TFB Review: CZ 457 Lux .22WMR

    CZ 457: A rimfire Lux-ury

    The CZ 457, introduced just this year by CZ and CZ-USA, has big shoes to fill.  It’s predecessors, the 455 and 452 series rimfires, were well made and generally well liked.  The “Lux” line of CZ rimfires represent a rifle with a touch of elegance.  They are distinguished by their checkered Monte Carlo shaped Turkish walnut stocks and adjustable iron sights.  CZ was kind enough to afford TFB the opportunity to try this new rifle out in a .22WMR chambering.

    Updating a Classic

    Though the 455 and 452 are regarded as decent rifles, some idiosyncrasies existed in the previous series that CZ was aware of, and the 457 series seeks to remedy those points.  The first major difference starts with the receiver.  The 457 is updated with a slotted receiver.  This allows for a markedly shorter bolt travel and smaller receiver footprint than the 455.  The receiver has also been slab-sided to further reduce weight.  The bolt knob runs no risk of interfering with one’s optics: the throw has been reduced from 90 to 60 degrees.  In addition, the new bolts have cocking indicators.

    Cocking indicator is seen on the rear of the bolt

    The safety has migrated from the bolt to the right-hand side of the receiver.  Engineered with the preference of American shooters in mind, the safety is now push-to-fire.  The trigger guard is now two piece instead of one piece.  Speaking of the trigger, the 457 has received a major upgrade in that area:  The trigger is fully adjustable for weight, pre-travel, and overtravel.  The 5-shot magazines are now a lightweight composite material, but older CZ rimfire magazines will fit the 457.

    Push to fire safety

    Specs, per CZ:

    • Product Name CZ 457 Lux, 22WMR
      SKU 02302
      Firearm Type Rifle
      MSRP $522.00
      Chambering .22WMR
      Magazine Capacity 5
      Magazine Type Detachable
      Stock Turkish Walnut, European-Style
      Length Of Pull 13.75
      Sights Adjustable Iron, Integrated 11mm Dovetail
      Barrel Cold Hammer Forged
      Barrel Length 24.8 in
      Weight 6.1 lbs
      Trigger Mech Fully Adjustable
      Safety Two-Position, Push-To-Fire

    First impressions

    The CZ 457 ships in a cardboard box, no case is provided.  I removed the rifle from the plastic sleeve and inserted the bolt, which is separate from the rifle in the box.  The fit and finish on this gun were very good, exceptional even for a rifle of its price point.  The checkering felt very good in the hand, not too sharp or too dull.  The iron sights mounted on the barrel were pretty nice and smooth to adjust for elevation.  I had some .22 snap caps handy, so I tried out the trigger.  I was duly impressed.  The trigger had a tiny amount of pre travel and broke crisply at 3lbs 2 oz.  Though the 457’s trigger can be adjusted much lower, I saw no need.

    Shapely stock

    The finish on the Lux is a not-too-shiny semi-gloss.  It was even throughout, as was the finish on the wood stock.  The stock snapped to the shoulder well enough, and the pad is just grippy enough without getting stuck on most types of clothing.  The 6.1 point rifle balances nicely just forward of the magazine.  The sights, while crisp in most conditions, did have just a touch too shiny of finish on them under bright sunlight reflecting off of snow.  This minor issue can be remedied in myriad ways, however.

    Bright snow made the sights a bit too reflective sometimes

    Range time

    Due to both Hornady and Aguila generously providing ammunition for this review, I was set to hit the range right away.  First up was running the rifle through its paces with iron sights.  This rifle was fun to shoot from the moment I first pushed off the safety.  I immediately appreciated the short bolt travel and 60-degree throw when rapidly firing, and appreciated the very nice trigger when slow firing for accuracy.  Recoil and noise with all loads were negligible, as it should be with a .22WMR.

    I let other shooters, including some junior shooters of smaller stature, have a try with the 457 on my initial outing.  The rifle was generally liked by all.  Of note: The junior shooters had no problem manipulating the bolt, but the drop of the comb of the stock was a bit too low for them to get a good cheek weld.  The 457 AT-ONE or 457 Scout would be better suited for miniature marksmen.

    Iron Accuracy

    The iron sights on the 457 Lux are easy to adjust.  Just slide up and down to adjust for elevation, and click adjustments may be made for windage via a screw on the side of the rear sight.  Starting at 25 yards, groups of about .5″ were easy to obtain with all loads when using the iron sights.  Groups opened up to about 2″ at 50 yards, and at 100 yards the width of the front sight covers up a man-sized silhouette target.  I did hit some silhouettes using irons at that range, but gopher-sized precision is tough to achieve with the Lux’s Irons – perhaps a thinner front sight blade would do better.  I did find that the elevation markings on the rear sight base were usable and generally accurate out to 200 yards.

    Scoping Things Out

    CZ-USA was kind enough to send me some rings to mount to the 457 via the 11mm dovetail on the receiver.  I did have to remove the rear iron sight in order to accommodate the bell of the scope.  To remove the rear sight from a CZ, press down on the rear sight and slide rearward.  The base can be removed as well, as it is attached via screws on the 457, rather than welds with the older CZ rimfires.  With a Nikon ProStaff Rimfire II mounted, I was ready to test for precision.

    All accuracy testing was conducted with front bipod support and a rear bag, results are 5 shot groups measured center-center.

    50 Yards:

    • Hornady 45gr FTX: .55″
    • Hornady 30gr V-Max: .46″
    • Aguila 40gr SJSP (Semi-Jacketed Soft Point): .65″

    100 Yards:

    • Hornady 45gr FTX: 1.96″
    • Hornady 30gr V-Max: 1.2″
    • Aguila 40gr SJSP: 1.47″

    Moving out to longer ranges, hits were accurate and repeatable out to 300 yards.  Overall, I believe the Hornady 30gr V-Max would best serve users of the 457 Lux as far as accuracy and lethality on small varmints.  I recorded an average muzzle velocity of 2269 fps with this load out of the 457 Lux’s 24.8″ cold hammer forged barrel. Overall performance of the rifle was very good.  Accuracy of this nature is fairly decent for a .22WMR.  I did not have one single malfunction in all 400 rounds fired through the gun.

    Final Grade

    The new 457 rimfire line from CZ brings a whole host of upgrades to their bolt action rimfire series.   Objectively, the new rifles feature lighter weight, a much improved and fully adjustable trigger, shorter bolt throw and travel, a smaller receiver footprint, and a safety designed for American preferences, while still retaining the quick change barrels of their predecessors.

    Subjectively, I found the 457 Lux to be 100% reliable, reasonably accurate for caliber, with an excellent trigger, great looks, and lots of features for the price.  My preference would be for a narrower sight blade for more precision with iron sights, but that’s a very minor quibble.  If a classic looking rimfire with iron sights is something you seek, give the 457 Lux a look.  It could be the one for you.

    Pros

    • Excellent adjustable trigger
    • Nice feature set for the price point
    • Iron sight factory range markings are pretty accurate

    Cons

    • Front sight blade slightly too wide for precision use on varmints at longer ranges

    Thanks to CZ-USA for the opportunity.  Thanks to Aguila and Hornady for providing ammunition.  Thanks to HSS for range time and logistic support.  



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    Rusty S.

    Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


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