Of course, the AR15 is not the only tactical rifle game in town. In fact, some older, much older designs have had fresh life breathed into them-and one of these is the LOSOK Valkyr™ (losokcustomarms.com). Using what could be described as the original tactical rifle, the M-1 Garand, owner Mark Lammers has turned the old warhorse into a modern, long-range tactical tack-driver.
Using the long action of the M-1 Garand, a new receiver, and modified Browning BAR magazines, the Valkyr is available in calibers .30-06 through .458 Winchester Magnum. However, the gun is not recognizable to the untrained eye as a Garand-it appears to be a variant of the Springfield M1A or M14-which it isn’t, although mark also makes a variant of that too.
According to Mark, the receiver in early production rifles is milled from solid billet, later rifles will be hammer forged once the forging tool is complete. The receiver will be manufactured from 8620 steel heat treated to milspec for the M14/M1 Garand. The receiver design is Patent Pending, and is now licensed to another Ohio Company, 7.62MM firearms, for production and worldwide distribution-although LOSOK will still be producing its own version of the rifle. The receiver features a 20MOA canted rail on top for optics mounting, eliminating the greatest difficulty in achieving scoped accuracy on the M14 or Garand.
The bolt in early rifles is a USGI Garand bolt inspected, and fitted with firing pin, extractor, and ejector, but will later be newly manufactured utilizing the same methods as the receiver. So those of you who might be concerned about LOSOK gobbling up a bunch of M1 collector rifles, take heart, things will change soon.
The magazine is a modified M1918 BAR magazine with a capacity of 20 rounds and using a new follower to activate an M14 style bolt stop after the last round is fired. The steel body and follower are FNC treated as well to give outstanding corrosion resistance and durability.
I had an opportunity to test a pre-production Valkyr in .30-06 at a Counter-Sniper School put on by OSS-I (http://www.oss-international.net) in nearby Zanesville Ohio at an abandoned concrete factory. Mark brought the rifle and a supply of Hornady .30.06 M1 Garand rounds loaded with the 168 Gr. Hornady A-Max Bullet. Mark had mounted a 3-12×50 Horus Vision Hawk, in Burris XTR rings with a H425 reticle with adjustments and central grid in USMC mils. Although I would have liked a bit more power, the scope worked out very well.
The Valkyr factory prototype was fitted with a McMillan M3 Adjustable M14 stock modified to fit the larger Valkyr (M14-06) action, rail guard, free floated barrel and gas system.
The bipod was a Harris clone, made for Winchester.
The muzzle brake was a slick touch-it was a Beretta BM59 muzzle brake. Very distinctive with the array of holes on top-and I’m sure it added to the overall shootability of the Valkyr.
The weight of the Valkyr prototype with scope, rings, magazine, bipod and sling is 16.5lbs., OAL is 46.25 inches with the stock at max length of pull and muzzle brake installed, and 43 inches with no brake and LOP at minimum. It is a pretty substantial weapon, but definitely what is needed when shooting this length of cartridge.
This was one great shooting rifle with under MOA groups at 100, 200, 300 and 465 yards, where it banged the steel plate set there with no effort. One thing it didn’t bang was me. While the .30-06 offers about 20 lbs of recoil energy with 165-grain bullets vs. 18 for the .308 the gun was one that could be shot all day. With that 16 lb. weight to hold it down, plus the Beretta muzzle break, it truly is a rifle that could be shot all day long comfortably-and believe me, I am no fan of recoil. Having to hump the Valkyr with its support ammo over hill and dale on a mission wouldn’t be much fun, but when it was time to take that shot, the Valkyr would shine. One last note, it was cool just loading Browning BAR magazines (the all time coolest battle weapon) for firing.
I asked Mark Lammer’s why John Garand didn’t use the BAR magazine feeding system on his M1 rifle instead of the 8 round en bloc clip during his 15 year epic development of the M1 of that monumental weapon. The answer was simple. The military at that time believed that the BAR magazines would be too easily lost or damaged if mass issued, so they insisted on a fixed, internal magazine specification. Probably the same guys who insisted on magazine cutoffs so that in battle soldiers would fire their bolt guns single shot, and hold the magazine supply in reserve on their Springfield and Enfield rifles so as not to waste ammo. Think of how much farther ahead our military would be if thinking of this type didn’t so often prevail.
LOSOK also has a M14/M1A version of the Valkyr-the M14-06™, which uses the same receiver as the Valkyr, but with the shorter gas system of the M14. The M14-06 is setup in an Archangel (archangelmanufacturing.com) fully adjustable stock that seems to naturally mold into the shooters body in the prone position, which is the position you shoot both these guns. Even though the M14-06 is lighter, it still weighs in fully setup at 15 or so pounds. Both the Valkyr and the M14-06 can also handle the .308, but adapters are needed to allow for the use of M14 type magazines to go with the .308 chamber.
LOSOK will also chamber the rifles in .300 Win Mag as mentioned but you lose magazine capacity AND you don’t gain anything in ballistic performance with custom loads in .30-06 or factory loads like Hornady’s Light Magnum™ line. Mark says that he is getting 2900 fps out of the 180 grain Light Magnum round compared to 2950 to 3000 FPS for the 180 gr. .300 Winchester load.