“It’s thrilling to have brought the world’s best MSR-15 cartridge to market,” Federal Premium Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink said. “We’re proud and excited about our new cartridge, and we deeply appreciate SAAMI’s support with this launch…approval of the cartridge was a crucial step in legitimizing it within the industry. Their work creates standards for the cartridge, increasing safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality for the dozens of firearm manufacturers currently building rifles in our .224 Valkyrie.”
News of Federal Premium’s .224 Valkyrie trickled to a few members of the gun media in mid-November 2017, but when the official statement on the new cartridge arrived in December 2017, the performance quickly caught the industry’s attention. It is based on a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22 caliber, and it offers dramatically improved trajectories over all other modern sporting rifle cartridges, with roughly half the recoil of similar-performing larger cartridges. From a 24-inch barrel, the company’s 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing load exits the muzzle at 2,700 fps, but it maintains supersonic velocity at 1,300 yards. The ability to retain that speed reflects in reduced projectile drop downrange.
The official unveiling took place during the January 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV, and there was no shortage of rifles introduced to digest the new cartridge. Savage Arms showcased a pair—including a precision rifle—CMMG rolled out a Mk4 DTR2 version, there was the Mossberg MVP Precision, and now many commercially available firearms are chambered in .224 Valkyrie.
The .224 Valkyrie is currently available in four loads: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ. These Federal Premium offerings provide options for long-range competitors, target shooters and hunters pursuing game from varmints up to deer-sized animals.
SAAMI was founded in 1926 at the request of the federal government and tasked with creating and publishing industry standards for safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality, as well as coordinating technical data. SAAMI’s Technical Committee, which consists of firearm and ammunition industry experts, reviewed the .224 Valkyrie submission over a period of about six months. The official cartridge name, maximum cartridge and minimum chamber dimensions, pressure limits, test equipment, and other characteristics are all considered and scrutinized during the process.