Bruce Potts is already a fan of the Anschütz 1761 and the new walnut stocked version is right at the top of his Christmas wish list
I tested an Anschütz 1761 in .22 LR last year and was so impressed that I simply had to test this new walnut thumbhole stocked version in the flat-shooting .17 HMR round.
The new 1761 action design has proven itself a worthy successor to the older Anschütz rimfires and continues to be a superbly crafted vermin rifle. Add to this the all-new radical thumbhole stock design and a lovely high-grade walnut and it proves that Anschütz doesn’t do anything by halves. It retains the unerring Anschütz accuracy, as expected, crafted to a highly ergonomic but lightweight stock design. (Read our guide to the best camouflage jackets. )
Even with a scope and sound moderator fitted, this rifle is a delight to take hunting. Its weight is only 6.75lb, well balanced over its 35.75in length, largely due to the shorter 18in barrel. But it retains a sensible length of pull of 14.75in. This makes the rifle very manoeuvrable in the field and fatigue-free, giving the 1761 a full-bore rifle feel but with carbine-like handling. Above all, there is that superb Anschütz match-grade barrel for accurate and consistent shots all day long.
As soon as you pick this rifle up, it feels just right, instilling confidence in its operation. This lets you concentrate on stalking your quarry.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Anschütz
- Model 1761 thumbhole
- Type Bolt action
- Overall length 35.75in
- Barrel length 18in, ½in UNF muzzle thread
- Length of pull 14.75in
- Weight 6.5lb
- Finish Blued steel
- Calibre .17 HMR (.22 LR option)
- Stock High-grade walnut thumbhole
- Magazine Five shot, detachable
- Scope mounts Dovetail or Picatinny rail option
- Trigger Single stage, adjustable
- Price £1,505
- Importer RUAG UK, 01579 362319
It’s the stock that instantly catches your eye and you want to pick up and shoulder this Anschütz. The walnut on the thumbhole model was far superior to that on the Sporter version, with lovely deep colour and well-figured areas. It has a semi-rubbed oiled finish, ideal for hunting as it is easily renourished.
It is, however, very right-handed in design, which is a shame as its stability and intrinsic well-balanced geometry is perfect and would equally suit a lefty. Its skeletonised rear section removes unwanted walnut to lighten the load while retaining a strong top bridge and cheekpiece structure. The actual thumbhole is well thought out, being both large for ease of quick acquisition and comfortable with a nice forefinger rest. I particularly like the pistol grip, which is quite vertical and feels relaxed in use.
The fore-end is designed as a dropped-down profile to place the supporting hand a little below the action line which, combined with a full and well-chequered panel, steadies the aim very nicely.
The action is the 1761 type with a compact mechanism and matt blued finish, with 11mm dovetails for scope mounting. An optional Picatinny rail is available for night vision and thermal sight use if desired.
The operating cycle of the bolt is short, as for most rimfire rifles, and this 50-degree fast bolt lift is further enhanced by a really nice oversized polymer bolt handle. When cocked, the red indicator plunger protrudes from the back of the bolt shroud and up front the twin extractor claws make short work of any stubborn rounds. Overall balance is maintained partially due to the excellent 20mm profiled semi-heavy 18in barrel with ½in UNF, which all harmonise the best results from the .17 HMR ammunition.
Finally, the safety is behind the bolt handle and instantly accessible, as well as silent in operation. Forward to fire and rearward is safe and it is only operational when the Anschütz is cocked. Anschütz has a reputation for great triggers and this single-stage unit broke like glass at a shade under 3lb,and it’s adjustable too. Feeding is via a five-shot single-stack magazine, part steel upper body and polymer lower section. It’s a tad ugly but functioned with all ammo tested.
As the rifle is chambered in .17 HMR, I fitted a new Element Helix FFP scope, which is great for accurate and instant trajectory compensation for this round. I also fitted an A-Tec CMM4 sound moderator, which muted the report well without adding too much length or weight.
Best test ammunition was the Hornady NTX 15.5-gr loads with one-hole groups at 50 yards — plus the odd obligatory flyer, usually due to a dirty barrel — at a velocity of 2,586fps for 230ft/lb energy. The same was true of the new Winchester LF lead-free 15.5-gr ammo with 0.45in groups at 2,548fps for 224ft/lb.
Regular 17-gr Hornady V-Max loads shot a healthy 2,604fps for 256ft/lb, higher than the lighter lead-free offerings and with sub-0.5in groups.
I like the heavier, more controlled expanding CCI 20-gr Gamepoint rounds and this 1761 shot consistent 0.45in groups at 2,461fps and 229ft/lb, which is nice for foxes.
Taking the Anschütz out to 100 yards, I shot five-shot groups well under 1in on steel crow silhouettes. This is impressive and makes it a viable and reliable longer-range static sniping rifle off a bipod opposite rabbit burrows downwind. (Read how deep is the average rabbit burrow.)
Loading the rifle with Winchester LF rounds, I headed to the fields after rabbits with the lightweight Anschütz and soon its natural pointability was much appreciated. I stalked and stopped in various locations and positions — and the 1761 was rock steady in all scenarios.
The 1761 accounted for a lucky 13 rabbits on the first evening’s shoot, ranging from a short 23 to 147 yards, all head shots. That’s the Anschütz way — and mine.
Total rabbits shot in three evenings equalled 41 and all range tests shot sub-0.5in 50-yard groups. To my eyes, it’s a bit quirky looking but the quality of walnut and engineering is still pure Anschütz, which in the end is what you are paying for. It won’t let you down and will probably outlive you too.
- Accuracy Excellent, especially with the Hornady NTX lead-free ammo 18/20
- Handling Handles very well in any position, great balance 19/20
- Trigger Clean and crisp as you’d expect from Anschütz 18/20
- Stock Quirky but very well thought out, high-grade wood 18/20
- Value Pricey but very clinical, as proved on rabbits 18/20
- Overall score The thumbhole feels comfortable to hold, very pointable 91/100