Picking the right AR cartridge for your needs

Picking the right AR cartridge for your needs

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00:00
welcome back folks today I want to talk a little bit about the alternative cartridges for the ar-15 platform here are the ones that primarily want to talk about today on the Left we've got the good old 223 or the 5 5 6 by 45 in this video everything I mentioned about 223 will also apply to 556 they're the same thing in the context of this video the next one is the 22 Nosler after that is the 2 to 4 Valkyrie and the last one is the 6.5 Grendel now one notable exception to this video
00:31
is 300 blackout I love 300 blackout I've done lots of videos on 300 blackout I've killed white-tailed deer with subsonic and supersonic 300 blackout I've shot wild hogs with supersonic 300 blackout I'm a huge 300 blackout fan if you own a suppressor and have any desire to shoot subsonics then 300 blackout is an easy choice subsonics are a bunch of fun they're extremely quiet they cycle the action in the 300 blackout it's really for me it's what 300 blackout is all
01:02
about and the fact that we could load supersonic rounds with 110 125 grain bullets in that weight range and turn it into a pretty decent white tailed deer cartridge that's just a bonus but 300 blackout is limited in range so I'm in Kentucky and rarely take shots at animals over 150 to 200 yards so it's fine for me but if you need additional range out of your gun then 300 blackout is probably not the right choice so 300 blackouts a different animal it's not really going to be part of the discussion for today's video now back to
01:34
the 4 we're actually going to talk about in this video I shoot them all I've got videos on all of them and guess what they all shoot pretty darn well so today's video is not really about advocating for my favorite it's more about explaining the reasons why you might choose one over the other my first general recommendation would be that if you don't already own a 223 ar-15 that shoots really well you shouldn't be looking at anything else and if you've got a 223 AR that isn't shooting as good as you'd like it to all
02:04
you need to do is put a good Barrel in it that's what I found get yourself a free float handguard that will allow your barrel to free float and buy a decent barrel that the key to accuracy and precision in the ar-15 platform my personal choice and what I've had success with is white oak armament I shoot one of their SPR barrels that's chambered in 223 wild you can get one for $275 and sometimes they run some sales you can get them even cheaper another good option might be compass Lake engineering both of those companies they're focused on what it
02:35
takes to win matches if the barrel company you're considering is trying to sell you on a lifestyle and you go to the site and it's nothing but like pictures of guys pretending to be maybe seals move on find the site where it's all about the matches they've won and the pictures are of guys and goofy-looking shooting jackets trying to shoot tiny groups to win matches that so that's my first recommendation make sure your 223 AR is awesome before you even move on to anything else but if you've reached that point and you're ready to move on to something different in the
03:05
ar-15 platform there's certainly some better performance to be seen and it all comes down to magazine length the the standard magazine LinkedIn the ar-15 is two point two six zero inches so any cartridge design for this platform is limited by fitting the bullets it's designed for into that magazine length so here's a lineup of all four cartridges with bullets that are just about perfect for them now on the left the 223 this is the 77 grain sierra
03:35
matchking with a Cana lure which the K lures are those marks around the bullet kind of that groove around the bullet where the case mouth often gets crimped into the 77 Graner here in 223 this is the mark 262 military round now 22 nozzles are right next to it it's the same bullet all of these are seated to an overall length of two point two six zero so notice 22 Nosler is very similar to 223 right it's just a fatter 223 they just tried to increase that case capacity where we can put powder you
04:07
know we can put more powder into that 22 Nosler due to its bigger case but the case length is reasonably close the position of the shoulder on the case is reasonably close it's just kind of a hotrod 223 now if we move on to the 2:00 to 4:00 Valkyrie this is the ninety grain sierra matchking you'll notice that shoulder is much lower than it is within the 22 Nosler or the 223 and the reason that shoulder is pushed back so far is so that this big huge 90 grain bullet will fit in there and still fit in a two
04:40
point two six zero inch overall length and then on the right is 6.5 Grendel this is the hundred and twenty three grain sierra matchking it's a similar sort of design to the two to four Valkyrie right the shoulders way back lots and lots of room for a big long bullet so while our 22 Nosler is similar to our 223 the Valkyrie and the Grendel are very different designs they're optimized for these big long bullets now the black mark that I made on the bullets is the start of the ogive like
