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Anschutz 1761 Classic

Anschutz 1761 Classic

The 1761 is available with an 18” or 20” barrel, plus there are multiple stock formats, yet for purity, you can’t beat the standard walnut sporter. The 1761’s action design uses a triple-lug, symmetrically locking bolt with a 60º opening and cocking stroke. It’s a shame you may read this before you actually get to operate the bolt because it really is a blissful delight, with fingertip weighted opening, plus longitudinal cycling and feed of the ammunition.

The bolt’s 35mm steel arm is capped with a warm to the touch polymer knob, which shows a 25mm diameter. For ergonomic interaction, it’s positioned directly above and to the right of your index finger, sited in the front of the trigger guard. The central position along the length of the shaft balances exerted forces upon it to minimise the chances of leverage and friction interrupting silky operation. Jamming the bolt on its 39mm travel is impossible and complements the thorough integration of its underside profile with the magazine’s feed lips. They work in unison, feeding live rounds from their central stack directly into the chamber with no interruption or damage. Complex interacting feed lips are part of the steel magazine’s construction. Hollow points and ballistic-tipped ammunition is equally functional on the controlled feed bolt face, with two extractor claws clasping the brass rim onto the bolt face for delivery to the barrel.

The devil is in the detail

A 2-position safety catch nestles in a cutout in the stock, behind the bolt handle. It’s generously serrated and silent in use with a rolling thumb technique. It doesn’t lock the bolt handle in place on SAFE but the straighter handle design closer to the stock seems to make it far less prone to accidental opening while being carried than previous versions.

The steel magazine holds 5-rounds, with a polymer extension beyond the internal storage space of the ammunition. This offers greater tactile interaction. The release catch sits in the front of the trigger guard, similarly a polymer component incorporating the whole of the underside bottom ‘metal’. Extending your index finger from the trigger releases the mag, which needs a gentle draw from the mag well, so you are less likely to drop it accidentally.

Tipping point Anschütz’s serrated trigger shows an 8mm curved blade, which can be adjusted from 800-1200-grams for a super crisp, single-stage pull. There was approximately 4mm of overtravel at the blade’s tip. My test rifle was delivered at 1130-grams, showing just 40-grams of variation over five pulls. This 40 oz weight on a sporting rifle never feels heavy in use while hunting, plus it’s so easily judged and confident. In the winter, I wouldn’t change it, because while wearing gloves I like the feel of the blade through the extra padding. Yet, in summer, it’s no problem at all to set it at 3 lbs or lighter if you prefer. Crisp to me is always better than light anyway. A cocked action indicator pin emerges from the bolt’s shroud, with a release catch to the left side. Other than the 3-lugs, the key feature of the design is the use of bearings in the firing pin. These reduce the force required to cock the action as the bolt opens. Combined with a ‘QPQ’ coating (Quench polish quench, a type of nitrocarburizing case hardening that increases corrosion resistance, sometimes called Melonite), you really do have to feel the bolt operation to realise its glistening transit. When the gun is in your shoulder in the field and all is set to distract and inhibit you, it feels peerless on a rimfire where the coating will also prevent excessive wear and corrosion. A Picatinny rail has been made available by Anschütz, although this rifle showed some 11mm dovetails machined into the action’s upper. Spanning the ejection port and extending 40mm in front and 70mm to the rear, gives more space than most rimfires for scope mounting. No scope interference is likely from the 60º handle lift and combined with a generous 14” length of pull, you have more space for correct eye relief on longer optics too.

Classical studies

This ‘Classic’ stock shows straight-grained walnut and there is no Monte Carlo cheekpiece or excessive palm swells, so the gun remains ambidextrous. There is chequering on the grip and forend for extra control. The stock’s parallel linear fit welds it to your shoulder, with no cast or drop to the heel. Plus, it’s slim enough to allow a nice vertical head position, with both eyes open on a horizontal plane for better spacial awareness. Studs are fitted for a sling and bipod.

The forend is stiff, ensuring a 2mm free-float in all circumstances. The profile fills your hand, without your fingers encountering the barrel. With the barrelled action removed from the stock, the flat bottom of the action design is seen to locate firmly in position on the neatly machined inlet. This is thoroughly finished with a synthetic lacquer like the rest of the stock, shrugging off any moisture concerns. Bedding stress is almost non-existent.

Rimfire running in

The barrel’s 19.2mm parallel profile sports a ½”x20 TPI thread. This surrounds Anschütz’s characteristically deep recessed crown, which offers physical protection. The gun is available in .22LR, .22WMR and .17HMR, plus the barrel can be removed or replaced, although it is recommended that this is done by a gunsmith.

I fitted a Hawke 3-15x50 optic, Harris bipod and SAK moderator. Ammo wise, I used 17-grain V-Max and 20-grain XTP Hornady ammunition. Neither seemed to perform better than the other, with both feeding and shooting reliably.

Running in has shown a constant improvement and after 600 rounds during a long-term review, velocities are averaging 2566 FPS for the 17-grain, and 2400 FPS for the XTPs. Straight from the box, 41 and 43mm groups were noted from the 17 and 20-grain rounds. The first clean after 100 rounds halved this and a from 800-1200-grams for a super crisp, single-stage pull. There was approximately 4mm of overtravel at the blade’s tip. My test rifle was delivered at 1130-grams, showing just 40-grams of variation over five pulls. This 40 oz weight on a sporting rifle never feels heavy in use while hunting, plus it’s so easily judged and confident. In the winter, I wouldn’t change it, because while wearing gloves I like the feel of the blade through the extra padding. Yet, in summer, it’s no problem at all to set it at 3 lbs or lighter if you prefer. Crisp to me is always better than light anyway.

