The preliminary results are in on the performance of the 7mm Valkyrie AR as far as velocity over a large range of bullet weights. Thanks to new powders like leverevolution the 7mmVAR gets velocities normally associated with 7mm08 factory loads. A 140gr Nos BT at 2800 to 2830fps, 154gr SST at 2700fps and 160gr Fusion at 2600fps to 2660fps and lastly a 168gr Berger at 2600fps. These are well documented 7mm08 velocities and the hunting capabilities of the 7mm08 are well documented. In other words if guys are having success with factory 7mm08 ammo on particular game we can safely assume the same results or very very similar with the 7mm Valkyrie AR since the performance is the same as factory 7mm08. 7mm bullets have excellent sectional densities that are appropriate for medium to large game. For example a 7mm 160 grain, has a sectional density of .283 which is considered CXP3 which is the category assigned for large game such as red stag, kudu, elk and moose.
The 7mm also have ballistic coefficents (BC) in the high 400's to even low 600's for some bullets. The Federal 160gr Fusion bonded bullet has a BC of .528 for example. The Hornady 154gr SST has a BC of .525 better than a 140gr 6.5gr SST of .520. These high BC's mean that to get long effective hunting ranges and they don't require magnum velocities to get those ranges. Basically if your hunting in normal hunting ranges below 500 yards you don't need a canon to hunt with a 7mm. The 7mm08 has a well known record of taking everything from deer to moose. A google search of 7mm08 and moose brings up all kinds of examples of moose and some very large trophy moose taken with 7mm08.
Hornady came up with the H.I.T.S system for hunters to get general ideas for effective hunting ranges and to aid weeding through internet hype and forum spin that are ever so common. Its general it helps a hunter validate what they read online. Usually when someone says they don't trust Hornadys H.I.T.S system I find they are hyping an under powered caliber recommending it for game its not ethically capable of taking or simply don't like the results for there favorite caliber. You can get Hormady H.I.T.S numbers for a particular cartridge by running a bullets caliber, bc and muzzle velocity through a ballistic calculator to get velocities for various yardages. You then take those velocities and run them through Hornady H.I.T.S. For example get if want to see what H.I.T.S predicts for the 7mmVAR for a 160gr Federal Fusion with a MV of 2600fps with a BC of .528 to get the velocity at 400 yards. Then take that velocity at 400 yards and then run it in the H.I.T.S calculator on the hornady website. The results validate that the 7mm08 and 7mm Valkyrie AR are big game capable cartridges. A score of over 900 is considered big game capable for Elk and Moose. Hornadys H.I.T.S system indicates that a both the 7mm08 and 7mm Valkyrie AR are large game capable to past 350 yards. The H.I.T.S score drops below 900 at 390 yards which is a velocity of 1990fps at sea level as the elevation goes up so does the range its in the large game category.
The 7mmVAR cartridge has a shorted over all length (OAL) of 2.295in to fit in a AR-15 . This smaller OAL means that not all 7mm bullets are appropriate for the 7mmVAR. The spreadsheet list is a good resource to check if a bullet will work. If the ogive is to far back the bullet may not work. We've documented about 50 bullets from 100gr to 168gr that will work in the 7mmVAR giving the hunter selections from varmints to Moose. Solids copper bullets for 7mm are generally 140gr pills but lower grain do exist like the 130gr Cutting Edge MTH and Barnes 120gr TTSX. Moose have been taken with the 7mm08 and the 120gr TTSX. The Cutting Edge MTH bullet has a decent BC of .460 so I would probably go that route as a full copper bullet. I mention that because California goes lead free in 2019 making the 7mmVAR and like calibers the 270AR being another example as good choices for that state. While the sectional density is lower the actual “terminal sectional density” has the same results as larger weight lead bullets. Tests of copper solids show that lower weight copper bullets penetrate flesh and punch through bone like much larger lead based bullets.
The velocities I mentioned are from a 24in barrel and compared to a 7mm08 24in barrel. Its likely as a hunter that you will not want to use a AR with a 24in barrel. Maybe a 20in or 22in fluted barrel make more sense which means effective hunting ranges will need to be adjusted down. Early testing indicates that velocity drop is about 28fps per inch with the same charge of leverevoultion. Some of that velocity could be gotten back most likely with faster powders in the shorter barrels. The most common barrel length for 7mm08 are also 20 and 22in barrels.
Taking the real world experience with large game and the 7mm08 and hunting effective range calculators like the Hornady H.I.T.S system shows that the 7mmVAR is a large game capable cartridge with in reason. If your an ethical hunter and don't take what I would call unreasonable shots at game the think the 7mmVAR makes a good choice for medium to large game in the AR-15 platform. In fact the 7mmVAR actually delivers more energy down range and gets higher H.I.T.S scores than some calibers only available AR10 like the 308, 6.5 Creedmore and 260 Remington. You read that correctly because of the velocity and big BC's and high sectional densities the 7mmVar actually has competitive or in some cases better stats than main stream cartridges in the larger heavier AR10. If your like me your going to run those numbers to challenge that statement please do you'll see what i'm talking about. For example a 308 with a 165gr SST at 2840fps (factory hornady) is in the large game category to 330 yards according to H.I.T.S compared to a 160gr 7mm at 2600fps with a big game capable range of 390 yards to give you some perspective.
7mm08 Moose Kill