Help with .224 Valkyrie guys/gals...

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#1
Hey everyone, new to the forum, but I've been reading on here for a little while and figured I'd see if I could get some help with a problem I've been having with this new round. Shooting the .224 Valkyrie 90 grain Sierra MatchKing factory loads, I have found that about 15% of the rounds I fire are blowing or dropping primers. Its been frustrating in the sense that I've gone through about 180 rounds trying to properly fix the problem. With that being said I've run about 120 rounds of the Federal Fusion 90 grains through the rifle as well. I'm going to give everyone the specs on the rifle, as well as the true data that I've gathered from my last attempt to fix the issue and see if maybe anyone can help diagnose the issue I'm having...

Specs:
Savage MSR Recon .224 Valkyrie
18" Barrel 1/7 twist
Gun is completely stock except for a Silencerco Omega suppressor, and a Magpul PRS Gen III stock

Ammo
.224 Valkyrie Federal Gold Metal Match 90 gr Sierra MK
Box says 2700 FPS (I believe a 24" test barrel)

True data

Zeroing Weather was 71.6 degrees F, 52% humidity, 154 ft. Altitude, BP 30.233
Line of sight angle 4.1 degrees
BC .563 G1
sight height 2.75"

drop at 200 .5" high
zero approx 214 yards
drop at 302 -8.15"
drop at 402 -14.9"

my math puts the muzzle velocity at 2908 fps, and please by all means check me

I've done some reading in some articles that are showing close to 2800 fps out of these particular rounds, but nothing quite to what I can figure on mine without current access to a chronograph, so I was especially particular when gathering these figures, in fact all 5 rounds fired at 400 yards had exactly the same drop to less that 1/10 of an inch. I have the adjustable gas block set 1/2 turn up from the rifle short-stroking. Before anybody asks, the drops are within an inch of each other without the suppressor. In my very limited opening I think its a timing issue, as in the bolt trying to open before the cartridge has been able to turn loose all the way, and I'll include some pictures of the brass at the bottom.

Aside from these issues, that I'm hoping the fine folks here on this forum can help me work out, I'm extremely happy so far with the gun, especially being a stock gun. The trigger is great, and I've consistently shot sub .MOA groups with it out to 520 yards so far. I'd have stretched it much further by now had it not been for the occasional malfunction due to a loose primer. I've sent the last box of ammo back to Federal to be tested for pressure and muzzle velocity to make sure its not an ammo issue. I'm considering trying a heavier buffer to start with to try to slow the bolt opening just a hair to begin with, let me know what you guys think, and thanks...

Pictures

Savage MSR Recon .224 Valkyrie
IMG_6619.JPG

Brass

IMG_8882.JPG

IMG_7185.JPG


IMG_0667.JPG
 

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Niles Coyote

Gunny Sergeant
Aug 13, 2007
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#2
It could very well be the ammo is loaded hot given your drop numbers. Can you share the lot number?
Did the fusion ammo share the same pressure issues?
Did you notice the ejector/extractor marks and blown primers without the suppressor attached?

Either way I'd consider getting this with the spring pack as it will give you a little more latitude when running a suppressor or hot loads.
https://www.brownells.com/rifle-par...lent-captured-springs-gen-2-h2-prod85359.aspx

Edited to add;
On a side note, I can get your .5" high @ 200 and 8" drop @ 300 to match using a 210 yard zero at 2525fps but that puts you at 24-25" of drop at 400. Or, I can get your 400 yard drop to match with a 210 zero using ~3100fps but neither 200 or 300 will match. How did you get your measurements? Was the scope adjusted at all for these three different distances? Reason I ask is if you adjusted to your 300 yard drop before shooting 400 that would work out just about perfectly for 15" of additional drop at 400...
 
