By Bruce Potts
Thursday, 07 February 2008
Anschutz XIV Carbine .22LR rifle review: With top accuracy and velocity this short-barrelled German-made Anschutz .22 rimfire rifle will deliver.
Anschutz XIV Carbine .22LR rifle review.
This company, one of Germanys most prestigious gunmakers, has produced a cracking .22 carbine aimed at the sporting market. Taking its super-accurate Model 64 Target series rifle, Anschutz has reduced the barrel to a scant 14in, which is screw-cut at the factory to accept a sound moderator.
This produces a package that is highly manoeuvrable in cover, superbly accurate and perfect for use with subsonic ammunition.
A sporting model
Anschutz has used the same match-grade barrels on its sporter models as it does on the target rifles. This gives the degree of accuracy the company is famous for.
The medium to heavy profile is a straight diameter 19mm from receiver ring to muzzle and is finished in a low-lustre blueing, just right for a sporting arm. The muzzle is threaded at the factory for moderator use (½in UNF) so no additional charge for this service is needed and, being a factory job, you know it has been done correctly.
There is a small recessed crown to the barrel, with the rifling stopping 0.75in from the actual muzzle-end, presumably to stop any damage to the ends of the rifling lands, thus protecting this crucial area and maintaining accuracy.
Though being shorter in length, nothing is lost in terms of accuracy or velocity. In fact, the shorter, stiffer barrel is less likely to flex as a lighter longer barrel would. As can be seen from the field tests, accuracy was superb and the velocity from the tested ammunition was equally good.
The action on the XIV is the match-grade Model 64. It's beautifully machined and engineered to ensure smooth operation and, more importantly, reliable feeding and positive ignition of the cartridge.
The bolt is light but beautifully machined, with twin extractors that provide positive case extraction, while the ejector is sited in the bottom of the receiver and protrudes upright through the bolt as it is retracted and 'pings' the empty case clear of the action.
Lock time, the dwell between pulling the trigger and ignition, is fast, which further enhances accuracy as the bullet is speeding on its way before you have time to move your position.
The bolt lever terminates in a large moulded plastic knob that offers a positive operation and fast follow-up shots as necessary, a feature you will like more than its looks while out lamping from the back of a pick-up or out on a wet day. The tubular steel receiver is machined fore and aft of the ejection port to allow the fitting of a scope, which is a necessity as there are not iron sights on offer, and is finished with the same blue-lustre as the barrel.
Trigger and safety
The fully adjustable trigger is pure class and certainly contributes to the rifles impressive groups on the test targets.
The model is 5092, has a true two-stage trigger unit that is set at 800g, but it can be adjusted if you are competent to do so.
This gives the XIV the edge over most of its competitors trigger-units. Its first stage pull allows you to take up the slack just prior to let-off with extreme control, then just a moments thought of the second pull to release the trigger sear totally safe and very quick.
My only criticism is the trigger blade is a touch slim but there is more than enough room within the guard to accommodate a gloved hand another important consideration for field use. The safety is positioned at the rear right of the action and is easily accessed by the firing hand thumb. Operation was smooth and almost silent if the thumb is kept depressed on the catch as it is repositioned.
Cleverly, Anschutz has determined the end user of such a XIV rifle to be a hunter and so a 10-shot magazine comes as standard with the carbine series, though optional five-shot models are available.
No more fumbling for small capacity magazines as a couple of 10-rounders will keep you shooting while others are reloading.
It is a practical feature, if not the most attractive the magazine is a straight line feed model, so the 10-shot magazines are quite long and stick a long way out of the floorplate, while the five-shot magazine fits flush.
The magazine release catch is small and awkward to operate, having to push forward and then pull down on the magazine to release.
Classic walnut stock
This is a Classic walnut model but a thumbhole is also available. The stock is fashioned in a no frills design. It has no cheekpiece, but still fits the shoulder well and allows a reasonable degree of good scope alignment.
The quality of walnut is dark, dense and finished with a tough lacquer, and is chequered on the fore-end panels and pistol grip with some in-filling, but still providing additional grip.
Flying colours in the field test
The first thing you notice when you pick up the XIV is the weight at 5.2lb without a scope, its a very manageable proposition.
With all the parts working in harmony, you know this little carbine will perform, which it did, digesting a variety of .22 rimfire fodder.
This second-hand model from F. A. Andersons (01342 325604) had a Nikko Silver Crown scope fitted, a good economical choice for the rimfire user. At 30 yards the subsonics Eley, Winchester, Remington and RWS all disappeared into tiny clusters. However, the favourite ammunition proved to be the Eley, with 0.35in groups at 30 yards and 0.5in at 50 yards very impressive from a sporter-class carbine.
As far as velocity is concerned, over the chronograph the Eley ran at 1,033fps and 94.8ft/lb, the RWS produced 994fps and 7.8ft/lb energy, while the Winchester and Remington had higher velocities at 1,074fps and 1,084fps respectively with energy figures of 102.5ft/lb and 99.2ft/lb.
All bullets were 40 grains, with the exception of the Remington, which was 38 grains, hence the higher velocity.
It may seem a little pricey when compared with some other .22 bolt-actions. In this case, however, with all the fantastic features as standard, it actually makes the price tag seem reasonable. The XIV is built to a high standard and will give a long and accurate life to its owner without fatigue due to excessive weight or impediment out in the woods because of its overall length.
This is a great little rifle, available as this Classic sporter stock or thumbhole models and also in .17HMR if you so desire.
Sound moderator care. In order for any moderator ...
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