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.224 Valkyrie buyer beware!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TheDomFather, Dec 11, 2018.

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  1. TheDomFather

    TheDomFather Member

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    Folks,
    This is my go to community for sharing information and learning. I wanted to share with you my journey for .224 Valkyrie.

    I had purchase a full upper through Primary Arms, made by Cross Machine tool. very nice upper well made with a 22" barrel, I went through a massive amount of load development and failed to find any bullet/powder/oal combo that would consistently shoot sub MOA groups. I tried Federal Factory fusion ammo. Shot a .4" group and a 3" group back to back. Searching around the internet most people are having the same problems.

    Fast Forward. I think the barrel on the CMT upper was chambered with a bad reamer and was also a 1:7" twist and Sierra states 1:6.5" twist should be used with the 90gr SMK.

    I scrap the barrel (which is stuck in the upper and I cannot get it out) another problem for another time. I purchase a new 22" 1:6.5" barrel from Wilson Combat. I get the barrel installed and start taking chamber measurements and see that my projectiles will have to jump 137 thousands to the lands. I call Wilson Combat and they tell me yes this barrel was reamed with an improper reamer and is bad. Send it back and we will send you a full refund including the shipping.

    Net net there are a bunch of bad barrels out there that have been reamed improperly. Be careful before you buy a rifle, upper or barrel and call the manufacturer and ask them if this has been properly reamed before you purchase.

    See my videos below for more detail.







    Rant over!
    Thanks,
    Dom
     
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  2. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    Thanks for the report!

    I've been avoiding .224 Valkyrie like the plague and will continue to do so. I think maybe you're getting caught in that initial development cycle. You never want to buy the first generation of a new model car sort of thing ;)
     
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  3. marchboom

    marchboom Member

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    I agree. Always wait for the R&D to be completed AND a lot of customers to get their hands on it and wring it out. The customers will let us all know if it is a winner or loser.

    Fighter pilots have a saying, "Never fly the "A" model of anything."
     
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  4. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've taken a different approach to barrels, don't like long leads at all.. I've started ordering blanks in the size and twist rate I want and do all of my own machining. This way I get the chamber and leads where I want them. I did that with my 224 V, used a Shilen barrel. By far not the cheapest way or fastest.
     
  5. TheDomFather

    TheDomFather Member

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    I am envious I have neither the equipment nor the skill to chamber my own barrel!
     
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  6. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

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    I'm sorry to hear about these struggles. Disappointing to say the least.
     
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  7. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Moderator Staff Member

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    It is not a big issue to rent finish reamers which can work on short chambered barrels to set final headspace, however, doing so from a rifle blank with the drilling, using a rough and then finish reamers is something for a pro to handle unless you are a good machinist.
     
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  8. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    A little late, OP. I was suckered into a 224 upper just this weekend. 1:7 24” as suggested by the article in the new Hodgdon annual. Hoping for luck here.
     
  9. TheDomFather

    TheDomFather Member

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    Before you do anything measure your distance to the lands and make sure the barrel was made with the right reamer otherwise you are just wasting your time and your money!
     
  10. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    As a side note, when I had a barrel stuck in the upper I took a dowel rod that would fit against the chamber, clamped my upper in a vice and tapped the barrel out that way. It worked a lot better than trying to pull.
     
  11. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I wonder if a reaction rod could be used.
     
  12. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Maybe, but I cringe a little at the thought of banging metal against metal where the chamber and locking lugs are concerned. Also, I didn't have one.,..
     
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  13. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    And what should that distance be? I've got a Hornady straight OAL checker just like yours and a Hornady 224 modified case for it. I only have a maximum 68 grain 224 bullet at present. OAL with that combo to the lands is 2.130. That's short of the SAAMI max (2.260) but above the min (2.000). So it's certainly not too long as you saw, if anything it's short. I've found distance to lands with the Hornady gauge highly dependent on bullet profile in other rifles. And the author of the writeup on loading the 224 in the new Hornady annual noted that the 90 grain commercial loaded okay in his barrel, but the 70-75 grains did not.

    Edit: Okay, sorry, I finally watched the video where the OP measured OAL and I guess I was stating the obvious; you experienced the change in OAL with the different bullet weights too. All I guess I can tell you is for a lighter projectile, right now, mine doesn't appear "over-reamed".
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  14. jono

    jono Member

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    Bought a PSA upper, and was sure, for $339, that they couldn’t afford to make a perfect chamber.

    So I took the bull by the horns.

    I took the barrel off of the upper (with a lot of swearing and a long 30 mm wrench, as they didn’t employ a regular barrel nut), turned the barrel .100 short, extended the shoulder and threads an equal amount, and re-cut the chamber with a rented reamer.
    The barrel was concentric within .002 when I set it up in the lathe, and I saw no issues with any of the supplied mechanics.
    It shoots sub-moa at 200 yds with federal fusion cheapies...

    I’m convinced.
     
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  15. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    Just as a followup; shot the Bear Creek upper yesterday. It chambered 3 commercial loads (Federal fusion with a 90 grain, AE with a 75 grain, and Ram Precision with a 60 grain Speer without incident. Had a few extraction issues that I fixed with an extra power extractor spring. It was precise at 50 yards with everything fed...at least as precise as I was.
     
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  16. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I've shot many sub-MOA groups at 300 yards from my 18" Wylde-chambered PSA upper with 69 gr SMK's over Varget... with just a 6x power scope for aiming, which is not optimal at that range for printing tiny clusters.

    AR's aren't like 1911's. There's not that much of a trick to making them reliable and making them pretty darn accurate. Float the barrel, have an appropriate actual twist for the bullet, don't run a gas system that is a bad match with the barrel length (don't want to pressurize too soon and start stuff moving while the bullet has a lot of barrel left, don't want to pressurize too late and have dwell-time reliability issues), and it'll probably shoot reasonably well with good quality ammo.
     
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  17. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    My 20" AR is from a PSA upper, Wylde chamber. I've been getting < 1moa with it, but yesterday I experimented with longer-than-mag seating depth and it appears to have cut my group size in half. I was single feeding the rounds, but I will modify a mag and see how it works. The jump-to-lands on this is 0.135" when seated to mag (Hornady 75bthp).

    I just got in a replacement barrel from Bear Creek, a 24" Wylde. Shot a few rounds to break-in. First results look promising. I was hitting a little high at 500 yards using the dope for my 20", so I think the velocity is enough faster that I need to work up some loads and chrono them.
     
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