putting something together, take a chance or no? (224V bolt gun)

Feb 20, 2017
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#1
So I have my 18" 1:7 .223 Wylde gas gun, I've been planning a bolt gun for awhile now. Have been shooting precision rim fire bolt actions for awhile but only recently got back into center fire a couple years ago.
I was going to go the Tikka route, in .223 because of the twist rate and quality, whatever gun I go with will go into either a Bell&Carlson target/competition with the adjustable comb or the new KRG Bravo.
Then I saw the Howa barreled actions and they seem very well made, problem is factory .223 twist rate. So then I thought OK grab a Howa barreled action with the right bolt face at then rebarrel with a Criterion prefit, they have a barrel nut system for Howas apparently.
But now that I'm considering ordering a after market barrel I'm thinking I may go with a .224 Valkyrie, I know it's a gas gun caliber but I mainly shoot 700y and in with some occasional trips out past 1000y. On a good day my SPR is fairly consistent out to about 850-900. Im starting to reload soon and figure why have 2 guns in .223 when I could get the bolt gun chambered in something with a little more horse power.
I know 6.5s are awesome but I feel like it might be a bit of overkill for me, the guys doing well at my club all shoot long barreled 223s, using hot 75gr Hornady bthp handload.
I was thinking with the Valkyrie I could run some 80.5 bergers, 88 elds, etc. With hand loads stepping up the performance from my .223. I also like stretching out smaller calibers more than shooting laser beam stuff.
How hard would it be to convert a Howard action to 224V with a Criterion barrel nut system? I'm not familiar with how Howard barrels are changed. Thread in and check headspace?
Any thoughts on this idea?
 

Xander3Zero

Just a normal dude.
Aug 10, 2017
480
144
43
Rhode Island
#2
Make sure you read up on the 224V and the accuracy issues that Federal is having with some of their ammo, and also some issues with various reamers being used for various barrels. In my mind, there is still some uncertainty with the 224V. It's also still pretty questionable how much it gains you over a standard 223.

For example, I was just talking with another member here who is pushing 75 ELD-M's out of a 26" krieger chambered in 223 wylde and he is getting 3060 FPS with sub 1/4" groups @ 100 yards. With 80 ELD-M's it would probably come out to be like 2900-2950 FPS. 223 is in a great place right now in my opinion.
 
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spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
4,250
1,202
113
Central TX
#4
The 6.8/224 valk bolt face diameter is going to be the issue.
If you want more than a 223 just go with 22-250, you don’t have the ar width restrictions in a bolt so there’s no reason to go for something purposefully skinny to fit those restrictions. In a bolt the valk is just a handicap. You can keep shooting your 223 in the club but then bring out something bigger as well. Build something that will get you to 1k comfortably, like the creed etc, instead of trying to stretch something to it’s limits. I much prefer to shoot my 6xc at 1k instead of trying to limp my way past 600 with the 223.
 
Mar 18, 2012
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#5
Definately 223/223ai or step up to a creed. There is no sense in handicapping your self in the future. Match Ammo cost basically the same for the 224v and creed so there is no benefit to the 224v unless you are recoil sensitive. Also spotting hits and misses will be easier with the bigger bullets and allow you to stretch your distance when available
 
Apr 8, 2010
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#6
out to 700 yards
insanely accurate
easy to reload for (you can actually volume/dump powder and shoot in the .3's)
one of the best if not consistently the best 600 yard bench rest cartridges of all time
superb factory ammo with lapua brass

6mmbr
 
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steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
7,735
477
83
Flagstaff, AZ
#7
I was considering 224V but I went 223AI instead due to the strong brass available and that the bolt face is what was most convenient for me. Well for a single shot, like I did this time, I can have 88's all the way out to 2.6??" and the barrel is 28" so I expect some very high velocities. Oft times 100fps difference makes almost no difference when looking at the wind drift in the ballistic app, which is what I expect 224V could be capable of if compared.

I'll let others figure out the 224V intricacies before I jump into it. Until then I have my 6mmFatRat AR which is shooting great with 95's at 2870 fps.

Doing a wildcat based off 6mmBR as well for the go-to bolt rifle, later this year hopefully. Might even try 25 cal, .67BC at 2750 fps, estimated.
 
