The AR-15’s Creedmoor? .224 Valkyrie vs. .22 Nosler and 6.5 Grendel (Modern Intermediate Calibers 025)

Let’s start off with a question: What is the best round for the AR-15?

At the Big 3 East conference this week, a new caliber was unveiled for the AR-15. Called the “.224 Valkyrie”, it is based on the .30 Remington/6.8 SPC case, necked down to .22 caliber, giving it similar internal and external geometry to the .22 Nosler, released at SHOT Show this year. However, as we’ll see the Valkyrie really is a different horse, and could re-write the landscape of alternative rounds for the AR-15.

My interest in the .224 Valkyrie was pretty immediate, because it was an obviously good design in a way that the .22 Nosler is not. Where the Nosler was designed for case capacity over everything else, the Valkyrie couples a good case with ample space for a slender projectile ogive. This design was the secret “sauce” behind the 6.5 Grendel, 5.45×39, 6.5×55, and many other successful high performance rifle rounds. The Valkyrie was going to have good performance, I knew, because I’d been toying with the same concept for years: Good relative capacity, plenty of ogive space, with a .22 caliber projectile in a format that works in the AR-15.

I guess there’s no point in keeping these secret anymore…

 

Although Federal has not released its spec sheet yet, the .224 Valkyrie appears to have a case that is about 1.62″ long, with an 0.240″ long neck. The shoulder is almost certainly 30 degrees (as is popular at the moment), and the case taper is probably similar to .308 at about 0.35 degrees per side. Since I already had a 6.8 SPC case model laying around, this made modeling the .224 Valkyrie in SolidWorks pretty straightforward:

This case model has a capacity of 34.5 grs H2O (2.23 ccs), which is just a bit short of the .22 Nosler’s 35.8 grains (2.32 ccs) or so. The case model’s weight is 6.92 grams. This means, with a 90gr bullet and a 29.6 gr powder charge, the .224 Valkyrie is clocking in at right about 14.9 grams in weight. This is definitely on the lighter end of the scale for AR rounds, though it is still 24% heavier than 5.56mm, thanks mostly to the heavier projectile.

Obviously, the Valkyrie competes directly with the 5.56mm/.223 Remington and .22 Nosler in the .22 cal AR-15 rifle cartridge bracket, but, well, the ballistics really tell the whole story here:

Well then, that sure seems definitive, doesn’t it? The .224 Valkyrie has 5.56mm Mk. 262 beat for velocity by 200 meters; the .22 Nosler it has whupped by 250 meters, and all with a bullet that’s 17% heavier. In terms of muzzle energy, it leads the pack of .22s to start, but clings bitterly to every Joule to such a degree that by a kilometer it’s even nipping at the heels of the much-touted 6.5 Grendel. Yet, where the Grendel disappoints in drop and drift, the Valkyrie pulls ahead, earning a massive lead in drop and drift over everything on the chart by the time kilobuck range rolls around. (In fact, although not included on the chart, the .224 Valkyrie approaches the 6.5 Creemoor in both respects at this range).

So, wait, the .224 Valkyrie is an AR-15 compatible round that gives you .22 Nosler performance up close, 6.5 Grendel energy retention, and 6.5 Creedmoor drop and drift at 1,000m? Well, these are just estimates, but… Yeah, looks that way.

Now, all they need to do is make a direct impingement SASS rifle in the Valkyrie that uses the Magpul Six8 PMags for that full, glorious 2.3″ OAL. Then we’ll really be cooking with gas.

And, hey, Federal? DON’T CHANGE THE NAME!!!





Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Aono

    Comparing a 90 Bergerish VLD against three legacy SMKs isn’t really a fair comparison, is it? The details from the first article were sparse but they said it would “stabilize to 1000yds” and MV was 2700fps. Even a 90 SMK would stabilize at 1k that MV and it’s possible that’s what Federal is loading (hopefully not).

    A much fairer test here would be to compare the 22 Nosler using a Nosler 70 RDF, which is an actual VLD. That and a 130 Berger 6.5 Creedmoor. You’d probably be getting much closer to hair-splitting territory in that case. But the kicker is as you say, that the 224Valk has room to accept longer and longer VLDs.

    So I agree with your overall analysis. I’ve been saying for years here that 224 needs some VLD love and that 224AR was the best thing going. The 22 Beast and 22 Nosler got it wrong. This gets it right, and hopefully will catch on in a way that 224AR didn’t. If we see some 6.8 Scandinavian brass then the 224Valk may just be a winner.

