The .224 Valkyrie rifle is fairly new to the market, only introduced commercially a few years ago, but it has nonetheless proved appealing to many modern sporting rifle users and competitive shooters – and for good reason.
Taking advantage of better ballistics with a flatter trajectory and less drift, the “Valk” is capable of delivering an AR-15 platform that can engage targets out past 1,000 yards provided the user has the right skillset and optics.
Quick List: The Top .224 Valkyrie Rifles
AmDef UIC Mod 2:
Wisconsin’s American Defense doesn’t get a lot of press but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a reputation among serious gun owners for their ARs. AmDef’s Universal Improved Carbine, or UIC, series guns use a hybrid contour stainless steel barrel with a nitride finish.
The company’s 224V variant includes a two-stage match trigger, Magpul PRS stock, and an HD buffer. The end result is a serious competition 224 Valkyrie rifle without paying the competition price.
Black Rain SPEC 15:
One of the first AR-makers to jump on the Valk train, Black Rain offers their SPEC 15 series platform in the caliber with a choice of either 18-inch carbine-ish models or 22-inch stainless rifles, both with a Magpul ACS-L buttstock.
Nitride coated BCGs and M-LOK slim handguards also come standard.
For those just wanting to upgrade their existing AR, Black Rain also offers these as complete uppers as well.
Lewis Machine & Tool:
Lewis Machine & Tool jumped swam out into the Valk pool early, introducing at least three different quality rifle models– the MLK, MRP, and SLK– just after the cartridge was debuted.
All share the same 20-inch chrome-lined barrel, MARS-L lower receiver, two-stage trigger, 25-round mag, and options for either an FDE or black finish.
The differences between the trio come down to the furniture and rail systems, giving a potential buyer looking at .224-caliber LMTs a lot to choose from.
Lone Star TX15:
Lone Star Armory’s TX15 Designated Marksman Light Enhanced (DML-E) platforms aren’t cheap ($4K+) but they are hard to beat. An adjustable Magpul PRS stock is standard while there are options for either an 18- or 20-inch barrel length.
Using a 3.5-pound two-stage trigger, these come with both a sub-MOA guarantee and a “Forever” warranty.
Building off the fact that the .224V is based on the 6.8 SPC cartridge, LWRCI used their SIX8 series gun as a foundation for their Valkyrie model.
Standard features include a 20.1-inch cold-hammer-forged, NiCorr-treated heavy barrel, fully ambi surface controls on the lower, and a Magpul MOE stock.
Mossberg MMR Pro:
Yes, the company best known for its hard-to-kill shotguns also runs a Valkyrie autoloading rifle and does it exceedingly well.
Equipped with a JM (as in renowned 3-Gun champion Jerry Miculek) Pro match trigger which provides a crisp 4-pound pull, the Mossberg MMR uses an 18-inch free-floating stainless-steel barrel and a slim-profile forend with M-LOK accessory slots.
In the end, you are looking at a competition-level gun from a big-name company for about $1,500, which is hard to beat.
NEMO Battle Lite:
Those who know well-made rifles love Montana-based New Evolution Military Ordnance.
The NEMO Arms Battle-Light, first introduced in 2018, is a serious .224V that delivers all the goods, yielding a 7-pound rifle with a 20-inch stainless steel barrel, Magpul CTR stock 15-inch free-floating M-LOK handguard, nickel boron-coated BCG, ambi surface controls, and a 3.5-pound CMC flat bow trigger.
What more could you want?
Most people think the .224V world requires a $3K entry fee for a rifle. Most people don’t know about Radical Firearms and their 15RPR series gun which can be had for closer to $900.
Using a 22-inch 416R stainless steel medium contour barrel, a free-float thin rail, and MIL-STD receivers, this rifle doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it doesn’t need them.
Radical also sells Valkyrie upper kits, so keep that in mind as well.
While most of the Valkyrie rifles are produced by smaller shops more oriented to custom production, Savage, long a household name in the firearms industry, has embraced the caliber since its inception.
The company’s MSR series includes a Competition model that is offered in .224 and comes standard with a PROOF Research 18-inch heavy-profile carbon fiber wrapped stainless barrel. Other standard features are a nickel-boron bolt carrier, Magpul CTR buttstock, two-stage trigger, and an M-LOK handguard.
For a budget-friendly offering, Savage’s companion MSR 15 Valkyrie model substitutes more budget-minded features and runs about half as much as the MSR Competition.
Wyoming-based Stag Arms makes a beautiful Valkyrie series AR-15 platform complete with an 18-inch 416R stainless steel fluted heavy barrel inside of a 16.5-inch M-LOK SL handguard.
Featuring an adjustable Magpul PRS stock, the Stag 15 stands ready to deliver at distance. Like several others in the Valk space, Stag offers uppers and kits as well as full rifles in the caliber.
The proverbial Ferrari of Valkyrie rifles, Wilson Combat’s SS-15 Super Sniper platform uses a match-grade 20-inch stainless steel heavy fluted barrel with a tuned 4-pound trigger.
Utilizing billet receivers coupled with a Rogers Super-Stoc buttstock, Wilson makes these in a host of custom options and configurations.
Keep in mind that for other, more purpose-focused rifles intended for roles besides overwatch, Wilson also makes Recon Tactical and Ultimate Hunter models in .224 as well.
APO Snipers Hide Bolt Action:
Virginia-based Ashbury Precision Ordnance flies under the radar when it comes to name recognition except when it comes to those who are ready to argue the minutiae of atmospherics on long-distance rifle accuracy.
