Bruce Potts reviews the CZ 457 Long Range Precision and is impressed by its all-round capability
Background to the CZ 457 Long Range Precision
The CZ is the go-to rimfire for many UK pest controllers. Despite tough competition from the likes of Anschütz, Sako, Bergara and Tikka, CZ’s rifles continue to evolve and surprise in their abilities. Some of the top models are far from the cheap option farmer’s gun they once were. Efforts have been made to blend precision, reliability and CZ’s renowned accuracy into a modern-day vermin gun.
Enter the CZ 457 Long Range Precision rifle, an up-to-date version of the older 452 and 455 rimfires with a number of variants, including the Long Range Precision (LRP), which we focus on here. Don’t let the name put you off – this is as much a hunting gun as it can be used on the range. Ultimately, it is designed to offer extreme accuracy from an adjustable stock system and give comfort and consistent performance for a wide range of shooters.
CZ has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Uherský Brod, in the south-east of what was then Czechoslovakia, in 1936, as this rifle shows.
The LRP is designed to get the best from you with unimpeachable reliability and absolute accuracy. The driving force for this is CZ’s button-rifled barrel with a 1:16in rifling twist rate enhanced with a match-grade chamber. This ensures a precise fit of the cartridge in the LRP’s chamber and thus precision accuracy is ensured. Add to this the match-crowned muzzle with a ½in UNF (Unified National Fine) thread for sound moderator fitment to the trim 20in barrel length, making for a stiff, rigid barrel without too much extra weight. The Varmint profile is 0.863in diameter, but weight is reduced by six flutes 17in long and 0.30in wide. The finish, as with the action, is a durable anti-corrosion surface.
The CZ 457 Long Range Precision action remains a smooth bolt action with the now familiar modular system allowing for easy replacement of barrels and change of calibres, if you so wish.
There is a 25 MOA (minute of angle) Picatinny rail, which has a built-in tilt or inclination so you can sight in for longer ranges and is handy as it means no more running out of adjustment on your scope. One caveat is you may have to reverse the scope mounts, as some mounts with large securing bolts will foul the bolt operation.
The bolt rotation is your standard 60 degrees, allowing for clearance of the riflescope’s eyepiece. I love the oversized 1.3in-diameter rubber bolt knob for fast and assured bolt cycling and the twin-claw case extraction. CZ has also lightened the firing pin so the lock time – the period from trigger-pull to primer strike – is increased, which will potentially also increase accuracy. A nice touch.
The trigger is equally good, with a safe 3.25lb but can be adjusted from in the range of 1.2lb to 3.4lb with the trigger travel being adjustable in the range from 0.5mm to 5mm. Safety wise, the LRP has a silent and precise side-lever that, when applied, also allows the bolt to be opened for a swift unload if necessary.
The crowning glory of this rifle is the stock. At first glance it looks like a synthetic model, but it is in fact made of beech with a tough soft-touch finish applied to the exterior. This has two benefits: first, the wood adds a good weight and balance to this rifle (8.4lb overall), and secondly, the grey-and-black speckled finish is weatherproof and is a tactile hold. This is aided by the striking, near-vertical pistol grip with twin palm swells, a flatter extended fore-end and a prominent rear hook, so you can steady the aim, as well as an added rear rail at the toe for additional monopod fitment. That’s not all. Length of pull can be adjusted from 13.8in to 15in via four included spacers, while the height of the comb is also adjustable, all adding up to a rifle that will fit a variety of shooters. (Read more on rifle stocks here.)
We tested a wide selection of ammunition over the chronograph, and at targets at differing ranges, and were impressed. That free-floating barrel and stock bedding on aluminium pillars and separate steel recoil lug really helped with accuracy. We kept the 1.77in-long muzzle brake on for the testing.
The best subsonic loads were the Eley 38-gr subsonics at 987fps and 82ft/lb with phenomenal 30-yard groups (right). At 100 yards, all shots were no more than 0.85in.
The Norma 40-grain (gr) subsonics were quiet at 940fps and 79ft/lb, with 0.45in and 1in 30- and 100-yard five-shot groups, respectively. CCI Segmented and RWS subsonics also shot well, and the reduced loads I use for feral pigeons, such as the CB Long (29gr) and CCI Quiet (40gr), shot 675fps/29ft/lb and 752fps/50ft/lb, respectively, with 0.75in groups at 20 yards this time. For the field test, I used some super-accurate SK Long Range ammunition that shot 1,108fps for 109ft/lb and gave nearly ½ MOA at 100 yards. Resting prone while viewing some rabbit warrens at longer range meant they could not sense or smell me and we had some very humane shots.
The CZ 457 Long Range Precision is one of those great crossover rifles that is as home in the field as it is on the range. It shot some unbelievably small groups in the field tests; only lead-free ammo did not function so well. The LRP clinically helped thin the rabbits at longer ranges and is certainly worth the asking price, especially given the adjustability of the stock, the reliability and its renowned accuracy.
- Maker: CZ
- Name CZ 457 Long Range Precision
- Type: Bolt-action rimfire
- Barrel length 20in, ½ UNF thread
- Calibre .22 LR
- Overall length 39.5in, length of pull adjustable from 13.8in to 15in
- Stock Grey/black speckled soft touch over beech wood, adjustable for length of pull and comb height
- Trigger Single-stage adjustable trigger
- Safety Two-position side-lever
- Magazine Detachable five-shot single stack; 10-shot option
- Sights One-piece 6.5in Picatinny rail
- Weight 8.4lb
- Price £1,064.99
- Importer: Sportsman Gun Centre