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CZ-USA 455 Rifle Review

by Stan Trzoneic   |  May 5th, 2011 10

The CZ 455 American is chambered for the .17 HMR and .22 Long Rifle in addition to the .22 WMR.

While the author liked the rifle overall, he did experience feeding problems, which could be the result of a single faulty magazine.

As a writer for about 40 years, I’ve had my share of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire rifles and handguns, but a relatively recent addition to CZ-USA’s lineup caught my eye. The CZ 455 American is chambered for the .17 HMR and .22 Long Rifle in addition to the .22 WMR.

According the CZ, this new 455 will eventually replace the 452 series, and the 455 features interchangeable barrels that are easy to switch out by simply installing a new barrel and magazine, plus adding a mag-well spacer for the .22. (Ed. note: This report was written in 2010, but at press time we got a sneak peek at the 2011 catalog and learned CZ will be selling a switch-barrel set in .22 LR and .17 HMR for a suggested retail of $531.)

The American 455 is one handsome rifle. In the past, CZ rifles were nothing really to write home about, but now its stuff is top shelf.

Take the straight-comb, classic stock, for example. The diamonds on the machine checkering are well-formed and pointed, and the point pattern has a clean line border on both the pistol grip and fore-end. The checkering was cut after the finish was applied, and the finish is satin smooth–without any runs, dips or dust under the surface.

The wood is straight grained with no pin knots, and although there is not a lot of a grain or figuring in the wood, it is very pleasant to look at. Inletting is as good as it gets around the barrel channel, trigger guard and bottom metal, and the plastic buttplate has been installed with such precision that you would think it is all one piece.

The 21-inch (it says 20½-inch in the literature) hammer-forged barrel is polished and blued. Much to my surprise, there are swing swivel studs attached, which isn’t common on a rimfire gun.

The machined receiver is finished in the same satin bluing as the barrel. The bolt is typical rimfire, with dual extractors and the firing pin mounted at 12 o’clock. The bolt body has been left in the white, while the bolt handle and knob are blued.

The good-looking, American-style walnut stock features excellent checkering, and the plastic buttplate is seamlessly fitted.

The bolt handle stem has been flattened somewhat to allow extra scope mounting clearance, and with a Leupold Rimfire 2-7X scope attached in 11mm rings, I had no problems working the bolt. To remove the bolt, drop the magazine, check to be sure the chamber is empty, pull the bolt back to its rear-most position, pull back on the trigger and withdraw the bolt.

The safety is mounted on the shroud of the bolt. In the forward, Safe position, it blocks the firing pin from moving forward. In addition, when pushed forward it also blocks the bolt handle from being lifted. Although the movement of the safety is the opposite of what most of us are used to, it has been designed to allow your thumb to ride on top of the lever, pulling it back when you need to fire the rifle.

The trigger is adjustable via a small lock nut that is accessible when the action is parted from the stock. From the factory, mine broke at 31⁄4 pounds with about a quarter-inch of travel.

The trigger guard is well-formed with more than enough room for a gloved finger. The polymer, five-round magazine is released via a latch at the front of it.

My only criticism lies with the magazine and feeding. When I stuffed five rounds into the lone magazine supplied with the rifle, I had a heck of a time getting that top round to feed properly into the breech–regardless of the ammo I used and whether I forced or coaxed it.

The firing-pin and bolt-locking safety operates the reverse of what most of us are used to: forward is Safe, back is Fire.

The fourth round went in a little better–but not much–and it wasn’t until I was down to three rounds that it would feed the way it should.

Aside from that, the gun shot with uncanny accuracy at 50 yards. Using CCI, Remington and Winchester ammunition, the CCI Maxi-Mag with its 30-grain bullet at 2,227 fps took the honors for the morning. Both the Remington and Winchester samples shot an inch or better, so no complaints.

As I wrote last issue regarding Savage’s .22 WMR, I think more shooters and hunters should reinvestigate this terrific round, and the new entry from CZ-USA certainly deserves a look. Aside from the magazine problem, which could certainly be an issue with just that particular magazine, it’s a winner and deserves a spot in your gun room.

WARNING: The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data.
NOTES: Accuracy results are averages of three five-shot groups at 50 yards off a Midway rest. Velocities are averages of three shots measured on an Oehler Model 35P chronograph set 10 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviation: JHP, jacketed hollowpoint

  • shooter mcgee

    I have the same problem with the feeding. Don't like the safety either, it's too loud and awkward. I think I'm going to try to sell mine.

    • JJR

      If you cannot post a review the way you get it, then what's the point of reading anything from your sight.

    • IGGY

      The feeding problem is NOT the magazine!! Its where the barrel feed ramp form the reliever meets the barrel bore. There needs to have a small radius about .040 to match the receivers ramp angle. With out this the head of the bullet strikes (and wedges) into the upper area of the feed ramp striking the flat area just below the bore causing a jam and slicing bits from the bullets lower part nose. Putting a radius to match the reliever solves his problem. I have NEVER had a mis-feed after adding this radius with ANY of the 5 or 10 round poly magazines. You can carefully use a jewelers file (round & 1/2 round with the barrel out is the easiest) . GOOD RESULTS IT WORKS!!!

      • no_1_u_know

        Iggy, can you post a pic or two of your mod on a website and share the link?


        • iggy

          Let me see what I can do. Just remove the barrel and put a champher (small radis)on the lower portion of the barrel where the small bullets ramp joins the barrel. The champher should lign up with the bullets ramp. It can be done with a small jewelers file. Takes about 10 minutes and covers about 25-30% of the lower portion of the barrels breach.

      • tonebone

        Not to get too far off-topic, I had to do the same to both my new HC3R-25+20 round mags for the Ruger 10/22. Rounded the ramp and polished it to a mirror finish. Works like a dream. Now if the price would come down……

        Many times, rifles and pistols get bad reviews because of a bad magazine. I have a 455 American combo arriving with 3 barrels [.22LR, .22WMR, and .17HMR]. CZ rimfire rifles are beginning to get hard to find. Especially the 452 Ultra Lux with the 28.6" barrel in .22LR

  • Faiyum Khan

    I wish to buy CZ455 but have a few questions. The interchangeable barrel on two screws. Won’t it get loose over time And the accuracy of the shoots be compromised?

    • iggy

      Never gut loose! Held problems I really like the CZ455 combo. The .17 HMR accurate out to 200 yards with adjusting the scope for the drop.

  • John

    Regarding the feeding mechanism I am of the opinion the fault is with the magazine and not the gun. I have a 455 American which came as standard with a plastic 5round magazine (I’m in the UK so I don’t know whether the American market get a metal mag as standard). I also purchased a metal genuine 5 round CZ magazine at the same time which I think is also compatible with the 452.
    Both mags are different with the metal mag not being rounded at the in-feed where as the plastic mag is rounded.
    I have never had a jam or misfeed in 000’s of bullets using the plastic mag but the metal mag frequently misfeeds (every other mag).
    iMO this is a great gun with the plastic mag.

    • iggy

      never had a problem with the mags after putting a champher/radius on the lower chamber edge where it meets the feed ramps. This is on the .22 barrel,the .17 HMR I just broke the edge on the camber

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