March 4th, 2018

Valkyrie Velocity: Barrel Cut-Down Test with 60, 75, 90 grainers

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMKVelocity vs. barrel length — How much speed will I sacrifice with a shorter barrel? Hunters and competition shooters often ask that. Today we DO have solid answers to that question for many cartridge types thanks to has conducted a series of barrel cut-down tests for many popular chamberings: .223 Rem, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum and more. And recently added the new .224 Valkyrie cartridge to the list, cutting a 28″ Shilen barrel down to 16.5″ in one-inch increments. measured the .224 Valkyrie’s velocities at each barrel length with four different types of factory ammo.

For its .224 Valkyrie test, sourced a Shilen Match Barrel and fitted it to a Rem 700 short action employing a one-piece PT&G bolt with the required .440″ (SPC-sized) bolt-face. The barreled action rides in a MDT LSS-XL Gen 2 Chassis.

READ .224 Valkyrie Barrel Cut-Down Test on »

Bill,’s Editor, explained his test procedure:

“I gathered four different types of factory Federal 224 Valkyrie ammunition, the 90gr Sierra MatchKing (SMK), 90gr Fusion soft point (SP) (referred to a Fusion MSR), 75gr Total Metal Jacket (TMJ) and 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint (NBT). After a brief barrel break in and zero, I fired 5 rounds of each cartridge at each barrel length (except the 75 TMJ, I fired 4 rounds at each barrel length due to limited resources). I recorded the average muzzle velocity and standard deviation for each ammunition and barrel length combination and cut the barrel back 1 inch and repeated the process. I recorded barrel lengths from 28″ to 16.5″ (I try to save these barrels as finished 16″ tubes so they don’t go to waste).”

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The Heavy Bullet 90gr Ammo Lost about 21 FPS per Inch
How did the test turn out? You’ll find all the results summarized in helpful tables with inch-by-inch velocity and SD numbers. For the two, 90gr ammo samples, results were similar. The 90gr SMK ammo started at 2782 fps (28″), finishing at 2541 fps (16.5″). That’s a loss of 241 fps, or 20.96 fps average per inch of length. The ammo loaded with 90gr Fusion SPs started at 2797 fps (28″) and ended at 2561 fps (16.5″), a drop of 236 fps. That’s 20.5 fps loss per inch. NOTE: Ambient temperature during the test was 45° F. You could expect the overall velocities to be a bit higher during hotter summer months.

See 90gr SMK Velocity/Length Test Chart | See 90gr Fusion SP Velocity/Length Test Chart

.224 Valkyrie Velocity Cut-Down Test

With a the smaller bullets, the effect was even more dramatic. As you’d expect they started out faster. The ammo with 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tips (NBT), a good choice for varminters, started at 3395 fps (28″), and declined to 3065 fps (16.5), a total velocity drop of 330 fps. Average velocity loss was 28.7 fps per inch of barrel length. also tested Federal 75gr TMJ ammo.

About the .224 Valkyrie Cartridge

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The new .224 Valkyrie was introduced late last year as a Hot Rod cartridge that will work in AR15s. Designed to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in ARs, the new .224 Valkyrie offers excellent long-range performance when loaded with modern, high-BC bullets. We expect some bolt-action PRS shooters might adopt the .224 Valkyrie. Why? Reduced recoil. With the 90gr SMK, the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil. Check out this chart from Federal showing comparative recoil levels:

.224 Valkyrie Federal cut-down barrel

.224 Valkyrie vs. .22-250 Remington
The Social Regressive explains: “There are two key reasons why the 224 Valkyrie is unique and desirable. First, it is specifically designed to fit the limitations of the AR-15 platform. It does so even when loaded with gigantic bullets, like the 90-grain SMK that Federal announced. .22-250 Rem is too long and too fat to work in the AR-15 platform; it needs an AR-10 bolt and magazine.”

Image from Social Regressive .224 Valkyrie Youtube Video.

