CZ457 Beech Wood

Life’s a Beech

CZ 457 ramps it up a notch, writes Con Kapralos

The current incarnation of the Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) rimfire rifle line, the CZ 457, continues the tradition of this famous European marque with its roots steeped in the legendary Brno rimfires and more recently the CZ-UB (Uhersky Brod) 452 and 455 models. One way to gauge how respected these previous editions are is by the prices well cared-for rifles still command while targeted by collectors, astute shooters and hunters after a classical rimfire option.

The CZ 457 is distributed by Winchester Australia whose website list 15 different models. Entry-level options retailing just above the $1000 mark consist of the Synthetic ($1045) and Beech Wood ($1060) and when approached to run the rule over the latter in .22LR we were happy to oblige. The rifle was supplied with an excellent scope in the Meopta Optika 5 in 2-10×42 in CZ rings along with Winchester rimfire hunting ammunition for testing.

At a glance

The gun arrived in the customary CZ carton and the beechwood stock really surprised with some pleasant figures in the grain and impressive fleur-de-lys chequering pattern. The rifle’s a bolt-action repeater with the barrelled action a deep satin black, the barrel of a sporter profile measuring 525mm and devoid of iron sights. The rifle is supplied with a five-shot clip magazine and comes with a comprehensive instruction manual, warranty certificate and CZ test-target shot with RWS 40-grain ammunition. It has overall length of 975mm and weighs 2.6kg.

Barrelled action

The receiver is shared across all models in the 457 bracket, a one-piece steel unit of circular bar-stock with attractive flats milled on the right and left-hand facets, the receiver top having an 11mm dovetail milled into it which provides the only means for scope-ring attachment. Left of the receiver carries the CZ logo and ‘CZ 457’ lightly engraved into the flat and behind this is the bolt release button which permits bolt removal for security/safety and cleaning with reinstalling the bolt as easy as removing it.

The right side of the receiver has an identical flat as the left, the front receiver ring having a small gas port just forward of the ejection port together with proof markings and serial number. The front receiver ring has no threads for the barrel shank as the barrel is a slip-fit with two set screws to hold it in place once installed, the screws being M6x1 thread pitch. The rifle accepts any compatible CZ 455/CZ 457 rimfire barrel and is straightforward to install.

The barrel is of a light sporter-weight profile, 525mm long and chambered for the .22LR cartridge with matching one-in-16 twist rate and made of chrome molybdenum steel using a cold-hammer forging process. There are no iron sights but a threaded muzzle for use with compatible accessories, the only drawback being the protective knurled cap sitting proud of the barrel surface which would’ve been better flush. The barrelled action has a satin black finish which, according to CZ, has much improved anti-corrosion and anti-abrasion properties over traditional finishes.


This is a cock-on open, control feed design with the major improvement over the CZ 455 being a 60-degree bolt throw which allows riflescopes to be mounted as low as possible. It’s of multi-piece construction and consists of the polished steel body, blued bolt handle collar and knob with the cocking cam and firing pin springs housed inside a polymer shroud at the terminal end.

Rounds fed from the magazine are controlled by dual opposing non-rotating extractors, ensuring the rimfire case is held tightly against the bolt face during loading to keep it from being deformed until it enters the chamber. On firing, the extractors come into play again and effectively eject the case clear of the action through the port.

Many owners choose to retrofit larger-diameter bolt knobs for a ‘tactical look’ but for a hunting rifle the small-rounded knob is spot-on and easily comes to hand when chambering a round and ejecting a fired case. Bolt travel is smooth as a rimfire bolt should be with no hint of binding and will become slicker with continual use.

Safety, trigger and magazine

The safety is a two-position linear unit behind the bolt notch and part of the trigger group itself, the new ‘push forward to fire’ design a complete change from that on the CZ 455. Pushing the lever forward unblocks the trigger sear to expose a red dot on the receiver flat, indicating the rifle is ready to fire. Pushing the lever to the back reveals a white dot indicating ‘safe-mode’ where the trigger sear is directly blocked but the bolt can be cycled to clear the action. The trigger’s the standard one on the CZ 457 series and is single-stage design – fully adjustable using an Allen key through a grub screw on the base of the triggerfoot – and was perfect as set from the factory at around 1kg.

