January 12, 2022
CZ’s rimfire rifle continues to evolve with the creation of the CZ 457 in 2019. The CZ 457 Match Target Rifle (MTR) came along in 2020 and used a match chamber cut to minimum dimensions per Commission internationale permanente (CIP). (CIP is the European equivalent to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, or SAAMI.) Tighter chambers are critical in rimfire rifles to produce accuracy, so this is the tightest standard chamber a manufacturer can put in a rifle. One of CZ’s newest 457 models, and the subject of this review, is the Long Range Precision (LRP) model. CZ put its MTR chamber in a 20-inch barrel, and paired it with an improved stock that’s more appropriate for prone, bench and positional shooting.
The 457 action is an improvement over the 455 it replaced in 2018. The 455 was a two-lug action with 90-degrees of bolt lift and a safety attached to the bolt shroud. The smaller size of rimfire actions meant the short bolt handle could come uncomfortably close to the scope’s ocular housing when the action was cycled. CZ’s decision to go to a three-lug action on the 457 gave it a shorter 60-degree lift, leaving plenty of room for the firing hand on the bolt handle throughout the cycle. Since rimfire rifles don’t require a lot of firing-pin spring weight to fire a cartridge, the shorter lift remains light. The safety was also moved from the bolt shroud on the 455 to the side of the receiver on the 457, making it a more familiar arrangment for American consumers.
Perhaps the greatest improvement the 457 offers over the 455 is the trigger. The 455 trigger was only tunable through the use of aftermarket spring kits, and trigger companies developed aftermarket solutions for those desiring sub-2-pound let-off. The 457 trigger, on the other hand, is user adjustable for both weight and sear engagement. Weight on a factory 457 trigger adjusts down to about 11/2 pounds, and using an aftermarket spring kit as well can bring it down to less than a pound. Additionally, the sear engagement is adjustable and allows the shooter to remove all discernable creep. Any adjustment of sear engagement should be done in small increments with periodic safety checks performed by smacking the butt of the rifle on the ground with the firing pin cocked on a confirmed empty chamber. If the firing pin drops, there isn’t enough sear engagement. Triggers with so little sear engagement may not only be unsafe, they also have a tendency to stop working when shooting conditions deteriorate. If running the bolt quickly in adverse conditions yields a “dead trigger,” the sear failed to catch the cocking piece.
The barrel on the LRP is 20 inches long, fluted, has a 1:16-inch twist rate, a ½-28 threaded muzzle, and CZ’s MTR chamber. This minimum-dimensioned chamber fires almost all .22 LR ammunition that is of reasonable quality, but longer .22 LR rounds like the CCI Stinger may require some effort to close the bolt for some users. Rimfire ammunition feeds and cycles just fine through the match chamber, but most bullets will engrave in the rifling by simply closing the bolt. Having the bullet touching the lands is part of the reason accuracy is so good in this rifle; it keeps the bullet from yawing prior to engraving in the rifling. Bullets that touch the lands also allow each cartridge to build consistent pressure when fired, yielding better extreme spreads and lower standard deviations. At no time during testing did any bullet engrave so aggressively that the bolt wouldn’t extract a live round.
The LRP comes with a Weaver-style rail attached to the receiver, which has a 25-MOA downward bias. This declined bias allows a scope, once sighted in, to have the majority of its travel available to dial for targets at longer distances. Shooting rimfire rifles out to 300 yards is not uncommon these days, and the 25-MOA bias allows most variable-powered optics to dial for elevation out to 300.
Almost as if it were a cartoon caricature, the LRP’s bolt handle is a large rubber ball that’s impossible to miss. No one will say there’s not enough ball to grab, no matter how fast the shooter desires to work the action.
The LRP’s stock is unlike anything CZ offers. It is made from beech wood, is covered in a soft-touch rubberized finish, and has a forend that extends 14 inches in front of the front action screw. The forend is flat on the bottom and has two sling studs near the tip. The long forend makes it an ideal choice for positional shooting because it gives the rifle some reach to find field supports without requiring the shooter’s body to be close to that support. The flat on the bottom of the forend is a little over 1-inch wide and stabilizes the rifle when it’s laid over a bag or backpack. The two sling studs also allow the shooter to mount a bipod on the one closest to the muzzle and sling closest to the action screws. Hence, the rifle can wear a bipod and still be carried comfortably in the field.
The buttstock is equally unique from other CZ offerings. The adjustable comb has an inch of travel, so scopes mounted in the tallest rings will still remain useable on the 457 LRP. Adjusting the comb is as simple as loosening a single screw and sliding the comb into the desired position. The length of pull adjusts by spacers and takes a couple of minutes to accomplish. The buttpad is height adjustable, allowing the shooter to gain maximum contact between the shoulder and buttpad when in the prone.
Guns & Ammo also tested CZ’s Rimfire suppressor. This innovative suppressor is only 7 inches long, weighs 21/2 ounces, and it matches the varmint barrel’s contour. It blends perfectly with the 457 LRP barrel.
The suppressor comes with a tool that allows for its disassembly and maintenance. Extensions on the face of a rod pull the front cap off, and also allow for baffle removal. Baffles thread into the suppressor and are easily removed by unscrewing them. This also allows the customer to adjust baffle location to best fit their ammunition. Guns & Ammo tested for accuracy degradation with the suppressor installed and could find no change in this rifle’s performance, with or without the can attached. Group sizes with Lapua Center-X, SK Rifle Match, and RWS R50 almost all hovered in the .3- to .5-inch range for five shots at 50 yards. This is exceptional accuracy for any factory rimfire rifle, and especially a suppressed one.
CZ 457 LRP Specifications
- Type: Bolt action
- Cartridge: .22 LR
- Capacity: 5 rds. or 10 rds.
- Barrel: 20 in.; 1:16-in. twist
- Overall Length: 38.25 in.
- Weight: 8 lbs., 9 oz.
- Stock: Beech with soft-touch coating
- Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
- Finish: Matte blue (steel)
- Sights: None
- Safety: Two-position lever
- MSRP: $1,300
- Importer: CZ-USA, 913-321-1811, cz-usa.com
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