.224 Valkyrie vs. 6.5 Grendel: The Ultimate Battle of 1,000 Yard AR-15s

.224 Valkyrie vs. 6.5 Grendel: The Ultimate Battle of 1,000 Yard AR-15s
.224 Valkyrie vs. 6.5 Grendel: The Ultimate Battle of 1,000 Yard AR-15s

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Your AR-15 is a ton of fun at close range. Punching holes in cardboard, demolishing milk jugs, pure semi-automatic joy as fast as you can take aim and pull the trigger. But you get no respect from the precision bolt-action rifle shooter at the range who says, “you can’t hunt with that thing anyway,” or “you can’t hit a barn door at 700 yards.” He throws you a smug look before settling in behind the wood stock of his prized bolt-action. When he fires, there’s a pause of silence, then “tink” as you hear the steel ring from THAT gong. The one you never even try to hit with your AR-15, the one that’s 1,000 yards away.

But, what if your AR-15 was capable of a one-shot takedown of game animals all the way up to the biggest mule deer in North America? What if your AR-15 could shoot in semi-automatic with sub-MOA accuracy to 1,000 yards and beyond? In 2018, you can! That precision bolt-action shooter is going to be annoyed when you’re ringing that 1,000-yard gong with your AR-15 three times faster than he can. But how?

6.5 Grendel – a Hunting Cartridge that Surprises Everyone

In 2004 Alexander Arms released the 6.5 Grendel, developed by putting a 6.5mm bullet into a necked down 7.62×39 casing. The 6.5 Grendel was designed for hunters to use on deer-sized animals out to 300-400 yards, beyond the effective range of any .223 Remington hunting ammo. The effectiveness at hunting was quickly overshadowed by Grendel’s surprising accuracy. Excellent sub-MOA (less than 1” spread at 100 yards) groups are easily obtainable. With the right barrel length and bullet combination, 6.5 Grendel is capable of supersonic flight past 1,200 yards.

ODIN Works 18" 6.5 Grendel Type II Intermediate Length Complete Upper - 15.5" M-LOK Rail
ODIN Works 18″ 6.5 Grendel Type II Intermediate Length Complete Upper – 15.5″ M-LOK Rail

.224 Valkyrie Takes Flight

.224 Valkyrie is the hot new caliber everyone is talking about. Federal Premium Ammunition released the Valkyrie in 2017, derived from a 6.8 SPC casing necked down to accept .224 caliber bullets. Valkyrie utilizes a smaller, lighter bullet than 6.5 Grendel, and it’s shape takes advantage of everything learned about bullet design in the 14 years since Grendel was released. Federal developed a new round that is twice as aerodynamically efficient as the 5.56 NATO round. The .224 Valkyrie boasts supersonic flight beyond 1,300 yards with less wind drift and drop than comparable rounds at the 1,000-yard milestone.

American Defense 22" .224 Valkyrie Universal Improved Carbine Mod 2 Rifle - 15" M-LOK Handguard
American Defense 22″ .224 Valkyrie Universal Improved Carbine Mod 2 Rifle – 15″ M-LOK Handguard

Let the Battle Begin!

The Primary Arms Battle E-mail Series takes you through side-by-side comparisons to help you choose which round is best for you. As we compare the two we have chosen several categories that will assist you on your buying decision.

Head to Head Ballistics

Bullets lose all chance of accuracy when they slow from supersonic to subsonic speed. The 6.5 Grendel and the .224 Valkyrie were designed to extend the range of the AR-15 beyond 1,000 yards. They each take a very different approach. The Grendel uses a heavier, longer, and fatter bullet measuring .264” in diameter that maintains supersonic flight past 1,200 yards. The Valkyrie uses a .224” diameter bullet that is longer and heavier than the .223 and stays supersonic past 1,300 yards.

Reading ballistics data isn’t for everyone, so we will keep it short and simple (ample data exists on each round and can be easily searched). Our discussion on the ballistics of the two rounds starts with their Ballistic Coefficient (BC). In layman’s terms, BC is a number that measures a bullet’s aerodynamics; for comparison purposes bigger numbers are better. Beyond BC, wind drift, bullet drop and terminal energy are all important factors in determining which is the better round.

Federal Premium Ammunition produced a study comparing different calibers of their Gold Medal ammunition.

