The Anschütz 141 has upheld a steadfast reputation and a commitment to incredible precision.
Some things are timeless classics. One such example is the Parker 61 fountain pen with which I am drafting this article. There are timeless classics in shooting sports as a result of their excellence of design and construction. For many shooters, that includes the Winchester Model 12 pump shotgun, the Colt 1911 .45 Auto and the Ruger 10/22 rimfire autoloader.
All of these are fine firearms, but, to many, the classic firearm is an elegant bolt action made of metal and wood. Possible examples on some people’s lists would be the Winchester Model 70, Remington 700 or Ruger 77.
Rimfire enthusiasts also have classic examples. I remember well the beautiful Winchester Model 75 that a cousin had when we were young. At that time, the Winchester 52 was the elegant rimfire sporter for the connoisseur rimfire shooter. There are some current candidates for classic status, among which are the Ruger 77/22, some of the CZ models and a few others.
Classics Of A Different Design
The Anschütz name may not be familiar to some shooters, but the company was founded in 1856 by Julius Gottfried Anschütz in Zella-Mehlis, Thurnigia, Germany. After Julius died in 1901, sons Fritz and Otto continued to direct the company. Otto died in 1923, and Fritz and his sons perpetuated the Anschütz name on firearms. After World War II, the company moved to Ulm, and, in 1968, Dieter Anschütz became the fourth generation of the family to head the company until his retirement in 2008.
J. G. Anschütz GmbH & Co. is now headed by Jochen Anschütz and his son, Maximilian. It’s interesting to note that although Anschütz firearms have been available in the U.S. through collaborations, the company has now developed its own importation and distribution facility in Trussville, Alabama.
In the years from 1963 to 1981, Savage had a reciprocity agreement with Anschütz, whereby each marketed the other’s products. As a result, Anschütz models imported here were marked Savage-Anschütz, but the models were identical to those sold elsewhere by Anschütz. In the early 1960s, the big catalog companies sold firearms, but they couldn’t be delivered directly to the buyer.
Anschütz is one of the great names in rimfires, and I’ve been privileged to know intimately a fine rimfire sporter for almost 60 years. That rifle is an Anschütz 141 I bought in 1964 from JCPenney for the price of $77.50, and it came as a kit complete with a skinny scope and a cheap case. As I see them for sale now, the going price is usually in the $800 to $1,200 range.
Metal parts on the Anschütz 141 are highly polished and have a nice blue finish. The top of the receiver is stippled to reduce glare when using open sights, and it’s grooved to accept clamp-on scope mounts. Like a nice sporting rimfire should be, the Anschütz 141 is provided with excellent iron sights. The rear sight is a folding model that can be adjusted for elevation by loosening two screws and moving the blade and for windage drifting the sight laterally. An attractive hooded front sight on a ramp adorns the forward end of the barrel. The trigger is adjustable, but I’ve found no reason to change anything—let off is crisp and as light as I want it to be.
Like many other .22 bolt-action rifles, the safety on the Anschütz is a thumb-operated tab on the right-hand side of the receiver. The safety is “on” in the forward position and “off” in the rear position. An interesting feature of the safety is that when it’s pushed “on” in the forward position, a tab moves forward and mates with a small hole in the rear face in the root of the bolt handle. This prevents the bolt from being opened when the safety is on.
The Anschütz 141 has a very nice walnut stock that features skip line checkering. A comfortable cheekpiece adorns the left-hand side of the buttstock, and the comb is at a comfortable height for use with either open sights or a scope. The rifle always seemed to be light, so I had it weighed on an accurate scale. The result was 5 pounds, 11.1 ounces, so the Model 141 is really a light sporter.
Although I’ve had the Anschütz for a long time, it had been relegated to the safe by several other rimfires that had more pressing assignments. In fact, the rifle had probably not been shot for at least 25 years, so it was exciting to see how it would perform. A variety of types of .22 LR ammunition was selected for testing, but a word of advice is in order: The Anschütz 141 has a match chamber, meaning the rifling starts just at the mouth of the chamber. Cartridges such as the CCI Stinger have a longer case than that of regular .22 LR, so if you use enough force to close the bolt on a Stinger in the chamber, the case engages the rifling. I did that once before I realized what was happening, but I’ve never shot a Stinger in the rifle since.
Classic For A Reason
For testing, I mounted a 2-12x42mm Athlon Argos scope that has side focusing in the range 10 yards to infinity. This makes it an excellent choice for use on a rimfire that may be used on targets at both short range and, perhaps, up to 100 yards. The scope gives a very bright view, and it has a crosshair reticle with heavy bars on the side and thin ones in the central region … like a heavy duplex. It also has a series of holdover dots on the thin section of the reticule. Adjustments are accommodated in terms of clicks that have a value of 0.25 inch at 100 yards. Testing was conducted on a range in Wyoming, where wind is almost always a factor.
Firing from a solid bench, CCI Standard Velocity gave five-shot groups that averaged 0.65 inch. However, given the wind conditions, it’s instructive to drop the widest shot as “the wind got one” and consider the other four. In that case, the groups average only 0.35 inch. With Fiocchi F320, the overall average of the five-shot groups was 0.65 inch, but taking the best four of each group gives 0.46 inch.
CCI Mini Mags gave five-shot groups averaging 0.74 inch but that’s reduced to 0.55 inch if the best four shots of each group are counted. The same procedure yields an average of 0.53 inch for the Winchester Power Point load counting the best four out of five in each group. The point is, the old Model 141 is capable of excellent accuracy and will give groups smaller than 0.5 inch with the right ammunition under better range conditions.
After getting reacquainted with my first real rimfire sporter, some of my other rimfires will get less use. To me, the Anschütz 141 is the essence of a classic rimfire sporting rifle. Anschütz still produces an extensive line of rimfire rifles but also offers several in centerfire calibers.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
More Rimfire Info:
- Best .22 Ammo For Every Application
- The .22 LR: Mini, Mighty And Many
- The .22 LR And Its .22 Rimfire Cousins
- Cartridge Debate: .17 HMR vs. .17 WSM
- Ammo: Evolution of the Red-Hot .17 HMR
- The .22 LR For Self Defense: Good, Bad Or Crazy?