The Model 455 from CZ-USA is an old world style Mauser action in a rimfire, with a combination option to shoot more than one caliber in the same gun. Our test gun came with a .17HMR and a .22LR barrel.
Swapping the barrels is easy and can be done in the field or at the range with the two included Allen wrenches. The .22LR also has a smaller magazine, and comes with a spacer and mounting pin.
The receiver of the 455 is milled with an 11mm rimfire rail. This is a special smaller mounting platform for smaller guns, and this Tasco scope from Walmart came with the correct mounting rings.
The barrels are cut with a 45 degree bearing surface, so when they are inserted, the two bolts lock them up into the action.
The only other part you have to change is the .22LR mag, which is smaller. It comes with this spacer and a small metal pin that holds it in place.
This is a video on Youtube from CZ showing the barrel swap. It has over 160,000 plays, just to give you an idea how popular this gun has become.
The 455 is otherwise a standout in the rimfire market, even without the combo option. It is a classic Mauser action with a clean and neat fit and finish, great looking wood and flawless bluing. There is also an adjustable trigger on the gun, and the barrel is free floated in the stock.
The 455 is one of the most precisely accurate guns we have ever tested. At 50 yards it repeatedly shot groups only slightly larger than it’s .172 caliber. This is a .229 group of 5 shots that is representative of the majority.
In the .22LR, the groups were around .5 inches at 50 yards over 5 shots. The contrast to the .17HMR is most likely due to the ammo. We did try 4 or 5 brands, but it was all high volume range and plinking ammo. The .17HMR ammo was high quality Hornady.
Some of the early 455s, including our original test gun, came with a rear action screw that if overtightened could impede the bolt. CZ has corrected this in the new guns, along with some other manufacturing tolerance related issues with the swap barrels. They work fabulous now.
Our test gun came with the adjustable trigger set about about 3lbs.
The pictures here are very good in matching the in person color of the wood. The fit and finish of the 455 is every bit as good as a high end Browning/Miroku, with better accuracy at a better price.
If you click out to CZ’s website, there are several models of this gun, but it is unclear which if any are coming with the combo option. Your local gun dealer can contact his distributor to see what they have, or contact CZ-USA directly.
Click this for a very large image of our test gun tip to toe. In the age of plastic and aluminum, a traditional steel and wood bolt gun is a refreshing plaything for a lazy afternoon at the range. The 455 is the kind of gun that you can pass down for generations.
Convertible guns have never been that popular in the US. Putting the top up and down is such a pain, and… just kidding. This type of convertible gun allows you to change calibers, shooting two or more types of ammo through the same gun. Europeans, and especially European hunters have always loved convertible guns, but they never really caught on here for some reason. It could be our obsession with rifle accuracy. Even though the average hunter can’t shoot within two minutes of basketball (according to famed hunter writer Ross Seyfried), Americans really love the idea of an accurate firearm, one that can, if shot by the right person with the right rest, shoot into the width of a quarter or less at 100 yards, or 1 MOA, for “Minute of Angle.” That was the challenge when CZ-USA decided to introduce a rimfire combo gun to the US market. It is called the Model 455 American Combo, and the retail prices start just north of $400. In the box, the gun comes with both .22LR and .17HMR barrels, and changing them out takes only two Allen wrenches, included with the gun. We shot our pictures of the test gun in the field, so you can see how easy it swaps, and the accuracy on both barrels is closer to 1/2MOA than 1MOA. The CZ 455 comes in a polymer stock configuration, a competition stock, even a Mannlicher style stock with hi-lux wood, in addition to the basic Walnut you see here. If you have longed for an old world style bolt rimfire, this CZ 455 offers you both the classic look and feel of the 50s and 60s, with the ability to convert from a .22LR plinker to a .17HMR hunting rifle, and you can get a .22WMR barrel as well.
The 455 does now come in single calibers as well, but all of the guns retain the ability to shoot .22LR, .17HMR and .22WMR with the purchase of extra barrels. CZ engineered the swap’ability with a novel bolt locking system that works without levers or collars or any of the other things you generally see in convertible firearms. The barrels are machined with a two 45 degree cuts in them. the receiver then holds two 45 bolts cut in 45 degree holes. That makes the bearing surface of the bolts 90 degrees to the cuts, so they are firmly locked down straight, not wedged in something that could wear. The barrel itself is held up into its hole by a 45 degree angle, so there doesn’t need to be any counterforce, or threads, or any other locking mechanism. Your optic is mounted to the receiver, so this means that when you remove, swap, then swap back the barrels, they return very closely to the original point of impact. To change the barrels you remove two action screws and the two 45 degree bolts. The system is elegant in its simplicity. This is not a new gun in the marketplace, but the versions being sold today have ironed out some of the bugs that were present in some of the early guns.
