CZ 512 Rifle Range Report — .22 Magnum Powered

scoped CZ 512 .22 mag rifle with 10-round magazine removed

.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.

CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle, right profile
CZ’s .22 Magnum rifle is a very pleasant shooter.

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.)

CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle receiver
The quality of manufacture is evident in this rifle.

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.

CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle
The trigger guard is standard fare, so it is proven and easily managed.

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


Velocity (FPS)

Group Size (Inches)

Winchester 25 grains2,2891.8
CCI 30-grain Varmint2,3292.1
CCI Mini Mag 40-grain1,9192.0
Hornady 30-grain V-Max 2,3211.65
Winchester 40-grain FMJ1,9902.15
Speer Gold Dot 40 grains1,9881.5
Hornady Critical Defense 45 grains1,7251.55

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.

Crow target with multiple shots in one ragged hole
At 25 yards, this group was easily fired.

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.

What’s your favorite plinking rifle? Does the CZ 512 measure up? Do .22 Magnums need less frequent cleaning than a .22LR in your experience? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Several boxes of .22 Magnum ammunition
  • Illustration of a .22 Magnum cartridge
  • trigger, trigger guard and cross bolt safety
  • scoped CZ 512 .22 mag rifle with 10-round magazine removed
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle's trigger guard over a paper grid target
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle on a paper target 10-shot group
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle's receiver and bolt
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle receiver
  • Crow target with multiple shots in one ragged hole - close up
  • CZ 512 .22 Magnum rifle, right profile
  • Crow target with multiple shots in one ragged hole

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. Took a while to find this gun because it was sold out just about every where. Well worth the waite. This gun is awesome. It will eat any brand ammo I feed it. Very accurate with a Bushnell scope sighted in for 100 yards. I highly recommend this rifle to anyone looking for a reliable accurate hunting rifle. CZ hit the bulls eye with this one.

  2. Nice weapon… would love to buy one. Discontinued by CZ and not a single one offered used. I live in CA. Most weapons on weapons sites are just a mirage. To get a non-kludged weapon, it’s a Ruger mini14, a Glock handgun, or a shotgun… 283,415 AR platform rifles featured, all of which have to be bastardized to avoid the pokey. 427,187 semi-auto pistols offered… like 7 of them you can buy here. I feel like I’m 8 yrs old again, looking at the Sears catalog Christmas toy section, knowing I won’t get anything but underwear and tube socks.

  3. Hello Mr Campbell
    I want to Thank you for all your excellent articles.If I’m glancing over articles and see your name, I stop and read. I know it’s going to be informative and interesting!
    Thanks for all your Great work!
    WH Gaddy

  4. I have this rifle’s cousin the CZ 452in 22WMR. Try the Remington 33 grain Polymer tipped loads. Sub MOA accuracy has been my experience and our barrels should pretty well match. They are pretty easy to find nowadays.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a 22lr and a 22mag both in rifle and handgun. The magnum wins hands down for many reasons. One of my favorite CCW is a 22mag which is either on my person or arms reach all the time. Light, compact, accurate, cheaper to shoot. I can get 22mag or lr anywhere even Walmart. As far as cleanup and reliable never a issue. Thanks Bob keep emm coming

  6. I truly enjoy both guns I own that chamber .22 mag. The Chiappa double badger .22 mag over .410 ga is a great easily carried farm gun. The NAA black widow (.22 lr or .22mag) 5 shot single action is a great pocket gun and I once had to do a revolver qual at up to 20 yards with it. While not quite up to 90% in the 10 ring – for a sub 3” barrel I was pleased I could hit consistently at a range I would potentially have to use it.
    On the down side Bob, your articles frequently get me in trouble by inciting New and interesting gun acquisitions….

  7. Justin
    Thanks for reading! There is only so much pressure to drive a bullet. So a lighter bullet is driven faster. The 25 to 30 grain bullets will vaporize a varmint at close range. They are fine pests and rat loads. These loads are most likely to stay in the body of a small animal. By the same token they are no useful for larger animals such as crows. The bullet may not penetrate heavy bone when the crow has closed wings. The 40 grain bullets are probably the best all around loads. A 40 grain FMJ load is often used to preserve a pelt when this is desirable. The 45 grain bullet is really designed for personal defense in handguns. However I would consider it a credible load for coyote at closer range. I am glad to have choices but back to the wall I would stock up on 40 grain loads and the rifle would perform well with most chores.

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