Are you currently in the market for a new bolt carrier for your .224 Valkyrie AR-15? If so, you’ve come to the right place, because we’re going to go over the top three best .224 Valkyrie bolt carrier groups that the marketplace has to offer.
Best Budget Pick: Brownells M16 6.8mm SPC Bolt Carrier Group
The Brownells M16 6.8mm SPC Bolt Carrier Group provides you with a lot of value for the money thanks to its durable construction and black nitride finish. This bolt carrier group will work for both the .224 Valkyrie and the 6.8mm SPC rounds as the two cartridges share the exact same parent case.
Best Value Pick: ToolCraft 6.8mm SPC Nitride Bolt Carrier Group
Overall, the ToolCraft 6.8mm SPC Nitride Bolt Carrier Group provides you with a lot of value for the money. Built out of a variety of high quality steel metals, each individual component included in the ToolCraft has been nitride coated for minimal friction and maximum rust resistance.
Best Overall Pick: Faxon Firearms AR-15 6.8/.224 Valkyrie Black Bolt Carrier Group
Even though it’s the most expensive option, with the Faxon Firearms you get what you pay for. This entire bolt carrier group is built out of the highest quality 9310 steel and each individual component comes coated in a nice nitride finish for maximum wear and rust resistance.
The .224 Valkyrie is a rather unique round for an AR-15. It’s certainly not as well known as many other caliber choices such as the 5.56x45mm NATO or the .223 Remington or the .450 Bushmaster or whichever have you.
That being said, if you already have a standard AR-15 in 5.56, it’s really easy to upgrade it to fire the .224 Valkyrie rounds. All you need is a new .224 Valkyrie magazine, a new .224 Valkyrie barrel, and a new bolt carrier group. The bolt carrier group is what we’re going to talk about today.
In this guide, we’re going to dive into why you should consider the .224 Valkyrie round, the top qualities and features to look for in a bolt carrier group, and then our choices for the top three best bolt carrier groups for a .224 Valkyrie AR-15.
Why Go With The .224 Valkyrie?
First and foremost, why should you even consider the .224 Valkyrie round in the first place? The answer is simple: if you want to improve the long range performance capabilities of your AR-15 as much as possible, you should strongly consider upgrading to the .224 Valkyrie round.
Otherwise, your only real options are to go with a much larger (and heavier) AR-10 that shoots larger rifle rounds such as the .308 Winchester or the 6.5 Creedmoor. An AR-15 is a much more lightweight and compact platform that will be handier to use in certain situations. It will certainly be nicer to have an AR-15 rather than an AR-10 to carry over long distances, such as if you were to go hunting out in the woods.
The .224 Valkyrie itself is basically a 6.8 SPC round, necked down into the .224 caliber. It currently offers superior ballistics and trajectories at longer ranges than any other AR-15 caliber, including the 6.5 Grendel and the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges.
Since the .224 Valkyrie is already based off of an existing case, it’s much cheaper to manufacture than if it were something entirely new. This also means that purchasing new .224 Valkyrie ammunition may not be as expensive as you may have thought, although it is undoubtedly more expensive than standard 5.56 or .223 cartridges in most cases.
A big advantage to the .224 Valkyrie is the fact that it works in standard 6.8 SPC magazines. This is because the rim size between the two cartridges are virtually identical. If the .224 Valkyrie round were developed using a new original rim, it would most likely need a new magazine made specially for it.
Another big advantage to the .224 Valkyrie is it will work with any AR-15 lower in 5.56. As noted previously, all you need to convert your standard 5.56 AR-15 to an AR-15 in .224 Valkyrie is a new bolt carrier group, barrel, and magazine. You can literally take your existing AR-15 in 5.56, swap out these components for .224 Valkyrie versions of them, and you will be holding a .224 Valkyrie AR-15 in your hands.
The best alternative for a long range rifle round in an AR-15 is the 6.5 Grendel. The ballistics between the two rounds are certainly similar, and both are highly capable. But the one big advantage that the .224 Valkyrie has is it produces much less recoil and is therefore easier to shoot.
In summary, if you want to optimize your AR-15 for good long range shooting performance, the .224 Valkyrie is one of the best calibers to go with. And if you are going to build a new AR-15 in .224 Valkyrie from the ground up or otherwise modify your existing one, you’re going to need a new bolt carrier group.
What exactly is the bolt carrier group, you might ask?
What Is The Bolt Carrier Group?
