My wife and I and our .224 Valkyrie 1,000 yard journey....

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by NorsemanAlaska, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. NorsemanAlaska

    NorsemanAlaska Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate in advance anyone that takes the time to read our thread. This post, for me and my wife, is more about the journey then the ending. My wife and I have hunted/handled firearms for a combined 75+ years of our lives. My longest shot on an animal has been about 400 yards and my wife about 250 yards. Besides hunting, we shoot for recreation as often as possible involving lots of pistol/revolver and AR shooting. As we've gotten older we decided to start looking for a new challenge that is not as hard on our bodies as years of hard hunting in Alaska has been. Couple years ago, we picked up bolt rifles in .308 and .223 and started shooting out to 500 yards.


    About 5 months ago we decided we wanted to get out to 1,000 yards, and further, if possible. That being said, budget was important to us, because we couldn’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on two new custom or high end set ups. So, I started researching it on the interweb, watching videos, reading articles, talking to friends, emailing people, watching long range shooting programs on t.v. and placing/reading posts on here, etc. In January we'd decided on the 6.5 Creedmoor. But then I saw an interview from the Shot Show with Tom Gresham and the head guy from Federal Ammunition about the 224 Valkyrie round. I contacted Federal Ammunition and they were great in answering all my questions. After a lot of research and input, we decided to go with the 224 Valkyrie.

    I know there are many people who will have differing opinions on this round and some don’t like it or think it’s just another “niche” round. I’m not here to state that the 224 Valkyrie is better than other calibers, but it was a very attractive round to us for many reasons. We could just buy the uppers and put them on the AR15 lowers that we already own (which made it much less expensive than buying an entire rifle), the ammo was less expensive compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC, the 224 has less recoil than those three and it stays supersonic out past 1,300 yards. So for our needs, it seemed perfect.

    About 7 weeks ago I ordered the uppers from a local retired veteran that now builds AR’s. We were the first folks to order that caliber AR upper from him. Being life long Leupold customers we decided on Leupold VX3i 8.5-25x50 LRP scopes. I found them from a gun shop in Kentucky for $200 LESS than Cabela’s for each scope.

    We only have 2- 1,000 yard public ranges here in Alaska, which seems odd to me being that Alaska is half as big as the entire continental US. Anyway, the closest of the 2 ranges is a 2+ hour round trip drive from our home. I finally got the scopes, mounts (20MOA) and uppers and put them all together. First trip to the range we had feed issues sighting in at the 100 yard range so we didn’t get to the 1,000 yard range. The 2nd trip to the range we got both rifles sighted in at the 100 yard range but the 1,000 yard range was tied up due to a “Long Range Tactical Class” being held that had 16 people taking the class for $750 each.

    Finally, after months of research, ordering parts, spending money, trial and error, feed issues, questioning myself as to if I made bad choices on caliber, firearm and optics, the range being booked, etc, this last weekend, after a month of trying, was our 3rd trip to the range and we finally got on the 1,000 yard range, along with 7 other shooters and their families.

    My wife had been SO excited about this challenge for MONTHS, so I let he shoot first, as I spotted for her, because I wanted her to be the first to hit at 1,000 yards.

    Please bear with me for a minute as I back track; I crabbed fished on the Bering Sea for years in the 80’s and early 90’s before it was popular on t.v. I watched 8 of my friends die in 5 minutes when their crab boats sank in 1989 on the Bering Sea. I’ve been charged by brown bears, I’ve been a North Slope oilfield roughneck working outside in the most extreme weather in the world and frankly have had many near death experiences. The point is that it usually takes quite a bit of stress to get me squirrelly. So, what amazed me was how nervous and apprehensive I was before she even took her first shot. My mind kept asking me “what if you choose the wrong caliber?”…”What if the parts and scopes we’d bought wouldn’t meet the challenge?”….”What if I’d put the scopes/uppers together and made a mistake?”….”What if this didn’t work and I’ll have disappointed my wife?”…."Should we have spent $1500 to take that Long Range Class...?"...I couldn’t believe how much my mind was messing with me, and at that moment it surprised me to realize how much I had emotionally invested into this process.

