224valk. Build or buy?

Feb 21, 2013
134
18
18
Fort Campbell, KY
#1
So I'm throwing the idea around of getting into a precision gas gun but I really have no experience purchasing or putting one together. I'm pretty well spun up on the bolt side of the house, as well as the typical AR15 "work rifle" side of things. But precision gas guns are a new idea to me. Is 224valk a good way to go? I mean I see what the capabilities are and have seen a ton of videos on it, but are there problems or issues with the round that I might not know about?any reason to stay away from it? Also, I'm looking at a budget of around $1000 for the gun(not including glass, money is set aside for that and I'm pretty sure I know what glass im buying). What kind of options am I looking at as far as buying a complete rifle, building one, or buying a complete upper? My first thoughts are build so I can start off with the trigger I want, stock I want, etc etc etc.

I know this is getting long and I'm asking alot, but im looking to do it right the 1st time. To make a long story short what brands should I look at and avoid with in my budget?
 

culater

Sergeant
Oct 18, 2012
396
36
28
46
#2
I would build one and buy a top quality barrel which is the heart of all. Everything else you can buy just regular parts. A Larue trigger would be a great choice to use for the price.
 
Jan 15, 2005
6,678
1,185
113
VA
#8
I did both, and went top quality for both and was. It disappointed. I ordered a LMT MLR when they opened up orders at SHOT show and ordered up a Craddock Precision Rock Creek barrel and built one around that while I waited for my LMT which was delivered in July.

Neither route disappointed and all said and done cost about the same. Both were right around $2K. The LMT was the least expensive at $1800 out the door from my dealer who I had ordered it and the only thing I changed was swap in a Geissele trigger and CH.

Both rifles shot and functioned exceptionally, but the Craddock really shined as you’d expect from a rifle with a $600 cut rifled barrel. It was by far the my accurate AR-15 I’ve ever owned or shot, benchrest level of accuracy. Unfortunately my rifle ADHD got the best of me and I preferred the LMT for its modularity being able to swap calibers and barrels in a couple minutes with only a preset torque wrench (included with rifle) so the Craddock upper got sold and the lower repurposed.

I know the LMT is double your budget but when you consider the fact you can pick up an enhanced 223 bolt and one of their SS cut rifled 223 barrels (Rock Creeks BTW) for about $700 and have two rifles in one it’s actually a great value. One rifle, one scope, etc. I do suggest paying the $75 upgrade to get the enhanced carrier on the rifle especially if you may be shooting suppressed. It changes the dwell time and also vents the gas out the side so you don’t get a blast back in the face.

You can’t go wrong building one either but a $1000 budget is going to severely limit the quality of the components which is going to directly effect the performance unless you just happen to get a unicorn barrel if you go for shelf grade stuff. I sold my Craddock barreled upper used for more than a grand and that was minus charging handle and muzzle device.
 
Feb 21, 2013
134
18
18
Fort Campbell, KY
#9
Thanks guys, this is definitely getting my searching narrowed down some. So far from what im seeing I probably want a 1:6.5 barrel? It seems like 20 inch is the way to go?

It looks like both the larue set up and craddock are both doable in my budget. Are there any other directions I should look in? I'm not opposed to putting something together from individual parts, and my first thought is that this is the route that will get me exactly what I want in everything but maybe I'm wrong. None the less thank you for the suggestions and please keep them coming
 

culater

Sergeant
Oct 18, 2012
396
36
28
46
#10
Thanks guys, this is definitely getting my searching narrowed down some. So far from what im seeing I probably want a 1:6.5 barrel? It seems like 20 inch is the way to go?

It looks like both the larue set up and craddock are both doable in my budget. Are there any other directions I should look in? I'm not opposed to putting something together from individual parts, and my first thought is that this is the route that will get me exactly what I want in everything but maybe I'm wrong. None the less thank you for the suggestions and please keep them coming
Go with the 22 inch barrel
 

Darqusoull13

New Hide Member
Jul 5, 2018
31
16
8
#15
Thanks guys, this is definitely getting my searching narrowed down some. So far from what im seeing I probably want a 1:6.5 barrel? It seems like 20 inch is the way to go?