    • Vitor Roma

      Creedmoor is an ar-10 round, so not very fair. The 70gr nosler is a really good round having better bc than many 77gr in the market. I wonder what they could achieve with this design in the 85-90gr range.

      • Aono

        Nate made the 6.5CM comparison so that’s why I would like it included in the charts.

        • Timmah_timmah

          I think it’s a valid benchmark even though not entirely apples to apples

    • Honestly, the comparison to 6.5 Creedmoor only occurred to me once the article was pretty much already done. That’s why it’s not in there.

  • Kyle

    Alright, I am interested. Though of course the real deal breaker is when will a midrange manufacture make a rifle chambered in it. LaRue is pretty expensive.

    • ClintTorres

      Yeah, maybe I’ll buy in once the Bear Creek Arsenal version comes out.

      • Timmah_timmah

        I would be all over that in a second!

  • Vincent

    I like it and it kind of reminds me of the .224 Springfield from those light rifle trials.
    Put the Valkyrie barrel on a Mini 6.8 and suddenly you have a version of Winchester’s entry except with a rotating bolt and a couple of other differences.
    What is old is new again, eh?

    • .224 Springfield is just the .222 Mag. Closer to 5.56 than .224 Valkyrie, tbh.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    Is there a 6.5 short magnum cartridge that fits single-stack in an ar magazine that gives Creedmor-like performance? I feel like they could start with a Beowulf or SOCOM case and neck it down to 6.5 with room for VLD bullets and have something really cool that would be popular. Yes, you can always just run 6.5 Creedmor in an AR-10 but the AR-15 platform is in almost everyone’s home.

    • It would be difficult to do. The AR-15’s bolt isn’t big enough to support a case that wide, so you’d have to use a bolt like the .30 RAR R-15’s. Also, you’d be restricted to single stack mags.

      Plus, your ogive space would probably have to be shorter than you’d want.

      • Sledgecrowbar

        I’m talking about using a socom or Beowulf parent case so the bolt would be the same, and obviously single stacked in the magazine. I’m thinking maximum accurate range out of the AR-15 platform with a super short magnum style case and vld bullet, a bench rest cartridge designed to fit the AR magwell and magazine. I think the biggest issue is getting it to feed smoothly without disturbing the bullet alignment.

        • Timmah_timmah

          I like what you’re getting at brother. Sounds like a very cool idea to me!

        • Bolt thrust would be a problem, like I said.

          • Sledgecrowbar

            That makes sense as the limiting factor. It’s too bad, the AR-15 and 6.5 benchrest, while incongruous, seem like they’d be a cool combination.

          • ostiariusalpha

            They will work together, but you will need an upper that has a larger diameter barrel tennon to improve the hoop strength of the chamber walls, and a larger bolt with beefier lugs. And what do you know, CMMG makes just such an upper in their MkW ANVIL line.

          • Sledgecrowbar

            The big appeal of the AR platform is modularity. Start having to add proprietary parts and it’s just an expensive conversion that would be money better spent on a dedicated separate rifle. If there’s a super short magnum 6.5 round that fits the AR-10 single stack with room for VLD bullets in the magazine and it has a rebated rim so the 7.62 bolt face works, that’s one solution, but ideally you work with the AR-15 platform, at least until the AR-10 is closer to being as common.

          • ostiariusalpha

            It is indeed a little bit of a trade-off with the proprietary upper receiver and bolt carrier on the ANVIL upper, the bolt also uses a proprietary lug geometry matched up with its barrel extension. But, in fact, you can simply exchange that bolt/extension combo for any SR-25 compatible bolt and extension. A new barrel chambered in your .458 SOCOM based wildcat using an SR-25 standardized .308 bolt and barrel extension would slot right into the MkW ANVIL. Other than the bolt carrier and upper receiver itself, the other parts are all very modular and exchangeable with other manufacturers’ products.

  • nova3930

    If barrier (bone) penetration is good I’d be interested in rebarreling my 6.8 hog/coyote gun. 90gr XM68GD is what I shoot out of it generally and it will break through a shoulder and still drop a hog like a bad habit. Same bullet weight and similar penetration but better at range performance would be a winner…..

  • El Duderino

    Neat, but with the .23+ requirement to hunt big game in my state, I’m leaning toward a 6.5G for my next build. I already have too many rifles I can’t hunt with (5.56mm mostly). It’s nice to get out in the field with your guns once in a while.

