Favored by hunters and those who teach hunter safety and fieldcraft classes for their ruggedness and accuracy, the popular CZ 452 and 455 rimfire rifles were nonetheless discontinued in 2018. But CZ had a plan, and in 2019 it introduced the CZ 457 American—a rifle featuring a number of upgrades based on feedback the company had received regarding its predecessors.
The new rimfire rifle possesses CZ’s impressive accuracy, is stocked to suit American tastes and is loaded with a variety of features demanded by American shooters. Also offered in .22 WMR and .17 HMR, we obtained a sample of the new gun chambered in .22 Long Rifle for testing.
Manufactured in the Czech Republic by Ceska Zbrojovka a.s. Uhersky Brod and imported by CZ-USA, the 457 American boasts a new, slab-sided receiver, machined from ETG 100 bar stock, that is an inch shorter than that of the 455 American, reducing both its weight and its footprint.
CZ engineers also reduced the bolt throw from 90 degrees to just 60 degrees, making the 457 more compatible with scopes with larger ocular bells. No sights are included with the 457 American, as it is designed for use with optics, and the receiver’s top has an integral 11 mm dovetail cut into it.
Another feature incorporated into the 457 design is a two-position safety. While previous models used a wing-style safety located at the rear of the bolt, CZ listened to requests and incorporated a pivoting safety on the right side of the receiver to better suit American tastes.
Pushing the safety forward makes the gun ready to fire and reveals a red dot on the side of the receiver. Applying the manual safety locks the trigger but does not lock the bolt, allowing the rifle to be loaded or unloaded with the safety on.
Previous models required pulling the trigger to remove the bolt from the rifle, but the new gun simply requires depressing the bolt release on the left, rear of the receiver while drawing the bolt rearwards.
The CZ 457 American’s slab-sided steel receiver is an inch shorter than that of its predecessor, the 455 American, reducing both its weight and its footprint.
The bolt cocks on opening, and it requires only 8 lbs. of pressure to do so, as measured with our trigger pull gauge. It should be noted that the safety cannot be applied unless the bolt’s striker is cocked. There is a red cocking indicator that protrudes from the rear of the bolt body when the striker is cocked, and the bolt travel is a mere 1.59".
The bolt uses twin extractors to ensure removal of empty cases from the tight match chamber, and CZ has outfitted the 457 American with a lighter firing pin for faster lock time and less jarring when the trigger is pulled.
CZ designed the 457 with an adjustable, single-stage trigger. Ours broke at 3 lbs., 12 ozs., from the factory, but shooters can customize their triggers for pull weight, take-up and overtravel. Two No. 25 Torx screws will need to be removed to separate the action from the stock for access to the trigger.
After some experimentation we achieved a light, crisp pull with virtually no overtravel. The machined steel, two-piece floorplate system replaces the stamped trigger guard of the 455 rifle, and is more in line with American sensibilities. Both the CZ 455 and 457 American use the same five-round polymer magazine.
A red plastic cocking indicator protrudes slightly from the rear of the bolt body when the striker is cocked.
The CZ 457 American has a 24.8" tapered barrel with a sporter profile. It is cold-hammer-forged, and is rifled with a 1:16" right-hand twist. Like its predecessor the CZ 455, the 457 does not use threading to retain the barrel within the receiver. Instead, there are two screws at the front of the receiver that retain the barrel. This system makes it possible to change the chambering of the rifle through the purchase and installation of extra barrels.
CZ recognized that American shooters just aren’t interested in Bavarian-style stocks. The 457 American uses a walnut stock with a high, flat comb so shooters can get a nice cheekweld while using an optic. The company checkers both the pistol grip and fore-end in a classic pattern with a delicate border. The barrel is free-floated, so there is no contact with the fore-end that might affect accuracy. The rifle ships with sling swivel studs already installed and a 3/8" rubber recoil pad.
American Rifleman protocol calls for five, 10-shot groups to be fired with each ammunition used, and we used three loads to test the gun’s accuracy. As you can see, our sample CZ 457 American possessed outstanding accuracy, with the average 10-shot group measuring just a hair more than 3/4" at 50 yds.
Accuracy was also amazingly consistent between loads. The smallest group fired was recorded with Aguila’s 40-gr. Rifle Match bullets, and measured just 0.55". Even our largest groups with each of the three ammunitions were all under 1".
During our testing we were impressed with how smoothly the action cycled; “butter smooth” was the way one evaluator described the action. Combined with the ease of opening/cocking and the short bolt travel, the 457 American has the ability to put rounds on target in a very fast and accurate manner. During our 400-round evaluation the 457 functioned flawlessly.
With an MSRP of just $476 the CZ 457 American represents a tremendous value; the changes made to the 455 in designing the new gun are well-thought-out and should make it even more attractive to the American market. Boasting excellent accuracy and a great trigger, the 457 American would make a great rifle for novice and expert alike.