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Feb 20, 2017
542
40
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#9
Make sure you read up on the 224V and the accuracy issues that Federal is having with some of their ammo, and also some issues with various reamers being used for various barrels. In my mind, there is still some uncertainty with the 224V. It's also still pretty questionable how much it gains you over a standard 223.

For example, I was just talking with another member here who is pushing 75 ELD-M's out of a 26" krieger chambered in 223 wylde and he is getting 3060 FPS with sub 1/4" groups @ 100 yards. With 80 ELD-M's it would probably come out to be like 2900-2950 FPS. 223 is in a great place right now in my opinion.
I would avoid the 224V right now, it's seems they're still working out the design..

How far are you typically shooting?
I have been reading a lot about the 224 accuracy and reamer issues. It does seem like there are some kinks worked out but I see most people with aftermarket barrels having good luck and we're talking gas guns.
The range I shoot at regularly goes out to 750, I have a friend on here who invites me out to a spot with around 1300y but that's only once in awhile, also have thunder valley about 2 hours away.

My thought was shoot the American Eagle 75gr stuff for brass/practice and then reload. Not really interested in the other factory loads. Criterion seems to know what they are doing barrel wise, would anyone else disagree?

I'm not recoil sensitive but I like shooting light recoil in calibers and staying on the scope/target.
I also don't want a crazy long barrel, just like the shorter stuff, I can adjust elevation accordingly. Also don't mind holding for wind, I find edge of plate calibers to be a tad boring after awhile. Also with the 6mm stuff there is the issue of barrel life. I'm going to be putting this gun through its paces. If Howa had a 1:8 or 1:7 heavy barrel .223 I would just go that route but they dont.
How much velocity is gained by the .223 AI, and how much does it add to the reloading process.
I have also considered 22-250 but it would be a fast twist elminating all factory ammo. The American Eagle 75gr 224. Valkyrie stuff is freaking 7.99 at my LGS, Frank is shooting it out if his JP Valkyrie with great results. So I would have the option of shooting that, I may try the 90s but not gonna be my focus. Going to be reloading bulk once I find a decent bullet it likes, even with a 75 Hornady BTHP or ELD, 77 SMK, Berger 80.5 full bore, other similar bullets and the Hornady 88 ELD.
I'm not looking to shoot 1,000 plus yards all the time competitively, I will probably end up with a 6.5 down the road but right now just want a handy match gun that I can reload for.
I still may just buy a Tikka Varmint in .223 but with the Brownell Howa barreled actions being on sale all the time I could get one and a prefix criterion for almost the same price as the tikka. Also like that I could have bullet commonality with my AR if I was shootin for example 75s or 77s.

I'm still researching and mulling but to me a 224 Valkyrie bolt gun sounds pretty good, and seems like it would do what I want it to. Only thing that matters is the gun shooting accurately, what bullet it like doesn't really matter to me. Like I said I'll be buying the American Eagle 75gr stuff and reloading what ever it ends up liking.
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#10
Personally, I think a .22BR or bra would be perfect for the 88 ELD's in a DBM.

I might suggest a fast twist .223/.223AI and 75 ELD's for a beginning reloader though as you wouldn't feel like an idiot when you screw up brass. ;)
 
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mdonnr

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 18, 2012
291
28
28
Central Nebraska
#11
I have parts gathered for a 224 Valkyrie bolt gun. I had plans for 223 but wanted to give this a go. I mainly wanted this to shoot the 88-95 gr bullets. The 223 AI doesn’t do anything for me. I had a 22-204 for a few years and that will out do a 223 AI. Loading at polymer AICS mag length is where it starts to hurt you with the 75+gr bullets with the 22-204.

My Valkyrie will be on a Kelbly Kodiak action, Mullerworks 6.5 twist barrel, Mcmillan A5. I went with the 6.5 twist to be on the safe side. I think the MDT 223 polymer mags may work with some light feed lip sanding.

Lot of people hating on this cartridge already but if that’s what you want to shoot so be it.
 
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steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
7,735
477
83
Flagstaff, AZ
#12
I have been reading a lot about the 224 accuracy and reamer issues. It does seem like there are some kinks worked out but I see most people with aftermarket barrels having good luck and we're talking gas guns.
The range I shoot at regularly goes out to 750, I have a friend on here who invites me out to a spot with around 1300y but that's only once in awhile, also have thunder valley about 2 hours away.