* based on independent calculations

Long range ballistics are the Valkyrie’s song. With similar BC and outperforming 6.5 Grendel on wind drift and bullet drop, .224 Valkyrie takes a slight edge here. It’s easy to see, however, that both calibers leave even the best .223 Remington match grade bullets lagging. While the .224 Valkyrie appears to be more accurate based upon the ballistics chart, the success is countered by the heavier 6.5 Grendel’s delivery of nearly 40% more ft-lbs of energy at that distance. Which caliber is best for you will be determined by your use and ultimate requirements.

Winner: .224 Valkyrie


If you want to hunt larger animals such as deer or mountain goats, 6.5 Grendel is for you. Make no mistake, 6.5 Grendel packs a wallop. At 300 yards it has more than double the kinetic energy of a .30-30 cartridge, and almost 4x the energy of a 75 grain .223 Remington hunting load. Because the bullet weighs so much more, Grendel doesn’t rely on velocity for its terminal effect on animals, so you don’t lose much effectiveness by choosing a 16” or 18” barrel. Grendel makes for a lightweight, handy hunting rifle that can be carried all day long and fired standing or from a hasty supported position. Valkyrie runs into a problem Grendel doesn’t have: many states have laws banning hunting medium to large game with .22 caliber cartridges of any kind, with no exceptions.

Winner: 6.5 Grendel


Almost all .224 Valkyrie barrels are 22-24” long to maximize velocity. Due to its smaller bore shooting a lighter bullet, .224 Valkyrie rifles exhibit much less recoil than 6.5 Grendel—up to half as much, depending on the loading. It’s no wonder that prairie dog hunters are anxious to try Valkyrie. 6.5 Grendel responds to the challenge by demonstrating its flexibility, with dedicated varmint loads available. Federal’s example features a 90 grain boat-tail hollow point bullet screaming out of the barrel at 3000 fps muzzle velocity. 6.5 Grendel is right at home when hunting hogs or coyotes.

Winner: Draw


What if you aren’t hunting and you just want to ring that gong at 1,000 yards? Both calibers will get you there. Many shooters regularly take 6.5 Grendel to 1,000 successfully. However, .224 Valkyrie exhibits generally less bullet drop and wind drift than 6.5 Grendel, recoils less, and doesn’t cost more to set up or to shoot. It may not have much kinetic energy to spare at 1,000 yards, but Valkyrie flies better than any other cartridge developed for the AR-15.

Winner: .224 Valkyrie

Parts Availability, Conversions and Complications

With a 14-year head start on the market, there are more offerings of Grendel parts across a wider range of prices and configurations; .224 Valkyrie has a lot of catching up to do. At a minimum, both the Grendel and Valkyrie require a different bolt, barrel, and magazine when compared to a standard 5.56 NATO AR-15. Most enthusiasts choose to buy or assemble a dedicated complete upper in one caliber for easy interchangeability with their favorite AR-15 lower.

Ballistic Advantage 20" 6.5 Grendel Type II 1:8 DMR Rifle Barrel
Ballistic Advantage 20″ 6.5 Grendel Type II 1:8 DMR Rifle Barrel
ODIN Works 6.5 Grendel Type II Black Nitride Bolt Carrier Group
ODIN Works 6.5 Grendel Type II Black Nitride Bolt Carrier Group

Safety Note: Choosing 6.5 Grendel comes with an added complication. There are “Type I” and “Type II” bolt/barrel specifications out there, and you CAN NOT mix and match parts for each of them without risk of damage and/or injury. Type II is by far the most popular configuration, but pay attention to what you are buying! A Type I bolt won’t chamber rounds in a Type II barrel at all. Even worse, a Type II bolt mated to a Type I barrel will create excessive headspace and result in a rifle that is dangerous to fire.

Faxon Firearms 20" .224 Valkyrie Rifle Length Gunner Barrel
Faxon Firearms 20″ .224 Valkyrie Rifle Length Gunner Barrel
Cryptic Coatings 6.8 SPC / .224 Valkyrie AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group - Mystic Silver
Cryptic Coatings 6.8 SPC / .224 Valkyrie AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group – Mystic Silver

The magazine styles differ slightly, but both include shallow reinforcing ribs and modified followers. Grendel shooters benefit from years of magazine design refinement—6.5 Grendel mags are reliable, durable, and affordable. Valkyrie uses 6.8 SPC magazines which vary widely in price and quality.

