Thoughts On The .224 Valkyrie

Posted: June 29, 2018 in Opinion, Uncategorized
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It seems you can’t open a gun mag or blog these days without seeing the .224 Valkyrie mentioned. It’s the new hotness, and everyone wants to shout its praises from the rooftops.

After doing my due diligence, I will admit it has impressive performance compared to similar rounds. But here’s where I am going to dissent from all the cool-kids touting this cartridge: it’s going to end up as nothing more than another 6.8 SPC, a niche round kept alive by a few die-hard supporters.

And the biggest reason for this? One word: magazines.

Initially, before realizing that this round would not fit in any of the excellent industry standard AR magazines (Pmag or Lancer), I was intrigued by the potential of this round- shooting high-BC 90gr bullets out to 1200 meters is nothing to sneeze at.

My first question was, how many will fit in a standard 30 round mag?

None? Pass.

This round was supposedly designed with the AR platform in mind. If so, the designers made a tremendous blunder by not taking into account the dimensions of the standard magazine. The 6.8 SPC, an admittedly superior round, has essentially died out and been relegated to a hard-core contingent of supporters that are willing to put up with spotty to non-existent magazine availability. The same will happen to the .224 Valkyrie.

The .300 Blackout, on the other hand, is an example of a new round that took off and is becoming more and more popular each year, due to the ease of conversion. Same bolts and mags, requiring only a barrel swap. The same could be said, to a lesser extent, of the .458 SOCOM, which only requires a new bolt and barrel. A magazine (especially such universally excellent magazines as the PMAG and Lancer) is the HEART of a weapons system.

And with that said, there are several cartridges that offer significant improvement over the 5.56 without resorting to wacky proprietary parts (bolts and/or magazines, 6.5 Grendel I am looking at you).

These include the 6.5 PCC (Patriot Combat Cartridge) and .25-45 Sharps, both of which use 5.56 brass, bolts, and magazines. Either of these rounds offer QUITE respectable performance improvements over the 5.56, and I am rather surprised that they are not far more popular (being 6.5mm and 6.35mm diameter rounds respectively).

I will concede, the Valkyrie is an excellent, low-recoil bolt gun cartridge, and will likely remain quite popular among PRS shooters.

But it is absolutely not appropriate for a standard AR, simply due to its incompatibility with standard magazines. In short: don’t tout a brand new cartridge as “designed specifically for the AR” and then fail to make it fit the AR! Here’s a hint: if people have to buy special magazines, there’s no reason not to just go with the large frame AR platform. And honestly, if you are using a .224 Valkyrie in a bolt gun, why not just go with a .22-250?

Speaking of which…

If you need to stretch out to 1200 meters, use the right tools (6.5 Creedmoor in a large frame AR would be an excellent choice, and also an example of a well-designed, well thought-out cartridge that will quite possibly become the standard intermediate military round within the next few years).
But in closing, it is good to see this willingness to innovate and experiment, and with any luck, we will see even more innovation in the next few years.

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