.224 Valkyrie Reloading Tips

.224 Valkyrie Reloading Tips
A lot of components are available for handloading the new .224 Valkyrie, but load data is limited at present. However, Lane easily duplicated the ballistics of factory-loaded ammunition.

The .224 Valkyrie was created to provide optimal long-range performance, and matching factory-load ballistics with handloads is relatively easy.

Federal's .224 Valkyrie was designed to fit, feed, and fire in the popular AR-15 platform. Demonstrating a solid commitment to a successful debut of the new cartridge, Federal introduced four different factory loads with the Nosler 60-grain Ballistic Tip, American Eagle 75-grain TMJ, Fusion 90-grain SoftPoint, and Sierra 90-grain MatchKing. Those loads have factory-rated muzzle velocities of 3,300 fps, 3,000 fps, 2,700 fps, and 2,700 fps respectively.

I set about acquiring an AR-style and a bolt-action rifle chambered for the new cartridge so that I could work up some handloads. For more about the new round, see Steve Gash’s full-length review beginning on page 56 of this issue of Shooting Times.

I decided to rebarrel two of my guns, and Lothar-Walther USA provided two stainless-steel barrels chambered for the new round. One is a 24-inch, heavyweight, target barrel configured for my “switch-barrel” DRD Tactical CDR-15 AR. The other is a 22-inch tube that is threaded and profiled to replace the factory barrel of my CZ-USA Model 527 bolt-action rifle that’s chambered for the 7.62x39mm. There was no additional work needed to use the AR barrel, and gunsmith John Gallagher performed the needed modifications to the CZ 527.

I obtained several boxes of Federal’s 90-grain match ammo and a hundred pieces of new, primed brass. Starline and Hornady are also offering .224 Valkyrie, so I obtained 50 pieces of Starline brass and several boxes of Hornady ELD-Match ammo. I had plenty of component cases to load.


The .224 Valkyrie operates at its best with sleek, high-ballistic-coefficient (BC) bullets weighing up to 90 grains to achieve optimal, long-range ballistic performance. Sierra offers several heavy .22-caliber match bullets, including the 90-grain MatchKing HPBT that Federal loads in its match ammo. Hornady developed a new 88-grain ELD Match bullet specifically to meet the Valkyrie’s performance requirements. Berger also offers several suitable, high-BC target bullets.


I acquired a set of Redding competition dies that includes both full-length-sizing and neck-sizing dies and a micrometer-adjustment seating die. Because I was reloading for an autoloader, I chose to full-length size every case to ensure it would function reliably. And since I would be reloading several hundred rounds, I decided to use a spray lubricant to speed up the process.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/shootingtimes/content/photos/Reloading224Valkyrie-1.jpg

Things went south immediately.

I repeatedly experienced lube dents in most of the first batch of cases I resized. I tried wiping off excess lube before sizing and removed too much on one case and it seized in the sizer die. Fortunately, I had a stuck-case-remover kit on hand and was able to undo my mistake. I switched back to applying just a dab of Redding’s Imperial case wax to the lower body, and the rate of dented shoulders dropped to just an occasional occurrence. The rest of the process typified reloading any other bottlenecked rifle case.

The different brands of brass weighed almost exactly the same, so I didn’t need to adjust charge weights to accommodate capacity differences. Because Valkyrie ammo is primarily intended for autoloading rifles, Hornady lightly stakes the primer in place. They were easy to decap while resizing, but you must remove the crimp before you can reprime them. Fortunately, this is a one-time step in the reloading process.


I routinely use RCBS and Lyman powered case-prep tools and their primer pocket uniform accessories to clean every pocket when reloading a batch of ammo. I hoped performing that step would also fully prep the Hornady once-fired primer pockets. No such luck. I still had to use the RCBS Trim Mate crimp remover so the primers could be properly seated later without damage.

As you can see in the performance chart, I test-fired factory ammo and handloads topped with only the heavier .22-caliber bullets. I was able to duplicate factory velocities without any problems; however, I have no way of measuring pressures, so use the data cautiously, i.e., reduce start loads at least 5 percent. At this time, only Federal and Sierra have published load data for the .224 Valkyrie. Sierra’s data covers the broad range of its extensive product line, and Federal’s recipes are limited but appear somewhat more aggressive.

Of all of the propellants I tried, several Alliant choices performed well, as did Hodgdon and IMR selections. Reloder 15 and Power Pro 2000-MR propellants provided optimal load densities compatible with the .224 Valkyrie’s case capacity.


Recommended for You

Reliable, ergonomic, and accurate, the Winchester Model 1873 was unquestionably the most popular all-around rifle of its time. Rifles

Winchester Model 1873 .44-40 Rifle Review

Joesph von Benedikt - August 16, 2019

Reliable, ergonomic, and accurate, the Winchester Model 1873 was unquestionably the most...

The newest version of Beretta's A400, the A400 Xtreme Plus, autoloader employs all the latest in high-tech shotgun evolution. Shotguns

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus Shotgun Review

Steve Gash - February 01, 2019

The newest version of Beretta's A400, the A400 Xtreme Plus, autoloader employs all the latest...

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270 caliber (6.8mm) rifle cartridges  have not been introduced. Ammo

5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

The FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships kicks off at 8 am on Friday, May 21. Industry

FNH USA Announces 5th Annual FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships

Shooting Times Staff - September 23, 2010

The FNH USA Midwest 3-Gun Championships kicks off at 8 am on Friday, May 21.

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and priced right. Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the .30-06. Ammo

Get the Most Out of the .30-06

Joseph von Benedikt - April 01, 2019

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the...

See More Stories

More Reloading

This short-action magnum cartridge - 6.5 PRC - from Hornady is an excellent hunting cartridge and fun to reload. Reloading

6.5 PRC Best 6.5mm Hunting Cartridge?

Joseph von Benedikt - June 28, 2018

This short-action magnum cartridge - 6.5 PRC - from Hornady is an excellent hunting cartridge...

Where too little pressure can cause as much trouble as too much pressure, the short .44 Russian and .45 Schofield cases offer a compelling benefit. Reloading

.44 Russian, .45 Schofield Case Capacity

Allan Jones - September 09, 2019

Where too little pressure can cause as much trouble as too much pressure, the short .44...

It's been 10 years since Speer put out a new reloading manual, but this new edition was worth the wait. Reloading

Speer Handloading Manual Number 15

Lane Pearce - October 11, 2018

It's been 10 years since Speer put out a new reloading manual, but this new edition was worth...

See More Reloading

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×