Furniture consists of a grippy Hogue textured rubber pistol grip and the excellent 8-position Magpul UBR Gen 2 buttstock. It comes with one PRI 6.8 SPC steel magazine which holds 25 rounds of 224 Valkyrie ammo. Internet chatter indicates that 30-round 5.56 NATO STANAG magazines work fine, but we did no testing to confirm that.
The rifle’s trigger deserves a paragraph of its own. We commend Savage for dispensing with a Mil-Spec, single-stage trigger in favor of their own 2-stage design. This trigger is about as good as AR-15 triggers get, and you won’t be needing to replace it with an aftermarket trigger. There’s a very consistent 1/8 inch of slack take-up to a hard wall, followed by an almost imperceptible and very short (about 1.32”) take-up to the break. At no point in the pull is any stacking or creep detectable. Total trigger pull weight measured a consistent 3.75 pounds on our Lyman digital trigger pull gauge—light enough for accurate, long-range target shooting, but not too light for hunting.
All testing of the MSR15 .224 Valkyrie was done using a Bushnell Elite Tactical 3.5-21×50 DMR II scope (bushnell.com) mounted in a an ADM 34mm QD one-piece mount (americandefensemanufacturing.com). Function and reliability testing was conducted at ranges of 25 to 450 yards on steel plate targets, using Federal’s American Eagle 75-gr. TMJ—what’s considered Federal’s “range ammunition” offering—and Federal’s 90-gr. Fusion MSR load, which is their medium-game hunting option. Due to time constraints, neither of the Federal Premium loads were on hand for testing. With either of the two loads used, the recoil impulse of this rifle is something that needs to be experienced to be believed. One might think recoil would emulate a 6.8 SPC platform, since this is the cartridge the .224 Valkyrie was derived from, but when the firing pin meets the primer, it’s tough to remember you’re not shooting a heavy, compensated .223 Rem. chambered AR; surely thanks in large part to the rifle’s ultra-effective muzzle brake.
Accuracy testing was performed from the bench at 100 yards using a sandbag rest. Both loads performed very well—each giving sub-MOA performance. The real surprise of the day was the performance of Federal’s least-expensive load, however. The American Eagle printed a best-of-the-day 5-shot group measuring an impressive 0.60-inches. If this is what the rifle is capable of using “range” ammunition, we can’t wait to put it to the test using the Premium offerings. If you’re looking for a precision, flatter shooting, more powerful AR-15 that can extend your reach considerably over a .223 Rem/5.56 NATO chambered rifle, the is an option you simply cannot go wrong with. See the 2018 On Target Editors’ Choice Award winning Savage .224 Valkyrie MSR at your gun shop, or contact Savage Arms; Tel.: (800) 370-0708; Web: www.savagearms.com