    It only took 3 shots for her to dial in and hit the 30” plate at 1,000 yards. We jumped for joy, hugged each other and it was amazing. The other shooters and their families gave her a clapping standing ovation and shouts of support and cheers. My wife and I were both very emotional because it was such a humbling and incredible experience for us. She went on to put her next 3 shots of that session on target.

    It was now my turn and I used the “dope” from her shots and dialed them in on my scope. I was fortunate to hit on my first 6 shots of that first session. My wife was as excited for me as I was for her and at that point, all the anxiety, concern and trepidation was gone. We had this amazing sense of euphoria; accomplishment and satisfaction….We put 60 more rounds downrange at different plates and it was a grand day for us....

    A few months ago I posted a couple of threads on here asking opinions about the 224 and the Leupold scope I wanted to use. They may not read this, but I’d like to thank everyone that had input and influence into our journey. You’re all a part of it.

    So, in conclusion, this experience for us, was about much more then shooting an “assault weapon” (chuckle). It was about the journey; working together, making decisions together, dealing with issues, solving the issues together, making a plan and working the plan together and accomplishing the challenge together. Granted, we didn’t cure cancer or the national debt and there’s’ thousands upon thousands of better long range shooters in America then us, but our little journey has been incredible for us. For me personally, I frankly never imagined, after the decades of handling firearms that I’ve done, and what I’ve lived through, that I would get this much of a “pay-off” from this journey. But, as most of us know, the “way of the gun” is really NOT so much about THE gun, it’s about the people, the comradery and the journey….Thank you.
     
  2. dmoon

    dmoon Well-Known Member

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    Awesome story, thanks for sharing!
     
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  3. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Great post! I'll never forget the first time that I shot long range. We were fortunate enough to go shoot with Kirby Allen. Was amazing. Never thought it possible. It has been 10 years ago now and still grin every time I hit a 1000 yard gong. Never gets old.

    Steve
     
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  4. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations!!!
    Great story!
     
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  5. Farmerboy78

    Farmerboy78 Well-Known Member

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    The 224 valkyrie is a great round, I run one myself with factory ammo and handloads. Congrats on long range hits!
     
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  6. ol mike

    ol mike Well-Known Member

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    NorsemanAlaska ,

    Howdy .
    Cool thread - congrats to you and the wife .
    What kind of close range [100-200 yards] groups did you get out of your 224V's ?
     
  7. NorsemanAlaska

    NorsemanAlaska Well-Known Member

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    Wife had numerous 3/4” - 3 shot groups & I had several 1”- 3 shot groups @ 100 yards. We didn’t shoot at 200 yards other then banging steel. Thanks for your kind words. Happy 4th of July.
     
  8. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Careful, that "high" is addictive. :) johnnyk
     
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  9. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    @Len Backus can you make this a featured thread? I think this is a really nice story and it’s what long range shooting is all about.
     
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  10. NorsemanAlaska

    NorsemanAlaska Well-Known Member

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    Thanks 300Whisper for the kind words. I also love my 300Whisper/Blackout rifles as well =-)
     
  11. NorsemanAlaska

    NorsemanAlaska Well-Known Member

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    Here's our 224 Valkyrie rifles. Only difference is that I changed my wife's rifle (blue AR) barrel from the 20" shown in this pic to a 22" barrel, like is shown on mine, prior to shooting 1,000 yards....


    IMG_E0386.JPG
     
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  12. wilkup

    wilkup Well-Known Member

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    Awesome story! Thanks for sharing.
     
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  13. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    I can’t believe that little .22 can go 1300 yards. That’s awesome.

    @NorsemanAlaska im just glad you didn’t get a 6.5 creedmoore. ;)
     
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  14. IHFarmer07

    IHFarmer07 Well-Known Member

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    I’m very happy to hear your wife and you were able to reach the goals that you all set for yourselfs with this nice new .224 Valkyrie cartridge!!!! Hope you keep up the good work to keep hitting 1k and then some!!!
    Was you using factory loads or hand loads?
     
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