05:12
the bullet has a portion that is full diameter which we call the bearing surface but then once it starts getting skinnier up towards the top that's what you call the ogive so the black mark on these bullets is where the ogive starts the end of the bearing surface and the beginning of the ogive now in this picture with these four cartridges with bullets that are really perfect for them you'll notice that ode I've starch just maybe a hundred thousandths past the neck of the case or the mouth of the case so if you imagine a chamber that is
05:44
cut for each of these options the 223 and the 22 Nosler they would be pretty close to one another right most bullets that work in 223 should work in 22 Nosler but if you go over to the 2 to 4 Valkyrie that throat is going to be much shorter because that cartridge and the chambers for that cartridge are optimized for these big long bullets like the 90 grain sierra matchking similar situation in the 6.5 Grindle so the next picture I want to show is with
06:14
the 223 the 22 Nosler and the 2 to 4 Valkyrie all with the 90 grain sierra matchking loaded to 2.26 0 now this isn't going to work at all right look at the 223 our line where the ogive of the bullet starts is halfway down the neck for crying out loud same deal with the 22 Nosler so shooting this bullet in those cartridges at magazine links just is not possible at we're on the right the two to four Vaccari it's perfect that's what it's made for now this next picture there's another
06:46
important part of the bullet it's the base of the bearing surface where the boat tail starts now here are those same three cartridges with the bullet stretched out to where the base of the bearing surface is at the base of the neck of the cartridge so you can see a 223 loaded like this is extremely long that's 2.5 4 0 inches almost 0.2 inches longer than magazine link next to it the 22 Nasser is 2.5 inches and then the 2 to 4 Valkyrie is 2 point 3 to 5 inches
07:17
so if we forgot about magazine length for a minute and we can load them whatever length we wanted like let's say these three overall lengths were practical in our situation which one of these three do you think would have the best performance it would be the 22 Nosler it has the most room for powder in this situation the shoulder of the 2 to 4 Valkyrie which is set way back becomes a problem it means we have less case capacity but we've already said this really isn't practical now there are some guns that are chambered for
07:48
this sort of round like kind of purpose-built barrels that are made for an extremely heavy bullet or a long bullet that have a intentionally long throat this is the sort of situation that would lead to that now let's go back to the 77 grain sierra matchking it's pretty much the heaviest bullet that is really meant to be loaded to magazine length in the 223 which means it can also be comfortably loaded to magazine linked in the 22 Nosler here it is side by side the left is 22 Nasser and the right is 2 to 4 Valkyrie now in
08:18
the Valkyrie it is way short of magazine link so you're not taking advantage of your full magazine length here you have to seat the bullet deeper into the case to get that ogive low enough to fit in the throat right remember the black line still applies the jump from where I put the black line which is where the ogive starts to the rifling in the barrel is pretty much a fixed value so any bullet you put in this 2 to 4 Valkyrie case on the right needs to be seated deep enough so that the bullets not jammed up into
08:49
the lands that's why we can't take this 77 grain Syrah match king and stretch it all the way - 2.26 zero it would just jam into the rifling so with this bullet the 77 grain sierra matchking looking at these two cartridges which one would give you better performance we've got a whole lot more case capacity on the left with 22 Nosler so with the valkyrie on the right the further you get away from the heavy bullets that it was really designed for like the 90 grain sierra matchking we found that the 95 grain sierra matchking
09:19
shot really great in it like as soon as you get away from that perfect zone for that cartridge and start shooting 77 or even lighter you're wasting magazine capacity with a cartridge that wasn't designed for those so what does all this mean and to be honest so we kind of lost track of the 6.5 Grendel because it shoots a completely different set of bullets right six point five millimeter bullets rather than the 22 caliber of the other three we're talking about so it was easier to compare the 22 caliber stuff
09:49
so that's yeah it is what it is but 6.5 Grendel suffers from some of the same shortcomings that 2 to 4 Valkyrie does the 6.5 Grendel is really optimized 420 and 123 grain bullets and when you try and go to lighter stuff like all the way down to the 85 grain six point five millimeter bullets right kind of the there's a lot of the lighter varmint rounds you really you need to start seating them shorter so they'll fit into the chamber without hitting the rifling and it becomes just you know less
