17 Mar .224 Valkyrie – HCR Analysis with Customer Review From Nyland Falkenberg, Ph.D.
224 Valkyrie: Best Deer culling round ever?
You may not yet be familiar with the 224 Valkyrie. That’s okay, I first learned of it only six or so months ago. It is utterly unique in that is combines the 6.8 SPC case, which is just slightly larger in diameter than a 223 Rem., with unusually heavy 224 caliber bullets with extremely high ballistic coefficients and very high sectional density. Current ammo offerings include 60 grain V-Max, 78 grain Barnes TSX, 88 grain Hornady ELDM, 90 grain Sierra Matchking, and 90 grain Federal Fusion. We use a 1:7 rate of twist for the 224 Valkyrie. With a muzzle velocity of around 2800 fps, this generates 288,000 rpm on the bullet. Theoretically, that should generate a lot of hydrostatic shock and a very lethal wound channel.
Because it does not use much gunpowder, it works great out of a 20” barrel, which is perfect for a truck gun, stand gun, or to compensate for the added length of a suppressor. Even without a suppressor it has almost no recoil; only 7 ft-pounds of recoil. That means you can actually see bullet impact through your scope. It also means that the 224 Valkyrie makes a fantastic youth rifle.
Of course, the real question is, “How does it actually perform on game like coyotes, pigs, and management whitetail deer?” In order to get a concrete answer to this question, I enlisted good friend and long-time HCR customer, Nyland Falkenburg. Nyland is a PHD game biologist, wildlife habitat manager that, in addition to sculpting the rough, ragged South Texas landscape into perfect deer, quail, and duck habitat, also has to cull lots of whitetail deer on MLD managed lands.
When he told me he needed to reduce whitetail populations by almost 300 deer this year, I thought he would make the perfect test case for the 224 Valkyrie. Nyland readily agreed. Of course, he first had to purchase a new custom 224 Valkyrie which made this and even better experiment! Below is Nyland’s summary on the performance of the 224 Valkyrie. To say we were both surprised and extremely impressed with the results would be an understatement.
HCR Compact Hunter in .224 Valkyrie. Store Page Here
Review From Nyland Falkenberg, Ph.D.
As a wildlife biologist in south Texas, I have to harvest whitetails for management purposes, so I wanted to try the .224 Valkyrie during the 2019-20 deer season to see how it performed as a deer hunting caliber. I wanted to have a rifle with limited recoil and something I could use when predator hunting or harvesting/culling whitetails. Matt suggested the HCR Compact Hunter .224 Valkyrie equipped with a Schmidt and Bender 3x21x50 Exos scope due to the scopes compact design, clean crosshair, and turret capabilities.
After sighting the rifle in, I tried both the Federal 78 grain Barnes TSX and the 88 grain Hornady ELD-Match and each had the same point of impact on targets. The 78 grain TSX was very accurate and I harvested 24 deer with this round; however it seemed to punch a hole in them and didn’t have much bullet expansion. Most of the deer harvested seemed to run with this round, and it was hard to have deer drop in their tracks unless they were shot through both shoulders. However, the 78 grain TSX did a great job on coyotes and it didn’t tear up the hides due to the bullet design. The 88 grain ELD-M was very accurate as well and had superb bullet expansion, increased wound channel, and penetration. I’ve harvested approximately 65 white-tailed deer with this round and it has worked flawlessly.
I truly put this caliber and bullet to the test on mature deer and made shots up to 425 yards. I allowed kids to harvest mature whitetail bucks with this round and rarely had deer go over 40 yards even with marginal shot placement. I had several instances where deer were shot at 300 to 350 yards and had a complete pass-through and deer dropped in their tracks. The 88 grain ELD-M performed like a caliber of twice its size and I was thoroughly impressed by its effectiveness on mature white-tailed deer. Most of the whitetail that I harvested with the 88 grain ELD-M either dropped in their tracks or traveled less than 20 yards.
HCR Long Range Hunter in .224 Valkyrie. Store Page Here
This caliber is now one of my favorite go-to rifles due to it having no recoil, extreme accuracy, and its compact design. One of the main things I liked about this caliber is you can watch the point of impact through your scope. The Schmidt and Bender 3×21 matches this setup really well whether you are a predator hunter or using it to harvest whitetails.
I really like how you can use factory ammunition and have the same point of impact with the 78 grain TSX and the 88 grain ELD-M. I would probably use the 78 grain for predator hunting if you didn’t want to ruin hides but I would only use the 88 ELD-M for white-tailed deer. Both rounds were superb on predators and I was very impressed by their long range performance when predator hunting. I never had a chance to try the 90 Fusion bullet this year and plan to try it next year, but the 88 ELD-X will be tough to beat.
This is a great all around rifle for someone who wants a small caliber gun with big gun performance. If you want a versatile gun with no recoil that you can take predator hunting and then go harvest white-tailed deer, I would definitely look at the .224 Valkyrie.
–Nyland Falkenberg , Ph.D.Wildlife Biologist and Consultant