Gun test: Anschutz 1710 HB G Kelbly .22 LR precision
- Credit: Archant
Contributor Broadsword tests an uber-accurate designer Anschutz .22 rifle that shoots as good as it looks in this detailed rifle review.
Think of precision rimfires, be that for competition or hunting, and Anschutz instantly come to mind, not only for their amazing precision barrels but their unsurpassable trigger units too. When you combine them with one of the top stock makers in the USA (i.e. Jim Kelbly, world-renowned for his precision rifles and stocks), you have a very special rifle on your hands.
What you have is an Anschutz premium Model 54 action in the guise of the 1710 series bolt action rifle mated to a Select Match grade .22 rimfire barrel with match chambering.
A model 5109 two-stage adjustable trigger takes care of the firing control side of the operation and ships with a 10-shot single-stacked magazine as standard. This is great, but the best bit is the stock; Kelbly’s have a wealth of experience, I have used many a Kelbly action and stock on custom and wildcat rifles in the past.
This model is a carbon fibre and fibreglass mix in their semi tactical style stock design with an elevating cheekpiece/comb section. Finished in sparkly silver and black fleck, it’s not only an eye catcher but also a perfect platform for launching .22 projectiles with great accuracy in any weather. The new Kelbly Anschutz collaboration being imported by RUAG is this 1710 HB G Kelbly, retailing for £2,670 – a high price for any .22LR rimfire but quality costs, as does perfection, so let’s see how it shoots.
Anschutz 1710 specifications
Before we look at the amazing stock, let’s run through the equally well-appointed Anschutz 1710 barrelled action. This model uses the renowned Model 54 repeating action, which should need no introduction, but its match grade credentials are well founded and achieve the look and feel of a full-sized centrefire rifle with the usual German attention to detail and precision manufacture. The Model 54 was first made in 1954, hence the nomenclature, and has been at the top of the rimfire world since then, dominating World and Olympic records.
The strength and simplicity of the tubular steel construction of the 54 is based on its long (6.75") heavy action, designed to achieve concentric barrel and cartridge union with a smooth gliding bolt system. You have a 1.5" long x 1.0" wide ejection port cut into the right/top side and the action is bridged with 11mm dovetail scope mounts. You also have two drilled and tapped positions to which twin bases or a single base/rail can be added to attach NV/thermal.
Overall finish is a very deep, rich bluing with a long, raised serrated-edged bolt release lever sited to the left rear of the action. The bolt is long at 6.15" and 0.65" wide and has a polished steel-body blued bolt shroud that houses a red cocking indicator.
Upfront, you have twin claw-sprung extractors at three and nine o’clock positions and ejection is administered by a small spur projecting from the action base. The bolt is beautifully made and the swept back 2.5" bolt handle terminates in a round plastic 25mm knob with an opening angle of 54°, allowing for a good firm, smooth bolt operation. The firing pin is made of high-strength hardened steel, so consistent and reliable ignition is ensured for a variety of .22 LR cartridges.
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The barrel on this model is a stainless steel match grade version, which is sensible, as it very much looks the part with its parallel barrel profile culminating in a 0.828" muzzle from its 18" overall length, making it a perfect match to the Kelbly’s stock.
This barrel is screw cut for the finer ½ UNEF thread, so 28 pitch not 20, which caught me out! There’s also a large recessed muzzle crown keeping the crucial rifling safe from damage. The barrel is held in place with two vertical pins, one on either side of the barrel tenon which keeps this ‘pressed in’ barrel to action union firm. On this model you have a precision ground recoil lug sandwiched between the barrel and action face that is 0.40" long and 0.15" deep and fits well into a corresponding cut-out in the stock.
This Mod 54 1710 barrel has an 8 groove and 1 in 420mm rifling twist, that’s 1 in 16.25" in old money, with a match chambering which, when bore scoped, showed no sign of machine marks and also cleaned very easily too.
Crucially, it’s also free-floating for its entire length, an important consideration for consistent and accurate shooting where different positions and bipod attachments will be used that might affect the barrel harmonics if the barrel was not properly floated.
Being a repeater-style action, the 1710 is fed via a detachable magazine system that is held in place by a pressed steel cage system. It’s the only part I dislike, as it looks a bit cheap, but it functions perfectly, and although the long, extended quick-release spur at the rear of the housing (also pressed steel) allows for speedy mag release, again it would be better as a slim, solid aluminium lever in my view. The 10-shot magazine is standard on this model, although five-shot versions will also fit, obviously, and both are made from burnished sheet steel for rigidity and durability.
Anschutz are renowned for their Match grade triggers and quite frankly, they fit the best triggers on their rifles, period. There are various single- or two-stage triggers and a double set trigger unit but this Kelbly 1710 comes fitted with the 5109 2 two-stage variant. This has a side lever safety system, so no winged safety as seen on some Mod 54 bolts.
