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Matthew Breuer

JP Enterprises JP-5 Review

PCCs, are the talk of the town right now. There’s been a substantial rise in their popularity over the past several years … and for good reason: Ammo is affordable, they’re ideal for plinking, they excel in training situations, and they’re downright fun to shoot.

But, how did something that developed out of convenience become a competitive shooting staple, and who sits atop the PCC mountain?


Short-Gun Bullets For Long Barrels

Developed in the late 1800s for riders in the West, the early PCC was a convenient way to carry a pistol on the side and a long-gun in the saddle. When times were tough, having to find and buy ammo in two different calibers couldn’t have been easy. Honestly, that can be a battle in today’s economy. Jump forward and look at law enforcement applications. Carrying a .40 in the holster and having a .40 carbine in the patrol car sounds awfully appealing, and it was for many divisions.

Now, move forward once more to 2016, when the USPSA started allowing PCCs in competition—and things took off. PCC competitions are now some of the fullest and most attended shoots, and PCC sales are through the roof. This brings us to the current day, where PCCs are designed not only out of convenience, but with serious competitive shooters and gun enthusiasts in mind. One of those carbines is the new JP-5 from JP Enterprises.

A full view of the JP-5 topped with a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro.

While JP Enterprises might not be a household name to the average shooter, competition shooters and marksmen looking for high-quality parts know the name by heart. JP is a small Minnesota-based company that prides themselves in making quality parts and guns. Their attention to detail and innovative nature make their products top-tier. The JP-5 PCC shows that.

For years, direct blowback guns have dominated the PCC competition scene. JP’s own GMR-15 is a direct blowback design that resides in the hands of roughly 35 percent of the top shooters on the PCC scene. But, with speed, weight and reliability being imperative to competition shooters, JP decided to push even further, using the famous Heckler & Koch MP5’s roller delayed-blowback system in the JP-5. The roller delayed is widely considered the softest-shooting of delayed-blowback systems available and, without a doubt, the best.

The author fed the rifle several loads and all cycled well.

The roller delayed-blowback system utilizes two rollers on the bolt that implement the delay needed to prevent premature bolt opening. Straight-blowback systems require the use of a heavy bolt … and a lot of reciprocating mass. With the delayed roller, you lose the weight and have far less recoil. The incredible recoil reduction allows for faster recovery and target indexing.

JP took the roller lock bolt system and teamed it with the things we all love about AR platform, and they produced a superior PCC. According to JP team shooter Josh Froelich, “The JP-5 shoots like a .223, not a 9mm carbine.”

The JP-5 uses standard Glock mags and features an oversized magwell.

Making A Name For Itself

The similarities between the MP5 and the JP-5 are deeper than the use of the delayed roller system. In fact, many of the parts are interchangeable. The firing pin, firing pin spring, rollers, roller retaining spring, extractor, extractor spring and lock pieces can all be swapped.

“PCC has been a fantastic opportunity for us the past few years, but we knew that we’d taken the direct blowback as far as it could go,” said JP Marketing Manager Jesse Gangl. “To really innovate and improve, we had to look at a new style of operating system. Building on the legendary reputation of the H&K MP5, the JP-5 incorporates all of the magic of a roller-delayed system with everything people like about the AR platform. The result is that there’s just no comparison for recoil impulse or follow-up shot speed between the JP-5 and anything out there today. It will be the gun to have for PCC going forward.”

The JP-5 features a JP Silent Captured Spring.

JP didn’t stop with the hard engineering; they wanted the entire gun to shine. From the Enhanced Reliability Fire Control trigger that pops at 3.5 to 4 pounds, to using their Silent Captured Spring for even less recoil, no stone has been left unturned. Both the trigger and the Silent Captured Spring are adjustable, allowing shooters to customize the gun even further. The Hogue pistol grip and Hogue OverMolded buttstock round out the simple components that increase comfort and make the package come together. The JP-5 uses standard Glock magazines, which makes magazines easy to find and very affordable. Plus, the lower houses a generously oversized magwell for easy reloads.

Field Trials

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the JP-5; I’ve been a PCC fan for years. My for-review competition-ready JP-5 arrived basically ready-to-rock straight out of the box. I added a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro 2.5 MOA red-dot to it and loaded mags. The Leupold DeltaPoint is a proven red-dot on anything from ARs to shotguns. If one were to push the range limits a bit, utilizing something with some magnification would be suggested. The DeltaPoint Pro 2.5 worked perfectly for what we were doing.