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padom

SuperMod
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Mar 13, 2013
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#3
yea no way your getting anywhere close to 2900 with 90's out of an 18" barrel.

with the limited real world data I've seen guys are getting mid 2600's from a 20" barrel with 90's. I would bet your right around 2600 or high 2500's.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#5
I assure you those numbers are very close, and I back checked them after putting them in my calculator to check a group I shot the other day at 520 yards checked out. This group was dialed up 7.5 MOA @520 with a 200 yard zero, rifle had about 40 rounds through it at this point and I just wanted to stretch it out some. When I dialed it using 2700 fps as a reference to try to get on paper I was shooting way over the target, and had to dial down significantly to hit paper. First picture are some of the sighters I shot trying to get it dialed in (two holes on the left were out of my buddies .308), second picture is the 4 shot group at 520.

IMG_7407.JPG
IMG_0355.JPG

Now I'm not saying that the true numbers are exactly correct to the 1/100 of an inch, but the three distance were shot within 5 minutes of each other, the only difference being the LOS for the 400 target was slightly uphill and the 200 and 300 yard targets were slightly downhill. I went out this morning and re-measured the distance of drop and group sizes for each sample with the targets I saved from yesterday for these numbers

.5" high at 200
-8.15 at 302
-14.9 at 402, which is exactly what I measured yesterday, but I double-checked anyway.

if I plug those numbers in my calculator, using a zero at 215 yards, with a fps of 2995, the numbers my calculator gives are these

.49" @200 within .01" of true
-.02" @215
-5.51" @305 within 2.64" of true
-16.23" @400 within 1.33" of true
and just for fun
-38" @ 520, which dialing up 7.5 MOA would according to my calculator would have put the crosshair about 4.5" high, which reaffirms the samples I took yesterday as being accurate.

The group that I shot yesterday at 400, had zero difference elevation wise. It also happened to be the most comfortable I felt on the targets between the 300 and 400 yard targets.

All of these numbers are close enough that I believe them to be accurate enough to say that the muzzle velocity is between 2900 and 3000, which there is no way it should be. Like I said, I've run about 180 rounds through it trying to figure out why the ballistics data wasn't adding up, because using 2700-2750 wasn't even getting it on paper at longer distances, everything was high. Even without shooting on a bench yesterday, my groups were 1.5" at 300, 2.75" at 400, and 1" at 200. In other words I'm confident that those drop numbers are relatively accurate, and well within the margin of error for my shooting.

The ones that really tell the story in my opinion are the longer targets, the 400 and 520 yard targets, and I'll explain why... Say my zero was even 3 inches high, and all of the targets I shot yesterday were 12"x18" targets, if the muzzle velocity was 2700 fps I wouldn't even be on paper when leveling my crosshairs on the top of the target.

The dials on the scope weren't touched to get any of these numbers, and the only distance I didn't bother to measure was @250 yards, but I recall it being somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-1.5"

I did shoot a group with the suppressor off @400, same extractor marks on the brass, and less than a 1" difference in elevation. I believe the lot number is S2P310.

Padom, I'm not claiming its functionally getting 2900 out of 90's with an 18 inch barrel, its clearly not, hence the blown/dropped primers. I'm looking for a solution to the issue, I'd be quite pleased with 2700 as long as it was consistent and operating properly. The numbers are what they are, and the only was the math works for the trajectories I'm getting is if that muzzle velocity is in the 2900's

Edit to Add:
Wiley, I forgot to answer your questions about the Fusion's, I've had zero issues with the Fusions, no extraction marks on the brass either. I shot the Fusions for a little while when I was waiting on the Sierra MK's to arrive, and the Fusions will be my hunting rounds next year, Varmint and Deer, overall I'm quite happy with the accuracy with them as well, even shot some sub MOA groups at 350 yards with them, groups just aren't quite as tight as the MatchKings.
 
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padom

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Mar 13, 2013
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#6
you need to chrono them. they aren't going 2900 I promise you. I have seen numerous results from 20" 224V with Federal 90g and all were 200fps less than you claim. Unless you have a unicorn nobody has has seen with some pixy dust on it then I assure you it's off. Niles numbers posted above are exactly what I've seen.
 