The trigger blade is multi positional, sliding on a vertical hanger so you can get the best length of pull and trigger release possible. Although set at 1000g it is adjustable from 800- 1100g if you desire, but it is so precise on the factory setting with a smooth first take up and then instant release on the second, I would leave it well alone.
Now to that lovely stock from Kelbly’s. What you have is a design similar to their KTS model that is a semi tactical/competition stock with an upright pistol grip stance and a wide 2" (and relatively square) fore-end with Anschutz’s under rail. This allows use of accessory attachments to the dovetailed rail for slings and bipod attachments, however an adaptor is not included in the price of the gun.
The rear butt section has a nice undercut/hook for the supporting hand plus a static Kick-EEZ black rubber recoil pad, which is very tactile. The best part is the adjustable elevating cheek piece allowing you to tweak the height of the comb, which is 6.25" long, so plenty of face space for any shooter. It has a height-adjustable aluminium wheel which can be accessed from both sides of the stock (good idea) that allows max elevation of just over an inch. It’s supported by the central adjusting screw bar and two parallel bars either side so is very steady in the aim.
I asked Ian Kelbly what’s special about their stocks and this is what he said: “The stock is made from a carbon fibre and fiberglass composite which makes a very strong stock that will last a lifetime. We bought Six Enterprises in the late 90s, which is the original carbon fibre stock maker that taught McMillan how to make stocks as well.
“We use a top and bottom split mould, which allows us to mould the action, barrel, bottom metal, and rails all into the stock in the manufacturing process. We don’t use a secondary operation to inlet the stocks (this allows a totally inline action and barrel inlet). The silver flake is moulded into the epoxy and is a House of Kolor metal flake. It is there to increase aesthetic appeal and to help hide some of the cloth bleed through.”
There you have it, I would say that this system of inletting does mean a very precise action-to-stock union and the barrel fits perfectly parallel along its barrel channel so no touching the sides at all, unlike some stocks.
Interestingly there are no aluminium pillars or bedding compound in this stock, and judging by the field test results it does not need it either! Great stock all round for weight, balance, handling, durability and useability.
How does the Anschutz 1710 shoot?
This rifle is, I guess, primarily aimed at the target or bench rest shooters, but off a bipod and out in the fields ambushing crows and rabbits it also works perfectly. I fitted a Hawke Airmax 30 SF, as it’s a really good value scope with a superb reticle, which you can run through their X-ACT Ballistic program to ascertain the correct trajectory drop and windage drift. I fitted a one-piece scope mount to the 11mm dovetails but that was a mistake, as many of the spent cases hit the bottom of the mount and landed back in the rifle, doh! So, I would fit a two-piece scope mount or a one-piece cut-away Picatinny scope rail.
Accuracy at 50 yards was superb, no surprises with any of the ammunition tested, apart from some of the HV rounds. The best all-rounder had to be the new SK Match Long Range. I use this myself for troublesome crows in Scotland as their accuracy and consistent and long-range performance is perfectly matched to this Kelbly 1710.
Accuracy at 50 yards was miniscule at 0.40" regularly and at 100 yards on steel silhouette targets we had five-shot groups of just 1.35".
They were subsonic in this barrel length too, so with a MAE LR22ST .22 LR mod fitted it was extremely stealthy in the sound department. All the subs shot five shots at 50 yards at 0.75" or less, which tells you how good this rifle is and the best HV ammo went to the RWS HV loads with 0.55" at 50 yards and at 100 yards it achieved an impressive 1.35". It didn’t like the new lead-free varieties, with the odd flier appearing, but that’s the ammo not the rifle’s fault.
Conclusions on the Anschutz 1710 rifle
It should come as no surprise how well this rifle shoots, given the blend of the 1710 action, stainless steel match barrel and superb 5109 trigger inletted into the excellent Kelbly adjustable stock.
This rifle makes for a very good target, club, competitive or long-range rimfire, it’s that versatile. It handles well off a bench, bipod or off hand and when shooting SK match ammo. It’s a formidable mini sniping rifle too.
SK factory data
Trajectory drop in inches
Manufacturer: Anschutz GmbH Germany
Model: 1710 HB G Kelbly
Type: Bolt action Model 54 action
Overall Length: 36.25 inches
Barrel Length: 18” (45.5cm), ½ inch UNEF threaded stainless steel precision match barrel
Finish: Blued action and stainless-steel barrel
Weight: 3.1kgs or 6lbs 13ozs
Magazine: Detachable ten shot, five shot option
Stock: Kelbly precision adjustable carbon fibre/fibreglass stock
Trigger: Two stage 5109 adjustable
Safety: Direct lever
Sights: None, 11mm dovetails for scope mount and drilled and tapped for scope bases.
Importers: RUAG Ammotec UK 01579 362319