For those looking to push past 1,000-yards with the soft-recoiling .224, APO offers their Sniper’s Hide High Precision custom platform which uses an AR-inspired modular rifle chassis mated to a 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD barreled action with a 416R light Palma-profile barrel. On the inside are tuned and lapped internals as well as a 3-pound Trigger Tech trigger.
They are made to order and have an 8-12-week lead time, but they guarantee a 1/2-inch MOA with a five-shot group using factory ammo, so they’re more than worth the wait.
Masterpiece Arms Bolt Action:
Incorporating a Curtis Custom Axiom action bedded to an aluminum chassis and mated to a hand-lapped 24-inch Spencer 416RQ Sendero-profile barrel, the MPA BA is pretty clearly a precision rifle.
MPA gives the customer lots of options including pre-setting the trigger anywhere between 1- and 3-pounds as well as changing the barrel profile and barrel twist rate.
Of course, you have to pay to play.
Mossberg MVP Bolt Action:
In addition to their AR Valkyrie (the MMR), Mossberg also offers the chambering for several different variants of the company’s MVP series of AR magazine-fed “Lightning” bolt-action rifles.
This includes the MVP Predator with a 20-inch fluted bull barrel and laminate sporter stock as well as the MVP LR (Long Range) model with a 22-inch bull barrel and adjustable bench rest-style stock– both of which run under $1K.
A more upper-shelf tactical rifle, the MVP Precision, uses a 20-inch bull barrel mated with a chassis design, 20 MOA rail, and a LUTH-AR three-way adjustable stock. Mossberg solving problems.
Q Fix Bolt Action:
Hailing from the sometimes high-profile New Hampshire-based company tied to such guns as the Honey Badger and Sugar Weasel, the Fix by Q is innovative for a precision rifle in the respect that it runs a one-piece receiver that sheds ounces from the gun’s design without slicing away performance.
Using a lightweight profile barrel and a skeletonized adjustable stock, these rifles tip the scales in the region of 6-pounds, which is impressive compared to the typical 12-pound+ weight of many competitors.
Usually just offered on their site in .308 and 6.5CM, Q makes Valk runs in this platform from time to time as well, so reach out.
Savage 110 Prairie Hunter Bolt Action:
Possibly the least expensive .224V experience in a factory rifle can be had from Savage Arms.
Their 110 series bolt-action line up includes the Prairie Hunter, a model teased in late 2019 and pitched as an entry-level way to fly Valkyrie Airlines.
With a 22-inch sporting profile barrel and semi-adjustable AccuStock, the rifle also comes with Savage’s in-house adjustable AccuTrigger, all for a price in the $700 area, which is a lot of bang for the buck. See what we did there?
Just what is the .224 Valkyrie?
Handed down to the hungry masses by Federal in 2017, the Valkyrie blends the case of the old 6.8mm Remington SPC, a favorite of special operations snipers, with the bullet utilized by the humble AR-15 to produce something extraordinary when paired with long range rifles.
With a profile roughly similar to the widely-used AR-15-standard .223 Remington– the Valkyrie is a 5.6x41mm cartridge compared to the .223’s 5.56x45mm– the .224 can be used in AR platforms with just a simple swap of the upper. However, it has a greater case capacity– 34.5-grains, than the more traditional .223 which can only hold 28.5-grains– but does it with a shorter case that is stubbier.
What this means is that the Valkyrie can deliver better performance while simultaneously using larger– and most importantly longer—bullets that will still fit in the magazine well of a standard AR-15.
This yields a more accurate cartridge and ramps up the terminal performance available from an AR-sized rifle without jumping to larger .30-caliber rounds such as .308 Winchester. A bridge, if you will, between 5.56 and 7.62 that proves superior downrange over the former without the dramatic decrease in magazine capacity and recoil of the latter.
For reference, 308-caliber AR-10 mags typically run 20 rounds, and .223 Rem AR-15 mags run 30, while the .224 splits the difference with 25-rounders.
How does the 224 Valkyrie cartridge perform?
For comparison when it comes to ballistics, Federal Premium’s 90-grain Sierra Match King load for the .224 is capable of producing a 1,000-yard shot, albeit with a 391-inch drop and 92-inch drift.
By comparison, a heavy 77-grain .223 has a 519-inch drop and 156-inch drift. When it comes to energy, that same 90-grain load coughs up some 1,457 ft./lbs. at the muzzle and still has 768 ft./lbs. at 500 yards, blowing away a 77-grain .223s more anemic 1,265 and 466 at the same distances due to a higher ballistic coefficient.
When stacked against the more powerful 6.5 Grendel, the .224 gives a similar terminal performance at 500 yards with less drift and drop. Moreover, the .224 doesn’t have the reputation of breaking locking lugs as the Grendel does, and the 6.5 can’t step down to run the smaller bullets that the Valk can bring to the table for those looking to utilize the flat-shooting round on prairie varmints.
From that, you can see why “Valkyrie,” in a nod to the figures in Norse mythology, is an appropriate moniker.
Likewise, the .224 Valkyrie as developed has less felt recoil than similar souped-up MSR rounds such as the 6.5 Creedmoor (which can’t fit in the magwell of an AR-15 by the way) but, like the Creedmoor, picks up the advantage of being able to clock in on dedicated bolt guns chambered for the round.
The versatility that comes with the case capacity allows for a wide range of sporting uses besides punching holes in paper and ringing gongs, with lighter bullets such as 60-grain pills proving ideal for varmints and predators while heavier bullets put medium game on the menu.
Speaking of which, although Federal introduced the cartridge and had its specs logged with SAAMI, Hornady and others are now producing loads in the caliber as well, providing more options for Valk owners to be long-range contenders with an AR-15-sized platform.
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