    If you’re more the long range paper puncher, this looks pretty legit.

    • MIke H

      Agree… big game is .24 in my state, so this is pretty much pointless for me personally.

      • Timmah_timmah

        Get what you mean. Don’t disagree. But you gotta admit this is promising on paper.

        • MIke H

          Oh, no… don’t get me wrong, if WA allowed .22 calibers for hunting, this would be a no brainer.

    • ostiariusalpha

      As Nate’s graph shows, the Grendel has the power advantage at sane hunting distances, you just have to know your dope. Even so, its drop is pretty small out to 300 yards.

      • Depending on what you’re hunting, the 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, and .30 RAR are all reasonable choices in the AR-15.

        • ostiariusalpha

          .30 RAR is a pretty sad story. Very disappointing how shabbily Remington treated that cartridge. If it weren’t for the open country where I live, I probably would have gone with the 6.8 SPC as my medium to small game round. Despite my lack of esteem for it as a combat round, I think it is an excellent choice for close range hunting. I even bought some components for it before settling on the Grendel; I might get some use out of them yet with a Valkyrie build.

          • Yeah, if ranges are close and game is on the big side, 6.8 isn’t bad at all.

            Of course, neither is .30-30! 😉

          • ostiariusalpha

            There’s definitely a reason that the ol’ ballistic potato has been the most successful deer slaying round in history, it fulfills its niche almost perfectly.

          • Brett baker

            What is this, FIELD AND STREAM? You need a .375 Winchester or .450 Bushmaster to show your superior knowledge!

          • Timmah_timmah

            Well then, 300 blackout supers should do the trick just fine 😉

            But seriously… 6.5 grendel is a fabulous choice all around and steel Wolf is just icing on the cake.

          • Isa Akhbar

            I love my .30RAR…it easily hangs with the .308 up to 150gr. bullets, especially handloaded. Should’ve been the new Army .30 cal round. Big Green are idiots for abandoning it.

          • Rob

            I have an LMT 6.8 bolt that I have been sitting on for years. .224 Valkyrie makes me glad I didn’t sell it at a loss.

        • Tassiebush

          But, but you claim that 5.56X45 is more powerful than those! 😉
          (I jest)

  • ClintTorres

    Isn’t .283 G7 BC for a 90gr. .224 VLD just a little generous?

    • Kaban

      Some new design might approach that: 90gr Berger’s claimed G7 BC is 0.274, with claimed G1 being actually less than that of 90gr SMK.

      One can’t help but notice, however, that a 75-77gr .224 with 0.21+ G7 BC is already there, too. Unless they can’t be loaded in 5.56×45 with AR-compatible OAL, those bullets deserve to be considered.

    • .283 is close to Litz’s measured BC for the Berger 90gr VLD, and is the same as the advertised BC for the 90gr SMK.

      • Kaban

        >>.283 is close to Litz’s measured BC for the Berger 90gr VLD

        Makes me wonder why they keep significantly lesser number (0.274) on their site, then. After all, both numbers are supposedly measured/proven somehow.

        • I think that may refer to a different bullet, but I’d have to check. Berger has two .224 90s.

          • Kaban

            Is it possible that they don’t list it on their site yet? The one they list is PN 22423 90gr VLD target.

  • @nathaniel_f:disqus There’s a round similar to this, but uses stronger 6mm Hagar Brass called the 220 Thunderbolt. Care to compare the two?

    • It’s very similar to .22 Nosler except folks handload it really hot.

  • Brett baker

    Our new DMR/SAW round. “90 grains of love, goat******!”

    • PK

      From your mouth to… procurement? Whatever. Just yes.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Mmmm that sounds like a splendid idea

  • Don Ward

    What is the best round for the AR?

    Carefully weighs the advantages of ballistics and penetration of each variant down to the third decimal place.
    Reads the opinions of a dozen well-respected authors on the subject.
    Judicially considers the pros and cons of each option.

    Buys the cheapest, dirtiest steel-cased stuff on the Internet.

    • Brett baker

      WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?!

    • ClintTorres

      So true, who is really gonna blast steel plates all afternoon with SOST rounds?

  • Rye Winterweet

    Don’t see enough gain to ditch the Grendel for cross course matches. It’d not a 1000 yard round but that’s what the 6.5 Creedmoor in a bolt gun is for and is what I use. This Valkyrie would have to offer a great reduction in overall price for handloads to even catch my attention, but it is interesting to read about. Maybe hunters would be interested.