The bolt carrier group is a collection of components inside the upper receiver of your AR-15 that allows it to function and shoot in the first place. Without the bolt carrier group, you cannot fire your AR-15.
The bolt carrier group is specifically designed to slide into the back of the upper receiver when the weapon is disassembled. The bolt carrier group, or BCG as it is sometimes referred to as, works by using the gas created from the spent round to rotate the bolt carrier and then move back against the recoil spring. This permits a fired shell casing to be ejected out of the rifle through the ejection port, so a new round can be loaded into the rifle.
The bolt of the bolt carrier twists as it travels backward; this twisting permits the carrier to unlock from the chamber so it may travel rearward and allow the rifle to cycle. If the bolt carrier group did not exist, the firing pin could not even strike the primer of the round to fire it in the first place.
The terms ‘bolt carrier group’ and ‘bolt carrier’ are often thrown around interchangeably by novices. The truth is that the bolt carrier is only a part of the bolt carrier group (BCG) as a whole. And while you could purchase the individual components of the bolt carrier group and assemble them yourself if you wanted to, you’re honestly just better off buying the entire bolt carrier group as a whole because it’s easy to drop into your upper receiver. It’s cheaper this way too.
The individual components of the bolt carrier group are as follows:
The bolt carrier is also known as the housing or the bolt carrier housing. It comprises the rest of the pieces within it to make the entire bolt carrier group as a whole work. The bolt carrier is in contact with the buffer and the spring, and it absorbs the force for a fired round to rotate and travel backward to enable the spent shell casing to be extracted.
The carrier key is also sometimes referred to as the gas key. It’s a small protrusion located on the top of the bolt carrier, or bolt carrier housing. It’s hollowed out and allows the gas to pass through it and into the rest of the bolt carrier, thus permitting the bolt and the extractor to rotate so the entire bolt carrier group as a whole may travel to the rearward position.
Bolt Gas Rings
The bolt gas rings trap the gas as it expands from the fired round. Without the gas rings, the gas would simply disperse on its own into the rest of the upper receiver, and the rifle could not fire.
Bolt and Extractor
The bolt and extractor are located as part of the same unit but fulfill two vastly different purposes. The extractor hooks onto the rim of each .224 Valkyrie round to hold it in place before ejecting it out of the ejection port when the bolt travels rearward.
The bolt is in the form of a star shape and is located at the front of the bolt carrier group. It rotates fifteen degrees to unlock the chamber so the entire bolt carrier group may travel backward to eject a spent round.
The firing pin is located at the head of the bolt, and it strikes the primer of a .224 Valkyrie round each time you fire the weapon. This then allows the gas of the fired round to travel back through the gas tube and into the bolt carrier group, creating the process as described above.
Last but certainly not least, the cam pin stops the bolt from rotating too far as it starts to unlock (remember that the bolt should rotate by 15 degrees). The cam pin is located in a hole through the carrier and next to the bolt.
Buyer’s Guide For A .224 Valkyrie Bolt Carrier group
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new bolt carrier group for your .224 Valkyrie AR-15
First and foremost, never buy any .224 Valkyrie bolt carrier group that does not come certified as MPI, or magnetic particle inspected. A bolt carrier group is literally the beating heart of your rifle, and each time you fire your AR-15 tens of thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch will be applied directly to your BCG.
This why having the highest quality and most robust bolt carrier group possible is of the utmost important. Magnetic particle inspection means that the BCG will be placed into a magnetic field, which is created by two separate electromagnets. It is then covered in a liquid solution of magnetic particles, and any cracks or fissures will be instantly located.
Remember, if any cracks or fissures developed on your bolt carrier group at any point, it can cause a catastrophic failure that could result in injury. A bolt carrier group that has undergone magnetic particle inspection will not have any cracks or fissures on it at the time of it being sold.
Besides your bolt carrier group coming magnetic particle inspected, it also be high pressure tested (or HPT). This means that a high pressure .224 Valkyrie cartridge rated at or above SAAMI specifications is fired through the AR-15 before the bolt carrier group is sold.
If the carrier group as a whole seems to be in excellent condition after the high pressure testing is complete, it will then be made available for sale. A bolt carrier group that comes with high pressure testing means that it will be able to fire sustained fire from ammunition at or below the SAAMI specifications.
Even if you do not plan on firing high pressure rounds through your .224 Valkyrie AR-15, just knowing that your rifle is capable of firing such ammunition can give you good peace of mind.
