April 02, 2020
By James Tarr
CZ has has introduced a new and upgraded version of its 455 rimfire bolt-action line. Its 455-series rifles were a huge success, and the new 457 should be even more popular.
The CZ 457 will be offered initially in 16 different models, everything from heavy-barrel match target guns to suppressor-ready varmint models to a Scout/youth version. Chamberings include .17 HMR, .22 LR and .22 WMR.
I secured a sample of the CZ 457 Lux in .22 WMR for testing. While the .22 Long Rifle is still by far America’s most popular rimfire cartridge, I thought the Lux was actually better suited to the harder-hitting .22 WMR, referred to by everyone in America as .22 Mag.
“Lux” is Latin for light (illumination, not weight), but it could also be an abbreviation for luxury. The CZ 457 Lux has a traditional European appearance with a slim wood stock and barrel-mounted iron sights. The Lux is offered in .17 HMR, .22 LR and .22 WMR. It sports a 24.8-inch barrel and like all the 457s feeds from a detachable box magazine.
Before we dive further into the particulars of the Lux, let’s examine how the new CZ 457s differ from the established CZ 455s they will be replacing.
While the 455 was a reliable and successful platform, perhaps the biggest complaint about it was the lack of an “American-style” push-to-Fire safety. For years hunter safety instructors and 4-H shooting coaches have been begging CZ to add this to its rimfire rifles, and CZ listened. The new CZ 457 sports a receiver-mounted push-to-Fire safety. You can operate the bolt with the safety engaged, which is a nice feature when working with kids and those new to rifles.
CZ didn’t stop with the safety. First, the bolt throw has been reduced from 90 degrees to 60 degrees, which helps when shooting a rifle equipped with a scope. The action of the 457 has been shortened almost an inch from that of the 455, helping to reduce both the size and weight of every rifle in the line. The sides of the bar-stock receiver have also been flattened (or “slabsided” as CZ says) to reduce weight even further.
The bottom metal of the original 455 was stamped, but the new 457 has a two-piece interlocking system. The 457 retains the user-interchangeable barrel system of the 455, and caliber conversions take about five minutes.
One of the great things about the 457 is it offers a trigger adjustable for weight, take-up and overtravel, although you’ll have to remove the stock to adjust everything but take-up. The trigger pull is adjustable from 10 to 18 Newtons, which when translated into American means between 2.2 and 4.0 pounds.
Let’s look at the specifics of the 457 Lux. Of all the iterations of the 457, the Lux looks the most European, although you could also describe it as having “classic” looks. In this era of polymer stocks and thick threaded barrels, the graceful lines of the Lux are refreshing and attractive.
Classy, Well Balanced
Wearing a very classy premium oiled Turkish walnut stock, the Lux is long and slender. Its 24.8-inch hammer-forged barrel is the longest of the line, but its design is just as slim as the stock, and total weight of the rifle is only 6.2 pounds. The Lux actually feels lighter than it is because it is so well balanced, with the center of gravity about a half-inch in front of the receiver. The only version of the 457 that is lighter than the Lux is the Scout (youth) model.
CZ has been manufacturing guns at Uherský Brod since 1936. The rifle stocks are first shaped by an automated lathe, then sanded and finished by master craftsmen. That attention to detail is evident in the stock of the Lux.
The stock features laser-etched checkering on the fore-end and the pistol grip and a rubber buttpad nearly three-quarters of an inch thick. This seems a trifle overkill to me, as the recoil of .22 WMR in a seven-pound rifle (once you add a scope) is next to nothing, but it guarantees no kids will shy away from this rifle due to recoil.
CZ says the Lux has a hogback stock, but American shooters will more than likely consider it to have a Monte Carlo raised comb and cheekpiece, designed to position your head properly for iron sight use.
The long barrel of the Lux seems a perfect match for utilizing the extra oomph of the .22 WMR cartridge, which provides in excess of 500 more fps than a .22 Long Rifle when compared in the same weight bullets. It has a black nitride coating for corrosion resistance. The barrel has a continuous taper: At the front of the fore-end, it is roughly three-quarters of an inch thick, and at the muzzle that narrows to half an inch.
