When I opened the box, my first thought was, “I am so lucky.” The stock on the new CZ 455 rifle showed excellent fit and figure. CZ rifles are never bad, but this was an exceptional piece. A true, high-quality rifle with good wood sometimes shows a different grain from stock to stock, and that is simply the name of the game. Cheap wood stocks always look the same, which is boring. CZ’s European stocks are high quality and often have good figure. Some will also surprise the owner with an excellent combination of eye appeal and styling.
A few years ago, I did a week’s worth of fascinating research for a feature on rifle stocks. I learned a great deal including that the dullest average rifle stocks have a plain appearance because they have had plenty of water and nutrients. The more interesting the wood, the harsher the conditions that defined its life. Storms and periods of depravation make for interesting grain.
Like myself, the wood has had its difficult years. I was pleased on close examination. This is the only way to take a rifle like the CZ 455. Take your time, enjoy each feature, examine the stock, the finish, the smoothness of the bolt, and crispness of the trigger. Look the rifle over well. Study the rifle, shoulder it a few times, and take the measure of the length of pull and the balance. Get to know the rifle. The CZ 455 rifle is the type of rifle that invites such intimacy and solidifies the bond between the shooter and the rifle.
The first rifle I fired was a .22 caliber bolt action. The type is still among my favorite firearms. The CZ 455 American is easily one of my favorite rifles of all time. The CZ 455 may be chambered in .17 HMR or .22 Magnum but my personal favorite is the .22 Long Rifle.
The 455 is a replacement for the proven 452 series. The rifle demonstrates first class quality. The fit and finish are excellent. Everyone should own at least one first quality rimfire rifle, and this is mine. I was very impressed by what you cannot see such as chamber dimensions and internal fit and finish. The wood, as I mentioned, is nice in appearance, and the fit of the stock to the action is excellent. Inletting is flawless. The barrel channel and the trigger guard is where less than perfect fitting shows, but this rifle was flawless. The CZ isn’t less than perfect, and the work is more than credible—it is ideal.
The 21-inch barrel is well finished with a rich blue. The bluing on the receiver and barrel match—which doesn’t always happen with other makers. The bolt was very smooth in operation. The bolt is polished, not blued and features dual extractors.
There was no problem with scope clearance. I mounted a 3x9x40mm Vanguard scope, originally intended for high power rifles, but perfectly suited to the 50- to 100-yard range at that I would use the CZ 455. The safety is mounted on the bolt’s shroud. Safe is forward. The bolt cannot be operated when the safety is on.
The trigger was smooth enough from the factory at 3.5 pounds. However, if the action is separated from the stock you may adjust the trigger. A small lock nut allows adjusting the trigger, and I was able to back it off to a crisp and clean 2.5 pounds.
The rifle isn’t supplied with iron sights. A bolt action .22 of the quality of this rifle really demands a good quality scope. I fitted the Vanguard scope that has ridden on several rifles to date—always with the best results. I also ordered several 10-round polymer magazines to back up the single, steel 5-round magazine supplied with the rifle. Five cartridges is adequate for target shooting and hunting. As an experimenter I enjoyed firing more ammunition than most would care to try, so the ten round magazines are convenient.
I enjoyed firing the CZ 455 on a bright, clear morning. The rifle balanced well on the benchrest. The trigger was crisp, and the optic proved clear and sharp. I was looking forward to good results. I brought along a number of loads to test for accuracy.
Since the rifle was also destined for small game hunting, it was desirable to find a suitable all-around hunting load. I included several loads that have given excellent results in other rifles in terms of accuracy. I also included several loads, such as the CCI Velocitor and Winchester Super X, that have given good results on game.
It was pleasant to shoot three 5-shot groups, and then carefully go over the groups. This is an accurate rifle, and I realized this with the first group. The rifle was fired for accuracy at 50 yards. The accompanying table lists some of my results. The groups are measured in inches.
|Eley Contact 42-grain||1001 fps||.55|
|Eley Force 42-grain||1175 fps||.75|
|CCI Green Tag 40-grain||991 fps||.8|
|CCI Blazer 40-grain RNL||1190 fps||1.1|
|CCI SGB 40-grain||1288 fps||.8|
|CCI Mini Mag 40-grain||1362 fps||1.2|
|CCI Velociter 40-grain||1439 fps||1.1|
|Fiocchi HV 40-grain||1268 fps||.65|
|Winchester Super X 40-grain HP||1300 fps||.9|
|Winchester M22 40-grain||1234 fps||1.2|
The CZ 455 American is plenty accurate for any chore. The high velocity hunting loads, and even the Winchester M22 bulk load, are accurate enough for small game at the distance you can hit these animals. The CZ 455 is good rifle with plenty of accuracy and pride of ownership.
Have you shot the CZ 455? What is your favorite .22 caliber rifle? Share your answers or experiences in the comment section.