  • Joe

    That’s pretty nifty.
    Remember, we have about 3 years until blanket bans for everything, so buy your components now.
    It’s going to be 1994 times 2,356.
    I’m sticking with selling blood for a Fightlite upper and 5.56mm ammo.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Ugh you’re probably right. It’s going to get ugly.

      • Brett baker

        But for people over their heads in inventory, it will be beautiful.

  • bj

    That’s pretty impressive

  • Blake

    Thanks for the writeup.

    Would be interested to see .204 Ruger added to the comparison, as it was also developed as an alternative caliber for the AR platform.

    • If it had more ogive space, it could be interesting.

  • M1911

    Better for what? Yes, it is noticeably better beyond 400 meters. How often do you shoot at those distances? In exchange, the ammunition is heavier and you lose a lot of magazine capacity.

    There are no free lunches.

    • I agree, but for just a moment I felt like setting my autism aside and enjoying a well-engineered new product. 😁

    • Timmah_timmah

      No free lunches. But potential for very good performance in a narrow niche.

  • Kurt

    And you could load 7.62x39mm with 108’s and be getting that same thing or better?

    • Blake

      in what caliber?

      Light .30 cal bullets have pretty awful BCs…

    • BeGe1

      …what? You think a 108 grain 30 cal is gonna have a coefficient like that?

  • Blake

    “direct impingement SASS rifle”

    uh, you don’t mean Single Action Shooting Society do you?

    • PK

      Semi Automatic Sniper System.

  • Kaban

    An armchair benchrester in me cannot fully agree with comparison. Pitting a cartridge with latest, hottest 90gr VLD (0.283 G7? Someone handle Berger guys some tissues!) against designs using older bullets does not feel 100% right. There are 75gr Bergers with 0.216 G7, though 123gr 6.5 SMK is probably a pinnacle along with Scenar. However, I should admit I don’t know if those newer 75gr could be loaded into AR-15-compatible 5.56×45. Some 90-grainers surely could not.

    Otherwise, quite impressive ballistics – as expected from a case with more powder and sleeker bullet.

    • Since some people have asked about it, I ran the figures with the lowest BC for a 90gr .224 cal bullet (0.256, Litz’s measurement for the 90gr SMK), and the Valkyrie still has 330 J at 1,000m.

      • Kaban

        Can’t argue it still compares favourably with 77gr .223 (according to JBM there won’t be no significant difference in drop out to 500m, but energy retention and drift are predictably superb). The fun part is that Grendel’s trajectory becomes closer, but still won’t beat the newcomer! Maybe new 6.5mm 12x grainers, with better BC will appear (and be short enough to fit into “AR Grendel”), but for now the round appears plateaued.

        I do wish to note that, should someone manage to load 75gr Bergers into AR-compatible .223 with that 2850 fps muzzle velocity, it won’t be bad round at all. Drop is dead-on with “original” Valkyrie (with that godly 0.283 G7 bullet) out to 600m. I’d go out on a limb and call wind drift “acceptable” (have no idea what kind of shot pattern a grunt shooting mass-produced rifle at 500+m will produce, but my guess that there won’t be 0.25 MOA cloverleafs).

        Those are grumbles, of course. New round do seem to hit a sweet spot. All perks of heavier bullet for just 10% increase in recoil impulse over 77gr .223, compared to Grendel which is worse than x39 in this regard.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Handloaders have been stick various 130gr bullets in their Grendels for a long while now. Federal even has a 130gr factory load, but I consider it pretty anemic.

          • Kaban

            I am in no way qualified to pass judgement, but my impression is that AR-compatible 6.5 Grendel becomes a little slow with 130+ gr bullets in “short” (read real-world AR) barrel. Bolt gun (or, rather, benchrest) people seem to enjoy this configuration, though: an 26+ inch tube attached to sturdy action allows for 2700+ fps with 130gr low-drags, not bad at all.

          • ostiariusalpha

            It is mostly a bolt gun load, where you can play with the COAL more, though you can still get some decent performance from an AR-15 with a 20″ or longer barrel; 24″ seems to be the preference. The SAAMI chamber handles the 130gr bullets, but other specs (like .264 LBC) don’t like them at all.

