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Of all of the firearms I come across, bolt-action .22LRs always have a special place in my heart. It was the first gun I ever held and fired, in a Pennsylvania summer camp before mixing rifles and children was demonized and you always remember your first. When I first told my father I was in the market for a good – nay, great – bolt action .22, he replied “What are you, Fess Parker emulating Davy as a boy?  Why don’t you go buy a musket?”  Contrary to his demographically-similar peers, Dad actually likes to keep up with the latest advances in firearm technology…

“Actually, Dad, that cartridge [.22LR] had not even been invented then, you old bastard, and it’s a lot of fun,” I replied. I couldn’t believe I relied on the hackneyed gun enthusiast response of ‘It’s a lot of fun.’  It rates right up there with ‘It’s a dandy shooter’ as a cop-out summation of the combined sum total of the subjective and objective performance.  Unfortunately, I am here to banally report that the CZ 455 Lux is a dandy gun that is a hell of a lot of fun to shoot.  From my first shot, I knew it had plenty of that je ne sais quoi other bolt actions are missing for some reason.

I originally got into the bolt action .22LR discussion with our own Nick Leghorn who’s opinion I listen to like EF Hutton’s before the first Black Friday. He loves that Charles Daly of his, and when I went researching .22 bolt actions, the name that kept popping up among the interwebz and my local gun stores was CZ.

I really liked the 455 Lux because it came from the factory with nice looking furniture and great iron sights.  With an overall length of 38.5 inches, a barrel length of 20.6 inches, and weighing in at 6 pounds, it fits into the Goldilocks ‘just right’ category.  Moreover, with a street price of around $470, it sets you apart from the Marlins of the world- not that there is anything wrong with that.


Since this was going to be a rifle that I wanted to enjoy and last a lifetime, I didn’t mind shelling out a few extra shekels. However, I am realistic. I’m just not capable of outschutzing the thousand-dollar plus Anschutz. When it’s my own money, I also would not buy a 30 megapixel camera when the largest picture I’ve blown up in the past decade is an 8” x 10”.  That and the fact that the Anschutz has the distinct look of something a Jeff Goldblum character had a hand in designing it (well, almost any movie except Death Wish…we’ll leave the iconic firearms there to Mr. Bronson and our own Ralph…actually I am not sure if he likes the Colt revolvers or only the S&Ws).

Anyway, I was looking for the classic look of my youth and the CZ 455 Lux delivers. The wood is finished very nicely right out of the factory. I personally like a bit more luster but I’ll worry about that ten years down the road when I decided to sand and refinish it. The checkering is nicely executed, and the stock gives you a proper position for a positive cheekweld when using the iron sights.

When I first tried the bolt, it was a little stiff and needed to be lapped in. At first, I was a little disappointed but I broke it in using my AR-15 tactical lubricant (Valvoline 20W-50 synthetic) and after a good 100 openings and closings the mechanism now works as smoothly as collegiate sex. Not too tight and not too loose.

Speaking of sights, those iron sights deliver. In the world of digital, nothing gets you back to analog quicker than a bolt action with iron sights. CZ zeros in the sights at the factory for 50 meters and even provide you with a lovely punched-out sheet. For my typical work at 25 yards (it’s tough to find distance ranges in my neck of the woods), nothing needed to be tweaked. Just look at those groups from the get-go, without optics.

I will probably not use a scope on this rifle; it’s all about back-to-basics with this gun. If I can punch a hole through a Necco wafer at 50 yards, I am a happy camper. My eyesight will not allow for anything better when using iron sights, and my eyesight is relatively good. For a future story, I’ll mount a scope on her to see what she’s capable of, but it might take me some time and I wanted to get this first installment out the door. Moreover, the scope is going to come off in order to go back to those nice factory irons.

The CZ also ate every kind of .22 ammo I fed it while grouping Susan B. Anthony sized groups @ 25 yards. Hey, what did you expect from a well-built bolt-action? We tried Remington, CCI Mini-Mags, and foreign junk in both copper plated and lead.  My favorite – and what I think was her favorite – is Federal AutoMatch. Relatively inexpensive and just look at those groups.

Of course, the trigger is great. But in order to not totally suck-up to this rifle, it could be a pound lighter on the pull-weight. Santa is supposed to bring this member of the tribe a Lyman gauge. Look for another future story on gunsmithing the trigger to the best of my abilities. If I can just shave a pound off the pull…. The stock has to come off to access the trigger group. That could be an advantage of a Savage or a Marlin with their ‘Accu-Triggers.’ But I could just never warm up to that secondary trigger in front of the main trigger. Its like ruining the lines of a Ferrari with an oversized hood scoop, even if the engine really can breathe better that way…

The CZ 455 comes with a five round magazine. It’s plastic and doesn’t exude the quality of cold, hard steel.  But as long as you aren’t using it as a hammer, its service life should be long enogh. A ten round magazine is also available that extends the length beneath the stock if you want a touch of that tacticool or a longer shooting session. The fiver sits right by me.

