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CZ 1012 Bronze 12 Gauge Shotgun Review

CZ 1012 Bronze 12 Gauge Shotgun Review

CZ has added to its already extensive lineup of shotguns by offering its first gasless inertia-­operated semiautomatic: CZ 1012. The action is based on the Bruno Civolani-­designed inertia system that utilizes just three primary parts: bolt body, inertia spring and rotating bolt head. The CZ 1012 operates with a range of 12-gauge loads and requires little maintenance.

When fired, recoil pushes the gun rearward. Inertia causes the bolt body to remain stationary, compressing an internal inertia spring. As the recoil force dissipates, the spring thrusts the bolt body rearward, unlocking the bolt head.

CZ 1012 Bronze
Inertia operation is popular in semiauto shotguns these days, and CZ has joined the club with its new 1012. It offers some distinctive features that help it stand out in an increasingly crowded market including the option for an attractive bronze finish.

The bolt assembly is free to slide rearward and the spent shell is extracted and ejected. A metal tail at the rear of the bolt compresses the recoil spring in the buttstock, and the stored energy returns the bolt back into the forward position, while picking up the next shell from the magazine and pushing it into the chamber. It’s a simple system that has been perfected these last 50 years. It’s easy to clean and maintain since gases and debris exit the barrel instead of being channeled through ports in the gun.

The CZ 1012 is currently available in five different configurations: three with Turkish walnut stocks featuring black, bronze or grey anodized aluminum receivers and synthetic stocks versions in black or full-dip camo.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The CZ 1012 Bronze performed exceptional during Guns & Ammo’s roundtable. It was also evaluated with Aimpoint’s Micro S-1 6-MOA red dot sight designed specifically for use on shot-guns. It mounted low on the ventilated rib. $738

The version that Guns & Ammo tested featured a walnut stock and bronze finish on the aluminum alloy receiver. Currently, all 1012 models come in 12-­gauge with 3-­inch chambers, 28-­inch barrels with 8mm flat ribs, a single white bead and five extended choke tubes — Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified and Full. The 1012 weighs nearly 6 ½ pounds depending on stock density.

The control layout is similar to other available inertia guns and feature a bolt release button on the right side of the receiver, a shell drop lever alongside the right front portion of the triggerguard and a crossbolt safety.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The hourglass-shaped operating handle is easy to grab from any angle, and is easy to remove during disassembly than the usual C-shaped handle. This is a style that has migrated from tactical and competition semiauto shotguns.

The 1012’s controls offer some intelligent design upgrades compared with other guns in this class. Most noticeable is the hourglass-­shaped lightened bolt handle. Unlike traditional inertia guns with a C-­shaped bolt handle, the CZ design is easy to grasp and control from any angle, and is easier to pull free from the bolt during disassembly.

The bottom portion of the shell drop ­lever is angled 90 degrees, which is easier to operate than competing models with a flat profile-­lever, and the triangular crossbolt safety is positioned on the front of the triggerguard instead of the more traditional position behind the trigger.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The triangular safety button is at the front of the triggerguard rather than the usual location at the rear. The bottom edge of the shell drop-lever is canted 90 degrees to make it easier to find and is protected by the guard.

In place of a standard rounded bolt-release button, the CZ utilizes an oblong button that looks like a shoe and widens at the front. When the bolt is locked open, the wide portion of the bolt release elevates from the side of the receiver, allowing the shooter to push forward to close the bolt, which is a more natural action when shooting rather than depressing a traditional button.

A wide-­loading port makes it easy to load the magazine without pinching your fingers, and the CZ’s tubular magazine holds four 2¾-­inch shells and comes with a plug that limits capacity to two rounds.

The 1012’s Cerakote bronze receiver finish is durable and looks good with the gloss black chrome dip finish on the barrel and the Turkish walnut stock. The stock itself offers a semi-gloss finish and good figure for a gun with a retail under $700.

Length of pull is 14 ½ -­inches with a 1 ⅝-­inch drop at the comb and a 2½-­inch drop at heel, ideal for a wide range of shooters and target presentations. There’s ample checkering on the forearm and pistol grip, and a finger groove runs almost the entire length of the forearm and offers a comfortable and secure grip.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The shape of the shotgun’s grip is, to some extent, determined by the configuration of the recoil tube that passes through it. The pistol grip is relatively upright in the style of contemporary competition shotguns.

The wrist of the pistol grip is rather straight for a semiauto gun, but it provides plenty of control. There are angled cuts on the forearm and stock that add a touch of modern style without looking gaudy. As tested, the CZ 1012 Bronze retails for just $659, making it an attractive option for inertia gun enthusiasts.

