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The AR-15 scene has a new kid on the block on, a cartridge that’s currying favor with shooters and hunters relatively fast. So, what is a .224 Valkyrie, and how is this round convincing even hardcore skeptics with its flattest of trajectories?
Developed in-house by Federal Premium Ammunition, the .224 Valkyrie is a bottle-necked cartridge holding a rimless 90-grain Sierra MatchKing slug that’s been shrunk from 6.8 to .224. What’s impressive about this round is how stable it is at ranges that exceed 1,000 yards for such a small load. The Valkyrie’s ballistics outperforms the 5.56mm, the new.22 Nosler and the 6.5 Grendel, drawing closer to the 6.5 Creedmoor out of the AR-15 platform.
The .224 Valkyrie isn’t a pipe dream, or some amateur ballistician messing around in their garage, as apparently, it’s the real deal. Let’s take a closer look at this wildcat cartridge, and you’ll get to decide if it’s headed for greatness or down to the basement archives.
Can the .224 Valkyrie Hit Targets at Extreme Distances?
As an AR-15 shooter, you’ll always hear of new rounds hitting the market, often boasting of field and ballistic capabilities superior to previous, more established cartridges. While some do indeed enter the mainstream, others find popularity is small but loyal cult followers. Still, there are those that quickly and silently fade into obscurity.
As one of the latest offerings from Federal Premium, .224 Valkyrie has garnered attention since being launched at the 2018 SHOT show. Although not yet a mainstream AR-15 platform round, and judging by the number of enthusiasts, this cartridge is here to stay.
At the core, the .224 Valkyrie is Federal Ammunition’s revision of their 6.8 Remington SPC, which uses a .22 caliber slug, precisely in .224mm diameter. It’s similar to the .223 but with a broader and shorter casing that holds a long slug. From this set-up, following on a similar concept with the .22 Nosler introduced a year earlier, you have a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient and more incredible velocity.
In size and physical comparisons, similarities end between the .224 Valkyrie and the 6.8 or .223. The round outperforms these contemporaries by acting like a long action 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester. Since being released, the Valkyrie has dented the massive popularity and outright dominance of the .223 Remington to sporting rifle shooters.
In form and shape, sizes of the .224 Valkyrie include;
- Bullet Diameter: .2245 inches
- Rim Diameter: .422 inches
- Case Length: 1.6 inches
- Total Cartridge Length: 2.26 inches
- Bullet Weight: 60 to 90 grain
Let’s dig into this cartridge’s technical specifications, including ballistics, speed, and range.
.224 Valkyrie Speed and Range Comparison with .233 Remington
The .224 Valkyrie is a cartridge designed to push the slug out with enough muzzle velocity that it keeps going at that speed for a long time. It’s a supersonic round that outdoes any other short-action cartridges, even delivering better than many long-action bullets. With a ballistics calculator or basic math skills, it’s easier for you to make accurate estimates and adjustments due to its high consistency.
Federal’s calculations are set at 68°F and sea-level atmospheric pressure for a velocity comparison between the .224 Valkyrie and its .223 predecessor. The .223 Remington MatchKing 77-grain round offers a muzzle velocity of 2,720 feet per second, while the slug at 1,000 yards retains a momentum of 1,043 f/s.
A .224 Valkyrie MatchKing 90-grain traveling at the same muzzle velocity retains 1,390 feet per second energy at 1,000 yards. The speed of sound is 1,123 f/s at the same temperature and elevation. The .223 Remington travels a touch faster from the muzzle, but the .224 Valkyrie goes supersonic by the time they reach a thousand yards.
At 800 yards, the .223 has dropped to subsonic, but its counterpart reaches 1,200 yards before traveling slower than the speed of sound. It’s evident that the faster a slug moves, the quicker your target is hit.
Your target doesn’t have much time to react either, and neither do you have to compensate that much. There are fewer external effects for still and moving targets exacting on your rounds, such as wind or gravity, meaning a flatter trajectory.
.224 Valkyrie vs. .233 Remington in Drop and Wind Drift
When your round has maintained supersonic speeds, you can rely on its predictability for consistency. A bullet that drops to subsonic speeds will behave less predictably, compounded with the effects of wind and gravity. Let’s compare the .223 Remington against the .224 Valkyrie’s drop and wind drift when there’s a 10 miles per hour crosswind.
A .223 Remington MatchKing 77 grain projectile drops -474.8 inches at 1000 yards with a wind drift of 136.4 inches. The .224 Valkyrie MatchKing 90 grain slug drops -343.5 inches with 78.9-inch wind drift at the same range.
There’s far less drift and drop from the .224 Valkyrie’s slug, which means you have to compensate less to make in shots or adjust your optics.
Terminal Ballistics Comparison between .224 Valkyrie and .223 Remington
The .224 Valkyrie has a larger projectile in terms of mass, although you can come across some .223 ammo with massive slugs. Coupled with the bullet’s supersonic speed, the round exacts more energy on the target. While that’s trivial when shooting targets, a hunter, military, or law enforcement shooter will consider terminal ballistics when taking down a living thing.