Winner: 6.5 Grendel


Surprisingly, when it comes to match grade ammunition, the brand new .224 Valkyrie is not measurably more expensive than 6.5 Grendel. Match grade ammo prices for either caliber are pretty comparable to .308 Winchester. The bottom line is that quality match-grade ammo is more expensive than mil-spec or surplus 5.56 NATO, no matter which path you take. Expect to pay somewhere between $1.15 and $1.25 per shot for the good stuff. Range grade and plinking ammunition exists for both calibers at about $0.50 per shot.

Winner: Draw


A larger, heavier bullet, or a smaller, faster bullet? Those who prefer a proven system, want to hunt medium to large game, or demand a short, handy rifle will find a trusty friend in 6.5 Grendel. Shooters who like to shoot at long range targets, enjoy varmint hunting with a low recoiling rifle, and plan to shoot exclusively from supported positions should give .224 Valkyrie serious consideration. Let your own priorities be your guide—we’ll see you out on the range.

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these articles always make me laugh the 244 Valkyrie is loaded in a 22 inch barrel and uses a 90 grain .563 bc bullet which is one of the highest if not the highest bc bullets for the .224 cal bullet. And is said to beat the 6.5 Grendel but yet the Grendel is handicapped by using a 130 grain .569 bc bullet at 18 in barrel speeds, who writes this stuff. Lets run apples to apples how about a 24 inch barrel, 130 grain Nosler RDF at .615. still going 1447fps at 1000 yards real world measurement out of… Read more »


I also love the grendel for life. One of my favorites in a safe full of custom rifles. Im having one built on an older 700 adl still with the orgional walnut stock. This is without doubt my favorite for a new shooter, small woman. I also have a tikka creedmoor varmint, and custom gun werks 6.5 prc. I do believe if my house was on fire and i only had time to save one gun it would be the grendel.


What set up do you in your Grendel? I’m looking at building one now.


I would buy one.

Blake Lang

exactly I noticed this as well I run a Grendel and every article that compares the Grendel to any other round they use the best possible combo and compare it to a Grendel combo that isn’t optimal

Tim Kiser

Amen. This article was a joke…….



Uh hum,..It’s actually a 224 not a 244…


BTW… I am new to the world of long range shooting. Love it BTW. Second outing with Vortex glass I was hitting steel at 1400 yards with my .224. I like both rifles. I do own the Valkyrie and understand there is a purpose for both of these long guns. Don’t really have anything to prove or, cry about it either way. I really come here to read what others are sharing about their experiences within the sport. At the end of the day, tearing down either platform to prove you have a bigger_____ is laughable and only hurts the… Read more »


Been playing around with Gordon’s Reloading Tool with results that pretty much reflect what I’ve been hearing and reading: ballistically speaking, the Grendel has nothing but energy over the Valkyrie. Let’s talk about two optimized long range loads in 24″ barrels here: 6.5Grendel 130gr AR Hyb. (.287G7) @ 2568fps ([email protected]) .224Valkyrie 85.5gr HybTgt. (.268G7) @ 2833fps ([email protected]) Pretty obvious where I am going with this: The difference in ballistic coefficients is not enough to make up for more than 250fps velocity difference – at least not within 1000yards. The Valkyrie will have significantly better trajectory and somewhat less drift @… Read more »


It’s somewhat comical to see people conflate wind drift and drop with accuracy. If you run the ballistics software of your choice, you’ll see the “danger space” for either of these cartridges gets very small indeed at 1000 meters – in other words, neither of them is shooting flat enough to get you a hit if you dial the wrong distance by more than a few feet. Wind drift is far more relevant, of course – making the wind call requires far more of the shooter, the drift is much less than the drop, and a bullet that drifts less… Read more »


No one mentioning the 130 grain Grendel against the 90 Valk?? Hmm, that stinks, figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure. Let’s get some apples to watermelons comparison or would the drift and drop comparison not look so in favor of the Valk if both were putting 90’s downrange with equal length and twist barrels. Me thinks we would see more comparison in end ballistics,although I don’t have the data at hand to corroborate my hypothesis. Anybody out there have some data to help? Btw, the heaviest I’ve shot is 123 gn Hornady from my Alexander Arms 24″ Overwatch.… Read more »


