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Buildsheet: 224 Valkyrie

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Old gun parts that are laid to rest and rust in a rubber bin are quickly forgotten thanks to the next new and shiny things that UPS delivers. But when we were sent a complete Cross Machine Tool .224 Valkyrie upper, those old parts needed to be resurrected. It’s rare that we can double-dip parts from one sport for use in another. In this case, three-gun gear was reincarnated into a precision rifle gas gun setup.

Competitive shooters constantly chase what will give them the advantage to gain ground. Federal’s .224 Valkyrie can do everything a .223 can — but better. The ballistic performance is closer to that of 6.5 Creedmoor, but the felt-recoil mirrors a .223. While Federal has different loads for plinking, hunting, or precision, this build had only competitive precision shooting in mind.

We usually wouldn’t base a whole Buildsheet on a complete upper receiver, but we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to try the CMT .224 Valkyrie with integrated brake and crown (IBC) machined into the barrel. We’ll run suppressed at every opportunity, but this wasn’t possible with the IBC barrel. We were willing to ignore the lack of threads if the IBC barrel was accurate.

For the PRS Gas Gun series, competitors can expect to engage targets out to 800 yards. The targets are usually 2 MOA or larger, but a well-shooting rifle will be more forgiving in awkward shooting positions when wobble increases. Items that matter the most for a precision rifle are the barrel, trigger, and optic. All the other components of the rifle usually boil down to personal preference and accessibility of the parts. Past that the ammo and the shooter must be able to perform with the rifle.

The complete upper arrived as the title implies — complete. All the components were CMT-labeled. The only item we replaced on the upper was the cheese grater quad rail for a 15-inch Luth-AR Palm Handguard. This exchange was done for personal preference and comfort when holding the rail. Barrel specs make this upper interesting solely because it’s chambered in .224 Valkyrie and runs off of a rifle-length gas system. We’ve heard of people having trouble getting the 90gr SMKs to stabilize and shoot accurately out of a 1 in 7 twist rate barrel, but we didn’t experience that with this rifle and were shooting groups around .75 MOA consistently out to 800 yards.

Gear that’s used for bolt gun matches can also be used for gas gun matches. After trying out multiple bags, the Reasor Precision/Armageddon Gear Game Changer bag gets the most use at matches. This spread is what’s usually needed to complete a stage (the extra ammo is just in case and rarely needed).

Gear that’s used for bolt gun matches can also be used for gas gun matches. After trying out multiple bags, the Reasor Precision/Armageddon Gear Game Changer bag gets the most use at matches. This spread is what’s usually needed to complete a stage (the extra ammo is just in case and rarely needed).

The lower was built using a JP Rifles billet lower receiver, AR Gold drop-in trigger, JP Rifles Silent Captured Spring, and TACMOD AR-15 Buttstock. Small internal parts and springs were scavenged from other guns or found in the bottom of bins.

The TACMOD buttstock was selected because of its adjustability. The main feature that helps you get on target faster is the fact that the cheek piece is adjustable. This provides consistent eye relief every time you place your head on the rifle. A long base on the buttstock gives more area for a rear bag to be moved forward or backward, raising the muzzle down or up.

Some people frown upon running light triggers, but they’re beneficial in competition if you’re proficient with them. Being able to press the trigger and make the gun go off right as the crosshairs float over the target while you’re in an unstable position can be the difference between a hit and a disappointing run at the prize table. It’s hard not to push the gun off target while pulling a heavy trigger, so we sidestepped that handicap by dropping the trigger weight down to a 1-pound pull.

This .224 Valkyrie resurrection build was topped off with a SIG SAUER Tango6 5-30x first focal plane scope with an MRAD Dev-L reticle. Having too much magnification isn’t a problem, just as long as the lower end of the magnification isn’t so high that you get lost behind the scope. In this case, it’s five-power, which is good and low, making it easy to find targets while looking through the scope. For PRS Gas Gun matches, you can expect to stay in the 10 to 20 magnification area when engaging targets.

Other than setting up this rig with all the items of a precision AR-15, we had to go one step further and find a couple of 6.8 SPC rifle magazines. Because the cartridge is a necked down 6.8 SPC, a standard .223 magazine cannot be used. Fortunately, 6.8 SPC magazines are easy to find online and relatively cheap.

After setting up the rifle, we needed a few more items for the PRS game, a bipod, rear bag, fat bag, ballistic engine, and a dope card for your wrist or one that can be attached to the rifle.
Setting up a new rifle is always fun and gratifying, but when you’re able to reuse parts that had been long forgotten, the reward is even sweeter. So, the next time you’re thinking about junking used and abused parts, look into other ways to reuse them for a new project. We’re looking forward to using this new setup at one of the upcoming PRS Gas Gun matches.

Item & MSRP
Cross Machine Tool .224 Valkyrie Complete Upper with 24.5-inch IBC Barrel: $1,285
Luth-AR Palm Handguard 15-inch Keymod: $90
JP Rifles Billet Lower Receiver: $400
AR Gold Adjustable Trigger: $280
TACMOD AR-15 Buttstock: $270
Harris Bipod 6 to 9-inch: $90
MagnetoSpeed M-Series Pistol Grip: $32
Reasor Precision Game Changer Bag: $109
Armageddon Gear Large Bag: $70
Armageddon Gear Competition Data Armband: $30
Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter with Applied Ballistics: $700
Totals: $3,356

Buildsheets: Past and Present

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