A perfect blend of hunter and target rimfire, this is a great little rifle that instils confidence with every shot, says Bruce Potts
Don’t be put off by the name; we think ‘Mini Sniper’ is an allusion to the fact this CZ .22 LR rimfire rifle is highly accurate and precise, and perhaps got lost a bit in translation. What the CZ 455 Mini Sniper does, though, is blend elements from the target world with those of hunting to produce the best of both.
This is a mid-weight .22 rimfire bolt-action rifle with dependable action, detachable five- or 10-shot magazine with a one-piece scope base fitted and a solid, weather-proof, polymer-coated wood stock. Best of all is the fluted, blued barrel of varmint proportions that’s screw cut and shorter for hunting use. In essence, this is a .22 rimfire capable of extreme accuracy for trickier shots at longer range. It comes with a soft case for travelling, too.
The CZ 455 Mini Sniper continues to offer a more traditional action design compared with the newer 457 rimfire. The 455’s Mauser-type action is timeless; bombproof and reliable, it has great overall finish and handling. The Mini Sniper also has a single one-piece Weaver aluminium scope rail fitted that is 6.5in long and has a 25 MOA (minute of angle) bias to it at a forward tilt. This gives you extra elevation at longer range and is also handy for maximising the total adjustment from your existing rifle scope. Priced at £842.99, it’s built to provide dependable accuracy and handling.
NEED TO KNOW
- Manufacturer CZ
- Model 455 Mini Sniper
- Type Bolt-action rimfire
- Barrel length 20.5in, ½in UNF thread; 22in with muzzle brake fitted
- Calibre .22 LR
- Overall length 40.5in
- Finish Matt blued
- Stock Black polymer-coated beech wood
- Trigger Single stage
- Safety Two-position side, wing type
- Magazine Detachable 10-shot single stack; five-shot option
- Sights One-piece 6.75in Weaver rail (25 MOA)
- Weight 7.65lb
- Price £842.99
- Importer Sportsman Gun Centre, 01392 354854
The all-steel action is blued and the 455 design allows the barrels to be exchanged by loosening two Allen screws at the base of the action where the barrel joins. This is handy for changing calibre if you so wish.
The bolt is the tried-and-tested rear- locking type, with twin large extraction claws for reliability, and ejection is via a spur in the action floor that contacts the rim of the case as the bolt is withdrawn and pings the case free.
I like the addition to the bolt on this model of a large rubber-faceted bolt knob of 1.3in diameter that gives a positive grip in any weather; do watch where the scope mounts go so as not to foul its operation. A new, extended and modern-looking aluminium trigger-guard houses the 10-shot magazine fitted as standard; a five-shot is optional.
Simple yet effective
The trigger is simple yet effective compared with that of the 457 and adjustable when the stock is removed via a single nut that decreases or increases the weight of pull. Set at 3.75lb it is safe and breaks with only a small amount of creep.
The barrel is where the real difference is obvious. This model wears a chromoly, cold hammer-forged, blued barrel with a 0.862in diameter at the muzzle — so a nice varmint weight, with a length of 20.5in (22in with the muzzle brake fitted). Being fully free floated and having a tough, matt blued finish with six flutes of 17in long not only reduces the weight but also adds rigidity, so the barrel shoots exceptionally well.
The semi-tactical beech stock has a surface coating of a black soft-touch layer which is very hunter friendly — in other words, grippy and non-reflective. A good blend of wood for density and a synthetic coating to weatherise it is clever. The long and wide fore-end has stippling panels to both sides and underneath to maximise grip, and there are dual sling or bipod fitment studs.
The pistol grip is quite vertical, which I like, and has the same moulded-in stippling as the fore-end. There are twin generous palm swells that steady the hand and thus aim. Though there is no cheekpiece, the straight comb barely drops below the action line so is excellent for scope use. Length of pull is 14.25in and the slim solid black rubber recoil pad grips very well in the shoulder.
CZ continues to uphold its reputation as one of the best all-round rimfire rifle producers. The new vision and thinking outside the box to produce a perfect blend of hunter and target rimfire is the essence of the Mini Sniper. Yes, the price is a little higher than a standard .22 rimfire model, but you do get a lot for your money and the rabbits won’t thank you for that.
- Accuracy 18/20. It’s a CZ. Liked all the ammunition tested apart from the ultra-velocity HV
- Handling 17/20. Practical and well balanced
- Trigger 16/20 Simple yet effective trigger mechanism
- Stock 17/20 Very stable and well thought-out stock design and finish
- Value 18/20 Accuracy costs sometimes
- Overall score 86/100 A perfect blend of hunter and target rimfire
I fitted an A-Tec CMM moderator and Lightstream scope and proceeded to test a variety of .22 ammunition. I was using this CZ for hunting so Eley subsonics shot 1,072fps for 97ft/lb energy with 0.5in 50-yard groups, every time. This was true of the Norma 40-gr hollowpoint subsonics too with the same accuracy but 910fps for 74ft/lb energy. All the 14 different ammunition types tested shot 0.75in or better at 50 yards — that’s impressive. The best high-velocity (HV) load was the RWS HV at 1,185fps for 125ft/lb and 0.65in groupings for five shots. The rifle did not like the ultra-velocity CCI Copper loads at a staggering 1,803fps and 152ft/lb, though, as the 21-gr bullet shot 1.5in groups.
This looks like a big, heavy rifle but it really isn’t. It handles well and this is largely due to the extra weight in the stock and the point of balance just under the action.
Shot from a bipod with the non-flexing fore-end or off sticks or my knees, the CZ performed well. Rabbits that thought they were out of range were surprised when a Norma subsonic hit home. The target pedigree, both in accuracy and stability, combined with that timeless, familiar action makes for a perfect hunting partner that instils confidence in every shot.
Don’t be put off by the name; we think ‘Mini Sniper’ is an allusion to the fact this CZ .22 LR rimfire rifle is highly accurate and precise, and perhaps got lost a bit in translation