Easily one of the most hotly debated and talked about cartridges during SHOT Show, the .224 Valkyrie made its official debut in the deserts of Las Vegas. Despite contending with a bevy of new products and ammunition lines, the Valkyrie was one of the more exciting products to hit the SHOT Show floor.
Pioneered by Federal Premium Ammunition and initially announced in October 2017, the Valkyrie has patiently bided its time, waiting to premiere before thousands of SHOT Show attendees. In the middle of January, amid thousands onlookers, it finally got its chance.
Federal Premium touted the round as the next “it” cartridge to hit the long range precision shooting lineup. Featuring a 6.8 SPC parent case necked down to .224 caliber, the .224 Valkyrie grabbed the attention of long range shooters with its low recoil yet impressive output. Looking to fill the gap between .22 caliber rounds and the ever popular 6.5 Creedmoor, the new .224 Valkyrie round pushes 1300 yards with flat trajectories and match-grade accuracy.
The new cartridge was named Best New Ammunition at the 2018 Big Rock Sports East distributor show in Raleigh, NC, earlier this month. Photo by Federal Premium
Federal Premium engineers said 24-inch test barrels with 1:7 twist delivered 128-inches less drop and 69-inches less wind drift at 1000 yards than other modern sporting rifle rounds. On the range, in the breezy temps of Las Vegas winter, these numbers all equated to hits on target. Shooter after shooter lined up at the Savage Arms booth to try their hand at the new .224 Valkyrie round and Savage Valkyrie rifle. Hit after hit rang out from the steel target set up down range with little recoil visible or reported from those slinging bullets at targets.
One thing was clear watching patrons pull the trigger, the Valkyrie was accurate and, more so, it was fun to shoot. As I watched shooters of all sizes sit down at the bench and wrap their arms around the rifle, cheeks resting on the stock, it became obvious that the Valkyrie would be a contender for best in show at SHOT Show.
Not only was the round and rifle a hit on the range, but that excitement carried over into the Sands Expo Center where attendees flocked to the Federal Premium booth to get a closer look at the round and the ammo maker’s Valkyrie lineup. Offering four total loads―a 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, a 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR, and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ―Federal spared no expense in advertising the Valkyrie as the latest and greatest long range round.
The MSR Valkyrie rifle is based on Savage's earlier MSR-15 Recon platform and is ready-made for competition use. Photo by Jacki Billings
Just steps away, Savage Arms prominently showcased its MSR Valkyrie―one of the first full-fledged Valkyrie rifles to hit consumers. Based on the firearm maker’s MSR Recon platform, the MSR Valkyrie boasts an upgraded 18-inch barrel with 5R rifling, two-stage trigger, adjustable mid-length gas system, muzzle brake, and Elite Series Cerakote finish. Savage, as always, seemed to balance price with the flashy flare of a new product, pricing the MSR Valkyrie at $1,499.
With a more high-end feel the CMMG Mk4 is packed with premium features for long range and precision shooters to enjoy. Photo by CMMG
A few meters away settled in the CMMG booth was another Valkyrie offering, the Mk4 DTR2. The 9-pound rifle packs in a CMMG ambidextrous charging handle, Magpul MOE Pistol Grip, Giessele SSA two-stage trigger, CMMG SV muzzle brake and M-LOK for bipods or other mounted accessories. CMMG also kicks the design up a notch, outfitting the Valkyrie Mk4 in a variety of Cerakote finishes to include grey, bronze, titanium, and flat dark earth. The CMMG Valkyrie is priced at just under $1,700—but that didn’t seem to dissuade interested parties from stepping up to check up on the CMMG Valkyrie.
Cameras flashed and social media lit up with talk of the Valkyrie and its potential disarmament of 6.5 Creedmoor as the darling of the long range community. Whether this new long range round will take the top spot or prove to be a passing trend, is anyone’s guess; but if the halls of SHOT Show were any indication people are certainly talking about the Valkyrie and its possibilities.