Anschutz 1771 DG Classic, Adjustable Walnut Stocked rifle in 223
- Credit: Archant
Chris Parkin tests the Anschutz 1771 DG Classic, Adjustable Walnut Stocked rifle in 223, and is impressed with the flawless mechanics and classy feel
PROS: A great combination of old school and new cool; Anschutz ergonomics shine through, even on a sporting rifle; Ergonomics of the bolt and its flawless mechanics are not to be dismissed; Intelligent barrel specifications appropriate to the calibre
CONS: Necessary repeat cheekpiece adjustments deserve better than an Allen Key; It is quite expensive
OPINION: If a walnut stocked rifle with character and up to date mechanics is your desire, there are few rifles that can match this in the sporting world, but it is quite expensive. Bolt operation is of top level
Overall length: 39”/990mm
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Magazine capacity: 4+1
Trigger: Single stage, 985gr
Barrel length: 20”/510mm
Stock material: Walnut
Length of Pull: 14.25”/363mm
Anschutz 1771 Rifle, £1,963.50
Hausken JD184 Sound Moderator, £348 (barrel thread adaptor £22)
DDOptics Nightfall 5-30x50 Riflescope, £1,174
RUAG 01579 362319 www.ruag.co.uk
Hornady Varmint Express 223 Ammunition
www.edgarbrothers.com 01625 613177
Sportsmatch 30mm scope mounts/11mm Dovetails
www.sportsmatch-uk.com 01525 381638
Anschutz are well known for their rimfire rifles, but their centrefires are a little less commonly encountered. This 1771 DG, adjustable in .223 with a walnut stock, is an interesting product, blending some classic looks with modern ergonomics.
I’m seeing a lot of synthetics and chassis type guns these days, so a walnut stock was a nice break from the routine. It’s well presented, with a straight grain, and evenly spaced regions showing a little swirl to break up the flow, adding a bit of character. The finish is a durable synthetic coating that sheds water reasonably well, but it will not fend off knocks as easily as polymers so you have to treat a rifle like this with a bit more respect than a work tool.
Studs are fitted front and rear for a sling or bipod, which I added immediately to take full advantage of the adjustable comb for perfect head/eye position. A fully floating barrel with a good 3mm to spare all around when shot from any position was able to fend off any careless shooting techniques without intermittent contact between wood and steel.
Starting out with a neatly cut 15x1mm muzzle thread surrounding the 11° crown, the barrel’s 18.2mm outer diameter swells straight toward the action with a 510mm/20” length, well suited to a sporting .223. This adds benefits to handling when adding the inevitable sound moderator, yet still retains plenty of volume to gain acceptable velocities from the delightfully capable .223 cartridge. A 1-in-9” twist rate adds more versatility, with the capability to stretch to the 69gr match bullets for extending the ranges. These perform better in the wind than the 50/55gr bullets often used when varminting, albeit with a slight increase in short-range trajectory curvature.
Anschutz’s action is scaled to the cartridge with 85mm bolt-stroke and 65mm ejection port on the right side. It shows six locking lugs in two rows of three for the ideal combination of light 60° bolt lift, plentiful leverage for primary extraction and a secure left-side sprung claw in the push-feed bolt-face to draw the brass from its chamber before the sprung ejector flings it clear.
I would say it prefers to be drawn back rapidly, as a slower approach tends to leave the brass within the action sitting on top of the magazine follower, so if you want to reload fast, operate the bolt quickly. It is smooth and feeds the rounds cleanly with no damage or distortion to the case necks, partly thanks to the steel feed lips and ramps on the detachable magazine, with the ideal combination of a red polymer follower to smooth the life of the case rims and remain visible to show the gun ‘empty’ after its four resident rounds are depleted.
To reload, you must use the magazine though. Emergency single rounds will not feed easily into the chamber if simply dropped into the ejection port. The mag’s polymer base stands about 10mm proud of the rifle’s underside bottom metal, and its release button is sandwiched between it and the spacious trigger guard. It’s tactile, operable in gloves and there is no fuss – the mag drops free and can be reinserted without any snags.