I was pleasantly surprised with the weight of the gun, coming in at 6.2 pounds with the mag and red-dot. The look of the gun was very appealing as well. From the oversized Radian Raptor LT charging handle to the Hogue grip and buttstock, it was extremely clean and visually appealing. The compensator is a large three-port comp, which is generous in size and looks absolutely gorgeous pushing through the handguard.

The JP-5 is fully ambidextrous.

The guard is perfectly rounded with subtle dimples that make it comfortable to maneuver, and it allows for a light but steady grip. The M-Lok on the grip allows for accessorizing as you please, too. While diving into the mechanical portion of the gun, I found the lower to be fully ambidextrous. Righties and lefties can operate the gun with ease. The mag release is competition grade and made reloads easy and clean.

The gun came with a 90-degree locking piece, but JP can cater your angle based on things like the bullet grain you plan to use, application and barrel length. Eighty to 90 degrees is optimal for people looking to shoot a variety of loads. I chose three different 9mm loads I wanted to feed the JP-5, hoping I’d find out which ammo it didn’t like … but I didn’t find anything it wouldn’t eat. Through 600 rounds, I never had a misfire and only one failure to feed, which was a mag issue. In the PCC world, numbers like that are unheard of.

Between testing and tinkering, three of us went through 250 rounds of 115-grain American Eagle, 250 rounds of 124-grain CCI Blazer and 100 rounds of 150-grain Federal Syntech. The most consistent rounds were the dirtiest, with the Blazer being shot last and with some speed. We had zero issues with any of the ammo. I did throw five rounds of defense loads through it when I got home from the range to be sure they cycled, which they did flawlessly.

Throughout the testing, 150-grain Federal Syntech ammunition cycled very well.

The carbine was zeroed at 20 yards using the 115-grain American Eagle, and the groupings at 10, 15, 18 and 20 yards were incredible from the get-go. Chrono readings averaged 1,158 fps. I had my 14-year-old son with me, as I really wanted him to see how he felt about it. He pointed out that resting wasn’t realistic for the PCC, especially if one were using it for competition shooting. After the first 100 rounds to establish zero, groupings and get chrono readings, all shots were made with light rest or off-hand. At 10 yards, the gun was printing 1 MOA over, and at 50, the gun was 2 MOA under.

At 100 yards, tapping a 10-inch plate was no problem, but the hold-over with a 1x red dot made it hard to get truly accurate groups. However, light resting a PCC at 100 yards and banging steel is pretty neat. We tried to push the end of the testing by moving toward a speed steel type of shooting, and burned through plenty of Champion VisiShot targets. Even cycling fast, the shots were rarely over 1 MOA at 20 yards.

The gun gets back on target so quickly and shoots true as soon as the dot lands on center. The combination of the delayed roller, Silent Captured Spring, light trigger and overall comfort leads to so little recoil and so much confidence. Even my 14-year-old was able to put 10 shots on target with less than 1.5 seconds between shots, and every hole was tickling center. My wife was able to handle the gun with ease and loved the look and feel of it. She, too, had zero issues with target acquisition.


The JP-5 was, honestly, the best PCC I’ve ever handled, and my son said it was one of the top three guns he’s ever shot. The only potential downside is that price tag on something so well-built is steep: With an MSRP of close to $3,300, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But when you compare it to other high-end competition PCCs, it’s not terrible. This gun is probably not going to fit the budget for the weekend shooter, but serous competitive shooters shouldn’t experience sticker shock, especially considering that the JP-5 needs almost zero modifications to be comp-ready.

PCCs are incredibly fun and don’t bruise the shoulder of the ammo bank. A few other PCCs, MP5 clones, bullpups and the like have drifted through my hands over the years—even an H&K SP5 and a Steyr AUG when I was writing a piece about guns and popular culture. The Die Hard films had a lot to do with making several rifles popular, including the MP5.

But none of them hold a candle to the gun currently on my bench. The JP-5 sits on a mountain alone. It’s the smoothest PCC I’ve ever handled and has been an absolute joy to shoot.


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2022 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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JP Enterprises SCR-11 Elevates The .224 Valkyrie To A New Level

A peek inside the custom AR world with the JP Enterprises SCR-11 — in .224 Valkyrie.