          • Mountain

            The answer disappeared 3times now at the other article. I now just write here.
            Thy projectile has 820y stability with 120mm, over that it gets highly unstable and starts to tumble getting extremly inaccurate and loosing its energy. 725y at bad weather.

            It has 83ftlbf at 820y/ at bad weather 83ftlbf at 725.

            Increasing size, will reduce velocity when using same muzzle energy, reduces required twist, all decreasing force on the jacked, and increasing G7BC, which overall can lead to a better fragmentation range.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I don’t know man, it seems like your calculations are pretty far off. I ran the numbers myself, and the form factor was around 0.78 i7; the boat tail base did seem a little sub-optimal to me though. Instead of the complex secant boat tail, I’ll give you a simpler alternate geometry to work with:
            Ogive length – 14.04mm
            Calibers of ogive – 60
            Meplat diameter – 0.6mm
            Length of shank – 2.96mm
            Boat tail length – 6mm
            Boat tail diameter – 3.07mm
            Try these numbers instead.

          • M-Backup

            A too thick meplat and a negative ogive curve… man it looks ugly. I dont get the sence behind, its simply shaped bad.

            At 120mm and steel jacked (26.8gr) its ~ 950y stability at nice weather with 82ftlbf.

            840y and 82ftlbf at bad weather.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yeah. I didn’t like this one either when I got around to critically evaluating it. Totally sub-optimal.

          • Kaban

            >>you can still get some decent performance from an AR-15 with a 20″ or longer barrel

            You have summed up the round’s bug/feature pretty well: Grendel, to really shine, needs a barrel that is not really compatible with “tactical” size ARs. As befits a round derived from benchrest experiment with compact case and 123gr luoti.

            Not like is anything wrong with Grendel from shorter barrel, it is just it becomes “not superiour enough” to justify dumping 5.56 right away.

          • ostiariusalpha

            A 123gr Grendel bullet crushes the 5.56x45mm for energy from any barrel length. It is actually a much more efficient cartridge than the 5.56 NATO in short barrels.

          • Kaban

            Of course it does, thanks to bullet weight. Unfortunately, it also equals x39 in kick department for that reason, and unless military decides to ditch full-auto/burst-fire capable rifles and carbines, it will be a problem.

          • ostiariusalpha

            6.5 Grendel makes no sense as a combat round for reasons quite beside its recoil characteristics. It does make a handy, yet powerful, hunting round in any semi-automatic or bolt gun, and even a pretty devastating defensive round in an SBR though.

          • Timmah_timmah

            That’s mostly internet lore. 12″ barrels have gotten somewhat popular for hardcore grendel fans and they put up good chrono numbers

          • Kaban

            I am all for chono numbers. Especially when they are not “good”, but “m/s” or “fps”, if you get my drift 😉

        • That’s the magic of a long projectile ogive and a low form factor!

      • Nathaniel, any idea how this round would be perform with an EPR copper/steel projectile? I’m assuming it would be ~ 75gr?

        Or does .224 Valkyrie really need the 90gr VLD to work its magic?

  • Edeco

    Sweet. I was let down to see, from a convo here, the Nosler probably hasn’t space for 90’s. I mean, if leaving the comfort of 5.56×45 I want improvement in all departments.

  • 3712

    Holy cow, look at those solidworks projects. in like 2 years from now he will have put together every solution for every consideration there is for a military round and NATO will adopt the
    .22 NATHANIEL F

    So that kept you from posting the past 6 days
    i basically visit TFB, look for posts from HIM and leave if there are none…

    • I’m flattered, thanks. You should check out some of the other writers, too, though. They do good work.

  • Melvi Mala

    @nathaniel_f:disqus Okay I’m duly impressed. But in terms of adaptation, how well do you think it’ll run suppressed, belt-fed, and full auto? Speaking as a prior POG Marine here, if we can shoot more confidently to the 500 with just a little bit of weight in our mags I’m totally in!

    • TP

      Not for long. This was not designed for that. For paper and vermin.

      • Melvi Mala

        I figured as much. But I got tactically excited when I heard SASS and Magpul near the end

    • Evidently it was designed to work suppressed. It’s a commercial round, so it probably wasn’t designed for full auto, but maybe it could work fine there.

      From one marksman to another, if you can’t do 500 yards woth 5.56mm, you need to hit the range some more. 😉

  • it’s just Boris

    Of course. Since I literally just finished putting together my 6.5 Grendel rifle about ten minutes ago … this is the next thing I see.

    🙂

    Time to build another rifle!