Bradu

Full Member
Aug 24, 2011
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#7
you need to chrono them. they aren't going 2900 I promise you. I have seen numerous results from 20" 224V with Federal 90g and all were 200fps less than you claim. Unless you have a unicorn nobody has has seen with some pixy dust on it then I assure you it's off. Niles numbers posted above are exactly what I've seen.
Yeah his numbers are far from what have seen posted on several forums.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#8
you need to chrono them. they aren't going 2900 I promise you. I have seen numerous results from 20" 224V with Federal 90g and all were 200fps less than you claim. Unless you have a unicorn nobody has has seen with some pixy dust on it then I assure you it's off. Niles numbers posted above are exactly what I've seen.
I've seen the same numbers, I'm claiming its an issue. The guys shooting these rounds were they also claiming to have to shake primers out of their magazines and lowers? One of the pictures I posted shows a fresh round that wouldn't chamber because the primer from the previous round hung on the topside of the feed. The last box out of the case is going back to Federal for testing, I'll be glad to share the results, but I'm confident my trajectories aren't off, and if I had another box laying around of the same lot I would run down a chronograph and video it. I'm not simply claiming anything, I would have never believed it myself without measuring the trajectory. I'm not running a slapped together build either, but a rifle that was developed in tandem by two companies who share the same parent company, Federal and Savage.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#11
I'd be sending the rifle back to Savage, but that's me. If a rifle is having issues with factory ammo that others aren't that's where I'd start.
I had that thought as well, except that the Federal Fusion ammo I've run through it has functioned properly with similar trajectories to what advertised. Out of 120 rounds of the Fusion ammo there were zero jams, no ejection marks on brass. When I switched to the Federal Sierras I had a blown primer within the first 7 shots fired. Adjusted the gas block down to the point the gun would short stroke, and would still get a blown primer....about 15-20% of the time. Those rates tend to climb the warmer the barrel gets. I'm by no means an expert , but there aren't many things thaT come to mind that make me think it's the rifle rather than the ammo.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#16
I’ve got another lot on the way and hoping it was just some bad luck with a bad lot of ammo. I’m not sure how much difference there would be if everything was loaded correctly between the Fusion and the Sierra’s to start with, but it might have been interesting to see...
 

culater

Sergeant
Oct 18, 2012
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#17
Hopefully we the Reloading community can fix the problems with finding the right load for the 90 smk. Sound like Federal put to much powder in the case. I’m thinking that a slower powder will work best. I have a barrel on the way soon. I’ll post my loads when it comes.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#18
Just a quick update for anybody that may have been curious....

Got another case of ammo in and finally had some time to shoot a little bit today, had no problems at all with this batch of factory loaded 90g SMK's. Brass had the occasional ejector swipe but other than that no signs of pressure. After shooting the first 10 rounds or so in singles to check brass and re zero the scope, I loaded up a mag and ran it through with no issues, rifle is cycling great, and the brass looked good. Still haven't heard back from Federal, other than when I called to check that they received everything I'd sent, and they said the ammo had been sent down to be tested and they'd let me know when they were finished. Plan to shoot some more later this week or weekend and I'll chrono those and see what kind of speed I'm getting out of the 18" barrel.
 
Likes: Niles Coyote

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#19
Still no word from Federal on the ammo that I sent off....but on the bright side I've got another 35 rounds through the rifle again today with no issues, brass still looks good, chronographed those 35 rounds for an average fps of 2620, with a SD of 11.2, so not too bad out of the 18" barrel, highest was 2647 that I saw. My calculator puts those going subsonic just after 1260 yards which isn't bad at all.
 
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Feb 12, 2017
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#22
2620 is pretty good for a factory load with 90s. I’d like to see 2750 out if a 6.5 twist 20” which is probably possible with
handloads.
 

