Coyotes and Hogs at the Beat of the 224 Valkyrie
I’m two days into a coyote hunt, and the last thing I thought I'd find is a new favorite hunting round. For coyote hunting, I reach for the 204 Ruger or a 22-250 Remington. Hell, a few weeks ago I wrote a coyote piece on my love for those rounds. You’ll never guess what I’m making the switch too now.
The coyote eased from the mesquite thicket, unsure of his next move. When a coyote comes out as couscous as this one, your shot is going to be quick. It played out as expected. He came to a few steps towards the call and decided to abort the mission. I’m not sure if he'd caught a glimpse of movement or glare off the camera equipment, but he vacated the premises. We were losing him as quick as he responded to the call.
The area we were set up was flat ground as far as the eye can see. Southwestern Oklahoma isn’t known for its rolling hills. Shots out here can exceed 800 yards easily, having a round that can match the terrain is crucial. For me, the Federal 224 Valkyrie is a natural fit. The set we were in had potential of long shots, but this wasn’t one of those. The dog stepped out at a few hundred yards.
Like any new round, there’s no shortage of praise, but does the approval match the results? My go-to rounds for coyotes have their limitations. If a dog hangs up at 300 yards, I wouldn't think twice to put the 22-250 to work, but if it goes beyond the 400-yard mark, I have my doubts. The 224 Valkyrie is no doubt a long-range master. Compile this characteristic with the Federal Fusion MSR 90 gr., and we’ve got ourselves a game changer.
The 22-250 is widely regarded as a premium varmint caliber. Depending on the round, a shooter can expect to reach 3,700 fps and an energy of roughly 1,600 ft. lbs. of energy. Reaching longer distances poses a problem. This one begins to lose energy quickly.
On the other end, the 224 Valkyrie has a velocity of 2700 fps and 1400 ft. lbs. of energy out of the pipe. It appears that the 22-250 would be the better choice, but a 90 gr. projectile at longer distances produces better knockdown power than the 55 gr. projectile I shoot out of the 22-250. Simply put, the 224 Valykrie is going to be a menace on the small-to-medium-sized game. Plus, in the MSR platform, you get more rounds in the gun.
As the coyote began his accelerated departure, the round was headed his way. I made a crucial mistake. Instead of picking the spot he'd be, I chose to lead the coyote and hit him high. No recovery of this coyote. One of the best pieces I could give a shooter is to understand the pacing of your target. If a coyote is on the run lead him. If he's walking or trotting pick a point where he will be and press the trigger. I chose to lead him and clipped him high.
Aside from the apparent knockdown power, why would I use the 224 Valykrie in this part of the country? Hogs! This tough critter doesn’t take to kindly to the 224 Valkyrie. I can’t tell you how many times I've been calling coyotes and a herd of pigs runs through the set. Each time, I never wished I had less power.
We heard hogs up the hill, and the coyote hunt quickly turned into a wild pig hunt. After several busted sets, hogs were a welcomed surprise. We crested the hill, and an eruption to our left came from a clump of mesquite trees.
I’ve run into this problem before with my trusty 22-250 Rem. I go out on a coyote hunt and run into a pile of pigs. I can’t tell you how under armed I felt. This wasn’t the case with the Federal Bonded Soft point projectile. They also offer a varmint round, but I’m glad I had the 90 gr. offering.
Several rounds later, six pigs lay on the ground, succumbing to my new favorite round. The 224 Valkyrie is my game changer, especially when I’ve got pigs nearby. It packs more energy down range and gives me more rounds to thin the growing population of wild pigs. I’ll be testing this round further and will keep you posted. ~ KJ
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and knows his way around a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.
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