    • Matt

      my 6.5 Grendel AR is only about half built. I picked up an 18″ fluted HBAR barrel a few months ago and just picked up a BCG and an Anderson upper to assemble it on. I regret nothing (so far). 6.5 Grendel still seems like a good way to go. A lot of states require >.24 caliber for hunting large game. Mine is >1200ft-lbs, so my 20″ .223 Wylde AR is just fine with hotter loads (I roll 75gr Speer Gold dots, though yet to take a deer with the rifle).

      Still, I wanted something a little higher powered and a bit larger diameter for deer hunting. Also covers the long range shooting. Plenty of options on reloading. Steel cased for some cheap range sessions. Howa Barreled action 22″ rifle as an option to complement the AR for a bolt action longer range rifle for bench shooting or when I want to look less tacticool hunting.

      Someday I am sure I’ll have a million calibers crowding my shelves and complicating reloading. As it stands I’ve got .223/5.56 and .308/7.62. Adding 6.5 Grendel makes it 3 total. At some point I’ll get an M1 Garand and probably get something in .30-06 in a bolt action. Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, but more than 4 cartridges to load for and keep around just seems too much.

      For rifles of course.

  • TP

    6.8 SPC case taper angle is the same as the 5.56, not the 308.

    • Yes, but there’s no guarantee that the .224 Valkyrie has the same taper as 6.8, and just from eyeballing it in photos it looks less to me.

      • TP

        True but that would be foolish on their part as then it wouldn’t function properly even with 6.8 mags. They would have had to design a completely new mag based on the 308 taper but 223 length.

        • TP

          Or possibly use Grendel mags. That would be weird :).

          • ostiariusalpha

            You’re asking for failures to feed if you use a .421″ diameter cartridge in a mag designed for .439″ rounds.

        • Maybe. I just went off what I saw. It wouldn’t change the weight much at all, anyway (and I didn’t base performance off the case model).

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    I was on the Six8 lower notify me lists for about two years. I finally decided that once I got my hands on enough brass to just go with a .243 WSSM. The fat case is more material efficient as well as more voluminous than these long skinny ones. The high BC 6mm bullets are plentiful and arguably more versatile than 5.56. I have about 400 cases now and will likely get another hundred this weekend. With steel mags you can go to 2.3″. Why stick with .224?

    • I’ve been thinking that aluminum mags for the Six8 might allow bumping the COAL to 2.4″, which would be pretty sweet.

  • Adam D.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if this cartridge won’t fit a regular AR-15 magazine,
    or fits but is not feeding reliably, technically it’s not an AR-15 cartridge, right?
    I know, it sounds like I’m just trying to knitpick on trivial stuff, but I’m serious.

    If it doesn’t fit an AR mag and you have to design a new rifle for it (like the Six8 from LWRC), who’s going to use it?
    All these wonder cartridges come and go while ubiquitous calibers with slightly crappy
    performance and/or substantial disadvantages are here to stay: .45-70, 30-30, 9mm, 5.56 and so on.
    I know there’s a lot to this when it comes to military cartridges,
    but from a commercial standpoint, it’s really simple: stuff that’s versatile, available and doesn’t need a new magazine, new rifle, new this and that will stick.

    It’s that simple. That’s the reason why the 300 BLK stuck as well: versatile, doesn’t need a new mag, doesn’t even need a new bolt, just a barrel.

    It is easy to load, easy to form brass for from bog standard .223 cases, easy to get bullets for. Perfect? Definitely not. Wonder round? No.

    But it gives you what it promises and it does this while being fairly accessible for the civilian shooter.

    The same goes for 6.5CM. Versatile, doesn’t need a proprietary mag or other stuff and again, easy to reload from existing components.
    Even with monstrosities like the .458 SOCOM the same logic can be applied.
    And it stuck, while stuff like the .512 Beck and other three day marvels went the way of the dodo.

    With these factors in mind it’s basically a dead giveaway of failure when a new cartridge comes out for ARs that won’t fit existing mags and needs a new receiver or such, doesn’t matter how good it is. It’s always like this.

    • Y

      It fits in 6.8 SPC mags into an AR15

    • ActionPhysicalMan

      Increasingly present and improving body armor may start forcing changes in cartridge choices. Since China started curbing exports, the price of tungsten (for penetrators) has been rapidly rising and may well double or triple over the next few years.

      • Timmah_timmah

        Or… We get tungsten elsewhere no?

