THE AUTHORITY ON RIMFIRES NOW HAS A CHASSIS.
Photos by MARK FINGAR
457 Varmint Precision Chassis
The 457 Varmint Precision Chassis does not come with a rail system, but Area 419 makes an Arca-Swiss/Arcalock rail that works almost seamlessly with the rifle.
|Capacity||5, 10 rds.|
|Barrel||16.5 in. or 24 in.|
|Overall Length||39 to 41.5 in.|
|Weight||7 lbs., 3 oz.|
|Length of Pull||11.25 to 14.5 in.|
AS AMERICA’S LOVE AFFAIR with all things rifle intensifies, more and more options become available on an increasing variety of rifles. Rimfire rifles are currently experiencing this trend for a couple of reasons. The first is that ammunition is readily available for the first time in several years.
The second is the growing interest in recreational and competitive long-range shooting.
It should come as no surprise that CZ has taken their extremely popular 457 rimfire rifle and dropped it into a highly functional chassis. Far from being another random stock option, the chassis is an economical solution to the positional shooting game. The chassis allows the shooter to use all of the really cool precision rifle accessories that come out on an almost weekly basis. If you like having the ability to use the latest and greatest tripods, bipods and shooting bags, this new rifle is for you.
WHY CHASSIS MATTER
Ever notice how fast computers and cell phones improve? The same thing is happening with manufacturing. Every year, it’s possible to machine parts faster and more precisely than the year prior. Cost also comes down. These are the reasons why we see more and more aluminum chassis products on the market. They get better and cheaper every year.
The new chassis that CZ puts on the 457 has a 13-inch forend that sits under a 16.5- inch barrel. The forend has M-LOK slots on the bottom and the sides that allow for the attachment of just about any accessory you’d desire. An added bonus is the forend has a flat surface about an inch wide on the bottom. This promotes stability when laying the rifle across any ELD support and prevents the rifle from wobbling side-to-side.
One really nice accessory that pairs well with this chassis is the Arca-Swiss/Arcalock rail from Area 419. The rail is 12 inches long, but because of the magwell shape, it protrudes forward of the forend by .75 inch. The rail allows all Arca-Swiss products to attach and slide along the entire length (meaning you can put your bipod exactly where you want it) while also working with Area 419’s locking Arca clamp that adds some mechanical interface to ensure the attachment doesn’t move around even when beat upon.
The back portion of the chassis is threaded to accept standard AR-15 receiver extensions and comes with one attached to the Luth-AR buttstock. Again, this is a highly adjustable and economical stock. The Luth-AR stock adjusts for length of pull on this chassis from 11.25 to 14.5 inches, a very wide adjustment range that allows this rifle to fit children as well as large men. The comb height is also adjustable, with about .75 inch of range. This lets both wide and narrow heads easily fit on the rifle, and it also means the shooter isn’t beholden to only the lowest scope mounts. Scopes with large objective lenses will easily fit on this rifle.
Adjusting length of pull is a simple affair that involves loosening an Allen screw on the left side of the stock and then pulling down on a nipple that protrudes under the receiver extension. Once the length of pull is in the right place, just tighten the screw down to lock everything in place. It doesn’t quite qualify as “quick adjust,” as it takes a couple minutes to make the adjustment, but everything locks up tight when set in place.
The comb adjustment is definitely quick adjust. All that’s required is loosening a thumbscrew to raise or lower the cheekpiece. The steel screw threads into a steel insert, so you can crank down on it and not worry about stripping anything. Once tight, the cheekpiece definitely stays in place.
One last feature that I appreciate about the Luth-AR stock is the long toe that rides rear support bags well. The toe is 6.5 inches long with a 2-inch section of molded-in rail towards the toe’s rear. This gives rear bags plenty of room to work and also gives the shooter the option of attaching a rear monopod, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The CZ 457 action is one of the best and most exible actions on the market, and CZ has still managed to add some recent improvements. What a lot of folks might not know is that the CZ 457 has a quick-change barrel that allows the shooter to shoot different barrel lengths and cartridges from the same chassis and action.
Once the barreled action is out of the chassis, just loosen two Allen screws to remove the barrel. CZ has a number of barrel options, and custom barrel manufacturers like Lilja, Bartlein and Proof Research have CZ options as well. The option to easily change barrel length, weight and cartridge at home with only an Allen wrench is a capability few offer.
One of the newer features on this CZ 457 is the 60-degree bolt throw. I have a seven-year-old CZ 455 that has the 90-degree bolt throw. While I love the rifle, the small bolt handle gets too close for comfort when scopes with larger ocular housings sit atop the rifle. The 457 leaves plenty of space between the bolt handle and the scope by going to the 60-degree throw.