What the JP Enterprises SCR-11 Offers verses other Valkries:

  • Side charging handle
  • Exaggerated magazine well
  • Machined-from-billet 7075-T6 upper/lower receiver
  • Adjustable gas block
  • Air-gauged, button-rifled, cryogenically treated barrel
  • Low mass bolt
  • Silent Capture recoil spring
  • Armageddon Gear Revolution Trigger

Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, lefse, lutefisk and goofy accents, but it’s also home to some great manufacturing. We’ve got 3M, Target, General Mills and Best Buy. And, as a shooting enthusiast, we’ve got Federal Premium Ammunition, Birchwood Casey, WildEar, a host of others — and JP Enterprises (aka, JP Rifles).

The SCR-11 from JP Rifles in .224 Valkyrie proved to be a prairie-dog-plinking machine.
The SCR-11 from JP Rifles in .224 Valkyrie proved to be a prairie-dog-plinking machine.

JP Enterprises is a high-end gun manufacturer specializing in custom AR parts and builds. They have loads of options and configurations to choose from, and there’s literally something for everyone, regardless of discipline — from hunting rifles built to customer specifications, to tack-driving long-range AR-platform guns.

The 224 Valkyrie

When Federal announced the introduction of the .224 Valkyrie, only a few companies were able to put together barrels and bolts in short order. JP Enterprises is one of those companies who got on the ball … and kept it rolling.

JP has been around for more than 25 years, and their shop has a great following from shooters “in-the-know.” Very popular amongst precision and competitive shooters, and gaining traction with the weekend shooters, JP offers everything from full custom rifles to simple add-ons to existing builds, such as triggers, buffer springs and everything in between.

The Full Rifle: SCR-11

I’ve been lucky enough to tinker with a few JP Rifles in .224 Valkyrie. They offer the JP-15, the PSC-11 and the new SCR-11. SCR stands for Side Charging Rifle, highlighting the fact that the charging handle is located on the side of the receiver.

The first five shots through the SCR-11 provided the author with close to 1-MOA accuracy in windy conditions.
The first five shots through the SCR-11 provided the author with close to 1-MOA accuracy in windy conditions.

The SCR-11 is a small-frame equivalent to their already popular LRP-07, designed for both competition and hunting enthusiasts. The SCR-11 can be purchased as a full package with pre-suggested configurations, or you can select parts from JP’s online rifle builder, customizing it to fit your needs. The rifle comes in .223 Wylde, .300 BLK, 6.5 Grendel and —of course — .224 Valkyrie. The gun features top-of-the-line JP components, sustained sub-MOA accuracy guaranteed, improved ergonomics for easier operation and a constant cheek weld while manipulating the side-charge system.

Outside The Box: The SCR Concept

The SCR, or Side Charging Rifle concept, is an incredible feature because it keeps any gas from escaping or venting out the top of the receiver. It also keeps the internals protected due to less exposure. In short: Say goodbye to blowback and powder residue in your eyes.

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The SCR’s side-charge system is ideal for competition use where leverage and a constant cheek weld can save critical seconds. The bigger handle allows for easy access and lighting fast charging, while still folding away cleanly.

The Receiver

The machined-from-billet 7075-T6 upper/lower receiver set features the left-side-charging system on the upper, and an exaggerated magazine well for easier, faster reloads. This is a great addition for competition shooters: There’s nothing worse than fumbling with a mag, losing precious seconds. Standard finish on the receiver is anodized matte-black hard coat, but Cerakote is optional … and highly recommended.

The Barrel And Bolt

While the options are nearly endless, ranging from 10.5 inches to 22 inches, the SCR-11 I got my hands on featured a 20-inch JP SuperMatch 416R air-gauged, button-rifled, cryogenically treated barrel that’s thermo-fit to the receiver. It also had a JP large-profile muzzle brake and an adjustable gas block.

The Low Mass bolt from JP reduces reciprocating force, allowing the shooter to get back on target quickly.
The Low Mass bolt from JP reduces reciprocating force, allowing the shooter to get back on target quickly.

The adjustable gas block is a very cool feature, allowing me to fine-tune the amount of gas that was being pushed toward the bolt carrier group to optimize the operations of the action. The rifle has a Low Mass bolt, which was significantly lighter than a mil-spec bolt, making the reciprocating mass much lower.