My thought was shoot the American Eagle 75gr stuff for brass/practice and then reload. Not really interested in the other factory loads. Criterion seems to know what they are doing barrel wise, would anyone else disagree?

I'm not recoil sensitive but I like shooting light recoil in calibers and staying on the scope/target.
I also don't want a crazy long barrel, just like the shorter stuff, I can adjust elevation accordingly. Also don't mind holding for wind, I find edge of plate calibers to be a tad boring after awhile. Also with the 6mm stuff there is the issue of barrel life. I'm going to be putting this gun through its paces. If Howa had a 1:8 or 1:7 heavy barrel .223 I would just go that route but they dont.
How much velocity is gained by the .223 AI, and how much does it add to the reloading process.
I have also considered 22-250 but it would be a fast twist elminating all factory ammo. The American Eagle 75gr 224. Valkyrie stuff is freaking 7.99 at my LGS, Frank is shooting it out if his JP Valkyrie with great results. So I would have the option of shooting that, I may try the 90s but not gonna be my focus. Going to be reloading bulk once I find a decent bullet it likes, even with a 75 Hornady BTHP or ELD, 77 SMK, Berger 80.5 full bore, other similar bullets and the Hornady 88 ELD.
I'm not looking to shoot 1,000 plus yards all the time competitively, I will probably end up with a 6.5 down the road but right now just want a handy match gun that I can reload for.
I still may just buy a Tikka Varmint in .223 but with the Brownell Howa barreled actions being on sale all the time I could get one and a prefix criterion for almost the same price as the tikka. Also like that I could have bullet commonality with my AR if I was shootin for example 75s or 77s.

I'm still researching and mulling but to me a 224 Valkyrie bolt gun sounds pretty good, and seems like it would do what I want it to. Only thing that matters is the gun shooting accurately, what bullet it like doesn't really matter to me. Like I said I'll be buying the American Eagle 75gr stuff and reloading what ever it ends up liking.
Try 224V and let us know how everything goes!

I didn't chrono the 88's in my 223AI but when I backed the dope in I found out 2800 fps was what made it line up. No ejector smear or flat primers either.
 
Jan 15, 2005
6,676
1,181
113
VA
#14
A Valkyrie bolt gun continues to not make much sense to me. You deal with modifying magazines to make it work and a limited action selection due to the bolt face diameter for extremely marginal performance over 223. 223AI should out perform it.

If you want something different in a bolt gun I’d do a 22BR. Standard bolt face, the only mag modification is dropping a parts kit in an AICS mag which is non permanent, and the accuracy of the BR family is wicked.
 
Jan 15, 2005
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VA
#16
Until last weekend I was actually entertaining the idea of sending a few 224 Valkyrie dummy rounds off to JGS to have a reamer made to touch the lands with 95gr SMK's at 2.450" OAL. The modified AICS pattern mags allow up to 2.50" OAL so it would allow starting .020" off while keeping the base of the bearing surface just above the neck/shoulder junction. That would leave .070" to chase the lands.

After testing some 77gr Berger OTM's in my new LMT MLR Valkyrie (20" barrel) and comparing it to my load data from a 18" Ballistic Advantage 223 Wylde barrel and a 24" BHW 223 Wylde barrel, no way. I tested it with the same lot of Rem 7.5BR primers I used in both 223 barrel, same lot of bullets and the same lot of Varget. The only difference was the barrels and the case holding the components. The Valkyrie compressed the powder at the same rate about .4-.5gr higher than the 223 and neither got enough in the case to see significant pressure signs. To be fair, the Valkyrie was seated much longer based on bearing surface/neck junction and I believe if they were equal there would be no difference in volume, certainly not the almost .5gr that I saw.

The 20" 224 Valkyrie only averaged 25fps more than the 18" 223 barrel. That's the low end of what you typically see per inch of barrel, and it's 2" shorter. The 24" BHW averaged 110-130fps higher than the 24" Valkyrie at the same charge weights. That's a wash to me and in a 223 bolt gun with the bullets seated out further I bet you'd see better performance than a 224 Valkyrie. These are all 7 twist barrels BTW.

