Range Report: CZ 455 American Rifle

CZ 455 rifle, Right profile

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.

Closeup view of the wood grain of a rifle stock
Note the fine grain and appearance of the stock.

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.

Checkered pistol grip stock
The pistol grip stock is nicely checkered.

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.

two boxes of .22 lr ammunition.
The rifle proved to be accurate with a variety of load choices.

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.

CZ 455 rifle, Right profile
The CZ 455 is a great all around .22 bolt-action rifle.

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.

Load Velocity 5-Shot Group
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.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (12)

  1. I was looking for a good 22 Magnum bolt rifle and was looking on GB, all manufactures. When up pops a CZ 455 combo in all three calibers! $590 with shipping out of a Texas seller. I would check GB to see combo’s being sold, but never found another with all three. What a sweet setup and a beautiful rifle that has a good trigger.

  2. Beware of the CZ455! Best group at 50 yards has been 2″. Found stock split directly behind receiver. CZ customer laughed at me when I asked them for some help with a new stock. The rifle is junk.

  3. I have a 452 in .22LR and a 455 with a Mannlicher stock in .22 Magnum. The 452 is a rare bird – it has the deluxe American style stock and sights. The American-pattern deluxe is normally sold without sights. Both rifles shoot the same kind of accuracy as the test rifle. The magnum shoots just over 1″ groups at 100 yards. I’m sure I can get it below MOA with a little more practice. The magnum prefers light bullets, such as the 30-grain Winchester and Hornady loads.

    The only drawback to the CZ rimfires is the crummy stamped trigger guard. A rifle of this quality should have a milled trigger guard for a better appearance. That’s minor, though – the CZ rimfires are among my favorite rifles.

  4. The CZ452 in 22LR is what I’ve shot and is amazing with just a 3-9 32mm scope to obtain excellent groups. The 455 is suppose to be better in the refinement category then the 452. The CZ rifles have always impressed.

  5. I’ve had my 455 for 5 years now, it’s the varmint bull barrel model. Originally I had the 22 WMR barrel on it, but with the “Great 22 rim-fire extinction event” I ordered up the barrel chambered in .17 HMR… and I’m really glad I did. The 22 WMR barrel repeatedly turned in 1″ groups at 100 meters with the 3X9 Leupold. The only problem here has been I need a stronger piece of glass on it, the one inch orange sticker bulls eye gets more or less completely covered by the cross hairs. However… with the .17 HMR barrel, the rifle turns out 3/4″ groups repeatedly, with my best group being 3 through the SAME hole and the other two 1/8″ away, shooting CCI 20 grain FMJ.This is BY FAR the most accurate rim fire rifle I’ve ever owned, worth every penny I paid for it, and delightfully, I didn’t need a loan to get enough pennies. A word of caution to those who are going to get more than one barrel for it, the torque specks for the two set screws that lock in the barrel are CRITICAL, at least on my rifle. Enough said… you will not be disappointed by this rifle!

  6. I agree, a good .22 is a joy to shoot and my personal favorite. I have a safe full of guns, 4 of them .22s’. I think boxing the 22s’ into a 50 or 100 yard only category is causing many shooters to miss out on the fun of developing real shooting skills. I shoot most days, almost always my Wifama wz78 with a Leapers 4-7 power scope. Using a tripod mounted rest and Eley 40 grain subsonic ammunition I shoot squirrels and targets at up to 200 yards(verified 218 is my record). Subsonics allow a corrected second shot without spooking the squirrel. Only Eleys allow me to do this with consistency, Since these rounds are lower velocity it forces the shooter to learn a few things about bullet trajectory and how weather conditions affect your shot. Hot humid, bullet losses velocity and drops more, etc. I am a better shot with all of my guns because of this inexpensive, challenging hobby. By the way, much over 200 yards, you just end up bruising the squirrel!

  7. I own 4 CZ 452’s (one is a Grand Finale #187) and 10 CZ 455’s of different models–American, Lux, Full Stock and Thumbhole. I think that says enough about a fine .22 rifle They are one holers at 25 yards. (range length). By the by, the Sako Finnfire II is superb also. I only have one–so far.

  8. As I tell everyone “As far as I can tell the CZ can’t miss”. I have the .22 and 17HMR combo. Super easy to change over. Very little change in POI. 22 for squirrel season then back over to .17 for varment hunting. Insanely fun and accurate rifle combo. Near same hole groups out to 100. Can’t imagine wanting any more for a really reasonable price. The only “limitation” I have noticed was i wish the bolt arm had a tad more length but nothing I couldn’t adjust to.

  9. I do not have this CZ 455, however I find that the 50 yard numbers are the 100 yard numbers on an all to often discounted gun, Mossberg 144 LSA/B. I own one. I shoot .5″ groups regularly with Winchester and CCI ammunition. My rifle was built in the 1930’s. this gun has been with me for 31 years and I have shot many competitions and many varmint (squirrel) hunts. it has never failed me. I built a heavy barreled 10-22 and it is a great shooter. also capable of .5″ at 100 yards. why does everyone seem to think the 22 LR is a 50 yard and below gun? it is inconceivable to me. the 22 LR is a great game getter out to and including 150 yards. strive to achieve better. go for longer ranges for your 22 rimfires.

  10. I own the CZ 455 in .22 WMR and love it. Mine is the Manlicher stock version and I paid less than $450 for it. Shooting Hornady .22 Mag Varmint Express ammo it will put 5 rounds in a dime-size hole at 50 yards. This isn’t to shabby for my 70-year old eyes and a variable scope.

  11. I have a CZ 455 Ultra Match that I use for target shooting. It is fitted with a Tech Sights aperture sight which works wonderfully with the rifle. I mostly shoot CCI subsonic hollow point which has worked very well for me in terms of consistency and accuracy. (Not a lot of local dealers carry anything but bulk plinking rounds)
    A recent addition for me was a CZ 512, also in 22lr. Still getting used to it, but is shows the same high standards as the 455.
    It was great to read about your experience with your new rifle and the results you got testing different ammunition.

  12. I have had a model 452 for over 15 years. It is almost exactly like the model above, except mine has a threaded barrel. This rifle out shoots my heavy barrel 10/22 by an 8th of an inch. I found the standard velocity rounds are more accurate. The best round I have found over the years is Aguila SuperExtra 40 grain.
    I was so impressed with my 452 I bought the European model with the tangent sight.
    The only distraction I find with a CZ is the cheap looking stamped steel trigger guard.

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