The Guts And Trigger

The SCR-11 also had one of my favorite AR accessories from JP — the Silent Capture recoil spring. The Silent Capture spring eliminates the “twang” you hear when firing many of the ARs on the market, and it allows you to get back on target with ease and retained focus.

Another important tool on the SCR-11 is the Armageddon Gear Revolution Trigger. One of the most common inconsistencies for precision shooters is the lateral force they apply on the trigger when they squeeze, causing pulled shots. The “roller trigger,” which was developed by Tom Fuller from Armageddon Gear, features a free-rolling trigger that makes it nearly impossible to squeeze the trigger with any lateral force because your finger will roll off to the side.

Whether you are in the market for an SCR-11 or want to upgrade your existing ARs, I suggest checking out the trigger options from JP Enterprises.

The Furniture

Again, the buttstock and grip are fully selectable based on customer needs, but, the rifle drove featured the MagPul UBR Gen 2 stock and a MagPul MOE grip.

The adjustable gas block allows the shooter to configure the amount of gas released to fine-tune an already precise gun.
The adjustable gas block allows the shooter to configure the amount of gas released to fine-tune an already precise gun.

The UBR was an adjustment for me: I like to run smaller-profile stocks and I’m used to standard adjustment protocol. The UBR is a bit less friendly when it comes to speedy adjustments. However, if you’re going to shoot long-range and aren’t going to be moving the stock, it’s a great option.

The handguard is the JP MK III modular, rapid-configuration system. With a Cerakote finish and options from 7.125 to 17.25 inches in length, it’s not only sexy and comfortable — it’s not tied down.

Getting Glass

Sitting atop the rifle was a Bushnell XRS II 4.5-30x50mm G3 scope. The XRS II features the deadly Horus reticle, 10 MILs per revolution on elevation, windage turrets for exact adjustments and the Throwhammer throw lever for speedy magnification adjustments. The scope was more than enough for predators and varmints — and perfect for precision shooting.

The Test

The SCR-11 performed flawlessly in comfortable temps, as well as scorching heat. Like any test gun, there’s no babying or gentle charging. From humid air to dust-blown, sun-bleaching prairie heat, there were no failures to feed or eject, or with any other issues with gun operation. And that’s saying a lot with you add sand into any shooting equation.

The accuracy was nothing short of fantastic — on paper, steel and prairie dogs.

The Armageddon Gear roller-style Revolution Trigger helps eliminate any shooter’s errors with pulling shots.
The Armageddon Gear roller-style Revolution Trigger helps eliminate any shooter’s errors with pulling shots.

On paper, with a 200-yard zero in a non-controlled setting, MOA accuracy was common, with an initial five-shot group coming in at just a hair over that benchmark. After putting 140 rounds of the 90-grain Sierra MatchKing .224 Valkyrie from Federal Premium through it, then switching to the 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip for another case of testing, I can comfortably say that the gun is sub-minute-of-prairie-dog at 550 yards. Whilst pushing the gun and the cartridge to the limit, I was able to take down a prairie dog at 686 yards, confirmed. On a calmer day with a good rest and bags, I would think that 1,000 yards would be easily attained.

With the options on the SCR-11 I had in-hand, target and prairie dog shooting was an absolute blast. With little-to-no recoil and long-range capabilities, the gun exceeded expectations.

The only drawback, however, is the weight. If the gun would’ve been setup for a spot-and-stalk antelope or deer hunt (for which the .224 Valkyrie is more than capable), an 18-inch lighter barrel would’ve been ideal, with a smaller and lighter-weight optic as well. The nice thing about JP is that those are options you have.

With the introduction of the .224 Valkyrie in 2018 and the customizable options of the JP SCR-11, the small-frame AR platform guns have been elevated to a new level.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

10 Shooting Targets Made For Fun Gunning

Sometimes, shooting targets for tiny groups needs to be balanced by shooting targets for plain ol’ fun.

Target shooting could never be classified as boring. Never ever. Punching holes in paper or banging steel simply does not get old. But, what if I were to tell you that there are ways to make target shooting even more enjoyable? Casually competitive?

Here are 10 “targets” that will change the way you look at — and experience — target shooting.

