Anschutz Model 1717 D Classic .17 HMR Rifle
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Founded in 1856 and still family owned, the Anschutz Company has earned an enviable reputation for producing top quality sporter and target rifles. Anschutz rifles have dominated formal competition at the highest national, international and Olympic levels for 40 years. Our experience with Anschutz products here at Guns and Shooting Online has been extremely positive, so the arrival of an Anschutz rifle for review is always eagerly anticipated.
The rifle that is the subject of this review is a Model 1717 D Classic rifle. This particular example was sent to us from Germany by order of Dieter Anschutz, since at the time their American distributor (now Merkel, USA) was out of stock. This rifle is from the top of the line Anschutz 1700 sporter series.
Among rimfire rifles, Anschutz 1700 series sporters have achieved "best gun" status, and we were not disappointed by this example. Here are the basic 1717 D Classic specifications, taken primarily from the Anschutz catalog:
The 1700 series sporting rifles are built on the famous Anschutz Model 54 Match Action. This action is the heart of the Anschutz target rifles that have dominated national and international competitions and the Olympic Games for over 40 years. To quote from the Anschutz brochure, "Each 1700 series Sporter is engineered and built with the same attention to workmanship, accuracy, and quality as its Olympic target rifle brethren." Quite a statement, and one that no other rimfire rifle manufacturer can claim.
The Anschutz 54 action is CNC machined from a solid steel block and incorporates a gas escape port to protect the shooter in the event of a blown case. The bolt lug recesses are machined eccentrically for optimum bedding. The bolt's eccentric face is recessed, there are dual rear locking lugs, dual claw extractors, and a fixed ejector. The inline firing pin is very light, has a short travel, and allegedly gives the Match 54 action the world's fastest lock time.
The full diameter bolt is fat and round and moves back and forth exceptionally smoothly. The bolt and cam are, in fact, lapped for smooth operation. Unlike most bolt action rifles there is practically no play, even when the bolt is fully withdrawn. The bolt handle is long and easily clears a scope, and the bolt knob is smooth and round for comfortable operation by adult hands. This bolt is easily disassembled for cleaning without tools. The bolt release lever is at the left rear of the receiver.
The best feature of the Model 54 action is its superb trigger. This single stage, match grade trigger is adjustable for weight of pull, sear engagement, and over travel by means of set screws. Pull weight adjustment range is 2 to 4.4 pounds. According to our RCBS Premium trigger pull gauge the absolutely clean trigger in our test rifle consistently released at 2-1/8 pounds as supplied.
The safety is a wing type at the rear of the bolt. This safety encloses the firing pin and when set it pulls the firing pin back from the bolt face and locks it in place. It is a very positive safety, but a bit awkward to use compared to a tang mounted safety.
The detachable, sheet steel box magazine feeds cartridges reliably and precisely into the chamber. The bullet never touches a feed ramp or the chamber wall. This magazine can be disassembled for cleaning and spare magazines are available.
For a smooth appearance, the magazine only protrudes about 1/4" below the bottom iron, just enough to get a good grip on if necessary. The magazine catch is a small lever at the rear of the magazine well. Pressing it forward allows the magazine to drop freely from the action. The graceful trigger guard and bottom iron are machined (not stamped) from steel.
Cartridges may be single loaded into the chamber with an empty magazine in place. Since the magazine has a capacity of four .17 HMR cartridges, and we were shooting 5-shot groups, we habitually single loaded a cartridge into the chamber and closed the bolt before filling and inserting the magazine.
The barrel supplied on all 1717 series rifles is an 8-groove, Olympic Match, target grade barrel. This barrel is precision chambered, button rifled and lapped to Olympic competition specifications. The muzzle is machined with a true, beveled target crown. The barreled action is finished with a deep, polished blue job.
The classic style stock is crafted from semi-fancy European thin-shell walnut with excellent grain structure for strength and stability and decent figure. This stock has a straight, deeply fluted comb and a rather tightly curved pistol grip with a slight hook at the end. There is four panel, hand cut checkering done in a bordered point pattern. The checkering coverage is ample. The tip of the forearm is rounded. The black buttplate is a hard, grooved, polymer and detachable sling swivel studs are provided.
