August 17, 2020
By Eric Conn
If there ever was a good demonstration of what the .224 Valkyrie can do from an AR, I received one at a Buck Doyle’s Recce Carbine course I attended. To say the least, it was jaw dropping.
With a hard wind driving snow left to right across the range, those of us shooting AR-15 rifles in .223 struggled to smack steel at 1,000 meters. We expected a ton of drop and wind drift at that distance, but the gusting wind makes everything more difficult. At best, we were lucky to hit steel on 25 percent of our shots. Still, we were feeling pretty good about it. That’s when Neal Emery, senior communications manager at Hornady, stepped up to the line with his AR chambered in .224 Valkyrie.
Utilizing an 88-grain ELD Match load, Emery consistently slapped steel in the same conditions we couldn’t. The .224 Valkyrie really is that much more impressive than the .223 Remington, especially when shooting to 1,000 meters. Simply put, the load is more resistant to wind and is flatter shooting than the .223 Rem., which allows for superior accuracy at long range.
On a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming soon after, I got a reminder of the Valkyrie’s capabilities.
Over the wind-beaten plains of prairie dog mounds, I switched between an AR chambered in .223 and a Wilson Combat Recon Tactical rifle in .224. While the .223 is effective, stepping out to 500 yards on prairie dogs reveals the faster, flatter-shooting prowess of the .224 Valkyrie. Even guide Kody Glaus of Heart Spear Outfitters was impressed with how little holdover was required to nail dogs beyond 300 yards.
Secret to its Success
Hornady’s .224 Valkyrie load utilizes the new Heat Shield tip to create the perfect meplat and improve performance at long range over standard boattail bullets. With a ballistic coefficient (BC) of .545, the ELD Match bullet is long and sleek, allowing it to conquer the longer distances. Combining bullet design with Hornady’s strict quality-control standards and emphasis on extremely tight tolerances, the result is a load every precision rifle shooter can fall in love with.
Accuracy results were attained at the 100-yard range from a bench using a Wilson Combat Recon Tactical rifle and a Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50mm riflescope. Measured against five five-shot groups, the 88-grain ELD Match produced a best group of .97 inch, with a respectable average group size of 1.28 inches. Standard deviation on velocity was 17 feet per second, which makes for consistent performance.
Designed exclusively for competition shooters and anyone else looking for tremendous accuracy out to 1,000 yards, Hornady’s Valkyrie ELD Match load enables the AR platform to extend its distance over other caridges.