(click on photos to enbiggen)
Sometimes things just happen. Today, a CZ 452 happened to me.
I was browsing a local gun shop I had stopped at on a whim. Not my favorite place, but occasionally has something decent or interesting. Usually overpriced, which is why I under-buy when I am there.
Today, they had the usual assortment of new and used, with little turnover in their stock. Did I mention they price high?
I noticed a very pretty .22 rifle at the front of a rack, and asked to see it. A CZ 452 American in .22 magnum. Nice, but not a caliber I am enamored to since I bought a .17HMR. The CZ 452 American comes sans sights, fitted to an American style stock with a medium comb, meant for a scope mounted rifle.
When the clerk put it back on the rack he mentioned he had another one, but not as nice. I was noncommittal, but he still reached to the back of the rack and hauled out what is shown here in the photographs.
It's a CZ 452 Trainer, unusual and not often seen around here.
It differs from the American in many ways, being styled for the European market. The Trainer, and it's fancy brother the Lux, come with excellent quality open sights. The rear sight is a military style tangent that is graduated from 25 meters out to 200 meters. It's also adjustable for windage via two small screws.
The front sight is a hooded blade that is also adjustable for elevation via a ramp and a small lock screw.
The idea is to use the adjustable front sight to set the point of impact for the ammo being used with the rear tangent set at the range being fired. Then the rear sight can be adjusted via a slider to whatever range is desired.
It's a nice system, and allows the military style tangent rear sight to be used with most standard velocity .22 LR ammunition.
The stock on both the Trainer and the Lux have a hump back style perfectly suited to shooting offhand with open sights. The Lux has fine grade Walnut, while the Trainer has birch.
It was the sights and stock that sold me on this CZ452, helped along by the reputation they have for startling accuracy. I have been looking at old .22 rifles for the last year or so, hoping to find something set up for offhand shooting with open sights. I'd like to practice for the High Power military rifle matches, and a properly set up .22 would be a valuable practice tool. (and cheap to shoot).
I turned to elderly used .22s as no American company seems to service the market for quality open sighted .22 rifles meant to be fired fired from positions. Such shooting seems to be from a bygone era.
Apparently the Europeans still shoot their small bore the way it was meant to be. Open sights, standing up, working on real old time shooting skills.
Well, at least as much as they are allowed to by their governments.
To sweeten the pot, this CZ 452 comes with an adjustable trigger and a safety that completely locks the firing pin and bolt.
In addition, the barrel is a graceful 25 inches long, giving a nice feel and excellent sight radius.
They test fire each rifle at the factory, then clean and pack it for shipping. The test target is included in the box, and signed by the man who fired it. I like that touch. Shows pride in their work.
At the gun shop, this nice little rifle seemed to fit me well. The stock allowed good fit for shooting with open sights, and the trigger has an excellent feel. Best of all, the sights are serious business and do the job they were meant for. Not an afterthought on a rifle designed to be fitted with a scope.
This one had a few small scratches from rack time, even if it was new. Dickering happened, feelings were slightly impinged, a box of ammunition sweetened the pot, and I walked away with this CZ 452 Trainer for slightly less than wholesale price plus tax.
Yes, I was (and am) a happy camper. My shooting club being only a few miles from the shop, I hustled over to try out my new purchase. Settling in to a bench rest and sandbag, the first group at 25 yards could have fit under my thumbnail. Happy dance time!
Another shooter was watching as I set up at fifty yards, and I noticed he was also shooting a CX 452, only an American in .17 HMR with a scope. It took him no time at all to notice the groups from my open sight .22 matched the size of his scoped .17HMR groups. Envy abounded...
Yup..... I'm glad this one followed me home. I've come to realize good firearms are not an expense, they are an investment that always appreciates. The value goes up while we get the enjoyment of owning and using them at the same time.
(Stay tuned for an upcoming post on testing various .22 ammunitions. It will include chronograph data on over 15 types of .22, and highly interesting and subjective accuracy findings [G])
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