Overall, this is a handsome stock with a smooth, satin finish. If I were to suggest improvements they would be to thin the forearm to reduce weight and make the stock a bit more graceful (practically all factory stocks leave too much wood), and to use a slimmer, more gently curved pistol grip. I would also like to see a steel pistol grip cap.
All of the Guns and Shooting Online staffers who used this rifle found the stock comfortable. It is functionally excellent, and it positions the eye correctly behind a telescopic sight.
The inletting of the barreled action into the stock is perfect. (This critical area is where "the rubber meets the road" in gun stocks.) The taper and fit of the buttplate is perfect. The finish is impeccable. The entire rifle shows excellent workmanship throughout. It is this synthesis of outstanding design, manufacture, quality, and workmanship that separates "the best" from the merely very good.
Before we could test fire the rifle we had to mount a scope. We used Millet rings that clamp to the receiver's 11mm rail to mount a Bushnell Banner 4-12x40mm AO scope that we had on hand. This model provides fast, European style eyepiece focus and parallax correction from 10 yards to infinity. Within minutes the scope was mounted and bore sighted and we were ready to head for the range.
Guns and Shooting Online staffers Jim Fleck, Rocky Hays, Bob Fleck, and Chuck Hawks participated in test firing the Anschutz 1717 D Classic over two long range sessions. We did the shooting at the Izaak Walton Rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon. This facility offers covered shooting positions and solid shooting benches with 25, 50, 100, and 200 yard target distances. The weather when we took the Anschutz 1717 D Classic rifle to the range was partly sunny with a high of about 50 degrees F. The wind was negligible. All in all, excellent winter weather for Western Oregon.
Shooting for record was done with four brands of .17 HMR ammunition. These were CCI (17 grain TNT bullet), Federal (17 grain V-Max bullet), Hornady (17 grain V-MAX bullet), and Remington (17 grain AccuTip-V bullet). All 4 brands claim a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2525-2550 fps, and in our chronograph testing delivered average MVs of 2550-2650 fps. (CCI being the slowest and Remington the fastest.)
It took only three shots at a 25 yard target to "walk" the final bullet into the "X" ring. At that point we moved back to 100 yards for final zeroing and to shoot some groups for record. For that we used a Caldwell Lead Sled rifle rest weighted with a 25 pound bag of shot.
We used Hoppe's "Crosshair" sighting targets, and we shot 5-shot groups at 100 yards. Jim shot the smallest single 5-shot group. He was so proud of himself that he took the Anschutz home and refuses to give it back! He intends to purchase it for his personal use now that our review is complete. Here are the shooting results:
AVERAGE GROUP SIZE, ALL BRANDS OF AMMUNITION = 0.92"
These are spectacular results for any new, out of the box rifle, rimfire or centerfire. No group exceeded 1 3/8", which is extraordinary. That shows exceptional consistency, particularly when you remember that the shooting was done by four individuals, with four brands of ammunition, over two long days at an outdoor range subject to wind and weather.
Reliability and function were 100%. There were no malfunctions of any kind, which surprised no one. The Anschutz 1717 D Classic qualifies as a "best rifle" in all respects. It is a very sophisticated design, precisely manufactured from top quality materials, that displays the results of superior workmanship throughout. And its performance is absolutely top drawer.
In a Guns and Shooting Online Quick Poll of likely sage rat and ground squirrel potential targets, the Anschutz 1717 D Classic .17 HMR rifle received a straight "F" rating. It tops their list of rifles that they don't want you to own.
This Anschutz 1717 D Classic is included in the article ".17 HMR Rifle Accuracy Test Results," which can be found in the "Rifle Information" section of the Rimfire Guns and Ammo Page. There you can compare its accuracy results with other .17 HMR rifles, including a couple of other Anschutz models, tested by Guns and Shooting Online.
RIFLE REVIEW SUMMARY
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