The 224 Valkyrie cartridge is hot right now. Dozens of rifles are on the market chambered in this caliber and ammo makers other than originator Federal Premium are concocting a plethora of new loads. I’m even finding 224 Valkyrie brass at my public range. That fact alone is a significant indicator.

Like most new cartridges, the 224 Valkyrie has some well-known family heritage. The cartridge case is based on the 6.8 Remington SPC, which happens to be another cartridge that brings different capabilities to the standard AR-15 form factor. The 6.8 Remington SPC was derived from the .30 Remington, so the case itself is not new. While the 6.8 Remington SPC has a neck sized to accept a .270 bullet, the 224 Valkyrie decreases that neck diameter even further. As the name implies, it fires a .224-inch-diameter projectile, which is the same projectile used by the .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Why we call some calibers .223s and others .224s when they use the same bullet is anyone’s guess.

To correspond with its larger case body, the 224 Valkyrie is designed to handle heavier bullets than a standard .223 Remington. The sweet spot seems to be the 90-grain projectile, although you’ll find loads using lighter 60-, 75- and 88-grain projectiles.

While the projectiles are heavier than standard AR-15 bullets, the unique capabilities really come from bullet length and shape. Let’s consider what makes this cartridge unique compared to other offerings.

There are plenty of long-range cartridges on the market right now, so what’s different about the 224 Valkyrie? The biggest design feature that separates it from most (not all) others is that it’s engineered to fit into a standard AR-15/Modern Sporting Rifle platform.

The limiting factor isn’t the caliber or bullet diameter; it’s the overall cartridge length. The magazine and magazine well on the AR-15 rifle can only accept (or reliably feed) cartridges that are 2.260 inches or less in length. Of course, one can feed longer cartridges singly, but that negates the advantages of having a magazine. So, one of the most interesting attributes of the 224 Valkyrie is that it doesn’t require a dedicated rifle or even a larger AR-10 platform. You can simply buy a Valkyrie upper and start shooting with any standard lower.

Read the rest: What’s the Big Deal With the Popular 224 Valkyrie?