September 22, 2023
While the .22 Hornet seems to have fallen out of favor with many small game hunters, it is still a viable varmint cartridge, and rifles—both production and custom—are still out there. One company that has stayed the course with the Hornet is Anschütz with its Model 1771.
Backed by more than 160 years of rifle-making experience, the Model 1771 line is as up to date as you can get. You will see a mix of old and new worlds. Take the stock. My sample is the mainstay of the line, called appropriately the “German stock,” which is all trimmed out with the flavor of Bavaria. Other stock choices include a thumbhole and the DJV, the latter a target type with adjustable comb and enlarged fore-end.
The German stock is a variation of an American classic stock with a few caveats. For one, the fore-end has the typical European schnabel, which has neatly cut point checkering.
The buttstock features a Bavarian-style curved comb, and it has cast-off for right-handed shooters. Regrettably, no left-hand model is available. The cheekpiece is typical German, accented with a deeply undercut shadow-line cheekpiece. It’s finished off with a ventilated recoil pad.
The pistol grip has just the right amount of a curve for both offhand and prone shooting, and it’s generously relieved. There is an ample amount of checkering here, again cut in a point pattern, but no pistol grip cap. There’s a palm swell on the right side.
The wood itself is outstanding, a Grade II or III walnut that’s oil-finished to bring out the grain, color and figure. Sling swivel studs are located on both the fore-end and the butt.
The barreled action features a finely finished and free-floated, blued barrel of 23 inches in length press fit into the receiver. It’s a heavy barrel that tapers to .710 inch at the muzzle. There are no iron sights.
The blued tubular receiver is seven inches long and partially enclosed, which makes it more rigid and increases accuracy potential. The gun comes with a Picatinny rail installed.
The bolt is what most of us have now become accustomed to in modern rifles—a “fat” bolt that has the same .785-inch diameter from in front of the shroud to the locking lugs. There are three lugs for a 60-degree bolt lift, and one lug houses an extractor. A plunger ejector is in the face on the other side. The bolt shroud has a support that makes cocking easier, and an indicator protrudes from the back of the shroud when the gun is cocked.
The curved bolt handle has an oversize one-inch polymer knob. The safety is a two-position that displays a red dot when in the Fire position. When on Safe it still allows you to work the bolt freely. The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver.
Bottom metal is all steel, including the trigger guard and magazine well. The magazine is stainless steel and holds five rounds, and it incorporates a polymer bumper and follower. Magazines slip in and out of the gun with relative ease and are released by a button just forward of the trigger guard.
The trigger is a two-stage, and it features of all things an adjustable, sliding trigger shoe that’s mounted on a rail. This is not something you see every day, and it’s a great way to customize the rifle’s fit.
Trigger pull? Are you kidding? Right from the factory, it broke at 11 ounces after the initial take-up, and it’s user adjustable up to two pounds.
I installed a Burris Predator Quest 4.5-14x42mm scope in Leupold rings, and it proved to be a good combination for the Hornet. Scoped, the rifle weighed nine pounds, making it a pleasure to shoot the light-recoiling Hornet. Accuracy was on par with what you would expect from Anschütz.
As I mentioned, the trigger is excellent, and the bolt operated ultra smoothly. The rifle fed without a hitch, cartridges moving smoothly from the magazine to the chamber. Spent cases ejected smartly and landed a few feet to my right.
All three-shot groups were under an inch, with the best of the best going to Remington’s AccuTip entry at a curt 0.64 inch and the highest velocity of 3,176 fps. If that’s not good enough for you, I suspect that handloading could cut those group sizes in half.
The gun is well made and might be a bit heavy for a “walking varminteer” to some, but it would make a fine addition to your small game battery.
Anschütz Model 1771 Specifications
- TYPE: Bolt-action centerfire
- CALIBER: .17 Hornet, .22 Hornet (tested), .222 Rem., .223 Rem.
- CAPACITY: 5-round detachable box magazine
- BARREL: 23 in.
- OVERALL LENGTH: 42 in.
- WEIGHT: 7 lb., 9 oz.
- FINISH: Satin oil-finished walnut
- SIGHTS: None; Picatinny rail
- TRIGGER: Two-stage adjustable; 11 oz. pull (measured, as received)
- PRICE: $2,495
- MANUFACTURER: Anschütz, AnschutzNorthAmerica.com