Considerations

Whether your targets are paper or steel, the .223 Valkyrie using a 20” barrel is just as capable as the 6.5 Creedmoor at 800 yards with less recoil, less barrel movement, less weight and a shorter overall package. For gas-gun matches in moderate wind with 800 yard limits (like most of them) it will be my first choice replacing my .260 Remington. The weight savings and lack of barrel movement alone are worth it. In a bolt gun match, where ranges reach out to 1,500+ yards, my 6mm Creedmoor is still the ticket. Bullet weight is similar (105-108 grains) but almost 500 f.p.s. faster with a higher BC, so it’s just no contest.

At a ridiculously-short 11.2-inches, EOTech’s (eotechinc.com) brand new 5-25x50mm Vudu is the shortest first-focal plane riflescope currently available, and is an absolutely-awesome piece of optical equipment…especially at its ultra-competitive MSRP. Look for more on this in an upcoming issue. Our Vudu is shown mounted in a 34mm Weaver MSR one-piece mount (weaveroptics.com), designed specifically for the AR platform.

Several top-level competitors tell me they are looking at the Super Sniper .224 Valkyrie for 3-gun matches. Not sure you would need the longer barrel, but it could prove an advantage at those matches that reach out. Set this up with an 18-inch barrel and blast away using the Federal 75-grain TMJ up close; drop in the 90-grain SMK and you are still much flatter at 300 to 500 yards compared to a typical .223. The only issue will be magazine capacity for some, as 25 rounds is the norm.

Bottom Line

Of the three loads the author bench-tested, the Double Tap 90-grain SMK load snuck out a best-group target at 100-yards, measuring exactly half-MOA (half inch.) Hornady and Federal loads gave amazingly similar performance.

If you are already a 6.8 SPC fan this is an easy swap—just a barrel. Otherwise it’s a pretty easy build and several companies are making rifles. Time will tell if momentum continues, but it clearly performs well. Wilson Combat rifles have become solid buys—great buy in some cases—with retail prices starting in the $2,200 range, depending on what you request. Wilson Combat rifles have always been accurate, reliable and well built. Each is hand built to custom standards using the best components and should be at the top of anyone’s list in this caliber or any other. Contact Wilson Combat, Dept. OT; Tel.: (800) 955-4856; Web: www.wilsoncombat.com

Specifications:

MSRP: Starting at $2,225

Caliber/Gauge: .224 Valkyrie

Barrel: 20-inch stainless fluted, 1:6.5 Twist

OA Length: 39 inches extended

Weight: 7 pounds

Sights: Flat top rail

Stocks/Grips: Rogers stock, Wilson Combat grip

Action: Rotating bolt, direct gas impingement

Finish: Hard anodized

Capacity: AR-15 6.8 SPC compatible

With less recoil and comparable performance to 6.5 Creedmoor out to 800-yards, and major ammunition-manufacturer support, we believe the .224 Valkyrie load to have real-world application and staying power. On Target’s test rifle ran with 100-percent reliability, both suppressed and un-suppressed.

Performance:

Load                                     Velocity (f.p.s.)                  Accuracy

Federal 90-grain SMK                 2,715                           .60 inches

Hornady 88-grain ELDM              2,600                            .56 inches

Doubletap 90-grain SMK             2,800                           .50 inches

Velocity in feet per second (f.p.s.) measured using a Magneto Speed V3 chronograph. Accuracy in inches for three 5-round groups fired from 100 yards using a bipod as a rest from behind a bench.