What are you saying? That same bullet weights would be more fair? Best case scenario for the Grendel: 24″ Grendel will spew out a 90gr projectile @ ~3100fps-ish. That 90gr projectile in .264″ probably is some kind of flatbase design, but lets say for some mysterious reason it has the coefficient of a 100gr ELDM (benefit of doubt). It will probably be able to just barely match the Valkyries 1000yard drop but will suffer terrible wind deflection (as in >+50%) and also retain significantly less energy than the .224 90gr. People need to stop matching bullet weights in different calibers… Read more »


I really like the Grendel. I don’t have any experience with the .224 Val

Dennis Morgan

Hi Guys I have a Custom 6.5 Grendel The rifle started out as a Rem 700 223 Then Dennis Olsen of Montana Machined the bolt face and fitted a Sako extractor a Dan Linja stainless Barrel which he pillar mounted and glass bedded on to a Boyd stock with a leupold custom scope I live in New Zealand there is no hunting season and no limit for all deer that’s Elk, Red, Sika,Samba Fallow and Rusa plus Turkeys, Canadian Goose, Wallabies Goats are considered as pests I used to own a sporting goods store and would take out lots of… Read more »

ed anderson



One thing that is a huge factor – the Grendel has an overbore much lower than the .224 valkyrie. Barrel life will be 2-3x longer than the valkyrie


14 years of bullet design since the Grendel was developed? Seriously? The Ballistic Coefficient and Sectional Density of long skinny bullets has been known since long before WWII. I have been hunting with a 6.5×55 SE Gustav Mauser for well over 30 years. The 6.5 Grendel was developed as a much more effective caliber than the 5.56/.233. Incidentally the .223/5.56×45 has never been a suitable caliber for hunting deer. That of course will bring a plethora of responses defending their ARs. I do have a Howa 1500 Mini Action 6.5 Grendel set up similarly to Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle but… Read more »


I took one of my .223 out for deer season many years ago. Took a solid shot on a nice buck. First and only deer I ever lost in 40 years of hunting, and that includes with bow. I know the shot was solid, but the deer ducked into thick knee crawler pines and there was so little blood that we lost the trail in about 20 yards. Before and since I always took out either the 336 .35 or the favorite since 1989, my trusty never adjusted Rem 700 BDL .270. I am looking however for something to put… Read more »


Losing the deer was poor shot placement with an inadequate deer caliber and lack of tracking skills. Don’t blame the 223 for your bad decision!!


I own both in multiple barrel length and have shot hundreds of rounds from each. For hunting larger game, the Grendel is the ticket. For coyote, the Valkyrie does a great job. For reloading, I like being able to resize 7.62×39 brass for the Grendel. But, I like being able to use my 223 bullets for the Valkyrie (6.8 SPC brass is easy to get for resizing). For SBR or pistol, the Grendel. For over 500 yards, the Valkyrie.

In other words, both have a place and both are great rounds.


If you run out of grendel brass you can make them out of the 39 brass. With a good set of dies like Hornady you can even swedge the steelcased 39.s down to 6.5
Bn shooting 7.62X39 afew yrs and going to get a grendel barrel for my AR soon i hope


Try shot forming the 39 brass. A number of local reloaders have had good success getting good cheap Grendel Brad off the range.


I’ve never bought any actual 6.5 Grendel brass. But I do have a couple thousand 7.62 x 39 empty brass, from the gun range, and I’ve formed several hundred with my Lee dies to use. I load with 27 gr of TAC powder and use the Sierra 130 gr HPBT. Breaks wind around 2370 – 2400 fps out of my BCA 20″ nitride barrel. Normal 400 yd group is in the 2.86″ – 3.24″ range if I do my part most days. And yes… it will smak steel at 1000 yds unless there is a big wind blowing which means… Read more »

Roger Biggs

so… 224 scores two wins for the same stats (wind drift and drop)? let me explore the stats a little further here.. drop and drift are measured in the same units and can be described as a right angle triangle, the long side of which represents the deviation to point-of-aim. now lets see how that bears out with FEDERALS OWN NUMBERS (conflict of interest is obvious, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt) 224 deviates 402.39 inches. Grendel deviates 518.73 inches. This is a big difference, and valk really shines! it’s a bit more than 25% more accurate,… Read more »