10:20
optimized so considering all of this all that we've talked about here here are some general guidelines I've already mentioned that you should have a good shoot in 223 before you consider anything else anyway so if you've got that and maybe you're looking for a little bit better performance well if you're going to shoot the exact same bullets especially if you're shooting light varmint bullets 40-grain up to 60 grain varmint bullets 22 nasser is clearly the superior cartridge design when compared to 2 to 4 Valkyrie you're gonna have a whole lot more case capacity for powder with those light
10:52
bullets if you want to shoot heavier stuff the 88 and the 90s and the 95 grain errs well 2 to 4 Valkyrie is the better option you know it's still perfectly capable of shooting those lighter bullets like the 77 7 that we showed but you just need to understand that ok your leaving the sweet spot for that gun and you're no longer going to be getting you know superior performance so there's a pretty good dividing line right there's there's honestly not a whole lot of overlap between the 22 dollars are in the 2-2 for Valkyrie if you're going to shoot 77 grains and under 22 Nosler is
11:24
the better choice if you're going to shoot 80 grain and up then the 2-2 for Valkyrie is the superior choice now the problem with this whole video is that I have major problems with both 2:00 to 4:00 Valkyrie and 22 Nosler the brass that's available in 22 Naser is terrible and honestly at this point I still don't know whether it's just the cartridge design or whether it's actually crappy brass but it is extremely common to get really really bad ejector and extractor marks on your 22 nozzle brass so if
11:55
you're a real oder it becomes a huge problem you can only get one or two firings out of brass before the case head is in such bad shape that you need to throw it away and our test with two to four Valkyrie we found that after just one or two firings the primer pockets get too big to hold the next primer so both of these cartridges have fatal flaws if you're not a real oder then you don't really need to worry about this stuff but if you're looking forward to reloading for either one of these cartridges just know that you're gonna have some problems
12:25
now on the 22 nozzle side of things you know it uses a standard ar-15 bolt that we use in 223 what people have found is that if you use 6 millimeter Hager brass and the bigger bolt actually the same bolt that the 2 to 4 Valkyrie uses and the 6.8 spc uses so if you switch to this 6 millimeter Hager brass use the bigger bolt face you get much better case life so there's kind of a fix when it comes to 22 Nosler so far with 2 to 4 Valkyrie I don't know
12:55
of any fix the primer pocket life just isn't very good now the 6.5 Grendel on the other hand has been a lot of fun to reload with we've been reloading for it for several years here on my channel the performance is good it can shoot really great groups the brass life is totally acceptable we can get a bunch of firings out of some brass so for me personally 6.5 Grindle is just a much better cartridge than either the Valkyrie or the 9 and the 6.5 Grindal is gonna have similar long-range capabilities to the 2
13:27
to 4 Valkyrie so to distill it all down stick with 2 23 until you've got that platform shooting well if you find the need to upgrade if you're a varmint hunter and want to shoot 22 caliber bullets between 40 and 60 grains 22 Nosler is definitely the recommendation if you're a real oder you're going to need to get some six millimeter Hager brass you're going to need to go to a 6.8 spc bolt or a 2 to 4 Valkyrie bolt whatever you want to call it and that's gonna let you get the most out of that cartridge if you want to shoot heavier bullets if you want that long-range
13:58
performance go 6.5 Grendel the performance is good reloading is easy there's excellent brass available there are a million different six point five millimeter bullets available bullet sexual selection is great so there's a whole lot to love about 6.5 Grendel and back to when I mentioned 300 blackout earlier being a good white tail deer cartridge 6.5 Grendel is also a great one there are some really good hunting bullets available for it it's going to have a longer effective range than 300 blackout and it's just gonna be a great option for you so I think that's where
14:29
I'll wrap this up folks I had initially planned to put this information into my next video on 22news or somebody in a previous video had asked me to show the differences between 22 Nasser and 2 to 4 Valkyrie and once I started taking pictures and thinking about the subject a little bit I thought it would be better to just break it out here to a separate video so that people who aren't necessarily interested in reloading might be more likely to watch so that's where we're leave it folks I'll see you guys next time

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