Anschutz .22s: No Competition

Anschutz .22s: No Competition

Clair Rees

Only a handful of truly high-quality bolt-action .22s have been available during the past century. The list includes Winchester’s classic Model 52, Remington’s custom-shop Model 40, the original and recently re-introduced versions of the Kimber, and the fine rimfire rifles made by Dan Cooper and Dakota. A few of these models are no longer manufactured, while others nudge the $2,000 mark.

All the above-named rifles are exceptionally fine .22s, but none can compete with Anschutz’ worldwide reputation for match-winning accuracy. For the past 40 years, Anschutz .22s have completely dominated the Olympic Games and other international small-bore rifle competition. Anschutz rifles aren’t merely accurate — they’re exceptionally handsome firearms produced with Teutonic dedication to detail and quality.

The Anschutz name hasn’t been heavily advertised in the past few years, but the company’s fine, German-made rifles are still widely available. The Model 1710 I acquired back in 1982 remains in the lineup.

Because I shoot many different rifles every year, I’ve neglected this great little .22. Rummaging through my gun safe the other day. I stumbled across the Anschutz stored way in the back. I couldn’t even remember when I’d used it last. Fine guns deserve a better fate, so I dug it out. I’ve since spent time admiring the rifle’s handsomely figured Meister-grade walnut stock and rollover Monte Carlo cheekpiece.

I’ve also taken it afield and shot it several times. Its accuracy has not diminished. With Federal’s Gold Medal standard-velocity loads and a 6x Burns Mini Scope, the Anschutz sporter is still capable of putting 10 rounds into a single, ragged hole at 50 yards. The group measured just 3/8″ between centers.

Anschutz .22 sporters are built around one of two target rifle actions. My 1700-series sporter features the same Match 54 action used in the company’s time-honored Olympic-grade target rifles. This precisely machined action is mated with a 23 3/4″ free-floating barrel that’s precisely rifled, lapped and chambered to Anschutz target barrel specifications.

The crisp, single-action trigger can be adjusted to provide anywhere from a 2 lb. to 4.4 lb. letoff. Today, this rifle — with its Meister-grade walnut stock — sells for just under $1,500. The standard version (with less fancy woodwork) goes for a nickel under $1,290.

Rifles based on the Anschutz Match 64 action are also very accurate, but command considerably lower prices. The Model 1416D Classic sells for $680. For several years I owned a Model 1418D with a full Mannlicherstyle stock. Today this retails for $1,164.

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