I’ve been shooting the Grendel for 8+ years . Been shooting the Valkyrie for a few months now. Mostly at 1000 yards.
A lot of the Grendel velocities posted seem to be exaggerated compared to my experience.
My last 200 + rounds at 1000 have averaged sub 3/4 moa with the Valkyrie. Grendel never showed as much potential. ( never shot it past 850 but it never did better than 1-1.5 moa-ish) I know this is just my experience with 2 guns but it’s what I have to work with and I’m going Valkyrie!


Have been a fan of the 6.5’s for ten years (DPMS 260LR), and wanted a Grendel since it came out. Unfortunately, kids college educations, transportation, etc,etc have put a crimp on firearm expansion. However, a couple of weeks ago, Primary Arms ran a special on a 20″ fluted barrel and bolt, so I picked it up. At the price I will be able to get into the Grendel Club for around a couple of bills. Have a busy summer, but plan on getting set up this fall to see if it can do at 1000yds what the 260 can (with… Read more »


I couldn’t decide which of these calibers I wanted. So I did what any good gun guy does… I just built both! I haven’t shot either one yet because I can’t get to the range for a couple weeks, but I have the 6.5 Grendel running through a 20″ Ballistic Advantage fluted barrel. I will be sending the .224 Valkyrie through a 24″ barrel I picked up at Brownells. I wanted a BA barrel for the Valkyrie as well but didn’t want to wait until they came out with something longer than 18″ and Brownells was the only one I… Read more »


6.5 Grendel type 1 for my AR. I can use the same bolt as my 7.62×39 Windham Weaponry AR. Just swap uppers and rock on!


I bang 1000 yard steel all day long with my savage 18” msr with a 3x9x40 scope.

C. Navek

6.5 G suits me best. I like the fact that I can run both AR and bolt gun with same mags (Ruger American Predator). The Grendel just had a bad start and the issues with Type I and Type II make it less popular for the average shooter.

Grendel still rings the same gong as the Valkyrie with a little more thought, but also with much more authority. For all around work in AR platform especially, Grendel is very hard to pass up, but then I look to do more than paper punching and steel.


I bought a box of rounds for deer season , got home opened the box ,not 1or 2 or 3 but all 20 rounds had case damage. Went back to show and was told all ammo sales or finial. Wish i took pictures now. Been 3 yrs sence that eat shit day havnet been back sence….


For range plinking on your ‘non-1000Y steel challenge’ days you can shoot your Grendel cheaply with Wolf 100gr FMJ at 0.24/rd (SPG-500ct, 119.69 w/free shipping code). 🙂

I’m looking forward to trying out a good Valk setup. Ballistic Advantage has barrels in their Premium series (my preferred build barrel), but only at 18″ currently. I have assembled Grendel uppers in 16″ and 20″, but I’d really like a longer barrel for a Valk setup.


Mic.I did my Grendel build last summer.This is a great weapon for both.I shoot 600 yd steel with no problem and took my buck at 280yds one shot dropped in his track’s
Can’t say enough about the 6.5


I use both my 16″ Grendel and a 7.62×39 upper for Peccary hunting in AZ. The x39 has been used for many years, with a transition to the Grendel a few years ago. Don’t often get long shots where we are hunting due to ground cover and terrain, however on the few occasions that a good longer-range shot has presented itself, drilling a spiky pig in a kill-zone is nicely done with the Grendel. (and will definitely penetrate their really thick skulls)

John Shirley

https://lundestudio.com/224-valkyrie-vs-6-5-grendel/ copies some of your info, even some verbatim text. Just thought you’d like to know. -John

Dean K Parker

Down under people are cm 6-5 mad we have gun laws from Hell but for goat ,pig and hog deer hunting the Grendel 6-5 123 gr Howe works well

Eric R

Sorry for the late reply. I see the comparison the previous poster was making now My apolgy to he/she for “jumping the gun”.


