.22 Magnum firearms are addictive, and the CZ 512 is no exception. I have fired a good many this year. With the ammunition pipeline gushing ammunition again, I have fired more than 800 rounds of .22 Magnum, a goodly amount. The cartridge is plenty powerful, muzzle report is loud, and recoil is nonexistent.
Within its effective range, the .22 Magnum is a very useful cartridge — given an accurate firearm. The .22 Magnum is well suited to informal target practice, plinking, and small game hunting.
My favorite .22 Magnum rifle is the CZ 512. This is a rifle with good performance and plenty of class. There is no other way to describe it. This is a superb small game rifle with everything to recommend it.
The rifle tips the scales at a modest 6.0 pounds. Light enough for easy carry but heavy enough to maintain a steady hold when firing offhand. The aluminum receiver is a two piece affair. The stock and forend are nicely finished European beech.
The barrel is 20.5 inches long with a 1:16 inch twist. This length renders the rifle — short and handy, with enough barrel length to ensure a full powder burn. The safety is positive in operation. When pressed to the right, it locks the trigger in place.
The bolt is locked from moving to the rear, so it will not chamber a cartridge when the safety is applied. It takes but a moment to move the safety to the firing position — a small price to pay for an additional safety measure.
The butt plate is nicely checkered. It isn’t likely to slip from the shoulder pocket when taking a firm hold and a tight bead on a game animal. The trigger broke at a clean 4.5 pounds on the Lyman electronic trigger pull weight gauge.
The rifle is supplied with well-designed iron sights including a hooded front sight. The receiver is grooved for easy mounting of an optical sight. The magazine holds five .22 Magnum cartridges. (I ordered the optional 10-round magazine.)
The magazine release is easily manipulated and the magazine locks in a solid manner. The bolt does not hold open on the last shot. A manual stop is located inside the trigger guard for locking the bolt to the rear.
I have enjoyed firing this rifle the past few months. I had a positive impression of the 512 the first time I fired it. Nothing has diminished this positive respect for a well-made firearm.
Disassembly is simple enough. Only a coin is required to unscrew the bolt holding the forend in place. Next, a pin holds the two halves of the receiver together, and the rear receiver is easily pulled from the upper. Cleaning the bolt is simple enough.
While the .22 Long Rifle is regarded as a dirty cartridge, due to its heel-based lead bullet and smoky powder, I find I must clean the .22 Magnum less often. I would be interested in hearing from readers on this subject.
I suppose the jacketed bullet and full powder burn make the .22 Magnum a cleaner cartridge. It is often said that we need not clean a .22 Long Rifle bore. I would imagine the reverse is true of the copper jacketed .22 Winchester Magnum rimfire rounds.
The rifle was purchased used at a very attractive price. While I usually recommend purchasing only new guns, a thorough examination showed the rifle was in working order with no blemishes. The rifle sported an inexpensive 3x9x40 rifle scope. For the .22 Magnum it proved good enough.
I fired the rifle at 25 yards to sight it in and found my eyes were a match for the previous owner. The rifle has never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. This is unusual as previous attempts at self-loading .22 Magnum rifles did not pan out. Most are fine when well lubricated and running 40-grain loads. The CZ 512 runs well with everything from 25–46 grains.
Fifty yards is the spot I test rimfire rifles. A good rimfire, with a properly fitted stock and middle of the road optic, should put five shots into 2.5 inches or less. The CZ 455, as an example, will best that standard considerably.
Cz 512 Accuracy Testing, 50 yards, 3-Shot Groups
Group Size (Inches)
|Winchester 25 grains||2,289||1.8|
|CCI 30-grain Varmint||2,329||2.1|
|CCI Mini Mag 40-grain||1,919||2.0|
|Hornady 30-grain V-Max||2,321||1.65|
|Winchester 40-grain FMJ||1,990||2.15|
|Speer Gold Dot 40 grains||1,988||1.5|
|Hornady Critical Defense 45 grains||1,725||1.55|
The lightweight CZ 512 shoots better than expected. Groups of 1.5 inches at 50 yards were obtained. At 25 yards — a likely small game range — the rifle lobbed the bullets into a single hole for the most part. Like all quality firearms, the CZ likes some loads better than others, but none were dogs.
During the test, I used a 10-round magazine I ordered, and it certainly made things go easier. It isn’t necessary for hunting, but then again, why not? This is a very good rifle. The design is clean, and it serves a real purpose for plinking, small game hunting, taking on pests, and predators.