The new .224 Valkyrie is basically a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22-caliber. You can use your existing AR15 lower, but you will need a dedicated .224-Valkyrie upper, or at the minimum a new barrel, modified bolt with proper bolt face, and 6.8-compliant mags.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 4th, 2018

Top Ten Reasons Why Shooting is Tougher than Basketball

hap rocketto march madness basketball Top 10 hoops tournament

“March Madness”, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, is just nine days away. (2018 Dates are March 13 through April 2). Here’s a clever piece by Hap Rocketto that examines the game of B-Ball and explains why shooting targets is actually more difficult than shooting hoops. This story originally appeared in the Hap’s Corner section of Hap is a rare talent in the gun world — a serious shooter who also has unique insights, and a great sense of humor. We recommend you visit to enjoy the many other interesting Hap’s Corner postings.

by Hap Rocketto
I know shooting is tougher than basketball…. Come on, just how difficult is it for five tall guys to help each other toss a big ball into a basket? Granted basketball is more physically demanding than shooting a rifle, but I think that blasting a quarter-size group into the center of the target at 100 yards all by yourself is a far more difficult task than working as a team to dunk a ball.

Therefore, in the style of Late Night talk show host David Letterman, I have constructed a list of ten reasons why rifle shooting is tougher than basketball.

TOP TEN REASONS Why Rifle Shooting is Tougher Than Basketball

10. When you get tired in basketball the coach just calls time out and replaces you with someone fresh. Not so in shooting.

9. When’s the last time a basketball player had to make a shot with the sun in his eyes?

8. How often does a basketball player have a perfectly good shot blown out by the wind?

7. If a basketball player places a shot a little higher than intended, no problem. The backboard causes the ball to bounce into the basket. No such luck in shooting.

6. Rifle matches commonly run all day. When was the last time you saw a basketball game run more than an hour or so?

5. If you’re not making your shots in basketball, you can just pass the ball to someone who is hot. No such convenience in shooting.

4. Rifle bullets travel faster than the speed of sound (roughly 300 meters per second). Basketballs top out at around 15 meters per second.

3. A basketball player can shoot from anywhere on the court that is convenient and comfortable. All riflemen shoot from the same distance.

2. A basketball player may shoot as often as the opportunity arises and is not limited to the number of shots taken. A rifle match requires that each rifleman shoot the same number of record shots. If they shoot more than allowed, then a penalty follows.

1. And the Number One reason why shooting is tougher than basketball is that, if you miss a shot in basketball you, or a team mate, can just jump up, grab the ball, and try again. Try that in shooting.

The only real similarity between the two sports is that a competitor attempts to score points by shooting. In rifle it is through a hard-hold and easy squeeze in prone, sitting, kneeling and standing; while in basketball it is via hook shots, jump shots, lay-ups, or the dramatic, ever crowd-pleasing, slam dunk.

About the Author: Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the CMP website, and

Credit John Puol for finding this article and communicating with Hap Rocketto.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 4th, 2018

Miculek Rings Steel at 400m, Shooting 9mm Pistol Off-Hand

Could you hit an 18″ x 24″ target at a distance of 435 yards (roughly 400 meters)? Sure, you’re thinking, that would be easy with a good rifle fired from the bench or prone position. OK, now think about making that shot, OFF-HAND with a pistol. That’s something entirely different. We doubt many marksman would wager they could hit a plate 400 meters away with a handgun.

That’s exactly the challenge legendary shooter Jerry Miculek undertakes in this interesting video. Shooting a Smith & Wesson 9mm M&P pistol with a red-dot optic, Jerry makes the 400m shot look easy, hitting the steel plate with his first shot. This takes good eyes, a solid grip, perfect trigger control (and a bit of luck). Jerry was shooting 115gr Hornady HAP® ammunition.

jerry miculek 400m pistol shot

25 Feet Hold-over to Make Shot at 435 yards
The shot wasn’t dead center, but Miculek still hit the steel plate on the first try. This is doubly impressive because Miculek had to hold well over the target. In fact Jerry figured he was aiming “25 feet over [the target]”. The lesson to be learned here is that a good pistol, in the hands of a master, may be capable of astonishing long-range accuracy — as long as you work out the ballistics in advance. Jerry knew that he had to hold high to arc the bullet into the target.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns 3 Comments »