It looks like both the larue set up and craddock are both doable in my budget. Are there any other directions I should look in? I'm not opposed to putting something together from individual parts, and my first thought is that this is the route that will get me exactly what I want in everything but maybe I'm wrong. None the less thank you for the suggestions and please keep them coming
I'll be buying a JP too, sometime in the next few months if you want to see the build sheet. Individually, each JP part is fantastic quality. Together all the parts make a very, very well tuned system. You really do end up with an extremely reliable rifle that shoots as good as it looks.

I'd go with the 22" barrel if you're getting into precision rifle competitions. More mass will move less in positions and you get a bit more velocity for the same charge.
 
#16
...as the OP stated "I really have no experience purchasing or putting one together." , that pretty much infers purchasing one that fits within his stated $1K budget. The OP states he has speciifc desires for the lower, ie.e stock, trigger, etc., so an assembled upper would be the most logical choice and the lower is one he can assemble.

...Craddock & JP were already recommended, another to research is Keystone Accuracy. There are many others, I'm sure other names/brands will be appearing soon. Just MHO, but poster Lowlight's recommendations are not trivial ones to be discounted......
 
Likes: B.Wilker
Feb 21, 2013
134
18
18
Fort Campbell, KY
#17
...as the OP stated "I really have no experience purchasing or putting one together." , that pretty much infers purchasing one that fits within his stated $1K budget. The OP states he has speciifc desires for the lower, ie.e stock, trigger, etc., so an assembled upper would be the most logical choice and the lower is one he can assemble.

...Craddock & JP were already recommended, another to research is Keystone Accuracy. There are many others, I'm sure other names/brands will be appearing soon. Just MHO, but poster Lowlight's recommendations are not trivial ones to be discounted......
I'm heading out of work now and ill respond to the rest of the thread once I'm home but I just wanted to clarify one point. I'm very comfortable with actually putting a rifle together. I just meant to say that I have not purchased parts all individually myself and built one. I've put them together before and am very comfortable with the idea of doing one from the ground up for myself. I have just yet to purchase 100 individual pieces myself. I hope that makes sense


Again everyone thank you for the replies, I'll give this a read when I get to the house and reply to the rest of the posters shortly
 

lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
3,522
1,227
113
59
Central Florida
#18
Adam, FWIW I also had never assembled an AR before I built my .224 Valkyrie. I, like you, had a bit of experience assembling and modifying bolt guns. Just know that there is so much information available that if you do your homework up front and watch a couple of videos, it should not be a problem.

This assumes that you are well acquainted with tools and how to use them properly.

That said, spending a bit extra and buying an upper assembly from JP or Craddock, or even a complete rifle, is a great way to ensure that your experience will be a good one.

Good luck with your choices and/or project!
 
Feb 21, 2013
134
18
18
Fort Campbell, KY
#19
I think I spoke a little soon with the 20inch barrel comment. I see everyone is recommending 22, and from the research i did today thats what I'm seeing as well.

What about barrel twist. Is the 1:7 fine? Or would 1:6.5 be better?

I'll be looking into the JP tonight as well. One more to add to the list. Thanks guys!
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,879
819
113
Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#26
Loving my 22" Rainier Ultramatch 1:7.5 224V build. After doing load workup with 88 ELD-M and CFE223 its hammering. Confirmed my load out to 636yd yesterday on a gusty day.

22" Rainier Ultramatch 1:7.5 +2 Gas
Superlative Arms AGB
JP Headspaced Bolt
MEGA NiB Billet Upper/Lower Set
Geissele SD-E
BAD Ambi Safety
ERGO Tactical Deluxe
JP SCS
Magpul PRS Gen3
Seekins SP3R Handguard
Rugged 3 Port QD Brake
Athlon Ares ETR MIL
Seekins PMR Rings






 
Likes: Lunchbox27
Nov 9, 2013
304
22
18
Missouri
#27
I built a .224 Valkyrie upper out of all Seekins Precision parts, including a 20" 1:7 barrel (I wanted a sort of mini SP-10, since I have one in 6.5 CR and really like it). I have been happy with the accuracy and performance at distance out to 600 yds (farthest I have shot it so far). It is on a RRA lower with a Geiselle NM trigger and a Magpul PRS stock. Would I like to have a JP? Sure, but this Seekins does all I want it to do on prairie dogs and steel at less money. I'm looking forward to trying it in our club matches once I get a little more familiar with it. I have only used factory Hornady 88 gr Match's in it so far.
 
