David Fortier - May 17, 2019

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority.

See More Stories

More Ammo

Craig Boddington explains why he will go along with the crowd and have a 6.5 Creedmoor before he gives up his .264 Win. Mag. Ammo

Craig Boddington on the 6.5 Creedmoor

Craig Boddington - February 27, 2019

Craig Boddington explains why he will go along with the crowd and have a 6.5 Creedmoor before...

In this Cartridge Clash, Brad Fitzpatrick pits the .270 Win. against the .270 WSM. Ammo

.270 Win. vs. 270 WSM

Brad Fitzpatrick - March 04, 2019

In this Cartridge Clash, Brad Fitzpatrick pits the .270 Win. against the .270 WSM.

Weatherby has announced two new rifles — the Backcountry and the Backcountry Ti — and the 6.5 RPM non-belted cartridge, their first non-venturi design. Bolt-Action

New Weatherby Backcountry Rifles, 6.5 RPM Cartridge Announced

J. Scott Rupp - September 06, 2019

Weatherby has announced two new rifles — the Backcountry and the Backcountry Ti — and the 6.5...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.