[Review] Palmetto State Armory (PSA).224 Valkyrie Upper

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Want to reach 1300 yards in an AR-15 platform?

Then .224 Valkyrie is for you.  We cover the round and all its ballistic goodness in our .224 Valkyrie Guide.

But how about affordably reaching 1300 yards?

PSA Valkyrie .224 (Complete)
PSA Valkyrie .224 (Complete)

Then you’ll want to stick around and see our review of Palmetto State Armory‘s .224 Valkyrie Upper.

Best Long-Range AR-15 Budget Upper
PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

Prices accurate at time of writing

We cover its fit, feel, reliability, and of course…its accuracy out to a tested 1250 yards.

Table of Contents

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Who Is It For?

  • Budget conscious buyers who want to reach out 1000+ yards in the AR-15 platform (not needing to upgrade to AR-10 calibers)
  • Someone who wants an upper to work but not necessarily look like a million bucks
  • Someone who doesn’t need a ton of options in an upper and can wait for things to be in stock and ship

Why is PSA So Affordable?

I need to say this each time since some of their deals reach such low prices even I think…are these real guns?

But they can do it since they vertically integrate everything…from metal to finished gun…they do it in-house.

PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde
PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde

I’ve done a couple reviews of them and they’ve been reliable.

Sometimes there’s been coloring issues in the handguard…but for the price I can’t complain.

Check out my reviews of their 5.56 AR-15, .308 AR-10, and 9mm AR-9.

Fit, Feel, & Finish

The .224 Valkyrie upper is the best in fit & finish so far out of all the PSA uppers I’ve tested.

PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper
PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

My specific model came with a lightweight 15″ handguard that was colored correctly and felt good in hand.  Not too sharp and kept the heat away from my hands when shooting.

It also saves some weight by removing the middle section of rails which most aren’t using anyways on a precision rig.

PSA 15 Inch Valkyrie Handguard
PSA 15 Inch Valkyrie Handguard

It also differs from other models with its anti-rotation tab and also two set screws.  It’s not going anywhere but can be a pain if you want to remove the handguard more than once or twice.

PSA Valkyrie Anti-Rotation Tabs
PSA Valkyrie Anti-Rotation Tabs

Here’s how it compares to a mid-length  16″ barrel 5.56 upper with a 13.5″ handguard.

PSA Valkyrie vs 5.56
PSA Valkyrie vs 5.56

The specific model I have has a rifle-length gas system, 20″ stainless steel barrel, and 15″ handguard.

PSA Valkyrie vs 5.56 Barrel
PSA Valkyrie vs 5.56 Barrel

It also comes with an adjustable gas block.  The screw sizes are really small and though I did adjust to make sure it worked…I turned it back to factory since the recoil is light and I wanted maximum reliability.

PSA Valkyrie Adjustable Gas Block
PSA Valkyrie Adjustable Gas Block

It’s also easy to tell the .224 Valkyrie apart with its labeled barrel.

PSA Valkyrie and 5.56 Barrel Markings
PSA Valkyrie and 5.56 Barrel Markings

And BCG.

PSA .224 Valkyrie Bolt
PSA .224 Valkyrie BCG

Definitely get the combo with BCG (bolt carrier group) and CH (charging handle) since the bolt is different from the 5.56 varieties.

PSA Valkyrie BCG and Charging Handle
PSA Valkyrie BCG and Charging Handle

Bolt is MPI (magnetic particle inspected) and the gas key screws are properly staked.

PSA Valkyrie Disassembled BCG
PSA Valkyrie Disassembled BCG

How Does It Shoot?

If you didn’t tell me what caliber I was shooting…I would think it was just a hot 5.56 load.

You can shoot it all day long without getting sore shoulders.

I was lucky to shoot a few rounds out to 1250 yards at PSA’s unveiling of their 9mm AK pistol at the High Bar Homestead facility.

PSA .224 Valkyrie At High Bar Homestead
PSA .224 Valkyrie At High Bar Homestead

Plus around 200 rounds out to 600 yards on my home turf.

There were no malfunctions of any kind for me on three different AR-15 lowers (Aero, Anderson, & PSA).

Accuracy

High Bar Homestead

1300 yards means you gotta be at least 1 MOA to hit some standard IPSC targets.

There were our shooting platforms.

HBH Trucks of Fun
HBH Trucks of Fun

And this was the 1000 yard known distance range.

PSA .224 Valkyrie Shooting
PSA .224 Valkyrie Shooting

Zooming in for the 1000 yard and 1250 yard targets.

HBH 1000 and 1250 Yards
HBH 1000 and 1250 Yards

The wind was terrible for me (yeup…excuses) and I was able to get really close to the 1000 yard targets.

The other writer attendees (Kat & Ken) were able to consistently hit 1000 yards and even a bunch on the 1250.

Break In

Back home with my test unit I did a break-in sequence since it’s a precision rifle:

  • 5x: 1 shot, copper remover, wait 5 min, bore brush, gun cleaner, clean patch
  • 5x: 5 shots, copper remover, wait 5 min, bore brush, gun cleaner, clean patch

Check out Best Gun Cleaning Kits for my favorite gear and brands.

Groups Testing

Back home I set up my standard testing gear to minimize shooter influence.

PSA Valkyrie Testing
PSA Valkyrie Testing

Loaded up targets 100 yards away and shot at a slow but steady pace.  Waiting about 5 minutes between each group for the barrel to cool down a little.

Federal American Eagle 90 gr vs 75 gr .224 Valkyrie
Federal American Eagle 90 gr vs 75 gr .224 Valkyrie

I used two of the more popular loads:

And got the following results:

PSA Valkyrie Groups
PSA Valkyrie Groups

It was weird that the cheaper plinking American Eagle 75 gr did better than the 90 gr Gold Medal match ammo.  But fine by me!