Likes: LZhiou
Jan 9, 2018
129
59
28
Bel Air, MD
#29
I’ll throw another vote in there for Craddock Precision. I bought a complete upper from Paul and have never regretted it. It is a great rifle and the people at Craddock Precision are great to deal with.

A9865747-2268-4998-B619-3A5C564AD449.jpeg
 

Crews

Sergeant
May 11, 2017
491
95
28
#30
A LaRue UU kit would come in right around $1000.
If the UU kit is similar in performance to the 6.5 Grendel kit I had, I’d say you can do better in the accuracy dept for the same $ if you piece your own together.

In all fairness, mine was a little under a minute out to 300 yards with factory ammo, and that’s plenty accurate for most. And there’s no doubt as a complete package it’s a solid rifle you can depend on. If I was to do it all over again, I’d invest in a premium barrel with a matched bolt and a super tight barrel extension to receiver fit, everything else is just details.
 
Likes: lash
Feb 21, 2013
134
18
18
Fort Campbell, KY
#31
Tons of good advice from you guys. Thank you. I was selling a rifle and the buyer backed out, that was going to fund this gun. The downside is now I have to wait a little longer and get this other rifle sold 1at. The upside is I now have plenty of time to do some research on the topic more, consider all of these options and to grow the budget some. Thanks for all the help guys, I've got alot of options to check out now
 

lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
3,522
1,227
113
59
Central Florida
#32
That’s not a bad idea. I did a ton of research first, then decided to buy what I did a piece or two at a time over time. It allowed me to spread the cost over a few months and gave me time to make parts decisions after researching each.

The other option, as has been posted, is to save up and buy a proven performer like the JP or a Craddock Precision.

Good luck with whichever way you choose. This round is a fun long round.
 

021411

hot loads
Dec 14, 2011
346
138
43
Houston, TX
#35
After looking at padom's post on accuracy testing on the Rainier Ultramatch barrels, I'm going that route. If I can spend a few hundred bucks to get that kind of accuracy I'm game.
 

8pointer

New Hide Member
Nov 20, 2018
40
10
8
#36
craddockprecision.com is your best bet, I have a Bartlien 1-6.5 twist that shoots 3/4 to 1/2 consistently.
Do you mind sharing what you are feeding it and at what distances/accuracy please? I've been following 224 since the day it dropped. Small frame AR at 1000 + yard shooting is soooo attractive to me. Craddock is a name that seems to have a super strong following of happy people, but I really want to know the details on what happens when stretched b/c this rifle will rarely if ever be shot under 1000. Maybe warm up at 600 steel and move over to 1000. Thanks for any input.

Any for anyone else who wants to chime in on their rig with ammo and ranges/accuracy I'd love to see that please. I've read so many reports on various other forums of people who are testing at 100, but not a lot of people who are stretching it out saying bingo this factory round, dead nuts, 1000 winner my ammo search is over kind of thing. Appreciate it guys thanks.
 
Last edited:
Jan 9, 2018
129
59
28
Bel Air, MD
#37
My local range only goes out to 600 yards but I set up 1moa gongs every 100 yards out to 600 to practice on. I have a Craddock upper and I can consistently put 5 rounds in a row on every gong out to 600 without a problem. That is using my own loads with a 90gr SMK and CFE223. The 90 gr Federal ammo I have tried had consistency issues. One box would be great and the next would be crap. The cheap 75 gr American eagle ammo actually shot really well though especially given the $10 a box price.
 
Oct 18, 2012
396
36
28
46
#38
Do you mind sharing what you are feeding it and at what distances/accuracy please? I've been following 224 since the day it dropped. Small frame AR at 1000 + yard shooting is soooo attractive to me. Craddock is a name that seems to have a super strong following of happy people, but I really want to know the details on what happens when stretched b/c this rifle will rarely if ever be shot under 1000. Maybe warm up at 600 steel and move over to 1000. Thanks for any input.

