Anschutz 1500 Series Sporters
By Chuck Hawks
When we decided to review a rifle in .17 Mach 2 caliber, we decided that we should review the best: Anschutz. Accordingly I requested, and in due time we received, a brand new Model 1502 D HB Walnut Classic Beavertail rifle. This rifle is from the less expensive Anschutz 1500 series built on their Match 64 target rifle action. (Anschutz "best" sporting rifles are built on the Olympic class M54 target action.) Never the less, the M64 action is a very good one, and 1500 series rifles are top quality products.
Packaged along with the rifle are a trigger lock, owner's manual, and a test target shot with the individual rifle at 55 yards. The 5-shot group shot with this rifle measured only 3/8" center to center, which pretty much told us how it would shoot before we even took it to the range. Exceptional accuracy, of course, is the foundation of the Anschutz reputation.
Our Model 1502 D HB Walnut Classic Beavertail test rifle features a single stage trigger, heavy contour barrel, walnut stock with a straight comb and a wide forearm. The full model name may be a bit long, but the rifle is a sweetheart. This is essentially the varmint rifle version of a Match 64 action target rifle.
Here are the basic specifications, taken primarily from the supplied Anschutz Owner's Manual:
The M64 action is CNC machined. The receiver of the Model 1502 is grooved for 3/8" (11mm) tip-off scope mounts. It is also drilled and tapped for conventional scope bases. The top of the receiver is stippled to reduce glare, a nice touch.
The two position safety is at the right rear of the receiver, blocks the trigger, and operates in a conventional manner. Back is "Safe" and forward is "Fire." It reminded us of the safety on a Remington Model 700 centerfire rifle. We found it convenient to use and very positive in operation.
The bolt release is on the right side of the receiver toward the rear. To remove or replace the bolt, press the bolt release forward and pull the trigger all the way back.
The two-piece, cam cocking bolt cocks on opening and the bolt face is recessed. A notch is machined into the bolt face at the "2 o'clock" position to direct escaping powder gasses to the side in the event of a ruptured case, and the rear of the firing pin is fully enclosed by a large steel cap. Dual claws perform the extraction operation, while a fixed ejector knocks out the fired cases.
The bolt handle is brazed to the bolt body, and a large, square lug at the base of the handle locks into a matching cut in the receiver to lock the bolt closed. The bolt head does not rotate when the action is opened or closed. The curved bolt handle protrudes far enough for easy grasping by adult hands, and the bolt knob is smooth and round.
In its basic design and operation, the M64 action is little different from many other modern rimfire bolt actions. What separates it from similar actions is Anschutz's attention to detail, the precision with which it is manufactured, and the smoothness with which it operates. Cycle the bolt of a 1500 Series rifle just once and you know that this is no ordinary action.
The detachable box magazine falls freely from the rifle when the release button, located immediately the magazine well, is pressed forward. This magazine is formed from heavy gauge sheet steel and uses a red plastic magazine follower and a black plastic magazine floor plate that protrudes just far enough below the receiver to provide finger purchase to aid removal. It fits tight, feeds with 100% reliability, and is clearly a top quality magazine.
The single stage (#5094), target quality trigger is fully user adjustable, and the instruction manual provides detailed adjustment instructions. The adjustment range is 2 to 4.4 pounds. This is the same trigger used in the Model 1903 target rifle. Right out of the box the test rifle's trigger released at a clean 2.6 pounds. The trigger itself is of medium width, has a curved face, and is grooved. The trigger guard and bottom iron is formed from heavy gauge sheet steel, nicely polished and blued.
The free floating, target grade barrel features a target crown. It measures a hefty .75" in diameter at the muzzle. Inside, it is precision chambered and button rifled with 8-grooves, the same as an Anschutz Olympic competition rifle. The barrel finish is a standard polished blue.
The stock is European thin shell walnut. It has a fluted comb and a rather tight pistol grip that positions the trigger finger in the correct place. The forearm is nicely shaped, comfortable to hold, and flat on the bottom to assist shooting from a rest. The pistol grip is hand checkered in a generous point pattern, but not the forearm. The stock finish is a silken matte that protects and completely fills the pores of the wood. The grooved butt plate is a hard, black polymer.
The action is very precisely hand bedded into the stock, and the channel for the free floating barrel appears perfectly uniform. A rifle could not perform as this one does if the stock were indifferently fitted to the barreled action. On the other hand, the inletting around the trigger guard and bottom iron was only average.
So much for the physical description. What's it like to shoot an Anschutz Model 1502 rifle? In a word, great! The comfortable stock, ergonomic bolt handle, smooth operating action and slick magazine are all big plusses. The wide, flat forearm and heavy barrel put the weight forward, where it should be on a varmint rifle. This is an easy rifle to shoot accurately from a rest. And, exceptional accuracy is practically a given with an Anschutz rifle. But the most important factor, the one that makes it possible to take advantage of that intrinsic accuracy, is the splendid trigger. The trigger in this 1502 rifle is absolutely first class. We all praised this rifle's clean, light trigger.
In conclusion, you are getting a great deal of rifle when you buy an Anschutz 1500 Series Sporter, more quality and sophistication than can generally be had for their retail price. And that is the real definition of a "good deal": getting more than you paid for.
Note: A complete review of the Anschutz Model 1502 D HB .17 Mach 2 Rifle can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2007, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.