A cocked action indicator pin emerges from the bolt’s shroud, with a release catch to the left side. Other than the 3-lugs, the key feature of the design is the use of bearings in the firing pin. These reduce the force required to cock the action as the bolt opens. Combined with a ‘QPQ’ coating (Quench polish quench, a type of nitrocarburizing case hardening that increases corrosion resistance, sometimes called Melonite), you really do have to feel the bolt operation to realise its glistening transit. When the gun is in your shoulder in the field and all is set to distract and inhibit you, it feels peerless on a rimfire where the coating will also prevent excessive wear and corrosion.

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A Picatinny rail has been made available by Anschütz, although this rifle showed some 11mm dovetails machined into the action’s upper. Spanning the ejection port and extending 40mm in front and 70mm to the rear, gives more space than most rimfires for scope mounting. No scope interference is likely from the 60º handle lift and combined with a generous 14” length of pull, you have more space for correct eye relief on longer optics too.

Classical studies

This ‘Classic’ stock shows straight-grained walnut and there is no Monte Carlo cheekpiece or excessive palm swells, so the gun remains ambidextrous. There is chequering on the grip and forend for extra control. The stock’s parallel linear fit welds it to your shoulder, with no cast or drop to the heel. Plus, it’s slim enough to allow a nice vertical head position, with both eyes open on a horizontal plane for better spacial awareness. Studs are fitted for a sling and bipod.

The forend is stiff, ensuring a 2mm free-float in all circumstances. The profile fills your hand, without your fingers encountering the barrel. With the barrelled action removed from the stock, the flat bottom of the action design is seen to locate firmly in position on the neatly machined inlet. This is thoroughly finished with a synthetic lacquer like the rest of the stock, shrugging off any moisture concerns. Bedding stress is almost non-existent.

Rimfire running in

The barrel’s 19.2mm parallel profile sports a ½”x20 TPI thread. This surrounds Anschütz’s characteristically deep recessed crown, which offers physical protection. The gun is available in .22LR, .22WMR and .17HMR, plus the barrel can be removed or replaced, although it is recommended that this is done by a gunsmith.

I fitted a Hawke 3-15x50 optic, Harris bipod and SAK moderator. Ammo wise, I used 17-grain V-Max and 20-grain XTP Hornady ammunition. Neither seemed to perform better than the other, with both feeding and shooting reliably.

Running in has shown a constant improvement and after 600 rounds during a long-term review, velocities are averaging 2566 FPS for the 17-grain, and 2400 FPS for the XTPs. Straight from the box, 41 and 43mm groups were noted from the 17 and 20-grain rounds. The first clean after 100 rounds halved this and a surprising amount of copper jacket fragments were ejected by the patches.

Fresh pitch

Rimfire ammunition is never going to be my best friend, having lived for years with precision rifles fed on hand loads. You always get odd flyers with .17HMR and I have experienced this over a decade, with more than 20 HMRs reviewed; they all have ammunition preferences. After the first 100 and clean, plus another 100 fired and cleaned, accuracy stabilised and after its 600 round lifetime, the gun is consistent. It now shoots sub 10mm groups at 100m in zero wind conditions, with occasional flyers opening this out to 30/35mm. It nearly always cloverleafs 3 of any 5 shots and is a joy to use.

The 18” barrel length provides a good compromise between overall length and ballistic performance, so seems perfect for the power in the cartridge. Shorter barrels are a delight to carry, handle and shoot but they seem to prove the overall trend that longer barrels get the best from factory ammunition.

Hunting tool?

Shooting from the driver’s seat in any vehicle makes an ambidextrous gun appreciably useful to me and swapping sides is easier with shorter barrels. Left-handed shots from the neutral stock shape and excellent trigger were of equal performance and other than its more delicate walnut material, this is the stock geometry of choice for me on any rimfire, with all subtleties accounted for.

It is of note that the 14” length of pull and the firm, 12.5mm recoil pad resist sponginess in the shoulder and all contact is perceptible. The lower comb is not as hard on the face, so never pushes the gun out of your shoulder. The operation of the bolt was no stretch at all and its genuine fingertip weighting was notably excellent, showing little disturbance to the sight picture when reloading quickly in the shoulder. The detail of the tiny bearing on the firing pin against the angled steel of the bolt handle that cocks it is genuinely masterful micro engineering.

Conclusion

The 1761 is worth every penny if you appreciate the best. Small but critical performance details become obvious when the action package is analysed, with an adjustable trigger, ergonomic stock geometry showing a longer length of pull and spacious scope mounting locations. It has intuitive ambidextrous performance and a specific left-hander is also available, with several other target-oriented variants in the pipeline.

  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

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  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

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  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Anschutz 1761 Classic - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Name: Anschütz 1761 Classic
  • Calibre: .17HMR (on test), .22LR & .22WMR available
  • Overall length: 35.5”
  • Weight: 6.52lbs/2.96kg
  • Magazine Capacity: 5+1
  • Trigger: Single-Stage
  • Barrel length: 18”
  • Muzzle thread: ½”x20 UNF
  • Stock material: Walnut
  • Length of pull: 14”
  • Price: £1320
  • Contact: RUAG Ammotec - www.ruag.co.uk

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