So what else can I say…instead of a complex seven-course meal, sometimes fresh mozzarella, ripe tomato, and a little good balsamic is preferred. When I open up my safe, I am immediately drawn to the simple CZ like a sports figure to a Kardashian’s behind.  Czechmate!


Caliber – 22 LR
Action – Bolt
Overall Length  – 38.5 in.
Barrel Length – 20.6 in.
Height – 8.4 in.
Width – 2.5 in.
Finish – Blued
Stock – Walnut
Trigger – Adjustable
Sights – Iron
Safety – Manual Thumb Safety
MSRP – $427

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Style * * * *
A beautifully finished classic.  There could be a sexy, nay trampy, woman in a miniskirt with heavy makeup on one end of the room, but on the other side the girl without makeup with her hair tucked into a baseball cap wearing jeans suddenly takes off her cap and lets her hair flow all around.  Too bad she has a Czechoslovakian accent…

Ergonomics  * * * *
The bolt is in the right place, trigger feels great, stock feels suberb.

Reliability * * * *
There is not much to go wrong, but what could go wrong CZ got right.  Beefy extractor.

Customize This  * * *
You could use a scope, but that means you would not get to use those delicious iron sights.

Overall * * * *
There is nothing like a great bolt action in .22LR.  It should be a staple of anyone’s collection.  It not only helps educate the novice, it brings you back-to-basics.  For the money,  CZ hit this one out of the park.


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Brett Solomon got his first taste of the magazine world covering car electronics for CarSound & Performance Magazine. He landed the job by being noticed for designing high-end car audio systems. Which was fine by him because there was no way he was going to pass the third level of calculus toward an electrical engineering degree at University of Delaware. Not with those DuPont scholars around campus, he’ll take Journalism over Engineering, thank you very much. He has since written for a number of publications (think in-flight journalism) that lack the chutzpah of Robert Farago, and having all of those milquetoast reviews pent up in his system now allows his pen to spit fire. We’ll, he is just not that mean but happy to tell the truth…and the truth is most firearms are fun!


  1. For your trigger project, check out I put one of his trigger kits in my CZ 452, (the 455’s older brother). And it certainly took off at least a pound.

  2. I’ve got a fifty year old .22 Marlin that my dad bought to shoot rats at the dump in Nantucket as a young sailor. I’ve fired it a few times and found that the .22 may be good for shooting rats in the dump, but I found it entirely uninteresting. I can’t imagine spending almost $500 on such a rifle.

    • Douglas Skyler x? I find lately that many people purchase nice guns which fit the regulations at indoor ranges. Many are also buying a 22LR in a model which is vaguely a clone of their favorite hunting rifle to add economical practice at short ranges. Not so odd, really, but not my cup of tea….yet.

      • You guys do realize that outside the city limits or realm of g.i. jokers that a .22 rifle is the the most versatile firearm made right? Most people who don’t know any better would say the 12 ga, but if you want meat on the table or want to rid yourself of pests….well there is a reason why .22 rifles have been sold 5 to one over everything else in the past 100 years

        This is actually the middle of the pack in price for nice .22 rifles.

        • People enjoy the economy of the cartridges, low recoil, low blast volume, and light muzzle flash (if any). I own a Model 41 pistol and enjoy it. As to the versatility compared to the 12 gauge, I can’t fathom that. In the jurisdiction in which our fields and forest lie, almost nothing can be legally hunted with a 22. We hunt deer, moose, boar, hare, and a variety of fowl. I attribute the sales to the teaching of shooting and to the opportunities most people have, which are limited most or all of the year to targets and ‘plinking.’ Skyler, for that matter, sounded like someone saving up for his next deer rifle. The plinking his father did on Nantucket is illegal these days almost everywhere in suburban or vacation-home areas, and definitely illegal on Nantucket. Times have changed. We farm and hunt in another country but I live in suburban Philadelphia. Firing a gun outdoors is illegal in the entire suburban county.

        • A good note about this rifle it also for $50 more comes in 22 Mag or 17 HMR its one rifle that i like to take backpacking its sweet. I have a 22 Mag and absolutely love it. The only reason I didnt go with 22lr is because of the range and game i hunt its a great plinker also id show my grouping at 50 meters but it looks like his 25yds.