A 25mm polymer ball wraps the end of the curved 40mm bolt-handle, so it never feels cold and is immediately in the perfect position for fast bolt operation. I can picture in my head how closely this resembles the ergonomic geometry (if not the exact underlying shape) of three or four rifles I consider to have the best bolt operation in the business, all showing three to six lugs, all with similar sizes of bolt-handle, knob and position above the trigger finger. Take note – it’s definitely of a higher standard, and Anschutz do know a thing or two about ease of rifle operation with minimal positional disturbance to the shooter, a fact disregarded by some manufacturers.
On a slight downside, the action shows 11mm airgun-style dovetails for scope mounting with arrestor block positions. It works just fine, but I think it seems a little dated, especially for anyone wanting to add night vision with Picatinny fittings. There are four threaded holes for later mounting of other types of mounts and, thankfully, Anschutz have excellent engineering drawings available online for manufacturers/dealers to refer to. Manufacturing tolerances are as expected – excellent. All machining is extremely neat, threads are chatter-free with no swarf to be found, deep bluing to the steel, crisp chequering and details like the feed lips on the magazine are all free of any sharp residual corners from the initial stamping and folding processes.
Shooting the rifle displays a comfortable environment. The gun, with a 275g Hausken moderator fitted, shows neutral balance with minimal recoil from the 55gr ammunition I was testing. 3,125fps was displayed on the chronograph, which was an excellent result from Hornady’s published 3,240fps laboratory findings from their test barrel. My own 8” twist .223 throws the same ammunition at 3,060fps, and all barrels will vary a little within the acceptable performance window. As a sporting rifle, I set out for a 100m zero using the supplied DDOptics 5-30x50 scope in Sportsmatch rings. I’d given the barrel a deep clean from the box, which showed firing residue from the factory and proof stages. A deep clean on any rifle you have never used before is always good practice.
The rifle was zeroed within 10 rounds, and showed nice round groups of sub-30mm from the first five rounds directed to the centre. I quit here and went away to clean it, finding no traces of shaved copper fragments from sloppy bullet feeding during the reload, with only the expected mild copper residue within the bore to clean. The second trip showed an immediate improvement with groups comfortably below 25mm for five rounds of the Hornady Varmint Express, which is a pretty good baseline to prove a working rifle. Further ammunition honing is down to time and budget.
The 360mm/14¼” length of pull including the 10mm thick rubber butt pad suits me well, and remains well positioned in the shoulder with rounded edges that won’t snag on your clothes, speeding up the gun mount on rushed shots.
The cheekpiece offers more than 20mm of vertical adjustment, but sadly blocks removal of the bolt so has to be removed when you are disassembling the rifle. It needs a 4mm Allen key on the right side to unlock the secure twin steel posts within the walnut, and these don’t have any kind of position markers either.
My tip would be to wind some electrical tape around one so you can immediately return to your favoured spot. The comb is tall and slender though, so you can keep it under your cheekbone without displacing your jaw for a great shooting position.
Reach to trigger is well proportioned and, while it doesn’t show adjustment as extensive as some other Annies, its 95% crisp pulls can be adjusted after the gun is removed from the stock. It bedded in after the first few boxes of ammo and some dry firing to offer a 985g pull with sub-75g consistency, which I found more than comfortable.
I enjoyed shooting the Anschutz and I had to be very picky to locate matters that I felt let it down. I can forgive the sleek 11mm dovetails as they do keep the character of the rifle well. The safety catch is quiet, although it doesn’t lock the bolt, which might be helpful on a gun with such slick, light controls.
In the end, I do think that on a rifle needing frequent bolt removal, certainly in the UK where we are encouraged to store the bolt separately, a quicker release mechanism would suit a rifle of this price, as well as a more permanent positional indicator system to return your rifle to previous firing condition.
I will add that the Hausken moderator was superb and complemented the rifle perfectly!