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New Gun: Savage’s MSR 15 Valkyrie Takes Flight

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Set to ring the gong from a country mile, Savage's MSR 15 Valkyrie embraces the ballistic talents of Federal's new cartridge.

What does the new Savage MSR 15 Valkyrie bring to the table?

Only gravity has been more constant than Savage Arms. Since the sunset of the Model 99, another release from the Massachusetts gunmaker meant one thing and one thing only — the market was growing by another bolt-action.

This isn’t to say the Massachusetts manufacturer hasn’t turned out tip-top rifles at more than fair prices — they have. But, for the most part, the company’s catalog is chalked full of riffs off its tried and true Model 10 and Model 110 bolt actions and not much else.

Things, however, have changed in recent years. Venerable Savage’s slow-and-steady ethos has begun to pick up pace and, a surprise to many, the company has begun churning out AR-15 and AR-10 rifles.

Now the company is going even further out on a limb with its newest rifle release. The MSR 15 Valkyrie embraces a brand new cartridge and is among the first rifles chambered for the small-bore wonder. Then again, the .224 Valkyrie might not be a big gamble at all.

If it pans out the way Savage’s sister brand Federal Premium promises and the new MSR helps it deliver, it has a real chance at putting an entirely new spin on the long-range shooting game.

Flight Of The .224 Valkyrie

Hot loads are nothing new in the world of centerfire .22 cartridges. But Federal has gone a step beyond just capacity with the newly minted .224 Valkyrie. It also has given it space for a projectile that can harness it.

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  • In addition to room for more propellant, the 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case also has the space for longer projectiles with their trim ogives. Not only does this mean the Valkyrie launches bullets with sexier ballistic coefficients, but also greater sectional density. And as every shooter learns sooner or later, these factors are key in defeating drag, and in turn gravity, as well as wind drift.

    And from what Federal has released so far on the Valkyrie, they appear to have a winning recipe.

    The company claims the round maintains supersonic velocities out to 1,300 yards, outperforming nearly everything in its class — 22 Nosler, .223 Rem., and 6.5 Grendel. Just so they didn’t leave any sacred cows un-tipped, the ammo company also said the Valkyrie produces less recoil than the 6.5 Creedmoor, while nipping at its heels in performance. To top it all off, aside from bolt and barrel, the round works in a standard AR-15.

    Federal pitches the Valkyrie as a cartridge for all shooting situations, from small to medium game hunting to competition and plinking. And it has released a full suite of ammunition to meet all occasions: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 100-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ.

    The American Eagle offering (rumored to run $14 per box of 40) brings up another potential advantage of the Valkyrie: affordability. That’s something not often associated to the long-range game.

    At present, there is little hard data and specs available on the Valkyrie, aside from company-supplied ballistics (which are scant) and some backstage reviews by shooting's mucky-mucks. In turn, time will tell if it lives up to Federal’s boasts.

    Everyday shooters' chances to give the .224 Valkyrie its day in court will come early next year, once approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute in January 2018. Reloading specs on the Valkyrie will then soon follow.

    MSR 15 Valkyrie

    Savage knows bolt-actions and, with the release of the MRS 15 Valkyrie, is proving it also knows ARs. The gunmaker has put together what appears a pretty solid package to set the .224 Valkyrie to flight.

    Savage bills the MSR 15 Valkyrie as “competition ready.” At just under 8 pounds and 35.5-39 inches in overall length, it has the potential to hold down other duties. Given the range expectations of the .224 Valkyrie, this news should get coyotes shaking in their boots.

    As would be expected, the rifle is optimized for the round, this is particularly seen in the barrel. While Savage didn’t go for a full 20-inch barrel on the MSR 15 Valkyrie, it got darn close at 18. This should provide plenty of bore to milk the round for all of its ballistic potential. On top of that, it boasts a faster 1:7 twist rate, logical given the .224’s heavier bullets. Following present black rifle trends, the rifling is 5R — a beveled land, meant to minimize bullet deformation and make the bore easier to clean.

    The Savage has a mid-length gas system, which is becoming all the more common, even on shorter-barreled ARs. But there is solid reasoning for opting for mid over carbine length. In addition to dampening the recoil, the mid-length gas system’s extra 2 inches also keeps the higher capacity cartridge from battering the heck out of the bolt-carrier group and buffer. And there is little worry for shooters who plan to run every conceivable round through the rifle, as the MSR 15 Valkyrie boasts an adjustable gas block.

    The rifle is set for precision work out of the box with an adjustable two-stage trigger, which is tunable between 2.5 and 6 pounds. It has a free-floating M-LOK handguard, with ample slot real estate around the circumference and is Cerakoted (same goes for the receivers) in FDE with the Valkyrie logo on the side. It has a full-length Picatinny rail, a UBR Gen 2 buttstock and Hogue pistol grip. And the MSR 15 Valkyrie is topped off with a with a muzzle brake similar to the one found on the 10/110 Stealth, attached with a 1/2×28 thread pattern.

    While Savage has allowed word to slip about the MSR 15 Valkyrie now, interested shooters will have to show patience. The rifle’s official release isn’t until SHOT Show 2018, but the price has already been set, with the MSRP at $1,499.

    Until then, long-range freaks and collectors of the latest-and-greatest AR will just have to ponder the rifle and cartridge and whether they will find shooting Valhalla with these Valkyries.

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