The 457 action feeds from a single-stack detachable box magazine and is ingeniously designed to work with either 22 LR or 22 Magnum-length rimfire cartridges. A block in the magazine well can be removed to accommodate the longer magazine.
Both magazines and the internal block have a groove machined in the top of them that allows a lug on the bottom of the bolt face to pass through and engage the case head of the cartridge in the magazine. That lug gives the bolt face a ton of engagement with the cartridge and ensures reliable feeding, even when the cartridge noses up into the chamber.
Once the case head clears the feed lips, the case rim slides up under two opposing extractors that hold the case tight against the bolt face. Folks seem to get fired up over controlled round feed, and the CZ 457 has it. It works so well that the bullet’s nose never touches the feed ramp or anything else. Having dual extractors also ensures there are no problems getting the fired case out of the chamber, and when bounced off the fixed ejector, cases leave with alacrity.
Two other minor but interesting features about the 457 action are the side bolt release and the relocated safety. The side bolt release is easier to access than the one found on models past and is in the same location as most centerfire rifles. The new “push to fire” safety is on the side of the action instead of on the bolt shroud. The new location, like that of the bolt release, is where most American shooters will expect to find it.
One last aftermarket feature on this rifle that I would buy immediately is the Area 419 Picatinny rail scope base. It attaches to the receiver with four Allen screws and runs a section of rail along the entire receiver length and about an inch over the barrel. There is a 30-MOA bias to this scope base.
A lot of options come with this scope base. The first is the additional room with mounting the scope to get perfect eye relief. Receivers that mandate ring location in only two spots leave very little room to move the scope fore and aft to set proper eye relief. A long section of rail is the perfect remedy because rings can be placed anywhere along the length, to include forward of the receiver. So many mounting locations ensure proper eye relief for any-sized shooter.
The excellent base has a level mounted at the rear, close to the shooter’s face. This makes it easy to level the rifle without having to purchase a separate level that’ll hang off the side of the scope and pose a snag hazard. Integral levels are the way to go, and this one works very well.
Lastly, the 30-MOA bias allows the shooter to extend the range of their rimfire rifle. The additional bias won’t cause a problem zeroing the rifle at 50 or 100 yards, while still allowing the shooter to dial for elevation beyond 300 yards in most cases. That’s a really long shot for a rimfire, but many precision rimfire matches have targets that far.
The chassis rifle performed well at the range, as expected. Five-shot group sizes at 50 yards held right at MOA accuracy or slightly above.
Anyone looking to explore the precision rimfire world would be well-served with the 457 Varmint Precision Chassis rifle from CZ. It has all the latest features shooters want on a chassis for everything from recreational to competitive shooting.
From compact 22s to long-range 17 HMRs, CZ-USA’s flagship rimfire platform offers a model for everyone. All 457s feature updated designs including: a receiver-mounted, American-style, push-to-fire safety; a shortened and slab-sided receiver to reduce the footprint and weight; a two-piece interlocking bottom metal system; 60-degree bolt rotation; and a trigger that adjusts for weight, creep and over- travel. Below are two of CZ’s newest variants of the 457.
THE CZ 457 PRO VARMINT SUPPRESSOR READY
The 22 LR is the perfect round for varmints, plinking and tactical training. CZ’s 457 Pro Varmint Suppressor Ready in 22 LR features a heavy barrel that maximizes velocity and stiffness. Due to the barrel’s 16.5-inch length, adding a suppressor to the threaded muzzle doesn’t result in an unwieldy package. To keep the price down yet maintain a solid foundation, the Pro Varmint uses a black-painted laminated stock, which brings the heft of the rifle to 7.3 pounds.
CZ 457 TRAINING RIFLE
With a long sight radius and quality, adjustable iron sights, it’s no surprise that CZ’s 457 Training Rifle in 22 LR has become popular in open-sight Rimfire Sporter competition. The rifle features a cold-hammer-forged, 24.8-inch barrel and a beechwood stock with a Schnabel forend. While the 457 Training Rifle ships with a five-round magazine and 10-shot versions are available, the rifle also works with a single-shot adaptor for introducing new shooters to the wonderful world of rimfires. Weight is 6.17 pounds.
An innovative groove machined into the top of both mags and the internal block allows a lug on the bolt face to engage the cartridge.
A block in the magazine well can be removed to accommodate magazines for the 17 HMR and 22 Magnum.
|Load||Velocity (FPS)||Extreme Spread||Standard Deviation||Best Group (in.)||Avg. Group (in.)|
|CCI Green Tag 40 gr.||1,079||43||22||.36||.55|
|Gemtech 42 gr.||1,043||14||7||.45||.68|
|CCI Mini-Mag 36 gr.||1,222||48||21||.48||.8|
Accuracy is the average of five five-shot groups shot at 50 yards from a rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by a LabRadar chronograph set adjacent to the muzzle.