Range Tested: Federal Premium .224 Valkyrie Ammunition

posted on October 1, 2019

There is always a lot of interest surrounding the introduction of new firearm cartridges, particularly when they are specifically built to function in America’s rifle—the AR-15 platform and its many variations. So, understandably, there was a lot of interest in 2017 when Federal’s .224 Valkyrie cartridge was announced, and the usual hubbub ranged from excitement to bewilderment as the ballistically-inclined enthusiastically debated the merits and utility of the newcomer. What is it? Why do we need it? How does it perform?

Now that Valkyrie has had a bit more than a year to mature, I thought it was important to get to the range and answer some of those questions.


The .224 Valkyrie is a center-fire rifle cartridge that can claim the 6.8 mm SPC cartridge as its parent case. The 6.8 SPC, you’ll remember, has been kicked around in various military circles for years now as a larger-caliber ammunition option that would still function well in the light, handy AR-15-size rifles. In fact, the 6.8 is back in the limelight now as the military has opened various “future weapons” projects, but I digress. Federal seized upon the 6.8 SPC cartridge case, and its suitability in auto-loading rifles, but necked the case down to accept .224-cal. projectiles. The name of the game was to design a versatile cartridge that would offer shooters meaningful improvements over the .223 Rem./5.56 NATO family of cartridges in the familiar, and well-loved, AR-style platform. In my opinion, Federal has managed to achieve its goal.

Without getting too far into the weeds, the .224 Valkyrie delivers modest gains in velocity and energy compared to similar .223/5.56 loads. (If you prefer to wade into the tall grass, see American Rifleman’s technical report here and watch the video above.) Where the Valkyrie really shines, though, is in its ability to use longer and heavier projectiles that are better suited for extended-range pursuits. Actually, the Valkyrie’s greatest asset is its ability to accommodate a wide range of bullets that, collectively, can fulfill an equally wide variety of needs—from 60-gr. bullets for varmints and predators, to 90-gr. projectiles for deer hunting and competition shooting, as well as several general purpose loads in between. 

During my testing, I found .224 Valkyrie to be accurate and reliable when shot from a Savage MSR-15 Valkyrie rifle, and I’m interested to see where the cartridge goes from here. It brings a lot of performance to the table, and I think hunters and long-range shooters will appreciate the cartridge’s increased capabilities, particularly because they don’t require a larger, heavier rifle to be realized.

Latest

Hacker Wincheter 94 2
Hacker Wincheter 94 2

The Immortal Winchester Model 94: From the 19th Into The 21st Century

Since its invention at the end of the 19th century, the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle design has become an iconic American firearm that is still produced and celebrated to this day.

Kentucky Rifle Raffle to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Contemporary Longrifle Association

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, Judson Brenman and sons have made a masterpiece contemporary Kentucky Longrifle for a raffle held by the organization for the occasion.

ARTV: The Kel-Tec Story

Watch this segment of American Rifleman Television, originally aired in 2019, to learn about the history, manufacturing principles and firearm designs offered by Kel-Tec Firearms, located in Cocoa, Fla.

New for 2021: Springfield Armory Emissary 1911

Springfield Armory's new Emissary 1911 combines the features of today's cutting-edge defensive 1911 with some of the best custom features you can find in the handgun market.

Review: Leupold DeltaPoint Micro

Leupold’s DeltaPoint Micro doesn’t look like any other slide-mounted optic. Rather than using a flat-bottomed design, the DP Micro features an L-shaped mounting surface that covers the top-rear portion of its host’s slide, with a small 9 mm lens sitting atop the gun and the battery compartment overhanging the aft of the slide.

Streamlight Donations Support for Breast Cancer Research

For the past 13 years, Streamlight has donated proceeds from sales of the pink lights to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Interests



Subscribe to the NRA American Rifleman newsletter