1. Zombie Industries “Bobo Clown” 3-D Bleeder

Shooting Targets 8
I don’t care if you’re a doomsday prepper, believer in the undead or just want to watch a zombie clown bleed — the Bobo Clown from Zombie Industries is for you. All of the zombie targets from ZI are life-sized and bleed when shot. They also show hits in orange and are biodegradable. Each order includes a zombie of your choice, a wooden stake to mount the zombie on and a box that becomes a dual-purpose target. One side is a tactical silhouette, while the other side holds clays and transforms into a reactive outbreak target. At $109, the zombie targets are a bit steep, but, they can withstand 1,000 rounds from anything from BB guns up to .50 cal. The zombie targets are great for group outings or tactical courses. The best part about them? They’re made in the USA by non-infected workers. www.zombieindustries.com

2. Birchwood Casey Pregame Battle At Sea

Shooting Targets 10
Who doesn’t remember playing Battleship? Who still plays Battleship? Well, with the new Birchwood Casey Battle at Sea targets, you can play something similar to Battleship while on the range. The ships are visible, so the guessing part is out — but hitting the targets is more fun than guessing anyway. The first person to hit all of the circles on the ships wins. Eight targets costs $12, or you can go big and get 100 for $100. These targets are also very fun for group outings, and a fun game for rimfire shooters and kids. www.birchwoodcasey.com

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3. Champion Re-Stick Targets

Champion realized that people were sick of covering shot holes with stickers, and re-stapling new targets over old ones. Champion teamed up with the Post-It Notes folks to create a peel-and-stick target. Simply peel it like a Post-It Note and stick it on top of the old target. They come in a large variety of styles, including life-sized deer vitals and turkey targets. The turkey targets have been my favorites when it comes to patterning each spring. The targets have a nice note-taking section to write in the loads tested, yardage and caliber — and they’ll cost you $10 per pack, which is very reasonable. www.championtarget.com

4. ShootSteel Magnum Rifle Spinner

Shooting Targets 7
The Magnum Rifle Spinner is everything you need to start banging steel. This setup comes complete with a stand that has 24-inch legs and a 24-inch crossbar, making the system compact and portable. The steel is made of ½-inch AR500 and has a 6-inch strike face — it’s perfect for out to 600 yards or more. For those large-caliber aficionados, the Magnum Rifle Spinner is rated up to .300 Winchester Mag. at 200 yards, and .308 Win. at 100 yards. This target doesn’t only help you with accuracy, but it can really fine-tune your timing as well: Hitting the target while it spins is a real challenge, and to do so required that you get your head in the game and keep it there. The 6-inch Magnum Spinner will cost you $180, and it’s also available in an 8-inch version. www.shootsteel.com

5. VisiColor Zombie Targets

Shooting Targets 6
“Another fun zombie target?” Yep, because, who doesn’t enjoy playing out a zombie apocalypse scenario whilst at the range? These reactive targets are a very large 18 inches by 12 inches high-quality paper target with VisiColor technology. Zombie heads show hits in bright green, body shots are bright yellow and misses or hits on hostages appear in white. A variety 6-pack will run you about $10. www.championtarget.com



6. Champion Center Mass AR500 Pop-Up Targets

Shooting Targets 5
The 4- by 14-inch pop-up silhouette target has been great for me and my wife, as it’s the perfect size for brushing up in preparation for our annual prairie dog trip. The 3/8-inch-thick AR500 steel targets stand up straight upon set-up, and they lay down flat before popping back up when hit. And best of all, they give off that beautiful tell-tale “ping” when hit. Besides prepping for a prairie dog shoot, these targets are great for AR practice and long-range precision shooting. The 14- by 4-inch model will cost you $130. www.championtarget.com

7. Benchmaster Shoot The Dice Targets

Shooting Targets 2
These consumable dice-shaped targets are not only long-lasting, but they’re also extremely creative. For $10, you get a pair of high-density foam dice targets that measure 4 inches square. They’re weather and chemical resistant, and they are also impervious to rot, mold and mildew for years of hard-hitting practice — they even float! The possibilities are endless when it comes to games … just be careful you don’t lose all of your money to your buddy. www.benchmasterusa.com

8. Tannerite Starter Kit

Shooting Targets 4
Yes, Tannerite combusts into a glorious ball of glory, and everyone has to experience it a few times — though “a few” is certain to lead to “a lot.” The Starter Kit is perfect for the beginner: This single case comes with six ½-pound targets, pre-measured packets of catalyst, a mixing container and instructions. At $28, this is the perfect kit to get your feet wet with binary exploding targets. And of course I have to say the obvious: Be sure to use extra caution, and follow the directions carefully. www.tannerite.com