Our .223 Remington MatchKing 77 grain slug exacts 186 foot-pounds of energy at 1000 yards. The .224 Valkyrie round, on the other hand, hits the target at the same range with 386 ft. lbs. that’s more than twice the parameters of its counterpart, making fatal shots at the medium-sized game much easier to achieve.
While the trends remain the same across the board, much of this impact is based on variables. These include altitudinal pressure, temperature, and the particular .224 Valkyrie cartridge. But what’s ticking in this bullet? And what’s the actual ballistic coefficient data that leads to such hard-hitting performances?
Ballistic Coefficient and What It Means For the .224 Valkyrie
First, a ballistic coefficient is a ratio that can never exceed one. A slug or projectile is the relationship between its diameter, mass, and a parameter known as the coefficient of form. The latter has multiple expression models, but you can think of it as a drag coefficient that shows how well the round handles air resistance.
The coefficient of form is inversely proportional to deceleration or negative acceleration. Compared to the round’s mass, a higher coefficient will maintain the slug’s speed while countering the loss of momentum. The .224 Valkyrie ticks the box for high ballistic coefficient as it suffers less drag, and you can compare it with several a couple of other Federal cartridges
- .223 Remington with a MatchKing 77-grain slug; .372
- .224 Valkyrie with a MatchKing 90-grain bullet; .563
- 6.5 Creedmoor with MatchKing 140-grain round; .535
- .308 Winchester 175-grain MatchKing slug; .505
The .224 Valkyrie is bigger and better in ballistic coefficient against its contemporaries. You can tell that its performance is similar to an extended action round like the 6.8 SPC. While such a round will require an AR-10 type of bolt, the Valkyrie is compatible with the more common AR-15.
What’s the Best Type of .224 Valkyrie Cartridges?
While there isn’t a considerable breadth of ammunition available for the relatively new.224 Valkyrie, you’ll still find some of Federal’s brands as well as nearby contenders. Since the concept of this round has proven itself after its 2017 tentative reception, more ammo makers have waded in to introduce their package.
Options for this cartridge, led by the 90-grain variety that we’ve tested against the .223 Remington, include;
Federal Premium Sierra MatchKing 90-grain Gold Medal.224 Valkyrie
This round is my favorite as the line of match grade cartridges has an improved design in the sierra slug, thicker jacket, and sensitive primer. While pricier than other .224 Valkyrie rounds, their performance is unparalleled.
Federal Premium 60-grain VShok Nosler Ballistic Tip .224 Valkyrie
It’s tough to nail small varmint, especially from a distance, and the solution is Federal’s specialized round. The VShok Nosler cartridge with a ballistic tip 60-grain slug takes care of long-range predators and medium-sized critters using a range of upgrades. These include a thin jacket, polymer tip, boat tail, and lightweight to cause minimal external damage while delivering a quick kill.
While it lacks the accuracy of a MatchKing, this round is suitably equipped for varmint harvesting seeing as it has a ballistic coefficient of .270.
Federal Premium American-Eagle Total Metal Jacket 75-grain .224 Valkyrie
This ammo is my recommended pick for plinking and tactical training in all .224 Valkyrie cartridges. While affordable than the MatchKing series, it’s produced from excellent components and delivers a .400 ballistic coefficient. It’s the round to go for if you want to get used to a Valkyrie due to its accuracy, reliability, and low price.
Other .224 Valkyrie rounds on offer from Federal Premium and Hornady Ammunition include;
Federal 80.5-grain Gold Medal Berger:
This is a new member of the Valkyrie lineup, a lighter load with excellent combinations of long-range velocity and a ballistic coefficient for accurate marksmanship.
Federal 78-grain Barnes TSX:
Federal has tag-teamed with Barnes Ammunition for this 78 grain TSX that offers 2850 feet per second at a thousand-yard range. If you are using Valkyrie on medium game, this is the cartridge to choose from.
Federal Fusion 90-grain Soft Points:
This is a great cartridge to investigate if you want to harvest deer. The large bonded bullet expands well and acts as the dedicated Valkyrie venison load.
Hornady 88-grain ELD Match:
This is Hornady’s offering for the .224 Valkyrie flavor in 88 grain. I have used their Extremely Low Dragline well for long-range conquests in calibers like .308 Winchester, .223 Remington, and 6.5 Grendel.
Hornady 60-grain V-MAX:
If you are looking for devastating precision and terminal ballistics delivered at 3300 fps, this is the cartridge that’s synonymous with varmint hunting. Branded Varmint Express, this 60 grain round in the V-Max range finds the mark in multiple capacities.
Hornady Black 75-grain BTHP:
You need not break the bank when shooting Valkyrie ammo with the 75 grain Hornady Black’s Boat Tail Hollow Points.
The .224 Valkyrie may be a newcomer on the AR-15 front, but it’s making a splash already. With spectacular ballistics, this round is opening up some exciting possibilities for long-range shooters and hunters. In range drop and wind drift influencing factors, this cartridge performs as well as the 6.5 Creedmoor with less recoil than the 6.5 Grendel.
The small caliber round competes in ballistic performances with long-shot cartridges and better delivers energy at range. But is this cartridge right for you? Yes, it would be my guess if you want to leverage on a light recoil bolt or semi-automatic action rifle and hit marks above 1,200 yards.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.