CZ 457 Beginner’s Guide

When the CZ 457 was released, it immediately became popular with past and new CZ rimfire series fans. Their 452 and 455 models were already known as solid choices for competition, hunting, and general rimfire fun. This was despite some very glaring real or perceived shortcomings, which CZ smartly addressed with the 457. So the newest models continue to be reliable and accurate, but with notable improvements. Rather than a review, this article aims to break down why the CZ 457 is worthy of consideration for anyone seeking out a precision rimfire rifle on a budget.

First, the new stuff:

Fully adjustable trigger

Out of the box, earlier models had good triggers, with a bit of adjustability. New for the CZ 457 is a trigger that is adjustable from 1.4 to 2.6 pounds. By itself, this would be a nice trigger. But it’s also easily adjustable to remove any pre-travel as well as over-travel. It comes factory set at 2 pounds, which is going to be fine for most users. You don’t need to be a gunsmith or have any special skills to get the most out of the factory trigger. A couple of screws is all it takes to remove the action from the stock. Once out, the trigger’s external adjustments can be accessed. No pins, no clips, no special tools, and no risk of losing small parts. If you are handy and have some mechanical competence, it can be further improved (lower pull weight) with an inexpensive spring swap.

Reduced bolt throw

“Bolt throw” is a concept that some struggle with, from a visual standpoint. On the CZ 455, to go from a closed bolt to open, it must travel 90 degrees upwards before it can be pulled back. On a clock face, that would be like starting around 4 o’clock and lifting it up to the 1 o’clock position. Unfortunately, large-diameter scopes frequently occupy that 1 o’clock space, or are close to it. This was not ideal from an ergonomic view. The scope, bolt handle, and user’s fingers all wanted to be in the same space. One solution was taller rings for more clearance, but that was a compromise, at best. Generally, the scope should be mounted as close to the barrel as possible.

CZ 457 bolt with 60 degree throw for better scope clearance.
CZ 457 bolt with 60-degree throw for better scope clearance.

For the CZ 457, the bolt throw was shortened to 60 degrees. It now starts at the same 4 o’clock point, but only needs to be lifted to about 2 o’clock before it can be pulled back. There are obvious benefits to this design. First, there’s room for larger scopes, which absolutely makes sense on a precision rimfire. Although the front (objective) lens still determines height, the rear (ocular lens) is no longer as much of a limiting factor. Second, the shorter throw should allow for faster manipulation of the action. The bolt travels less distance vertically before being pulled back to cycle a round. Whether shooting against the clock or taking a follow-up shot on small game, this is a clear win.

Push-to-fire safety

While the push-to-fire safety may seem extremely basic, it’s another nice improvement. I had to look up the previous version of the safety, and it’s not at all intuitive. This was changed to a simple “back for safe, forward to fire” functionality. According to CZ, it was done at the request of Hunter’s Education instructors and 4-H shooting coaches. I can’t speak to that, other than I’m jealous of any kids that are getting coached on shooting CZ rifles.

CZ 457 improved "push to fire" safety.
CZ 457 improved “push to fire” safety.

Improved bottom metal

Although I’m not specifically familiar with the CZ 455’s stamped bottom metal, I have seen similar rifles where the manufacturer cut some corners. If the metal is too cheap/thin, then it can be challenging to tune the accuracy by torquing the action screws. So the CZ 457 gets a more robust two-piece bottom metal. The pieces interlock horizontally, and are much sturdier, so they can stand a bit of torque. If you’re trying to squeeze every last bit of accuracy out of your rifle, you may want an even thicker aftermarket unit. But this new bottom metal is going to help the majority of owners get there, right out of the box. And it looks better too.

Weight management

Okay, a bare CZ 457 Pro Varmint weighs 7.3 pounds. Add a decent scope, plus rings, and it’s approaching ten pounds, or even exceeding that. So when CZ mentions removing about an inch of length from their action, and machining material off the sides, we’re not saving much weight. But that does result in a smaller overall footprint and should make it easier to properly balance a competition rifle.