    • I think he miss typed the price. Msrp is 427, and street price is 370, not 470. Just to let you know. Did you notice he said suburb instead of superb? Everyone makes mistakes, we’re human.

  3. “I am immediately drawn to the simple CZ like a sports figure to a Kardashian’s behind”

    +1 quote of the day. How would this compare to the CZ 452 military training rifle?

    • The 455 is the ‘new’ 452…

      Assembly and such is a bit difference, but the biggest change IMHO was the change in the iron sights. The 452 (including the military trainer) have tangent sights that are adjustable for range (25-200m).

      The other ‘real’ difference on the military trainer is that it will have a plain beech stock. No chance to win the ‘wood lottery’ from CZ and wind up with a stunning walnut stock.

      Shooting rifles left handed, I snuck in and bought a 452 Lux and American LH before they finally transition the left-handed line to the 455.

      You should see no difference in groups, between the 455/452.

      And they are accurate, my scoped 452 can put 5 shots into a dime at 50 yards.

  4. the mechanism now works as smoothly as collegiate sex. Not too tight and not too loose. And not too often?

    But seriously, much love to all bolt action .22s. I think they’re the best training rifles that have ever been made or ever will be made. My first rifle was an autoloader, and although I loved it as only a kid can love a hunk of steel and plastic, I would have been better taught with a bolt-action. And bolt action .22s remain good, clean, cheap fun for experienced shooters.

    To settle the Colt v. Smith & Wesson classic revolver argument, I my allegiance goes to S&W — except when it comes to the almighty Colt Python. In Royal Blue, of course. The Bright Nickel finish was an abomination.

    • The Python…or any work pistol shouldn’t be that Bright Nickel though I prefer flat stainless for any revolver, if given the choice.

      But…I admit that it was watching “Carlito’s Way” and the scene where he empties a bright stainless 1911 into a game hall that made me think…that’s for me and I want one so very badly that it hurts no matter what robbery Colt has in store when I’m finally ready for it. Do you think that finish was bad all the way around or just on the clockwise wheelgun of legend?

  5. Another possibility is the Ruger 77/22. Bolt action .22 LR on the same classic lines as their centerfire Model 77, with the Ruger scope rings/dovetails setup, OK iron sights for younger eyes. Mine is about 20 years old – nicely done, decent trigger, but it has definite ammo preferences. I put a 2.5-10X mil-dot scope on it, and use it for 200yd metallic silhouette (off a rest for the 3 further targets). The most consistent groups at that range are with CCI Green Tag. Out to 100 yds, the CCI Velocitor gives the tightest groups.

    One of the neatest aspects is that it uses Ruger 10/22 magazines – easily found anywhere in the US. for about $12 or so.

  6. i own a Wichester Model 67. i love it. Will never get rid of it. And its always the gun i use first when i take someone knew to guns to the range with me.

  7. Thanks for the write-up. I think CZ .22lr’s are becoming the worst kept secret in .22 bolt action rifles.

    One minor gripe: You state: “We tried Remington, CCI Mini-Mags, and foreign junk in both copper plated and lead.”

    You’ve definitely got it backwards: When it comes to .22LR ammo, most of the Amercian-made stuff is junk, and the European stuff is first class (although admittedly more expensive). Try Eley Target, Wolf Extra Match, SK, RWS and watch your quarter-sized groups turn into dime-sized groups or less. Last week I shot a 3-shot, 50 yard group measuring .18 with my CZ 452 and Wolf Extra Match. I personally recommend that people stay away from bulk-pack Remington and Winchester. Both are utterly horrid. CCI burns much cleaner, but cost more. In my experience, with the CCI you really don’t get any extra accuracy for the extra money. I’ve been testing Gemtech’s new .22lr ammo, and it is showing good promise.

    • I will agree with you that premium ammo tends to give better groups, but I have also found that .22s tend to be pretty idiosyncratic when it comes to which ammo shoots best in a particular gun. Best bet is to buy one box of each of many different brands/bullet weight/velocities and see which one gives the best group at the ranges you will be using that rifle. Like I mentioned above, my Ruger 77/22 gave the smallest groups out to 100 yds with a high-velocity round, but at 200 yards the standard-velocity target rounds were far more consistent.

      I think you could take two .22 rifles that came off a production line one after the other, and they would have different ammo preferences. Besides, it’s a good excuse to go to the range and do a lot of careful shooting.