FletchHimself

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Mar 24, 2018
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#25
Has anyone else seen this happening? The Scheels store in my state took the msr 15 off the shelf due to this issue. I, like others, thought the blown primers was a batch issue at the least, or QC negligence at worst. I’m going to call savage as soon as I can and raise Kane.
 

jssanders7

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Feb 27, 2018
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#27
For many of these reasons alone, as soon as I can get the necessary pieces to reload my own I plan on starting. There are a myriad of variables that could cause the blown primers...but I will say that the case of factory ammo that I'm currently running through has shown only occasional signs of very slight pressure. The first case showed heavy pressure signs apart from the blown primers. Accuracy has been pretty good overall out of the second case. I'm out of the country this week on vacation but I will try to check in and be a little more specific at a later time, right now the wife is on my tale about getting out, so....I'll check back in later. Let us know how the rifle operates once you've run a few rounds through it. I'd give it a very thorough cleaning and be very particular about watching for signs of pressure out of the first batch of ammo.
 
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FletchHimself

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Mar 24, 2018
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#28
Only had time to run 20 rounds. Glad to say there are no signs of high pressures or extractor/ejector issues. However, just as you, I plan on loading my own rounds for coyote and target shooting to completely avoid the primer issues. I’ll let y’all know more in the future when I can really put some lead down range.
 

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Likes: jssanders7
Jan 15, 2005
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#32
I put another 200+ rounds through mine today of American Eagle, Gold Medal, and the Varmint and intentionally let some of each cook in a very hot chamber and still no signs of pressure. They were faster over the chrono of course but no signs of pressure. Accuracy with all three was excellent.

I"ve noticed a trend of those running into the problems are with pretty low grade stuff. Buy good stuff. I'm so happy with my Valkyrie build that I also ordered a LMT MLR in 224 Valkyrie that should be here in a month or so. It's only a 7 twist so probably isn't going to love the 90's which seems to be a trend but I plan on running Berger 80.5gr fullbore anyway.
 
Jul 22, 2017
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#33
I put 80 rounds of the 90gr FGMM through mine today with no issues. Mine 1:7 twist Savage barrel does like the 90s. I had several sub moa groups when I did my job. 06E47CB0-D7F0-4E4C-8AFE-2F1AB196D729.jpeg
 

22NoslerGuy

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Apr 27, 2018
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#37
I got my first 224 Valkyrie Savage rifle back in the end of Jan fired 10 rounds had 3 primers out, Called federal and shipped it all back on feb 8th because they thought it might be a ammo issue plus sent all my boxes of ammo, they got it made a decision that it's something in the chamber, so off to savage it went. They received it and I got a new rifle sent with no explanation from Savage what went wrong at the end part of April, fired the new one 2 weeks ago and 2 out of 8 primers came out. So the 2nd rifle is back at Savage and haven't heard anything yet on what we are going to do yet so I called two days ago the rifle has been there for 2 weeks and they are waiting on a gunsmith to look at it! Needless to say I'm in the customer service biz and I'm not very happy right now. Good thing I have a 22 nosler that works! Maybe I should have waited to get bugs worked out?
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#38
I put 100 rounds of 90g SMK through mine yesterday. I didn’t see any blown primers but my primers all had blue sealer on them from the factory. Does anyone elses? With factory loads I was seeing 1.25 to 1.5 MOA groups. This needs a hand load and decent brass. My head stampings showed swipes.
 
Likes: Paulyr450
Jan 15, 2005
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#41
Lol they’re not glued in, it’s a sealer applied after the primer is seated to prevent moisture from penetrating the round. Has nothing to do with primer retention.

The primers are blowing out because you’re rifle has a shitty chamber. Typical Savage quality.
 

JesseB81

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May 1, 2018
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#44
Lol they’re not glued in, it’s a sealer applied after the primer is seated to prevent moisture from penetrating the round. Has nothing to do with primer retention.