        • ActionPhysicalMan

          It’s a global market. You can’t by tungsten from Portugal (or even the US) for less for instance, no one is going to sell for below market price. The supply has been reduced the price will rise.

    • TP

      It’s an ar-15 but with 6.8 SPC specific bolt, mags and barrel.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Pretty sure he’s saying the 6.8 mags in a standard mag well.

      • Casey Plunkett

        The Magpul 6.8 mags do not fit in a standard mag well.

        • Timmah_timmah

          See my comment above. You all are making this more difficult than it needs to be haha Jesus

      • noob

        Has anybody tried chambering an ak-platform in 6.8 or .224 Valkyrie and just using ak mags?

      • raz-0

        He said the magpul six8 mags. Which fit exactly one gun at this time, the LWRC six8. It is not a standard spec ar.

        I’d like to see the baillistics of a .224 valkyrie load that fits the AR mag. I suspect it will look like the .22 nosler, which looks like not much of an improvement on a 77gr in a regular 5.56 cartridge.

        • Timmah_timmah

          No. Actually. You can’t read. He said, “Now, all they need to do is make a direct impingement SASS rifle in the Valkyrie that uses the Magpul Six8 PMags for that full, glorious 2.3″ OAL. Then we’ll really be cooking with gas.” Meaning… this new 224 round fits regular 6.8 mags. Which fit regular mag wells. But if you wanted a little more length you’d need the Six8 magpul mags. It’s not that complex.

  • DESTRO YAKISOBA
    • Timmah_timmah

      hahaha fantastic

      • Brett baker

        I 2nd!

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    With a 90gr projectile this could be a great deer round for here in Florida.

  • Leemerk Rockwell

    If this is close to the performance of the turbo ar improved or 6mm hagar i might go for it instead simply so I can have commercial ammo.

  • Brett baker

    I just realized that we’re probably seeing the cartridge for the M27a1, the rifle that all Marines are going to carry. Can’t wait to see them adopt the longslide GLOCK in 9×23 Winchester, too!

  • George

    This is the performance spec and BC / bullet the 5.56 LSAT should be redesigned around. The length of the 7.62 and 6.5 LSATs but will be lighter than today’s conventional 5.56×45 per round.

    Fitting it in existing M-4 / M-16 and AR platforms with this conventional case is an excellent start.

    • Mountain

      No its not, this is a soft leadcore bullet with really low penetration. With the density of EPR (steel and copper) it will be much lighter with less BC. Making the shape better (which is not done for the most part) is more usefull than weight anyways, it will result in less recoil, less propellant use, longer mpbr, less barrel wear, etc than 90grain .224

  • noob

    Hi Nathaniel, I love your work. Could we please get some vertical grid lines on the graphs at about 100m intervals? The data series are quite far vertically from the x axis and I’m holding an actual physical wooden ruler up to my computer screen like a cave man to read the velocity.

  • Vitor Roma

    Please, do the graphics with the M80A1 in the comparison. I really have a grudge with it and I would like to know if it is based by reality.

    • Well the retained energy of the Valkyrie at 1,000m is higher. 😐

      • Vitor Roma

        The m80a1 is a very odd “upgrade”, i couldn’t believe the first time i read it was a 130gr bullet when 168-175gr is considered the optimal for the x51.

  • steve

    I’ve been waiting forever to see someone get a 90gr .224 bullet in a magazine fed package. I’ve always thought that if you could get that bullet going 2700-3000fps in a reasonably sized catridge that will reliably feed in an AR/semi-auto, that that would be a great contender for an ideal standard issue cartridge(not considering the problems of switching calibers for a military, especially one as large as the U.S. military, but if possible only needing say, a barrel, bolt, and magazine switch would be great.)
    when i think of what would want as an average infantry soldier, not knowing where or who I’d be fighting, meaning I may be in trench warfare at 3-600 yards, in a jungle, in the mountains, in a city, etc., I pretty much always come back to a 6_6.8mm bullet, weighing 85-125 grains, and going 2750-3250 fps(and yes, I understand that is a potentially large range, but in terms of energy I would say 1500-2000ft/lbs tops.)
    I think having high BC bullets could potentially solve a lot of the problems the military is currently facing/concerned about which is causing (some of) them to want to go back to .308 as the standard issue round(with the possible exception of penetrating certain types of armor, though I can’t help but wonder(what they are calling the “rapid increase in the usage and technology of body armor”), how much longer it will be before .308 will no longer penetrate the types of armor our troops will be facing(especially if we ever have to face a modern, industrialized nation.)

