For 2018, Federal Premium has introduced a new cartridge, the 224 Valkyrie, specifically designed to work in the AR-15 platform. (Some call these rifles MSRs, but I refuse to bow to the political correctness.) The response from many shooters has been the same response we’ve seen for the last half-century any time a new cartridge is introduced: They claim it is only an effort for manufactures to sell more guns and ammunition.
Well, yeah, that’s what gun and ammo manufactures are in business to do. However, this cynical approach fails to recognize what many new cartridges actually bring to the table.
The 224 Valkyrie wasn’t created to supplant the 223 Remington as the most popular cartridge for the AR-15. That’s not even possible. It was purposefully engineered to do one thing, and do it very well. Federal wanted to create the best long-range cartridge possible for the AR-15 platform. And, well, that’s what they did.
Beyond 1,000 yards the Valkyrie will retain more velocity and drift less in the wind than any other cartridge compatible with what has become the most popular rifle style in America.
How did Federal do it? They shortened the 6.8 SPC case, increased the shoulder angle, and necked it down to .224 caliber. This allows the cartridge to use bullets with the highest ballistic coefficient (BC) for the caliber.
What’s it good for? Well, that should be obvious: If you want to shoot at targets beyond 1,000 yards with an AR-15, this is the cartridge.
Oh, and I know what you’re thinking: Why not just load those high BC bullets in cartridges we already have? Two reasons: the cartridge length will be too long to work with AR-15 magazines, and the barrel twist rates for those other cartridges are too slow.
The 224 Valkyrie is the 6.5 Creedmoor of the AR-15.