The primers are blowing out because you’re rifle has a shitty chamber. Typical Savage quality.
This statement makes no sense. If a primer is seated properly you won’t need a sealer. How does a chamber cause blown primers? Let’s apply logic and science. Primers popping out are ONLY due to one law of physics - the pressure being generated is greater then the force keeping the primers in place. A chambered with a go/ no go gauge is incapable of “causing” blown primers. The head of the case is against the bolt face. It’s called crap factory ammo. Take that savage and find a buddy with star line brass that can reload for you. I bet you will be fine.
 
Jan 15, 2005
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#45
This statement makes no sense. If a primer is seated properly you won’t need a sealer. How does a chamber cause blown primers? Let’s apply logic and science. Primers popping out are ONLY due to one law of physics - the pressure being generated is greater then the force keeping the primers in place. A chambered with a go/ no go gauge is incapable of “causing” blown primers. The head of the case is against the bolt face. It’s called crap factory ammo. Take that savage and find a buddy with star line brass that can reload for you. I bet you will be fine.
Perhaps you should call Federal and educate them then because they seal all of their primers for this reason. Any military ammo is also sealed for the same reason, to keep out moisture. No, a properly seated primer is not water tight.

As to the chamber, yes it's the chamber. Savage has even admitted this and recalled all of the rifles from dealers. Tight headspace and short freebore can both cause overpressure conditions and that's exactly whats happening.

You say crap Federal ammo but the irony is that this problem is centered around Savage rifles, no others. I'm a member of a few groups on Facebook for 224 valkyrie and nobody is having these problems except people with savages. Mine and my buddies Craddock barrels all hammer with factory Federal. Even the cheap American Eagle hovers around 3/4moa but has ES's of 40-50fps which is still tight for what's considered plinking ammo. The Gold Medal is sub half minute with ES's in the 20fps range and SD's below 10... So yes, totally crap ammo.

You bought a piece of shit rifle, got shitty results, and want to blame the ammo that people who bought quality rifles are getting good results from.
 
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lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
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#46
This statement makes no sense. If a primer is seated properly you won’t need a sealer. How does a chamber cause blown primers? Let’s apply logic and science. Primers popping out are ONLY due to one law of physics - the pressure being generated is greater then the force keeping the primers in place. A chambered with a go/ no go gauge is incapable of “causing” blown primers. The head of the case is against the bolt face. It’s called crap factory ammo. Take that savage and find a buddy with star line brass that can reload for you. I bet you will be fine.
Redneck answered this pretty well above. Have you ever looked at Federal ammo out of the box? All of them have the blue sealer.

And as stated, a bad or out-of-spec chamber will most definitely cause over-pressure. It's no different than when you improperly form or head-space your brass while loading or if you develop a load for .020 off the lands and then jam the bullet into the lands when reloading. It's called logic and science.
 

PLX65

Professional Rookie
Feb 5, 2018
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#47
My week old Recon going back to savage :( . Half dozen or so blown primers also every few rounds it would not go into battery and had to use the forward assist. I am using the American Eagle loads and was seeing an avg of 3000 FPS using magnetospeed. I hope they get this right or this will be my last savage rifle.
 
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PLX65

Professional Rookie
Feb 5, 2018
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Akron
#48
I spoke with savage arms today the agent acknowledged there was a problem but could not tell me what it was only that they were waiting on parts to fix the firearms they had. And they could not give me an ETA on when the parts will arrive so I guess when mine gets to them they will have it for a while so I am bec and they could not give me an ETA what the parts would arrive so I guess when mine gets to them they will have it for a while so I am going to consider it a lost cause and go a different route and hopefully someday I’ll get the rifle back and it will work.
 
Jan 15, 2005
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#49
There's a lot of people who have sent there rifles back are are told the same story. Some sent there's back months ago and I haven't seen any reports of anyone getting their rifles back. You're probably in for a long wait.
 
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