Test: CZ 457 – Three new rimfire rifles from the Czech Republic

The bolt assembly and box magazine of the CZ 457
The compact bolt assembly and the single-stack box magazine with a capacity for five .22 LR cartridges are the foundation of the CZ 457 series.

The company Česká Zbrojovka (CZ) has more than 70 years of experience in the manufacturing of rimfire rifles, which leads us to the protagonists of our article, in the form of the three new rimfire rifles CZ 457 Synthetic Threaded, Thumbhole Threaded and LR Precision Threaded. Here the term "Threaded" means that all three bolt-action rifles feature barrels (optionally in 20" or 16" length) with 1/2x20 UNF muzzle threads and protector caps, which makes a later upgrade with suppressors or other muzzle attachments much easier.

Barrel change mechanism of the CZ 457
CZ's simple barrel change system enables caliber conversion to .17 HMR and .22 Winchester Magnum. Other barrel lengths and contours can also be used, of course.

The CZ 457 series consists of a total of 11 models with different stocks, equipment details and barrel contours, ranging from light hunting barrels to heavy match barrels, so that probably everyone can find something for their hunting ground or shooting range. In addition, CZ's rimfire rifles are characterized by easy barrel replacement, so that you can also convert them to .17 HMR or .22 Winchester Magnum calibers, or other barrel lengths and contours. The receiver, in which only two front screws retain the barrel, allows for quick and easy barrel changing. To replace the barrel, simply remove the receiver from the stock and you'll see the two screws that secure the barrel. Changing the barrel is thus completed within a few seconds. Due to this barrel quick change option, it was not possible to mill in the recoil lug in the front, as is usually the case. This is the reason why this milling was made in the rear receiver section of the CZ 457.

All in all, the action was kept as simple and modular as possible. All parts are directly connected to the receiver and can be screwed on quickly. Incidentally, the receiver is factory supplied with a milled 11 mm prismatic rail, but can also be upgraded with a Picatinny rail if desired. The latest CZ 457 Synthetic Threaded, Thumbhole Threaded and LR Precision Threaded models were originally planned to be presented at IWA 2020.

CZ 457 Synthetic – The affordable entry into the series

CZ 457 Synthetic rifle
The simple CZ 457 Synthetic, weighing only 2.4 kg and equipped with a Falke 4-16x44 riflescope, surprised with its very good shooting performance.

You shouldn't be deceived by its simple appearance, because there is a lot of performance potential in this simple, new all-weather rifle with its rugged polymer stock. The CZ 457 Synthetic is ideally suited as a hunting rifle for pest control, and the stock with its easy-to-handle "soft-touch" finish can accommodate both right- and left-handed shooters. All metal parts are additionally provided with a corrosion-resistant coating. The cold hammered barrel with Varmint contour had a length of 20.6”/525 mm in our test rifle, but a 16"/406 mm version is also available. The CZ 457 Synthetic weighs only 5.3 lb/2.4 kg and, like the two following test guns, has all the typical features of this series, such as adjustable trigger, two-position safety, 60-degree bolt throw, 5-round box magazine, improved bedding, faster lock time and firing pin indicator protruding from the rear of the bolt shroud when the rifle is cocked. Price: 471 euro. (Note: all prices may vary in you country.)

CZ 457 Thumbhole – Rimfire match rifle with laminate stock

CZ 457 Thumbhole rifle
The 3.5-kg CZ 457 Thumbhole, equipped with a Hawke 6-24x44 riflescope, offers a great deal of shooting comfort thanks to its ergonomic thumbhole laminate wood stock.

In accordance with its model designation, the rifle is equipped with a thumbhole laminate stock, the ergonomics of which are designed to be used by left-handed shooters too. This sporting bolt action rifle is designed for riflescope fitting – the stock has a pronounced cheek piece height and sufficiently large cheek rest area. The attractive stock of the CZ 457 Thumbhole is combined with a heavy match barrel with compensator. All our test rifles had 20" long barrels with 1:16" twist, but are optionally available in more compact versions with 16" barrels. In a rimfire match rifle, a compensator is not so much used to reduce recoil, but rather to prevent possible gas turbulence at the muzzle during bullet exit, so that the projectile can continue its path to the target without disturbance. The CZ 457 Thumbhole costs 649 euro.