In the Field

With a balance point at the front of the receiver, the CZ 1012 is neither nose-­heavy nor whippy. There aren’t any shims included for adjusting length-­of-­pull or cast, but the CZ 1012 does come with a functional hard-­plastic case with a separate case of choke tubes for easy transport and storage. Inertia guns tend to be lighter than their gas gun counterparts, inherent by design, and at 6¾ pounds, the CZ 1012 is a gun that is light enough to carry all day.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The CZ 1012’s bolt is charged by a large release. The release button is pressed down and forward to operate, which is a more intuitive action than what is required with the more traditional round button.

We’re fans of the bolt handle design and G&A’s staff also came to appreciate the L-­shaped shell release lever and the rocker-­type bolt release. The crossbolt safety’s position in front of the triggerguard seems more intuitive than the more traditional behind-­the-­trigger safety position of other inertia guns. It’s a great location.

We expect that shooters will also appreciate the extended choke tubes. The constriction of each choke is printed on the exterior of the tube, eliminating the need to count notches. The knurled extension allows the tubes to be changed out without a wrench.

CZ 1012 Bronze
Choke tubes are knurled on the out-side for easy installation and removal. They are also clearly marked; You won’t need to count notches. Five tubes are supplied: Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, and Full.

Guns & Ammo’s test staff believes the CZ 1012’s blend of modern and traditional styling will appeal to most shooters. The bronze color on the slide is a tasteful addition, and there are even two cutouts machined into the top of the receiver for mounting an optic. The rounded belly of the forearm and the corresponding finger groove allow a natural grip with the non-­shooting hand. An angled cut on the right side of the bolt body gives it a rakish modern look and shaves a few ounces of weight. The semi-­humpback receiver profile is also a styling plus.

The 1012’s comb profile and natural point-­of-­impact (POI) — this gun shoots flat as you’ll see in the pattern test results — makes it ideal for sporting clays, skeet and upland hunting. On the skeet field, we found that the 1012 came naturally to the shoulder, and the between-­the-­hands balance made it easy to track and break targets.

The flat rib and 50/50 POI were particularly valuable for shooting incoming birds — think Station 8 on skeet or a hard-­flying dove on a low approach — because you simply press the trigger as the bead meets the target. The trigger itself has a nicely-­rounded face and an acceptable amount of take-­up for a field shotgun trigger. It fired after 7½ pounds of pressure.

Light inertia guns are easy to carry in the field, but the equal-­and-­opposite aspect of lighter weight is more felt recoil than gas guns. The 1012’s recoil is manageable with light loads, and even with 3-­inch magnums, it isn’t abusive thanks in part to a soft and dense recoil pad. The pad features a radiused heel which prevents it from hanging on clothing when firing from a low gun position on targets or in the field.

CZ 1012 Bronze
The inertia operating system for shotguns features no moving parts forward of the receiver; There is no piston, seals or operating rods, which allows for a trim forend and lets the gun remain clean through thou-sands of rounds of firing.

Some inertia guns won’t cycle light loads, but the CZ had no problems with 1 ⅛ ounce AA Winchester target shells. In fact, there were no issues cycling any of the rounds tested. CZ claims that they fired nearly 5,000 rounds without cleaning, and while we didn’t reach that number, G&A’s staff enjoyed several hundred rounds without cleaning the 1012. It never malfunctioned.

Disassembly of the 1012 is simple: With the gun unloaded and the bolt retracted remove the knurled magazine cap, then the barrel and forearm; pull the bolt handle free, slide the bolt assembly forward and you’ve stripped the gun for basic field care. A wipe down of the parts and a light coat of lubricating oil on the interior parts keeps the gun running.

CZ’s 1012 is a remarkable value, and the design and ergonomics are very good. Any shooter looking for a versatile field gun that will also double as a clay crusher should take a hard look at the 1012.

CZ 1012 Bronze Specs

  • Type: Inertia operated, semiautomatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 4+1 rds.
  • Chokes: Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, Full
  • Barrel length: 28 in.
  • Overall Length: 49½ in.
  • Sights: White bead (front)
  • Length of Pull: 14½ in.
  • Drop at Comb: 1⅝ in.
  • Drop at Heel: 2½ in.
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Stock: Turkish walnut (tested)
  • Finish: Cerakote bronze (receiver); Black chrome (barrel) (tested)
  • MSRP: $660
  • Importer: CZ- USA,, 800-955- 4486 
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