I’d estimate the 75 gr to be right around 1 MOA…and probably less if you’re a better shooter than I.

Note…if you didn’t already know…the Valkyrie round takes 6.8 SPC magazines which are a little hard to find.

There’s been times where I forgot and I started feeding a couple into AR-15 5.56 magazines…they work for around 3-5 rounds if you’re in a pinch.

90 gr American Eagle .224 Gold Medal Match
90 gr American Eagle .224 Gold Medal Match

600 Yards

This round and upper yearned to be freed…so I went over to the 600 yard side of my local range.

Angeles Range 100-600 Yards
Angeles Range 100-600 Yards

Zooming into the upper left…

Angeles Range Zoomed In
Angeles Range Zoomed In

And my targets at 600 yards.

Angeles Range 500-600 Yards
Angeles Range 500-600 Yards

I set up with a bipod (Best AR-15 Bipods) and a kind of weird angle that didn’t work right with my buttstock.  Yup…more excuses!

PSA Valkyrie 600 Yard Testing
PSA Valkyrie 600 Yard Testing

This was with the 90 gr match ammo since I was running low on plinking ammo.

There were definitely some flyers either from me or the ammo (probably me).

Apologies for the people around me who apparently just learned about beer.

Not too shabby…I think I hit 8/10 at 600 yards!

Recommended Models

There’s not too many PSA models of the .224 Valkyrie upper.

They are all 20″ rifle-length gas system…and the only possible choices have to do with a regular M-LOK handguard or the lightweight version.  I went with the lightweight version.

Best Long-Range AR-15 Budget Upper
PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

Prices accurate at time of writing

Blem models are even cheaper…I see $349 for a complete upper as of writing!

And if you’re looking at this caliber…you probably already have an AR-15 lower.  But here they are if you’re interested.  I highly recommend getting an upgraded buttstock with proper cheekweld.

PSA Complete AR-15 Lowers

PSA Complete AR-15 Lowers

Prices accurate at time of writing

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

A few rounds through a group .224 upper and 200 rounds through my test one…and no hiccups.  I only had access to one 6.8 SPC magazine but it worked and had bolt hold opens when appropriate through three AR-15 lowers.

Accuracy: 4/5

Weird that the match ammo wasn’t as good at the plinking ammo.  But I’m not complaining!

Ergonomics: 4/5

Handguard feels better than PSA’s AR-15 models…and now comes with anti-rotation tabs.  Make sure to get a better buttstock with a wider cheekweld so you lose an additional excuse of why you missed.

Looks: 4/5

Coloring matches up and the stainless steel looks pretty…but otherwise it’s pretty normal.

Customization: 5/5

It’s an AR platform with M-LOK so you can do anything to it.  You’d probably want a better trigger (PSA’s 2-stage is great for the value), buttstock, and optic (Best AR-15 Optics) to wring out all the accuracy.

Bang for the Buck: 5/5

Awesome deal on an AR-15 upper that can reach up to 1300 yards.  Around $499 but can reach down to $349 for blemished models.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Conclusion

I think the .224 Valkyrie is here to stay.

No need to upgrade to an AR-10, reach out to 1000 yards easily, affordable uppers, and even affordable ammo (~50-60 cents each for the American Eagle 75 gr).

PSA Valkyrie .224 (Complete)
PSA Valkyrie .224 (Complete)

PSA’s entry into the field brings reliability, decent accuracy, and of course…awesome bang-for-the-buck-ness.

Best Long-Range AR-15 Budget Upper
PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

PSA .224 Valkyrie Upper

Prices accurate at time of writing

If 1300 yards is too far for your needs or range, check out our other reviews:

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

What do you guys think of the PSA AR-15 in .224 Valkyrie?  Do you think the round is here to stay?  Or is moving up to the AR-10 platform the way to go?

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JRT
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JRT

I see PSA is now offering a 1:6.5 option, but have yet to read a review on their site. Maybe someone will post here who has experience.

Connor H
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Connor H

Great review, although I pity you for the politically correct grip. Gotta watch out for those scary “assault weapons”. 😛

Any idea if PSA is planning to offer a Nitride barrel model? I understand traditionally stainless barrels were considered more accurate, but my understanding these days is that nitride gives up little to no accuracy when properly executed, and makes maintenance, storage, and barrel longevity notably easier/better.

John Swaringen
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John Swaringen

How far would be ethical to hunt deer with this cartridge.

Connor H
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Connor H

Depends on what you’re hunting. Coyotes and such, I’d think 300-400yds. Deer-sized game, 200-300yds tops. The .224 Valkyrie only has slightly more muzzle energy than a hot 5.56, but it retains its velocity (and therefore energy) much better than 5.56, and has less drop and wind drift. It’s primarily marketed for long distance competition, as far as hunting it would be in the same category as the 5.56 round, just effective to slightly longer ranges. I personally would not use it for anything larger than deer, and would only use it for deer if I had no other options. Edit:… Read more »

Clark
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Clark

I would be interested in the upper except it has a 1/7 twist rate which is not fast enough to fully stabilize the 90 grain Sierra Matchking bullet in the Federal match ammo.. To get good accuracy you need a 1/6.5 twist rate in your barrel. Federal just released a memo that states their are having accuracy problems with their 90 gr loads. I believe their ammo is ok…..but the 1/7 twist rate will only marginally stabilize the 90 gr bullets. The lighter bullets should shoot fine in the rifle.

American Patriot
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American Patriot

I though the optimum length for the barrel was 24″ to maximize this cartridge?