Over the years I have relied on one or two specific rifles for specific jobs, my .243 has seen a lot of usage early Spring during lambing for foxes and the early summer months for Roe deer and the odd Red and Sika early July, for the most part though for deer from late summer through winter it is almost always the .270, but the real work horse of all my rifles is my CZ455 mainly in .22lr but with the switch barrel to .17hmr.
Day to day plinking, rabbiting, scope testing and the odd foxing the CZ455 is my go to rifle, I use this even for roadside humane dispatch on deer involved in RTA’s also. The rifle is almost always with me in the truck.
Lets talk about the rifle in general, 2010 saw the release of the CZ455 by Česká Zbrojovka it replaced the very popular CZ452 model or Model 2 as it was known (in which I have also) which was in production from 1954 and originated from the CZ Model 1 or the ZKM-451 which was made in 1947, The original rifles were manufactured at the the request of the Germans in 1944 and were designed to be used as training rifles for their occupying forces and solely manufactured in .22 calibre. Over the years there has been a lot of refinements made in regards to the quality and accuracy of this small very effective rifle and I am sure many “veterans” in their usage will have their favourite.
There was 53 years of refinement made before CZ brought out the CZ 455 and 46 of those years the CZ452 held the reign in many respects with some people still favouring the 452 over any of the more modern models.
After 18 years of production of the very popular 455 model, in 2018 CZ stopped production and moved to the newer more up to date CZ457- American.
The CZ 455 can be found in .22lr and .22wmr with 1:16 twist rate and the .17hmr with 1:9 twist rate and comes in no less than 17 variations of the same rifle. The variant I own is the CZ 455 American with synthetic stock, it is basically the same 20″ barrel as in the CZ455 American with Walnut stock.
Some of the key features the CZ455 has over its CZ452 predecessor include how the barrel sits on the receiver and the bolt, not to mention some of the cosmetic features like the trigger guard and how the stock fits to the action.
The single lug bolt on the CZ455 improves pick up and ejection of the cartridge, it allows for smoother movement from the bolt and ejects the cartridge more efficiently, I found that sometimes with the CZ452 your having to physically remove some spent cases with the CZ455 you rarely have to do this. The barrel on the CZ452 is screwed straight into the action, this fixture meant it was not easy to change barrels unlike the CZ455 the barrel is fitted with two lug screws allowing quick and easy release of the barrel. This feature allows you to own the 3 different calibre barrels without having to buy a new rifle every time. Barrel kits for the CZ455 are easy to come by and come with the magazine and everything you need to be able to quickly chop and change calibres as you need too with no gun-smith experience needed.
I fell in love with the .22lr at a young age, to me it was a major step up from the air rifle. The challenge and ability of the .22lr has always amazed me and it is a fun calibre to shoot and train with. My first .22lr was a Brno which technically was a ZKM model 2 or as we know is also the CZ452 so my love for the CZ rimfire started at a very young age.
In 2014 I purchased my CZ455 to replace my Anshutz 527 semi auto .22lr, I was finding the semi auto was too inconsistent at times and “flyers” were regular, ammo choice was limited too as many semi auto shooters will tell you using lower speed subsonic ammo can become a little bit of a pain. I had the choice of a number of rifles in the .22lr calibre range but something drew me to the CZ455, I liked the idea that you could swap the barrels out when needed and the price of the rifle brand new was very good. I purchased the rifle with a SAK .22 rated mod and off I went to start its journey.
Believe it or not my first scope on the CZ455 was Yukon Photon 5×42 (older turret version and the original) on the first night of owning the rifle I shot 130 rabbits and 2 foxes, the straight out of the box accuracy with RWS subsonic ammunition was phenomenal and a big change from the semi auto. Over the weeks I started testing ammo and pushing the rifle out to its limits. After a lot of testing I found that CCi 40gr Subsonic HP ammo worked the best in this rifle giving me sub quarter MOA at 50yrds, something my Anshutz would always fail to do. I really did fall in love with the rifle.
You forget how much fun a rifle can be and how much fun it is to learn everything you can about a rifle. The CZ455 and even the CZ452 is fantastic to work on. the ease of being able to take the bolt apart and the sheer joy to maintain it is just second to none, there is very little you cannot do to this rifle yourself. Just for fun and pure boredom I often take the bolt apart to clean down and oil. As I have the .17hmr kit for the 455 also I enjoy the fact that I can remove the barrel anytime I feel like to inspect and explore.
Over the last 6 years this rifle has accounted for a lot of foxes and literally 1000’s of rabbits. I cannot even calculate how many rounds this rifle has shot. In early 2019 I bought the .17hmr barrel kit for the 455, I did this just to make the rifle more versatile but for some reason I always revert back to the .22lr.
If your thinking of starting out in shooting and small game shooting you cannot go wrong with the CZ455 as a starter rifle or even for heavy pest control work. The CZ455 is easily maintained and is one of the most versatile accurate rifles on the market and at a budget most shooters can afford. Yes there are other switch barrel and accurate rifles out the but the CZ does offer a little bit more. The CZ 452 and 455 bolts are very similar, the only difference is the lug, so maintaining, dismantling and reassembling is a breeze that anyone can do and it is a great way to learn how a rimfire works. I have to say the CZ455 is probably one of the best most versatile and fun rifles I have the pleasure to own. CZ rimfires are truly bulletproof.