Our test gun is the most common, two barrel wooden configuration of the Model 455. The two barrels are .22LR and .17HMR, the latter of which was installed as the gun came out of the box. Our scope is a Wal-Mart Tasco 4-8x Rimfire model, with an interesting oval reticle. Note that the 455 uses an 11mm rimfire rail, not a standard Weaver or Picatinny sized rail. It requires a special set of rimfire mounts which may or may not come with the scope. As you can see from our accuracy testing below, this quality of scope is just fine for a plinking and varmint rifle like this. A $25 Chinese scope will most likely last as many generations as the rifle, which is at least several if you take care of it. The rifle never failed, and always stripped a round and fired it, but this was our second of these guns. The first gun we got was one of the first in the country, and it had some issues. One was that if you tightened the action screw too tightly, it intruded up into the path of the bolt. That was no fun. And the first gun also was sticky swapping the barrels back and forth, until we couldn’t remove the barrel. These issues are now completely corrected, but the experience reinforces what we have said about CZ-USA in prior articles. They never send a cherry picked gun. They always just pull one off the top of the pile and send exactly what the consumer would get. So if you read about either of those issues with an early 455, we had them too, and they were corrected completely. We shot over 300 rounds through this test gun in an afternoon over both barrels, and there was not one problem.
Swapping the barrels takes about 5 minutes. You first remove the two action screws, then the action and free floated barrel come right off the stock. The 45 degree bolts on our test gun came hand tight, and were easy to remove, with no thread locking compound applied. If you buy one of these 455s in a single caliber and don’t plan to swap the barrels anytime soon, you may want to put one of the removable versions of Lock-TIte on the threads at some point. It is almost impossible that the bolts won’t eventually work themselves loose from the recoil, and Lock-Tite will keep that from happening at the least opportune time. It isn’t hard to just take off the action screws and check the bolts before you go out shooting, but who wants to do that every time? You also may affect point of impact by tightening the bolts. We bought this gun and are keeping it, so we will be experimenting with the Lock-TIte/Gun-Tite products as well. The nice thing about the 45 degree bolts is that they are set with a deep pocket Allen head, and there is no play at all. Stripping the wrench won’t happen as long as you use a regular Allen key with hand pressure. I would not use an Allen socket and wrench for this gun. You will just make an imprint in the steel of the barrel. If you are worried about the bolts coming loose, use Lock-Tite blue and hand tighten. Don’t overtighten with too much leverage. There are two types of 5 round mag. One is for .17HMR and .22WMR and the other is for .22LR. You just install a spacer, as you can see from the pictures.
The accuracy of the two barrels was noticeably better with the .17HMR than it was with the .22LR, but that discrepancy is more likely a product of the quality of the ammo, not the barrels themselves. We shot this gun at 50 yards, and it repeatedly shot five rounds into .25 inches and under at this distance with Hornady .17HMR ammo. For the .22LR, we used a variety of paper box range ammo, and it still averaged in the .5 inch range at 50 yards. The crosshairs of the scope were too course to significantly test the gun at 100 yards or more using a 1 inch bullseye, but the effective range of the .17HMR is out to 200 yards and more when the air is still. At 200 yards and little or no wind and a steady rest this gun should be able to hit a baseball with every shot. The point of impact did vary about 2 inches between the two barrels, but taking a barrel off, putting the other on, then going back to the first barrel never changed the point of impact by more than an inch. Re-zeroing would be required, but it would be asking to much of the gun to think it wouldn’t. Barrel to barrel, there is always going to be a slight difference because you couldn’t lock two into a lathe in exactly the same way. The fact that over two barrels, off, on, off on, we didn’t need to do any significant re-zeroing speaks volumes for the consistency of these CZ guns.
As you can see from the pictures, for fit and finish, you couldn’t ask for a nicer gun in a utility rimfire rifle. The CZ452 has the same design and materials, sans the barrel swap, and it has been considered one of the nicer rimfire rifles in the market for many years. This 455 is now three years old, and the line has outgrown the 452 because of the beauty that has been coupled with utility. Where else are you going to find a 1/2 MOA rimfire at a base price of under $500, to begin with? Then add in the fit and finish of these elegant guns and it equals a platinum selling rifle. Even the lux Mannlicher version of this gun carries an MSRP of only $549. World class accuracy, old world, Mauser style design, a clean neat and elegant fit and finish, and a reasonable price add up to a gun that is hard to beat in its category, and you can actually find the guns for sale. Ask your local dealer to order the Czech Republic made CZ455, in either the single barrel or convertible models. Most of the major distributors have or can get them. Most online big box retailers now have .17HMR ammo, and sometimes .22LR as well.