The magazine is polymer as on the CZ 455, holds five rounds with a 10-shot unit available and clips into the belly of the stock and is easily removed by pressing a small lever in front of the magazine well, integral to the magazine box (pressed steel magazines are readily available). The triggerguard and magazine port are two-piece interlocking with the polymer triggerguard attached to the steel magazine port shank. Internally the magazine box is polymer and takes both .22LR and .17HMR/.22WMR clip magazines. It’s attached to the underside of the receiver body with two screws and in the case of the .22LR a polymer block is located in the rear of the box to take the shorter .22LR magazine. If changing to a .17HMR or .22WMR barrel, simply remove the steel pin which retains the polymer block in the well and the larger magazine can be used.


Rifle stocks made from timber rather than walnut aren’t new with any stable timber being suitable and the beech unit on the CZ 457 looks the part, designed to the American sporter profile. With modern technology, elaborate patterns can be applied to any nondescript wood to make them look fancy and while I don’t know what path CZ have taken with this stock, the ornate fleur-de-lys machine-cut chequering pattern on the fore-end and pistol grip look very appealing.

The stock also sports QD-sling swivel studs and a decent 20mm sorbothane pad, a big plus in my book. Rubber or polymer recoil-pads do nothing for a rifle and even though the .22LR has no recoil, having a pad which sits firmly in the shoulder without slipping is a prerequisite. Internally the stock in-letting is neatly finished, CZ claiming the rifle uses a ‘new type of bedding’ arrangement which consists of a free-floating steel lug in a recess in the head of the stock which mates with a slot machined in the underside of the receiver at the rear tang just behind the trigger group. Why CZ chose this arrangement is clear as the interchangeable barrel screws and front action screw provisions don’t leave any space on the underside of the front receiver ring.

Additional to the recoil lug are two composite synthetic pillars inletted into the stock to which the front and rear action screws pass through and the receiver rests on in conjunction with lug. These pillars ensure the action screws can be tightened without crushing the stock mortise though I’m puzzled as to why CZ would choose polymer pillars when for a few dollars more, alloy would be far better and make the rifle more appealing.

At the range

Shooting this rifle with the excellent Meopta Optika coupled with its fine trigger produced some respectable five-shot groups which would easily equate to ‘Minute of Rabbit’ or any other varmint at sensible rimfire ranges. It would’ve been nice to shoot some match-grade ammunition but the scope of the review was as a hunting and plinking outfit. The rifle functioned flawlessly, chambering and ejecting spent rounds without issue and while some like to stretch the legs on a .22LR to 100m and beyond, I feel going past 75m for hunting applications isn’t ethical but shoot inanimate targets as far as you like.

CZ 457 Beech Wood .22LR – Range testing at 50m

Ammunition Best group (mm) Worst group (mm) Average group (mm)*
Winchester Subsonic HP 40gr 1065fps 19 27 24
Winchester Power Point HP 40gr 1280fps 22 31 25
Winchester Super X Super Speed RN 40gr 1300fps 17 32 26
Winchester Super X Hyper Velocity HP 40gr 1435 fps 25 35 31

*Average group calculated from five 5-shot groups using a front benchrest and rear bag.


While the last of the fixed-barrel rimfires in the CZ 452 are a thing of the past, the CZ 457 with its interchangeable barrel capability makes it possible to extract the best from your rimfire rifle. With barrels available in .22LR, .17HMR and .22WMR it’s just a matter of loosening a couple of retaining screws and sliding in a new barrel to match it with the correct magazine. The review rifle is one any small-game hunter or shooter would be proud to own. The CZ 457 Beech Wood retails for $1060 and is available from all Winchester Australia registered dealers.

Manufacturer: CZ, Czech Republic
Model: CZ 457 Beech Wood
Action: Push-feed bolt-action repeater, 60-degree bolt throw, 11mm dovetail for scope mounting
Calibres: .22LR (tested), .22WMR, .17HMR
Barrel: 525mm light sporter profile, no iron sights, threaded muzzle for accessories (½ x 20)
Trigger: Single-stage adjustable
Safety: Two-position linear
Magazine: Polymer five-round (10-round available), compatible pressed-steel magazines available
Stock: Beechwood, oil finished, impressed fleur-de-lys chequering pattern, sorbothane recoil pad
Overall length: 975mm
Overall weight: 2.6kg
RRP: About $1060
Distributor: Winchester Australia

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