9. Duraseal Interactive Targets

Shooting Targets 1
Duraseal targets have been wildly popular over the past few years. The entire lineup of Duraseal targets features self-healing material that will withstand shots from .17 caliber up to .50 caliber (yes, you read that right: .50 caliber). They come in a wide-range of options, from spinning varmints to soup cans that can be filled with fluids, chalk or flour. A favorite is the 7-inch varmint-orange spinner. It’ll cost you $22, and you won’t regret spending a penny of it, because it’s great for kids and adults alike. www.championtarget.com

10. Tannerite Bunker Box

Shooting Targets 3
If you’re looking for a gift for that special someone — or for yourself — the Bunker Box from Tannerite is right up your alley. This pack comes in a beautiful cedar box (which is great for ammo when you shoot up the contents), eight 1-pound targets, pre-measured packets of catalyst, mixing container, instructions, stickers, earplugs, a pen, limited edition safety glasses, a hat … and one of five mystery items. Coming in at $100, this box is great for a group party or bachelor/bachelorette party. The massive clouds of water vapor and the giant “boom” have made Tannerite land atop the list of fun range goodies. Again, use caution when dealing with binary exploding targets. www.tannerite.com

Remember to try to introduce someone new to shooting. And trust me when I say that having a few of these with you at the range could make shooting a lot more enjoyable for someone new to the sport.

Editor's Notes: This article originally appeared in the 2018 Shooting Is Fun issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

The .224 Valkyrie Has Soared From The Start

Rare is the cartridge that grabs so much attention immediately upon introduction, but the .224 Valkyrie has done so — for good reason.

Why The .224 Valkyrie Tops Other Long-Range Cartridges:

  • Necked down .30 Rem/6.8 SPC case.
  • Improved trajectories vs .22 Nosler, .223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel.
  • 2,700 fps muzzle velocity from a 24-inch barrel.
  • Vs .22 Nosler, .223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel, 125-inches less drop at 1,000 yards.
  • Less recoil than 6.5 Creedmoor.
  • Shoots heavy-for-caliber bullets.
  • Existing AR can be converted with a new barrel, bolt and magazine.

In late-2017, Federal Premium Ammunition released a new cartridge that’s been getting a lot of attention. The all-new .224 Valkyrie soared into magazines, online shooting forums and, of course, social media. Touted as the first AR platform cartridge with true long-range capabilities, it had everyone in the industry on the edge of their seats.

Savage Arms has an affordable option for people looking for a great .224 Valkyrie straight off the shelves: the MSR 15 Valkyrie.
Savage Arms has an affordable option for people looking for a great .224 Valkyrie straight off the shelves: the MSR 15 Valkyrie.

It wasn’t long before articles were flying and gun manufacturers were jumping on board. But has all the hype been warranted, now that enough time has passed for true testing by the masses? Is the .224 Valkyrie really as versatile as the marketing has painted it out to be?

Breaking It Down

The .224 Valkyrie was designed for AR platform rifles to be the new long-range dominator. Simply, the .224 Valkyrie is based on a .30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber. It offers dramatically improved trajectories over all other AR-15 cartridges, including the .22 Nosler, .223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel, with roughly half the recoil of larger cartridges offering comparable ballistics, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor.

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Initial numbers from Federal boasted 2,700 fps at the muzzle from a 24-inch barrel, with the bullet still carrying supersonic speeds at 1,300 yards. When shot through a 20-inch match barrel, I saw 2,650 fps consistently through the chronograph. To say it’s fast would be an understatement. Even if you use the old equation of losing 25 fps per 2 inches of barrel cut-down, a 16-inch carbine will still fire the 90-grain SMK at roughly 2,600 fps. That’s what most modern sporting rifle owners can expect.

Federal’s new .224 Valkyrie in 60-grain Nosler is the perfect round for predator and varmint hunters.
Federal’s new .224 Valkyrie in 60-grain Nosler is the perfect round for predator and varmint hunters.

The .224 Valkyrie offers 125 inches less drop and almost 70 inches less wind drift at 1,000 yards than the .223 Rem. and other short-action calibers like the .22 Nosler and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, its ballistics are comparable to much larger, harder-kicking calibers like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with as little as half the felt recoil. While I haven’t been able to stretch the cartridge past 850 yards, I trust that this truly could be the first 1,000 yard cartridge for modern sporting rifles.

