The Brno Model 2 is a no-nonsense, accurate rifle that has stood the test of time, writes Charles Smith Jones
The second largest city in the Czech Republic is Brno. It is the home of the Zbrojovka Brno factory, which has been manufacturing goods as diverse as tractors and typewriters, as well as firearms, for over a century.
Although the light-machine gun designed there in the 1930s and later produced under license in the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, became a mainstay of the British Army as the Bren (taking its name from the first two letters of each factory), mention Brno to any shooter and they will almost inevitably think of inexpensive, unpretentious and totally dependable hunting rifles.
While Brno other model numbers were popular, it is the Brno Model 2 or ZKM-452 that really caught the attention of shooters in Britain. Intended to update and refine the original Model 1, production started in 1953 and continued until around 2011, with a few minor changes to the basic design and a name change to the CZ 452. Owners of a more modern CZ .22 rimfire will find that it has a lot in common with a CZ 452 – and still shoots just as well. Brno barrels were made to last and, where they have had only to cope with soft lead bullets in relatively low velocities, have stood up to the years very well compared with faster, ‘hotter’ .22 centrefires, which are more prone to wear.
Certainly, the rifle pictured shoots as well today as it did when purchased second-hand some 30 years ago and is still in regular use for pest control duties and target practice. The Model 2 was offered in other rimfire calibres but is best known as a .22LR, with a reputation for accuracy.
The military style tangent sight, rather optimistically marked for range settings out to 200m, is functional but most users today may want to remove it to accommodate a telescopic sight mounted as low as practicable.
Modern scopes tend to have much larger objective bells than earlier models, so this little extra space may be valuable. The job is easily done, if a little fiddly, and involves depressing then sliding the leaf. It’s also important to be aware that very early Model 2s were fitted with non-standard dovetail rails, which may require special Brno-produced mounts.
The Model 2 has been produced in a number of variants including heavy ‘varmint’ barrels, reduced dimensions for young shooters and even a fullstock version. Although some later models left the factory threaded for a moderator most didn’t. There is sufficient space in front of the foresight to accept threading but it would be necessary to remove the foresight completely if you wanted to fit a model that sleeved back. When looking at any pre-owned rifle that has been used with a moderator, make sure that you check the crown and bore carefully. A previous owner might have stored the rifle with the moderator still fitted, resulting in corrosion and pitting.
Timeless design of the Brno Model 2
- As with most Brno rifles, it is usually simple to identify the year of manufacture from the last two numbers of the year stamped into the left-hand side of the receiver.
- The carbon steel barrel, which might alternately be hammer forged or lapped depending on when it was made, is threaded into the receiver frame (an exception is more recent rifles chambered for the .17 HM2 round, where the barrel is pinned into position).
- Triggers are generally easily adjustable, and a detachable box magazine contains and feeds the rounds.
- Magazines are generally of 5 or 10 round capacity although 15 and 25 round magazines are also available.
- A welcome feature of Brno .22LR rifles, rare among other manufacturers, is that the magazine design has been largely unchanged over the years and a Model 2 magazine is interchangeable with its more modern equivalents.
- Early ones were made from stamped steel, although cheaper polymer ones, which should also fit older guns without a problem, are now produced.
- Today, the name of Brno has given way to the title CZ but the brand has otherwise changed little and is still subjected to the same strict levels of quality control.
- Many of us who purchased a Model 2 in the distant past probably still own the same rifle and have never felt a need to upgrade it. Despite this, they are frequently offered for sale at very attractive prices and if you are looking for a no-nonsense, accurate pest control rifle, this may be just the one for you.
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- Country of origin: Czech Republic
- In production: 1953 – 2011
- Action: Bolt
- Stock options: Beech as standard, occasionally walnut
- Barrel length: 16˝ to 28½˝
- Magazine: Detachable
- Weight: Around 6lbs (standard barrel)
- Approximate weight in 12 bore: 6¾lbs.
- Available in calibres predominantly .22LR, but versions also produced in
.22WMR, .17HM2 and .17HMR
- Cost new: £359 for a CZ 455 with synthetic stock
- Cost used: from around £150 inc scope
If you are looking for a no-nonsense, accurate pest control rifle, this may be just the one for you.