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Chris Parkin puts this faultless rifle through its paces
At a glance
* Bolt handle geometry
* Action precision
* Stock dimensions
*Magazine catch very firm, but you get used to it
*It is hard to criticize a rifle of this design quality and build precision; if you can justify the expense, you will never regret it.
RUAG, 01579 362319, www.ruag.co.uk for more details and your nearest dealer
I’m not sure Anschutz can be taught much about .22 rimfire rifles, but we all have to give an opinion now and again. I felt myself stepping on dangerously thin ice when testing a rifle that, on paper, meets and may well be suggested to exceed all UK rimfire hunters’ requirements. The 1416 is based around the legendary Match 64 action, and when you pick one up it feels immediately right in so many ways. Although appearing small with a 14” barrel, what more is needed to fully burn a .22 LR powder load? And when it comes to manoeuvrability, it fits well into any truck cab for a night of left- and right-handed rabbiting from a window.
Conversely to this, that petite appearance actually hides full-sized stock dimensions, with a benchmark man-sized 14” length of pull to mirror the barrel. When shot prone, it immediately feels like a centrefire to position yourself with, but with none of that weight or bulk. Similarly, the walnut stock is straight grained and modest in appearance, stained darkly to complement the deluxe breed. The gun is available in a true left-handed specification, all the way down to the very slightly cast stock geometry. Inletting within the stock is actually very simple; the 16.5mm barrel is parallel throughout its whole length before meeting the 26mm diameter action, so any bedding stresses are simpler to avoid. The action has been enlarged slightly from the 25mm diameter of old, to increase rigidity and the size of the locking surfaces.
.22 rimfire bolt-actions can appear very dirty, as the lead and lubrication does squeeze off the bullets as each round is fed, but all functions were perfect in the Annie. The steel magazine holds five rounds, plus one in the chamber if you desire, with a single lug to lock the bolt – the base of the bolt handle to be exact – but nothing more is needed and the machined fit of the two sliding bodies is unquestionable. With a 60mm bolt handle and only 45-degree lift, you can keep everything well clear of the objective on a scope with fast reloads. The action feels tight, but in a good way. There is perfect linear motion, but you need to keep the forward force on the bolt gently applied as you also push down. The headspace, controlled on the rims of the RWS Subsonic ammo, seemed to fit snugly without so much as a thou of play.
Scope mounting is via the full-length 11mm dovetail, machined into the action. Behind the bolt to the right, a two-position safety catch blocks the trigger, but doesn’t lock the bolt, so you can load/unload with safety applied. On the left side, a very small lever, nestled into the walnut, allows bolt removal when pressed in conjunction with the trigger.
The trigger is nearly a joy. When examined, it is visually more complex than those of competitors’ guns, and engraved to warn you that adjustments should only be performed by a qualified gunsmith (but you just know it will be inviting a tweak). It broke at 1,300g/44oz every time, but there was a slight movement visible, if not easily felt. This is sear engagement and clearly adjusted toward the safe side of optimum; were the gun mine, I would take 1mm out of the 1.5mm travel, visible at the tip of the long, slender blade. But that is me, and it is still a delight that it is adjustable, weight-wise, from 1,000-2,000g. You don’t see threadlocker poured all over the place either!
Some guns seem to have bits wedged, screwed and stuck, left, right and centre inside the stock below the action, but nothing like that is found here. That refined simplicity clearly descends from the target world in which Anschutz ranks among the aristocracy. Everything is metal, from the magazine well to the bolt shroud, with only butt plate, magazine base plate and bolt knob made from polymers (the latter being welcome as it’s never cold to the touch). Sling studs are fitted beneath the butt and under the fore-end – itself quite square in profile, yet remaining slim. It fully floats the barrel in all conditions with no loss of zero from careless handling, and the chequering shown along the sides of the fore-end, like the grip, is quite deep, but uniformly neat and sharp.
Anschutz clearly makes sporting rifle barrels to the same standards as its target rifle units; the action fitting on the 1416 – and specifically the muzzle’s cleanly cut crowns – is done to perfection. The crown is actually deeply counterbored to avoid any possible damage, but, although mechanically ideal, one must remember to clean into it as it may easily harbour corrosion if ignored! There are one or two tiny features that would not be easily noticed on a new gun. For example, the rear action bolt has a tiny steel pillar surrounding it within the stock so, after years of use, the walnut will not compress.
This, like the tiny nut holding the bottom metal to the stock, is something easily forgotten or ignored by an accountant, but demanded by a true gunmaker. The company’s slogan ‘Die Meister Macher’ doesn’t translate directly, but sounds appropriate when phrased The Master Maker!
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