Any for anyone else who wants to chime in on their rig with ammo and ranges/accuracy I'd love to see that please. I've read so many reports on various other forums of people who are testing at 100, but not a lot of people who are stretching it out saying bingo this factory round, dead nuts, 1000 winner my ammo search is over kind of thing. Appreciate it guys thanks.
Im feed it with

starline brass
cc 400 primer
28.7 gr Superperformace
88 gr ELD
OAL 2.305
pushing at 2700 fps

have not taken out to distance yet but I will very soon after deer season.
The barrel seem to eat everything and shoot it well. Just got a Larue Trigger and that helped a lot to tighten up my group. Only have 150 rounds thought the barrel. Ill keep you posted
 

8pointer

New Hide Member
Nov 20, 2018
40
10
8
#39
Thanks guys this is all good stuff. I so want to get into a 224, but I just don't have the time or desire to get into hand loading so hopefully we will see the round develop into something that has a good chance of reaching out with factory loads. Like you I'm in the middle of deer actually muzzleloader just opened last Saturday. Thanks guys appreciate the detail.
 

Lunchbox27

Tactical Password Resetter
Mar 23, 2017
299
114
43
MD
#40
My local range only goes out to 600 yards but I set up 1moa gongs every 100 yards out to 600 to practice on. I have a Craddock upper and I can consistently put 5 rounds in a row on every gong out to 600 without a problem. That is using my own loads with a 90gr SMK and CFE223. The 90 gr Federal ammo I have tried had consistency issues. One box would be great and the next would be crap. The cheap 75 gr American eagle ammo actually shot really well though especially given the $10 a box price.
It's funny you said this... we have the same upper and I too am seeing the same thing. I switched back over to the 75g American Eagle and it was impossible to miss. Might be time for me to start loading my own.
 
#41
Thanks guys this is all good stuff. I so want to get into a 224, but I just don't have the time or desire to get into hand loading so hopefully we will see the round develop into something that has a good chance of reaching out with factory loads. Like you I'm in the middle of deer actually muzzleloader just opened last Saturday. Thanks guys appreciate the detail.
I would wait it out for a while too. There are too many barrels out there right now that were chambered with bad reamers and the freebore is apx .050" to long. Those barrels shoot the 75gr TMJ pretty well but don't shoot anything(factory ammo) else well. The barrels that were chambered with the correct SAAMI spec reamers shoot the 88ELDs better than anything else but Federal is working on some new ammo using Berger bullets for long range, Barnes TTSX for hunting and another varmint bullet. I think over the next year all of the bad barrels will be sold and new correct barrels will begin to fill the market. In the beginning first half of 2018 the ammo makers didn't know there was a problem with the reamers and they weren't even sure the barrels they were using to develop ammo was the correct chamber. After July I think everyone is on the same page and they'll get everything dialed in.
 
Apr 14, 2011
458
21
18
44
ID. BOISE
#42
I bought a NEMO Arms 224 Valkyrie last week. Bad accuracy!! Unpredictable accuracy! One 5 shot group will be 1.3” then the next 5 shot group 3.5” with same box of Hornady 88 ELDm ammo. This ammo is the very best for this rifle. The 3 other ammos tested were way worse. The barrel is stamped 1-8 twist. I took it to them on Monday with my concerns. They confirmed it was a1-8. They shot it and said the rifle is doing great and gave it back to me yesterday. They did not replace the barrel. They shot 3 different ammos. Best group they shot in a custom shooting tunnel by one of their shooters in a controlled environment was 0.875 group, and the worst group was 2.20”. They showed me the pieced of papers with the groups. The target had been cut up. It appeared like they saved the best shot groups to show me and through the bad away. They said it should be fine. The ceo gave me a box of the Hornady 88 ELD rounds. And they pushed me out the door. I went directly to the range and shot the box of ammo they said worked great. Same thing, bad accuracy. First five rounds was a 1.9”, second was a 1.084, third was 1.19”, and forth group was 2.386. The 20 shot string measures 3.336”. Shot over a 45 minute period at 99 yards in the prone using rear heavy rest and Atlas bipod front. I’m into this new rifle over $2900 plus.
I don’t know if this is a 224 Valkyrie issue. But I do know that this NEMO rifle in this caliber sucks!!!!
 