Finally, make sure that your bolt carrier group comes with a drop-in design. This means that the entire BCG can be literally dropped into the back of your upper receiver without the aid of tools or a professional gunsmith. If you want a seamless installation process, your bolt carrier group should be listed as having a drop-in design.
The 3 Best .224 Valkyrie Bolt Carrier Groups For 2020
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade your .224 Valkyrie bolt carrier group, here are the three best bolt carrier groups for 2020:
Brownells M16 6.8mm SPC Bolt Carrier Group
The first bolt carrier group that we will take a look at is the Brownells M16 6.8mm SPC Bolt Carrier Group. Even though this BCG is listed as being for the 6.8mm SPC, it will be fully compatible with the .224 Valkyrie round as well because the two cartridges share the same rim size.
Brownells is one of the top retailers when it comes to firearms parts, and they’ve become one of the top manufacturers as well. This bolt carrier group is built out of both 9310 and 8620 steel. Specifically, the bolt face itself is built out of 9310 steel, while the carrier is built out of 8620 steel.
Both have been shot peened and heat treated to ensure durability and longevity. The gas key screws have also been torqued properly. The entire BCG is coated in a matte black nitride finish, which provides both good durability and rust resistance.
All in all, the Brownells M16 6.8mm SPC BCG is a solid choice for a bolt carrier group. As the 6.8mm SPC and the .224 Valkyrie share the same parent case, this specific bolt carrier group will work with either round. The main standout features of this BCG are the fact that both 9310 steel and 8620 steel are utilized in its construction, along with the durable and rust resistant black nitride finish.
- Comes magnetic particle inspected
- Excellent quality black nitride finish
- Built out of high quality 8620 and 9310 steel
- Machining is not the best in some areas
ToolCraft 6.8mm SPC Nitride Bolt Carrier Group
The ToolCraft 6.8mm SPC Nitride Bolt Carrier Group is another BCG that is officially labeled as being for the 6.8mm SPC round but will still work with .224 Valkyrie cartridges.
The ToolCraft is built utilizing even more types of metals than the Brownells model that we just discussed: the keys are built out of 4130 steel, the bolt is made out of 9310 steel, and the bolt carrier housing itself is built using 8620 steel.
Each individual component used in the construction of the ToolCraft is nitride treated to keep it as low friction and corrosion resistant as possible. The gas key is staked utilizing grade eight fasteners, which are some of the very best in the industry.
Overall, the ToolCraft is a solid choice for a bolt carrier group for your .224 Valkyrie rifle. This bolt carrier group is built using many different kinds of durable metals, and each individual component is nitride treated to ensure that it is as durable and corrosion resistant as possible.
- Backed by an outstanding lifetime warranty
- All parts are nitride treated for excellent durability and corrosion resistance
- Key screws are staked utilizing grade-8 fasteners
- Made out of many different types of durable metals
Faxon Firearms AR-15 6.8/.224 Valkyrie Black Bolt Carrier Group
The Faxon Firearms 6.8/.224 Valkyrie Black Bolt Carrier Group is one of the very best BCGs for your .224 Valkyrie rifle. Each individual component in this bolt carrier group is built out of 9310 steel, which is some of the highest quality and toughest steel in existence.
Furthermore, each piece has been coated in a black nitride finish as well, which reduces friction to ensure your rifle operates smoothly and also boosts rust and corrosion resistant to the maximum.
Each piece is magnetic particle inspected to ensure that there are no cracks or fissures, and has also been heat treated to military specifications, which ensures longevity and reliability.
Overall, the Faxon Firearms is a solid choice for a bolt carrier group for your .224 Valkyrie. The entire bolt carrier group is built out of high quality 9310 steel materials, and each individual component comes with a very high quality black nitride finish that maximizes wear resistant as possible. It’s also been heat treated to military specifications.
- Built out of highly durable 9310 steel
- Comes with a high quality nitride treatment finish that maximizes surface hardness and wear resistance
- Magnetic particle inspected
- Heat treated to military specifications
- More expensive
And that concludes our list of the top three best bolt carrier groups for the .224 Valkyrie in 2020.
Any one of these bolt carrier groups that we have covered here today will be a solid option for your .224 Valkyrie rifle. Alternatively, you can also go with any other bolt carrier group that meets the standards we discussed in the buyer’s guide section as well.
Featured image by UltimateReloader