With all these wildcats & mods on existing brass – Why does the Barnes 308-1.5 get so little attention ? Seems like the most natural cartridge in the world – 308 shortened 1/2 inch to fit in an AR15. More case capacity than 6.5 Grendel, 224 Valk, or anything EXCEPT 300 WSSM. And it uses 308 Brass ! Who DOESN”T want a little more powder, and still fit in an AR15 platform ? Barnes 308-1.5 was set up for 30 cal. Could just as easily be necked down to 6.5 or 224 – with more case capacity than 6.5 Grendel… Read more »


Not sure, but i think it has to do with the rim size on the 308 case. The 308 rim is too large to easily mod/change/adapt an AR15 bolt/BCG to. I’m guessing that the bolt and barrel lug size would have to change to allow for a larger bolt diameter. It might work. Companies usually just want to make small changes to their products to run new cartridges and not take the risk of a new cartridge and a new action.


If you are looking for something in the 308 then you should check out the 300 HAM’R I have a 300 BLK so if I’m looking to use the .308 bullets I go there since any of these are basically 150 yd rounds. If you can shoot, it will take a lot of different game animals despite what the nay-sayers have to say about it. I prefer a 135 gr Sierra HP and it doesn’t disappoint. That being said I prefer my 6.5 Grendel with the Sierra 130 gr HPBT. I’ve yet to have anything go more than 20 yds… Read more »

Old Soldier

If you are limiting your shots to 150 to 200 yards the .350 Legend or 450 Bushmaster fill that bill. The true question of these 2 cartridges are what they are used for. 1000 yard head shot I would have to say .224 Valkyrie. Plus these were designed to be shot through an AR15 platform not a bolt gun. The 6mm Hagar is far more accurate than either. But it’s a proprietary cartridge as a number of any others. I am currently building the 300 Ham-R for close range work. I’ll keep my .450 Bushmaster for under 300 yards though… Read more »

Frank K.

For hog & deer hunting purposes— would be more interested in a “heads up” comparison of 6.5 Grendel Type II vs 6.8 SPC II. Any info on this ???


I just blew out a hogs face at 50 yards with a grendel running hornady black ELD-M. Went in as a 6.5 came out as a grapefruit.


They run pretty close but the 6.5 Grendel has better bullet selection and BC so it wins in my book but they are both excellent shooters


Is there much of a difference between 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmore? Have always been a 308 guy so this is new territory.


Not as much as the difference between 22LR and 223 rem but close especially if you consider really long range!

Eric R

You’re kidding right?…! .223/5.56mm has 9x the energy of .22LR at muzzle . 22LR drops aprioximately 5 inches at 100yds where .223 is about an inch high. .223/5.56 also still has 9x the energy of .22 rim fire at 100yds as well. Unless you’ve never fired .223/5.56mm or you’re on drugs, it should be clearly evident that the only similarity between .22LR and .223/5.56mm is a .224 diameter bullet.


Eric, Re-read Xaddo’s response to John here… Xaddo was referring to how much more difference there is between 22LR & 223 rem, as compared to 6.5 Grendel & 6.5 Creedmoor in John’s question.
AKA Grendel vs Creedmore is not as much different than 22LR vs 223rem.


Yup. The Creedmoor is a shell fired out of a 308 length magazine while the Grendel is out of a 223 AR sized magazine. The 6.5 CREEDMORE is a very accurate round and can be built using an AR 10 lower and the Grendel can be made br rebarreling your AR 15 and replacing the bcg with one for the Grendel case


Grendel is a bottle necked down 7.62 -39 or basically a bottle necked down Ak 47 round. They are hot but nothing to be comares to the creedmore other than 6.5. As far as shortening the 308 cartridge 1/2” they do make an ar10 that will handle any 308 type cartridge.


My upcoming build is going to be the Valkyrie with a 20″ barrel. Been doing my research. AWESOME caliber and ballistics.


You tell em. ( clap clap clap )


224 Valkyrie vs. 6.5 Grendel…hahahaha….two shits for max 300 yards


I shoot my 20″ barrel 6.5 Grendel all weekend long at 1000 yds. It actually gets boring ringing the gong. Longest game shot was a mule deer at 583 yds. One shot… one kill. He dropped in his tracks like he was hit with a sledge hammer. Say what you want about the effectiveness of this round or lack there of, but it’s a shooter in the right hands.
I’ve only shot the .224 Valkyrie a couple times but the one I shot was very accurate and definitely a coyote and ground hog death sentence.