Truly Diverse Options

Federal currently offers the .224 Valkyrie in four options:

  • The 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing will be the flagship round. The bullet design has been shot to win more matches than any other, thanks to a uniform jacket that ensures consistent, long-range accuracy, and a sleek boat-tail that maximizes ballistic coefficient. Precision and long-range shooters will love this round.
  • The 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip will be my go-to predator and varmint round. A lighter bullet with unmatched speed will be a favorite for people hunting prairie dogs and predators across the country. At 3,300 fps out of a 24-inch test barrel, this round will be blazing fast, and it holds speeds up to 934 fps at 1,000 yards.
  • The 90-grain Fusion will be the mid-sized game-leveling cartridge. Fusion already has a name for itself among deer and other mid-sized game hunters from coast-to-coast, and in .224 Valkyrie it’s going to be a deer hunting dream. With half the recoil of calibers with similar ballistics, this will be the perfect deer cartridge for the entire family.
  • The 75-grain American Eagle TMJ will be the entry-level, low-cost round in .224 Valkyrie. At just $13.95 MSRP per box, it’s selling for $10-12 on the shelves; this will take plinking to a whole new level, and it will be a favorite amongst 3-Gun shooters and casual shooters alike. With the low entry-level cost, you won’t be disappointed in its speed or accuracy. It’s still thumping close to 3,000 fps out of the muzzle.

Other manufacturers are putting out .224 Valkyrie as well. Hornady has their 88-grain ELD Match for long-range performance. Underwood Ammunition offers a 72-grain Lehigh Controlled Chaos fragmenting hollow-point, which is a 100 percent lead-free hunting round.

Savage MSR 15 Valkyrie.
Savage MSR 15 Valkyrie.

The timing of this round was absolutely perfect, as the gun and ammo market is stable and prices are reasonable. The fact that you can get into a .224-chambered rifle by just purchasing a new barrel, bolt and magazine for your existing AR lower makes it an affordable setup from the get-go. If you prefer to purchase a full package, several companies offer .224 Valkyrie guns that are tack-drivers out of the box.

The Flip Side

We’ve all seen the numbers and heard the hoopla, but — what are some of the downfalls of the .224 Valkyrie?

The obvious is that it’s a new round. Look at what has happened with several new cartridges over the past century: You just don’t see guns stocked on every shelf in the sporting goods stores, and ammo is fading from shelves — not due to consume demand, but rather due to dust on the boxes. With any new round, the future is always a question mark. While things look very promising, and long-range and competitive shooters are already rocking the .224 Valkyrie with great results, word needs to spread. And, rightfully so, leery consumers need to see that it’s here to stay.

Federal Ammunition has four offerings in .224 Valkyrie. From top to bottom: 90-grain Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, AE 75-grain TMJ, and 90-grain Fusion.
Federal Ammunition has four offerings in .224 Valkyrie. From top to bottom: 90-grain Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, AE 75-grain TMJ, and 90-grain Fusion.

Gun availability is another issue. While the list continues to grow daily, the market isn’t flooded with manufacturers making barrels and bolts, or complete guns. JP Enterprises has several options for hunters and long-range shooters. Other players include Seekins Precision, LaRue Tactical, MasterPiece Arms, MagPul, LMT Defense, LWRC International, C&H Precision Weapons, and Savage Arms. If the round sticks, the list will continue to grow.

The .224 Valkyrie isn’t very bolt-friendly. The round was centered on AR platform guns, and it shows. While there are precision rifle makers out there putting out incredible bolt guns in .224 Valk, don’t expect to see low-cost hunter packages showing up at your local gun shop. Unless you’re set on having a bolt gun and are willing to fork out some cash for a high-end build, stick to the AR platform guns available.

The Future

Ultimately, Federal Premium’s .224 Valkyrie will unleash a new era of 1,000-yard-plus accuracy and performance for gas-driven AR-15s, without the hefty recoil and price tag of larger-caliber options. Thanks to the continuation of Federal Premium’s 95-year commitment to excellence, shooters can expect best-in-class ballistics, supersonic flight past 1,300 yards and extreme long-range accuracy from this exciting new cartridge. And with the full array of high-performance projectiles available, it’s poised to deliver on virtually every shooter’s needs.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2018 Long-Range Shooting issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.