    • Velocity

      Standart issue M80A1 EPR already doesnt penetrate standart LVL4 ceramic armor…

      Only extremly expensive tungstencarbide 7.62×51 M993 AP does. But 5.56×45 M995 does so too (for less cost, less recoil, more magazin capacity, double the rounds to carry, in a lighter rifle).

    • iksnilol

      6,8mm is clown shoes, there, I said it.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Unless your in combat against pigs and deer, then it works out pretty good.

        • iksnilol

          6.5 does the same but with more range

          • Timmah_timmah

            Truth. BC is life lol

    • John

      Steve, this was done in 2009 by Robert Whitley by necking down 6.5 Grendel.

  • John

    Now THIS is a very cool round. And .224 Valkyrie is a cool name. We 6.5 Grendel shooters have been preaching FOREVER the path to enlightment: Fat Case. Sleek Bullet.

    A very nice twin for the 6.5 Grendel. (Although Robert Whitley necked down the 6.5 Grendel years ago and called it the 224AR.)

    And, Don Ward, from the heart of the Russkie War Machine comes cheap, dirty steel-case for the 6.5 Grendel. Just sayin’. . . . 😉

    • iksnilol

      But a fat case means fewer rounds per magazine.

      • Timmah_timmah

        So the —— what I say

    • Kaban

      Do they still import BPZ stuff? I wonder how it shoots, and especially cleans; .30 cal had absolutely horrible spread of MVs and said to ruin a few CZ bolt guns here.

      • John

        Wolf 6.5 Grendel in steel-case with a 100gr FMJ is made by Barnaul. Shoots 1.5 MOA in some guns; 3 MOA in others. Cleans fine when you clean after each shooting session.

        • Kaban

          Thanks. Wonder what MV spread is, group size seems to be within specs.

  • William Elliott

    I know there isn’t enough meat on the Tavor bolt for 6.5 Grendel…I wonder if there is for 6.8 SPC…
    open up the bolt, drop in a new barrel…

    • William Elliott

      damn… 0.7mm may be a little too much. We know they were developing a 5.45 at one time, but thats a 10mm case head and the 6.8 SPC [and .22 Valkyrie] are at 10.7…
      Man, I was hoping for a .22 Valkyrie/10mm Auto bolt head…boo…

  • TX223

    How does the 6.5 Grendel compare with a 140 VLD?

    • Well

      super low velocity…

    • Hilarious energy retention, much, much heavier, and “taste the rainbow” drop.

  • Timmah_timmah

    The round could/would actually pick up even more performance if you could load to the slightly longer COAL afforded by lwrc six 8 mags/lower or whatever…

    Thank you. Christ. Glad someone can read.

    • Samuel Millwright

      Exactly! He made it very clear

  • Rock Eye Jack

    Why are the 22 Nosler and 223 Wylde
    shooting the same Muzzle Energy and Velocity?

    • politicallyincorrectshooter

      I just posted basically the same question, a quick search indicated the .223 should be in the 2650 fps range out of a 20 inch barrel.

  • Κωστ Δαν

    i am expecting(DEMANDING) a full (spec-tables etc) comparison between the new 90gr valkyrie and 147gr m80 as well as a 2.3” AOL valkyrie with 70-80gr lead free bullets and M80A1……..
    DROOLING…..

  • Billy Atwell

    What kind of barrel length gets that velocity? My biggest complaint with the 6.5 Grendel is that it really needs 24″ of barrel to get the performance it’s designed for.

    • politicallyincorrectshooter

      This reminds me of something I was wondering…
      The charts indicate the 5.56 load is a 77gr bullet at 2850 from a 20″ barrel? In a quick search I found loads going up to about 2885, but only from a 24 inch barrel. In a 20 inch barrel were more like 2650-2700…

      • Eric Hostetler

        I was thinking the same thing.

  • Eric Hostetler

    You’re giving the 22 Nosler only 50fps over regular 223?

  • Jay462

    Stop. I can only get so erect.

  • Tod Glenn

    Interesting. I’ve been playing around with necking down 7.62×45 Czech to .22. Same case head as 7.62x39mm so bolts are easy. Of course you have to move the shoulder back for longer high BC bullets, but still more capacity than Grendel. But a factory supported cartridge is always a good thing. Now lets see if it succeeds.