I know this is just one example, and some of you may be thinking it could just be a slow barrel. LMT uses chromoly Rock Creek button rifled 5R barrels for their chrome lined barrels and stainless Rock Creek cut rifled 5R barrels for their SS barrels, and my experience with over a dozen Rock Creek barrels is that they are generally on the faster side. This barrel is the chromoly chrome lined version. I have another 224 Valkyrie barrel from Craddock Precision which is a Rock Creek cut rifled 6.7 twist finished at 22" with a +2 gas, so 2" more barrel and 2" longer gas system than the LMT barrel. The same load (which shoots great in both) of 95gr SMK's on Starline brass with Varget and Rem 7.5 BR's are within 20fps of each other. The 22" barrel is the faster one, but sub 20fps is not what you would expect to see. The 22" barrel also has close to 1000 rounds on it so it's broken in and sped up vs the LMT which is still practically new, it had 50 rounds on it when I first chronod the 95gr load.

I love the Valkyrie, IMO it's a game changer for the AR15 platform where you're restricted by mag length. In a bolt gun though it just doesn't make any sense. That's why I'd go 223/223AI if good cheap/available brass is appealing to you, or 22BR if you're looking for more performance without getting into the real barrel burners.
 
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mdonnr

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 18, 2012
291
28
28
Central Nebraska
#17
Another consideration is if a person loads their own ammo. The options get slim quick with the 22 cals if you’re dependent on factory ammo.

I went the bolt gun route cause I’m not much of a gas gun guy. I had Manson tighten up the neck on my reamer. Haven’t decided if I’m gonna throat the barrel out further. Want to see how well it shoots as is.
 
Jan 15, 2005
6,676
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VA
#20
Another consideration is if a person loads their own ammo. The options get slim quick with the 22 cals if you’re dependent on factory ammo.
If you're dependent on factory ammo then buying or building a rifle chambered for a cartridge that has a whopping two match ammo options is pretty foolish. Especially when a lot of people are having issues that they're blaming on the factory 90gr Hornady.

I received my case of the new 88gr Hornady ammo last week and shot a 20 rounds through both of my Valkyries and it shot like crap in both. 1.25-2moa groups in a barrel that has proven to shoot well with all of the factory Federal loads, and another barrel that's new but shoots bugholes with the 60gr federal, and the few bullets I tried loading.

I wouldn't depend on factory ammo at this point. Until the support further develops and there's several factory loads to increase the likelihood of finding something any rifle will like, it's not a great option.
 
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mdonnr

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 18, 2012
291
28
28
Central Nebraska
#22
The barrel nut setups are pretty straight foward. No personal experience with the Howa action prefits but shouldn’t be difficult. I’ve messed with the Remage and Savage prefits, same concept. Hardest part will be getting the factory barrel off. You’ll have to spend the money on barrel vise and action wrench if you plan on doing it yourself. Plenty of Youtube vids explaining the headspacing part. Though you may have to read up on headspacing an ackley cartridge. By the time you buy the tools to do it yourself and chase down odds/ends, may be cheaper to have a gunsmith bust the factory barrel off and install the prefit.
 
Jul 7, 2005
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#27
As spife mentioned, Howa doesn't make a bolt with the correct boltface for the Valkyrie. Right now, you've got two choices - 223 or 6.5 Grendel boltfaces. I'm a fan of the Howa Mini action; have built a nice 6 RAT on one of the 6.5 Grendel bbl'd actions, and have a couple more (a 222 & another 6.5 Grendel) that I'll be doing builds on before long. While the factory bbls come off fairly easily, no one that I know of is making an action wrench for the Mini - I had to use spacers in the universal action head for the Brownells action wrench to remove the bbls from my Mini actions.

I've shot quite a bit of LR with the 223 - from 1000yd prone matches with an AR15 service rifle (6.5tw PacNor 3-groove bbl & hot loads with JLK 90VLDs) to steel out to 1400yds with a custom 223 AI. It's really fun shooting the little 22CF round, but if your score depends on the spotter seeing your hits on steel with any 22CF round, you're screwed - it's just that much harder to spot 22 cal hits on target than it is with bigger bullets. But for what you're talking about, I really can't see any reason to dink around with a 224 Valkyrie when it'd be so much simpler to build a good 223 or 223AI. I haven't seen much more velocity than what I get out of a 223 with the two 223AI bbls I've done for myself - but then I don't have to trim the 223AI brass very often either....
 
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Sep 20, 2013
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#29
I read in a month or two. Brownell’s technical guys have no information and I can’t seem to connect with anyone at Howa/Legacy.

My only worry is they probably won’t be on sale initially. Brownell’s is the exclusive distributor.
 
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