      • +1… You won’t get any argument from me on that. Having said that, I own three .22LR rifles and they all prefer the Eley / Wolf / SK / etc by a very wide margin.

  8. Sorry to move a little off-topic, but… I was thinking about a Browning T-Bolt, mostly because it’s readily available in a left-hand config, and I had the chance to handle one in a store once – it also was quite attractive, perhaps more along the lines of Natalie Portman.

    Any thoughts here on the T-bolt?

  9. I have a 452-2E ZKM(longer barrel, bavarian style stock and tangent sights) that is my favorite .22 in the world. My dad got it for me when I was 12, for 4-H shooting sports. right after I got it, I was shooting nickels free-handed at 30 yards with the open sights to impress friends. It functions perfectly, despite practically being used as a hammer, but if I had two complaints, they would be that it wants to be run wet, and the trigger is a tiny bit gritty.

  10. I have had a plain old 452 for about 10 yrs. A pure joy. And I don’t shoot it nearly often enough. Thanks for reminding me…off to the range!

  11. I have one in 22 WMR. I love this rifle. I bought it for one reason: IRON SIGHTS!!! I wanted a rifle I can show with irons and CZ is the last gun maker on Earth that makes rifles with nice, solid steel, target style sights. I love few things more than heading out to the hills with some soda cans and a few boxes of V-MAX and plinking at 75 yds.

  12. Brett,

    If you want to add a little more shine to the stock, you could give it what 452 owners call the “Scratch-X treatment.” A quick visit to the CZ forum at Rimfire Central should provide the know-how. This thread has some before and after pics that should give you an idea of what’s possible.

  13. Hi Fellas! In order…

    Gabriel: Thanks for the YoDave link. Probably something I would not have come across. Appreciate it!

    Ralph: As Paul Harvey would have said, And now I know the rest of the story. S&W for you. Except when its a Python.

    Joe: You definitely have more ammo knowledge than me, especially since I use a lot of different calibers and are expert in none. But I am having so much fun with this CZ I yearn to learn more about the ideosyncracies of different rimfire brands.

    scm: Thanks for that. Awesome idea…rather than stripping the wood down to bare sandpaper, I can polish it out and probably get the shine I desire. On a cold winter day I’ll do it and post the results.

    Jason: Good idea and probably the 452 sights should be compatible with the 455, but at Appleseeds I have attended they really sway you to going the semiauto route.

  14. A friend & I use suppressed CZ452 & 453 rifles with subsonic ammunition for rabbit control.
    These little rifles are accurate enough for head shots out past 100m using 3-9 power scopes & a knowledge of the ammunition’s ballistics.
    Move up to MiniMags & we can extend the effective range to near on 200m for a chest shot, as sub MOA is the norm in the right conditions.

  15. Hey,

    Nice review. I’m new to the CZ scene, just ordered a 455 Combo. Comes with 3 barrels – .22LR, .22Mag, and .17 HMR. [the .22Mag and .17 HMR don’t come with sights for some reason] for $620

    I have been scouring the interweb for CZ iron sights for the .22Mag and .17 HMR barrels and even CZ itself doesn’t seem to carry them. How can that be ? LOL

    If anyone knows where to locate stock iron sights for this, please post a reply, thx.

    Good shooting!

    • The CZ website has the .22WMR barrel with iron sights for sale. The Lux version with iron sights should fit on the American no problems. I just picked one up with iron sights for my 455 American.

  16. I have the CZ 455 American w the 3 barrel set (.22LR, .22WMR, 17HMR.) The accuracy of this rifle is near match grade in all 3 calibres.
    I then could not resist the CZ Lux. 22LR w the iron sights and European walnut stock. Again this a fantastic rifle for quality and accuracy. P.S. I have a thing for . 22’s.

  17. Nice gun but near-impossible to find, as are most CZ rifles. I emailed CZ about availability and got this response:
    On all of our firearms, we’re bringing in record numbers from the factory, but the demand is seemingly endless. Backorders on our rimfires stretch as long as a year, depending on the particular model you’re after. They’ll be showing up in distribution every few weeks, it’s just a matter of getting it before the next guy.

    The best way to ensure you will get one will be to find a dealer in our authorized dealer network that is willing to place the order for you:

    Other than that, I’d suggest watching the online dealers for stock to show up (Damascus Gun Shop, Impact Guns, Bud’s Gun Shop, Gallery of Guns, etc.).