The caliber is marked on the left side of the barrel near the receiver. Sliding a piece of paper up the barrel, I checked and verified that the barrel is free-floated inside the stock, not touching the narrow fore-end anywhere.
Unlike most versions of the 457, the Lux is equipped with iron sights, although it is a rare shooter these days who uses them. Like all versions of the 457, the Lux has an 11mm receiver-mounted dovetail for mounting a scope, and CZ sells both one-inch and 30mm scope rings for this rifle. They’re the same rings that fit the 455, and a pair retails for $70.
The rear sight is a fully adjustable notch mounted on the rear of the barrel. It’s marked out to 200 meters, which seems a bit optimistic to me. The front sight is a post with a protective steel hood. The sight radius on this rifle is 21 inches and provides more than enough precision to hit small game—especially when paired with such an excellent trigger pull.
The 457 Lux is fed by a single-column polymer magazine, the same one used in the 455. A five-rounder comes with the gun, and 10-round magazines are available from CZ. Extended 25-round magazines are available for any 457 variant as are magazine well blocks that convert the rifle to a single shot. The magazine release is a small lever just in front of the magazine.
The trigger guard is steel, and the trigger itself is smooth stainless steel. When I was growing up, trigger pulls on rifles were starting to suffer under the weight of excessive lawyers. Trigger pull weights started increasing to protect manufacturers from claims of “accidental discharges,” and as a result it took quite a bit of work to find a rifle that came from the factory with a quality trigger pull.
Those days are past, thank goodness, and the trigger pull on my sample Lux was fabulous. While fully adjustable, the trigger pull on this rifle as it came from the factory was phenomenal—no discernible take-up or overtravel and a crisp break right at 2.75 pounds. In case you’re wondering, this wasn’t a fluke. I received a CZ 457 Match Target Rifle at the same time, and its trigger pull measured an identical 2.75 pounds.
Every rifle that comes from the Uherský Brod factory is supplied with a test target. Using CCI 40-grain ammo, the factory tester was able to do a three-shot 50-meter group of 1.03 inches with my sample 457 Lux. The paperwork didn’t indicate whether or not the test shooter was using the provided iron sights, but in trying several different loads, using a 4-12X Zeiss Terra scope, I was able to improve on that accuracy.
As I mentioned, in addition to the 457 Lux I got to spend a lot of time with the new CZ 457 MTR. This is a bull-barreled rifle with a near-vertical pistol grip.
The differences between the two rifles are striking. The thicker, heavier MTR seems built to be shot off a bench, whereas the slender, lighter Lux balances much better in the hand while walking.
The Lux seems the perfect rifle to take to the woods hunting small game with or without a scope topping the receiver. My only issue with this rifle is the provided forward sling swivel, which I discovered is right where I want to place my hand on the fore-end when shooting offhand.
If you’re thinking of buying the 457 Lux as a dedicated small game hunting rifle, I think the .22 WMR is a good choice. Yes, ammunition is more expensive than the .22 LR, but when you compare identical bullet weights, say, a 40-grain pill, the average .22 LR load provides roughly 1,300 fps, whereas the .22 WMR ups that to almost 2,000 fps.
That’s more than a 50 percent increase in velocity, which means the .22 WMR provides enough foot-pounds to take down larger animals such as groundhogs or even coyotes, and wind drift is much less a concern. A .22 WMR at 100 yards is going faster than a .22 Long Rifle at the muzzle.
Combine that power with the CZ 457 Lux’s amazingly great trigger, elegant refined looks and excellent accuracy—all at a surprisingly low price—and you have a great hunting rifle.
CZ 457 Lux Accuracy Results
CZ 457 Lux Rimfire Rifle SpecsType:
.17 HMR, .22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR (tested)Capacity:
5-round detachable box magazineBarrel:
24.8 in. cold hammer forgedOverall Length:
Lacquered Turkish walnutFinish:
Adjustable single-stage; 2.75 lb. pull (measured)Sights:
Protected post front, adjustable notch rearSafety:
$522 (as tested)Manufacturer: