Lifelong Anschutz fanatic Mike Powell gets to grips with the 1710 model in .22LR.
I have said on several previous occasions that I am a big Anschutz fan. This started many years ago when I bought my first rifle (too many years ago to be sure of the model), an incredibly accurate shot that took out many thousands of rabbits over some 20 years. In all that time it never missed a beat, and from then on I was hooked.
When the time came for a change, and I stepped into the Sportsman Gun Centre (in those days situated in Paignton) my eyes were immediately drawn to the latest Anschutz offering, the 1710 .22LR. With its Monte Carlo stock, its curved comb, and its overall elegant appearance, I decided upon it there and then – despite it being the most expensive 22 there. It was a decision I have never regretted, and all these years later I still use it on a regular basis. Again, like its predecessor, it has never let me down – that is, except for a broken extractor claw that was easily replaced at little cost.
Over the years Anscutz has been at the very top of the rimfire tree, not only in quality but in cost too. They are not cheap rifles by any means and over the last few years other makes – notably Weirauch, CZ and Kimber – have challenged Anschütz where quality and price are concerned. I have had experience of all three of these makes, and very good they are too. CZ in particular really has come on in leaps and bounds and now produces extremely good, well-finished rimfire rifles at sensible prices. However, this is not a review of a CZ, so I will return to the Anschutz!
Anschutz has an unbeatable record where competition shooting is concerned, with a more than impressive record of Olympic, Biathlon, and international competition successes, and it is here that their enviable reputation for accuracy stems from. I compared other makes to the Anschutz, but one area in which the brand still holds sway is accuracy.
Most rifles today are capable of accuracy of a very high level. My shooting mate’s CZ American is one of these, and at ranges out to 75 yards there is little to choose between them. Beyond this point, however, the Anschutz has the edge. German engineering has always been of the highest quality and this certainly shows up in the 1710.
The firm of J G Anschütz has over 150 years experience of producing high-quality guns, and is today based in Ulm, Germany. The 1700 series of sporting rifles comes in a variety of rimfire calibres, as well as a .223 centrefire model, the 1770. The subject of this review, the 1710 .22LR, is available in a variety of grades and stock finishes.
Starting with the all-important barrel, this, by present day standards, is on the long side at 23in. It is eight-groove Olympic grade, and is button rifled and lapped, target crowned and blued. While perhaps somewhat irrelevant at close ranges, as the distance increases I have found the extra length and quality advantageous where accuracy is concerned. I am no advocate of excessive long range shooting at live targets and limit myself with the 1710 to a maximum of 130 yards. At this range, the rifle is deadly accurate. Current models come without iron sights.
The barrel fits into the Match 54 Action, claimed to be of the same quality as their Olympic counterparts. This is machined from a solid steel block, the bolt lugs machined eccentrically to ensure good bedding for the two claw extractors. Beneath the action is the magazine aperture housing the five-shot (standard) steel mag. A 10-shot version is also available, both strippable for cleaning. Release is effected by pressing a small lever to the rear of the magazine. The bolt’s face is recessed, activated by a fairly long bolt handle ending in a smooth round ball.
Bolt and cam are lapped at the factory, making for a smooth action from the word go. The firing pin is very light, and the manufacturers claim this 54 action has the world’s fastest lock time – I will take their word on this!
Cycling the rounds is a smooth, easy process and in all the very many thousands I have put through mine I cannot remember having any problems at all.
An 11mm scope rail is machined into the top of the receiver, drilled and tapped for scope bases. Several mounts are available for the dovetail fitting, including Leupold, Weaver, and Bushnell.
We now come to what is without doubt one of the best triggers to be found in any rimfire. It is single stage and adjustable for weight of pull, sear engagement and over travel. Adjustment is possible from just over 2lbs to about 4.5lbs. The machined trigger guard is steel.
Anschutz is also infamous for its ‘flag safety’ and I will agree that it’s an acquired taste. Positioned at the top left of the receiver, it doesn’t fall to the thumb like the more conventional types. However, it is positive, and once you have had the rifle for a while you barely even think about it.
The barrel is free floated into the Schnabel-type forend, and on stripping the rifle the inletting work is of the highest quality. There is a choice of stock – mine has the rollover Monte Carlo type – plus a classic level comb. Chequering is of top quality and the length of pull is 14.2in. Overall length is 43.5in, and the whole thing weighs in at around 7lb.
A high degree of accuracy can be achieved with a variety of ammunition but, after testing with most brands, Winchester subsonics came out the best. And so to sound moderators. As this is a match barrel I got in touch with Anschütz and asked their advice on threading the barrel.
Rather amazingly, I had a reply bearing the signature of Jochen Anschutz himself stating that the company strongly recommend not threading the barrel, as accuracy can be impaired. To get round this I enlisted the help of air rifle guru Nick Jenkinson, who fitted an old Air Arms plastic moderator to a piece of plastic conduit slid over the barrel. This cheap and cheerful solution has worked for many years now, and I often smile at the thought that one of the most expensive .22 rimfires on the market has probably got one of the least attractive and undoubtedly the cheapest sound moderators around!
Again, strangely for such a quality rifle, I have a Hawke “Endurance” 3-9×40 scope on top. I have found for the use I give this rifle this scope with the old MAP8 reticle does the job perfectly.
Priced at £1,298 this is without doubt an expensive rimfire. You get what you pay for, however, and the Anschütz 1700 series offer quality in every area.
Equipment reviewed by: Mike Powell
Product: Anschutz 1710 22Lr
Importers: RUAG ■ 01579 362319 ■ www.ruag.co.uk
Purchased: Sportsman Gun Centre ■ 01392 354854
Verdict: Has to be one of the best .22 rifles available
Product: Hawke Endurance Scope
Price: from around £250
Distributor: Deben ■ 01394 387762 ■ www.deben.com
Verdict: Certainly not top of the range scopes, but for rimfires they do the job really well