  18. I have always loved CZ guns since i was a kid. And now 40 years later i am buying a cz455 lux.
    Over here (Norway) The 452 has a reputation as a exellent gun. Both for hunting small game, and a plinking gun. And now when good iron sights on guns, are becoming rare, the choice was easy.
    At last i will quote a Swedish hunter. ( A shooter who has not learned to shoot with a .22 lr. with iron sights will newer be a good shooter) Loosely after Jan Åkerman.

  19. Nice review, I’m a fan of military trainers. Always put off a CZ 452 purchase until now. Perhaps old news, but discontinuing the 452 (just stumbled on when looking for military trainers)? I understand the business aspect of consolidating a platform to offer multiple calibers…but does anyone have a concern with a changeable barrel system on set screws? Granted CZ has been building them before I was around and I was not able to tell from the videos on how the barrel ‘popped’ in and out after removing those set screws. Something tells me that CZ could offer a classic version(s) regardless of a true discontinue.

    Another rifle that probably slipped through the cracks that many probably will never see is the WZ78 Wifama trainer out of Poland with removable AK-style sights, dovetail scope mount, milled, adjustable trigger … luckily I caught a few of the unissued ones. Diamond in the rough IMHO with the only distraction being a plastic trigger guard on the later models. Off track some, but military trainers can be a pleasant surprise in .22lr … simple, durable, reliable, and accurate.

    .22lr … yeap, I’ll always have one and training the kids on them. Hope future generations will still have the right.

  20. Hi all,
    I’m a lefty, but for a number of reasons am looking at the CZ455 Lux with the right hand bolt action, but CZs are all on back order locally so I cant physically handle one to check it out.
    Can anyone please advise –
    1. is the safety equally accessible to engage/release from either side?
    2. is the stock ambidextrous?

    Supplier says “yes, yes”, but I’d rather take advice from someone who regularly shoots one.
    Thanks, Gus

  21. I’ve long had a cz 452 Style, but I’m buying the cz 455 thumbhole now to get some consistent accuracy with more different types of ammo. The problem is that I LIKE SK Rifle Match, but here you cannot always get them

  22. Ordered a 455 American combo that should be in this coming week in 22 LR & 17 HMR, no iron sights. I like some of the points made about the benefits of iron sight. will see about the 22 Mag. with Iron sights. All that being said, Any suggestions on a decent scope for the 455. Any comment will be appreciated. I have a couple of 22’s with iron and enjoy using them, Anybody know if the barrels with the iron sights on them are available for the Combo? Thanks, Mike

  23. CZ’s have been available in Australia for over 50 years , having first been imported under the trade name BRNO. The Model 1 is still spoken of with reverence in this country. I can recall one being displayed in a gunship with a light shining down a pristine barrel with reportedly 250,000 rounds through it. Australia had a rabbit plague at the time and many shooters made good money shooting rabbits for the table. My mate and I once shot 144 pairs of rabbits in one night with a model 2 BRNO using a spotlight and a 6X scope from a vehicle. To sell them they had to be head shot with about 95% result from shots fired. The rifle functioned perfectly with both 5 and 10 shot magazines. Over the years the fit and finish on CZ rifles has varied but they all shot very well. I have had a Model 2 (similar to the 452) for 20 years and I will never sell it. (unless its to get a mint Model 1). Tip: look on the internet oversea for BRNO’s,if you can’t get a CZ in the US. The barrels never wear out.

  24. I cannot believe these companys don’t make a 22 that will shoot one holers all day long , technology has increased so much , we have cnc machines , we have lazer measuring machines , trigger parts can be polished before they are put together plastic stocks should increase accuracy and the price has increased to out of this world for a 22 , I see CZ’s varmint 22 puts ruger and remington to shame , I would like testing at 100 yards
    I want to see real accuracy rather than shooting fish in a barrel , 25 and 50 yards is for revolvers and pistols not rifles , If I am going to invest my money in a rifle the darn thing better shoot and shoot good , this sloppy gun work sucks , why can they not be put together square from the beginning and the barrel bored in center like it should be , Quality, Quality, Quality rather than quantity . I have 22 rifles that shoot better than these new ones , apparently they had pride in their work back then , no fancy stocks or triggers , just nice “craftsmanship”

  25. I swear by CZ’s. Very nice and extremely reliable rifles. But one trend I find annoying (and in fairness to CZ I’ve seen this on other expensive makes) is plastic open sights. Plastic has no place on a rifle! Period. Don’t care how accurate the gun is. I still feel like it’s a toy with plastic sights. The catch 22 is because they plastic there are no standard mounting grooves to replace them and invariably, the front sight is screwed on and glued on! i.e. couple of hundred bucks later at the gunsmith to get all the K-Mart junk removed. Very misleading calling them iron sights….


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