May 2003

Fine 22 Rifles: We like Cooper’s Custom Classic, Anschutz 1710

But in this three-way .22 LR match up, CZ’s ZOM 451 was a quarter of the cost, and plenty accurate, too.

Now is a great time to break out your .22 LR rifle and get in some practice for big game season, still a few months off in most places. What’s that, you say? You don’t have a good .22? Well, maybe we can help you choose one. In the past few days we checked out three magnificent .22 bolt-action rifles, and we’re here to tell you what’s good and what’s not so good about them.

This go-around we grabbed one of the more costly .22 rimfire bolt rifles made today, the Cooper Custom Classic ($1,895). We also secured the less expensive but still somewhat pricey Anschutz Model 1710 D KL ($1,295), and followed that up with the lovely and inexpensive CZ ZOM 451($250). Because the first two are commonly mentioned as being marvelously accurate rifles, we thought it would be a good idea to find out just how accurate they were. Therefore, we tried the trio with two types of some of the finest match ammunition available. We also threw in some high-speed ammo. We mounted the best scopes we could fit, and shot the rifles from a solid machine rest, trying for one-hole groups. If a fine rifle can shoot match-grade .22 ammunition well, it will do okay with normal ammunition, though the groups will generally be larger. In other words, if you’re spending nearly two grand for a .22 LR, we think you’ll want to know just how small of a hole it’s capable of, and that was our primary interest here. We could bore you with tales of near-inch groups with Stingers or Remington high-speed, but if you’re like us, you’ll want to know the real skinny on what these costly bangers can do with some of the best ammo, and how well a far-less-costly rifle would do against them.

The three rifles were all bolt actions, and all had fancy quarter-sawn walnut stocks. The overall weights were significantly different, yet all had fine balance. All three were attractive rifles with varying degrees of premium extras. During our tests, we got some pleasant surprises. Come along and see what we found.

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