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lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
3,522
1,227
113
59
Central Florida
#43
I bought a NEMO Arms 224 Valkyrie last week. Bad accuracy!! Unpredictable accuracy! One 5 shot group will be 1.3” then the next 5 shot group 3.5” with same box of Hornady 88 ELDm ammo. This ammo is the very best for this rifle. The 3 other ammos tested were way worse. The barrel is stamped 1-8 twist. I took it to them on Monday with my concerns. They confirmed it was a1-8. They shot it and said the rifle is doing great and gave it back to me yesterday. They did not replace the barrel. They shot 3 different ammos. Best group they shot in a custom shooting tunnel by one of their shooters in a controlled environment was 0.875 group, and the worst group was 2.20”. They showed me the pieced of papers with the groups. The target had been cut up. It appeared like they saved the best shot groups to show me and through the bad away. They said it should be fine. The ceo gave me a box of the Hornady 88 ELD rounds. And they pushed me out the door. I went directly to the range and shot the box of ammo they said worked great. Same thing, bad accuracy. First five rounds was a 1.9”, second was a 1.084, third was 1.19”, and forth group was 1.76. The 2 shot string measures 3.324”. Shot over a 45 minute period at 99 yards in the prone using rear heavy rest and Atlas bipod front. I’m into this new rifle over $2900 plus.
I don’t know if this is a 224 Valkyrie issue. But I do know that this NEMO rifle in this caliber sucks!!!!
It’s a barrel issue. First off, 1:8 twist is the wrong choice for the heavies. Second, they obviously have no idea how to chamber for the round. As mentioned many times on this site, there are companies that don’t know how to chamber barrels for this round. Obviously, NEMO is one of them.

You want a good barrel? Call JP or Craddock. You will not be disappointed.
 
Apr 14, 2011
458
21
18
44
ID. BOISE
#44
I wanted a JP. The Nemo rep talked me out of it. They said the Nemo will shoot 1/2” groups all day. I’m giving them the rifle this morning. I have no need for a inaccurate rifle. A lesson learned. Just because it’s expensive and built local does not mean it’s going to good and the company will back their product.

Brian
 

8pointer

New Hide Member
Nov 20, 2018
40
10
8
#46
I would wait it out for a while too. There are too many barrels out there right now that were chambered with bad reamers and the freebore is apx .050" to long. Those barrels shoot the 75gr TMJ pretty well but don't shoot anything(factory ammo) else well. The barrels that were chambered with the correct SAAMI spec reamers shoot the 88ELDs better than anything else but Federal is working on some new ammo using Berger bullets for long range, Barnes TTSX for hunting and another varmint bullet. I think over the next year all of the bad barrels will be sold and new correct barrels will begin to fill the market. In the beginning first half of 2018 the ammo makers didn't know there was a problem with the reamers and they weren't even sure the barrels they were using to develop ammo was the correct chamber. After July I think everyone is on the same page and they'll get everything dialed in.
Ok thanks this is good stuff.
 
Last edited:
Jan 9, 2018
129
59
28
Bel Air, MD
#47
For anyone looking to buy a Valkyrie as others here have suggested call Craddock Precision. I have yet to hear of a rifle they built that doesn’t shoot well. I know I love mine and felt the price for an assembled upper was more than fair.
 
Dec 26, 2017
387
77
28
St Louis, MO
#48
My local range only goes out to 600 yards but I set up 1moa gongs every 100 yards out to 600 to practice on. I have a Craddock upper and I can consistently put 5 rounds in a row on every gong out to 600 without a problem. That is using my own loads with a 90gr SMK and CFE223. The 90 gr Federal ammo I have tried had consistency issues. One box would be great and the next would be crap. The cheap 75 gr American eagle ammo actually shot really well though especially given the $10 a box price.
Which Craddock upper did you buy?
 
Dec 26, 2017
387
77
28
St Louis, MO
#50
I think I will soon. I see the prebuilt uppers on the website have Criterion barrels and I want a 22" Bartlein 7 twist. Also, I have a Vltor MUR already so I might just order the barrel with the headspaced bolt