That covers the big changes with the CZ 457. Here’s the stuff that carried over from the previous model:

Controlled round feed (AKA Controlled feed)

This is where some of the magic happens. With this system, the live round is picked up from the magazine and held by the bolt/extractor, while being fed directly into the chamber. It’s completely free of the magazine, and the round is parallel to the barrel. Contrast that with some of the less expensive bolt action rimfires, with their push feed. Those rifles use the bolt to push the round out, sometimes at a slight angle, and into the chamber. They’re supported by the magazine for part of the way, with nothing holding the round. Think of it as a rough shove into the chamber.

One advantage of the controlled round feed is that neither the bolt nor the breech face damage rounds, as we see on some semi-autos. There has been some debate about whether or not this is the best system, but that argument is probably more for centerfire rifles.  As far as I am aware, all the top precision rimfire rifles use this system. And the results are pretty clearly in favor of controlled feeding vs push.

Multiple barrel and caliber options are still a thing

Can’t decide if you want your CZ 457 in .22 LR, .22 WMR, or .17 HMR? You don’t have to choose! Carrying over from the previous model is the ability to switch barrels and calibers in about ten minutes, with basic tools. Grub screws hold the barrel in place, so swaps are simple enough at home or the range. The magazine well is long enough to accommodate the magnums (just remove the spacer) or leave the spacer in when shooting .22 LR. Of course, finding barrels in different calibers may require some patience. But the options exist. And you’ll need to re-zero your scope with each swap too.

CZ 457 American two-barrel combo.
CZ 457 American two-barrel combo.

Magazines are not cheap or plentiful

First, the good news – the CZ 457 uses the same magazines as the CZ 455. The downside here is that they still aren’t as widely available or as reasonably priced as other brands’ magazines. I’ve paid about $33 with tax and shipping for the five-round magazines. When the ten-round magazines show up online, for about $40, they sell out fast. So like the barrels, you’ll need some patience. Unless you have a fat wallet and don’t mind paying scalper’s prices. Then you can head to online auctions and find them for around $55 each, or two for $99. That’s not including tax or shipping. Check Optics Planet for deals, including free shipping

CZ 457 five and ten round magazines.
CZ 457 five and ten round magazines.

Still reading? Then I only have good news

CZ lists 18 different variations of the 457 rifle on their website, and that doesn’t include the different calibers. Not every model is going to be available from your local dealer though, and probably not online either. My suggestion is to work with a local dealer who is willing to help you locate one. Alternatively, set up notifications with every site that offers this option. Or even look for a used one. They’re worth the wait.

CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis rifle.
CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis rifle.

In addition to the options which range from polymer and wood stocks to full chassis models, there are multiple barrel lengths and profiles. They span from 16.5 inches to over 28 inches, with either no sights or iron sights, and fat bull barrels to elegantly tapered barrels. Thanks to the rifle’s popularity and solid performance, there is huge aftermarket support too. Everything from barrels and triggers to more stocks and chassis options, plus scope rails and bolt handles. If that’s not enough, you can find aftermarket magazines, firing pins, extractor/holder sets, metal magwells, magazine extensions, and more. Chances are, a new CZ 457 fresh out of the box will shoot better than most enthusiasts are capable of if given the right ammo. So don’t think that you need to upgrade right away. Unless you’re already a very skilled shooter, and you’ve found the best ammo for your rifle.


CZ took one of their winningest designs and made some improvements that take an already great rifle to the next level. The CZ 455 is still a good rifle, but the CZ 457 is more refined in the best possible ways. While I wouldn’t turn down a really good deal on the CZ 455, if the price is anywhere near that of a comparable CZ 457, the choice should be a very easy one.

Reference articles

As I customize my own CZ 457 Pro Varmint, I’ll try to update the links here with both internal and external links.

Here’s my Boyds Pro Varmint stock upgrade article.

If you like to do all your shopping across various brands on a single site, Optics Planet has plenty of CZ 457 upgrades and accessories.

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Thanks, very interesting. Still thinking if I like this or Ruger American Rimfire more though. This obviously seems like a real CZ, but Ruger uses 10/22 magazines.

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