Federal Premium’s New 224 Valkyrie Cartridge for ARs: Distance is King in 2018

Federal Premium just released the all-new 224 Valkyrie, and it’s been getting a lot of attention. I’ve had a chance to tinker with this new load, in all of its configurations, and can honestly tell you that this round will be the talk of 2018. Something that’s being overlooked is the fact that with a new cartridge comes a lot of new guns. Savage Arms has a few in store of anyone looking to jump on the 224 Valkyrie bandwagon.

The Ammunition

The all-new 224 Valkyrie from Federal Premium was designed for AR platform rifles to be the new long range dominator. The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber. It offers dramatically improved trajectories over all other AR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel, with roughly half the recoil of larger cartridges offering comparable ballistics, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Initial numbers from Federal boasted 2,700 fps at the muzzle from a 24” barrel with the bullet still being supersonic at 1,300 yards. When shot through a 20” match barrel we saw 2,650 fps consistently through the chronograph.

The 224 Valkyrie offers over 125 inches less drop and almost 70 inches less wind drift at 1,000 yards than the 223 Rem and other short-action calibers like the 22 Nosler and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, its ballistics are comparable to much larger, harder kicking calibers like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with as little as half the felt recoil.

Federal plans to introduce the round in 4 configurations.

  • 90 grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing will be the flagship round. The bullet design has been shot to win more matches than any other, thanks to a uniform jacket that ensures consistent, long-range accuracy, and a sleek boat-tail that maximizes ballistic coefficient. Precision and long-range shooters will love this round.
  • 60 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip will be my go-to predator and varmint round. A lighter bullet with unmatched speed will be a favorite for people hunting prairie dogs and predators across the country. At 3,300 fps out of a 24” test barrel, this round will be blazing fast, and holds speeds up to 934 fps at 1,000 yards.
  • 90 grain Fusion will be the mid-sized game cartridge. Fusion already has a name for itself amongst deer and other mid-sized game hunters from coast-to-coast, and in 224 Valkyrie it’s going to be a deer hunting dream. With half the recoil of calibers with similar ballistics, this will be the perfect deer cartridge for the entire family.
  • 75 grain American Eagle TMJ will be the entry level, low-cost round in 224 Valkyrie. At just $13.95 per box MSRP, this will take plinking to a whole new level, and will be a favorite amongst three-gun shooters and casual shooters alike. With the low entry level cost, you won’t be disappointed in its speed or accuracy. It’s still thumping close to 3,000 fps out of the muzzle. Look for retailers to have this shelved at just over $11 a box, making it an extremely affordable long-range cartridge.

The Rifles

Savage is expanding on their already popular MSR-15 line with the MSR-15 Valkyrie. The MSR 15 Valkyrie gets maximum performance from the all-new 224 Valkyrie cartridge. The competition-ready MSR 15 Valkyrie gets the most from the cartridge’s unprecedented capabilities with an upgraded 18-inch barrel with 5R rifling and a crisp two-stage trigger.

Its Elite Series FDE Cerakote finish forms a tough, protective layer on the upper and lower, and its adjustable mid-length gas system can be customized to specific ammunition for the most reliable cycling. Some furniture upgrades are included on this sexy “black and tan” MSR including a Hogue Pistol Grip and a Magpul UBR Gen 2 Buttstock. The muzzle brake is tunable with a 1/2×28, class 3 barrel thread. MSRP on the new MSR 15 Valkyrie is $1499.

Savage has also upped their game with 3 all-new rifles designed for long-range shooters who don’t want to break the bank, or their shoulders. The new MSR 15 LRP series comes in 3 options; the 224 Valkyrie, 22 Nosler, and 6.8 SPC. Each will feature an adjustable gas block and longer barrel to stretch the out-of-the-box performance of its MSR 15 Recon platform even further.

The Recon LRP features an 18-inch barrel to optimize velocities and accuracy, and its gas block can be customized to specific ammunition for the best possible cycling. Like the original MSR 15 Recon, it comes standard with upgrades such as a two-stage trigger, free-float handguard and Savage barrel. Its 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish ensure the most consistent, accurate performance in any conditions, while the custom-forged lower receiver and Hogue pistol grip impart a look that stands out from the crowd. With an MSRP at $1249, these 3 rifles will allow newcomers to the long-range game great options.

by Matthew J. Breuer

Matthew is a long time shooter and student of firearms. He runs Northcountry Guide Service
http://www.northcountryguides.com

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