The top model: CZ 457 Long Range Precision

CZ 457 Long Range Precision
The 3.8 kg flagship CZ 457 Long Range Precision, equipped with a Falke 1-8x24 riflescope, is designed in every detail for long range shooting.

The new flagship of the CZ 457 series is designed for maximum accuracy – even at long range – with an adjustable beech stock featuring a non-slip finish and a match cartridge chamber as well as a heavy, fluted match barrel with compensator. This precision tool was developed for shooters who shoot at ranges of 50 to 200 meters – in some countries, corresponding competitions are held. This rifle was developed exactly for these accuracy fans.

System bedding of the CZ 457 Long Range Precision
The three rimfire rifles were disassembled and meticulously inspected in the workshop. The level of workmanship is impressive, inside and out. The bedding of the CZ 457 LRP is an example of this.

However, only the cheek piece height of the CZ 457 Long Range Precision (LRP) can be continuously adjusted. If you also want to adjust the length of pull, you have to fit one or more of the four spacers included, which allow for a maximum stock length variation of 13.8” to 15” (351-382 mm). The light grey, speckled match stock with a "soft touch" surface has a voluminous pistol grip, an extended forend and a prominent rear hook, so that the supporting hand can be perfectly placed underneath for a bomb-proof firing position. 

Two sling swivel studs on the underside of the forend for attaching additional equipment (bipod) and a short Picatinny mounting rail on the stock toe (for a monopod) successfully round off the package. The flat underside can also be fitted very well on typical sandbag pads, of course. The pistol grip and forend offer a good surface grip. Atop the receiver sits a Picatinny rail with 25 MOA built-in inclination for the mounting of a scope, which further underlines the long-range capability. The price for this top model is 1068 euro.

Three new CZ 457 models: specs and prices

Model:CZ 457 SyntheticCZ 457 ThumbholeCZ 457 LR Precision
Price:471 euro649  euro1068  euro
Caliber:.22 LR.22 LR
.22 LR
Barrel:20.6”/525 mm long, cold-hammer forged Varmint barrel with 1:16" twist and ½"x20 UNF muzzle thread
20.6”/525 mm long, cold-hammer forged match barrel with 1:16" twist, ½"x20 UNF muzzle thread and compensator
20.6”/525 mm long, cold-hammer forged and fluted match barrel with 1:16" twist, ½"x20 UNF muzzle thread and compensator
Stock:Soft Touch polymer stock with sling swivel studs for attaching bipods and sling
Thumbhole laminate stock with sling swivel studs for attaching bipods and sling
Plastic-coated beech stock with height-adjustable cheek piece and recoil pad with spacers for length adjustment, rear monopod mounting rail, sling swivel studs for attaching bipods and sling
Magazine:Box magazine with a capacity for 5 cartridges
Box magazine with a capacity for 5 cartridges
Box magazine with a capacity for 5 cartridges
Trigger:Adjustable match trigger, measured trigger pull weight: 44 oz/1248 g
Adjustable match trigger, measured trigger pull weight: 48 oz/1360 g
Adjustable match trigger, measured trigger pull weight: 48.3/1370 g
Safety:Two-position safety behind the bolt handle, acting directly on the trigger
Two-position safety device behind the bolt handle, acting directly on the trigger
Two-position safety device behind the bolt handle, acting directly on the trigger
Overall Length:38.4”/977 mm39.7”/1010 mm39.7”/1010 mm
Weight:5.29 lb/2.4 kg7.7 lb/3.5 kg8.3 lb/3.8 kg

CZ 457 Synthetic, Thumbhole and LRP models: test conclusion

The CZ 457 Synthetic already delivers a lot of shooting performance for a reasonable 471 euro, which is hardly surpassed by the more expensive CZ 457 Thumbhole and CZ 457 Long Range Precision  models. On the other hand, these new models offer far more shooting comfort and equipment, which in turn justifies the purchase price of 649 euros for the laminate stock version or 1068 euros for the adaptable, long-range capable LRP flagship. Wrapping up: the trio from the Czech Republic was able to fully convince us in the test.

Further information on the CZ 457 rimfire rifle series can be found on the CZ website.

This article will give you an insight into the development, technology and production at CZ.

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