CZ-USA showed several new models of handguns, rifles and shotguns this year. Of all of them, I think the Model 712 ATI semi-auto shotgun with adjustable stock may end up on my “must have” list. My three kids are growing up, and this could be the final bridge they need on their way to a full size gun. My kids all started shooting aerial targets at about the age of 7 using a 28-ga. side-by-side that the local gunsmith reduced to positively tiny proportions. The two oldest are a little bigger now and have moved up to a “youth”-size 20-ga. semi-auto, but eventually they’re going to want to take that last step up to a full-size 12-ga. This Model 712 might just be that step as its length of pull is adjustable from 12 to 14 inches just by squeezing a lever and telescoping the stock in or out. Though functionally like an M4 stock, this is anything but as it has a really comfortable cheekpiece so you can get a good weld on it and not have to worry about 12-recoil jacking your jaw.
Some of the wonderful things about this adjustable stock are that I won’t have to worry about losing any spacers between now and when the stock needs to grow, plus the telescoping feature makes it so easy to do any length adjustments between kids even as they take turns shooting. The 712 ATI is not just a “bridge to adulthood” shotgun. All shooters will find that they break more birds with a gun that fits and, honestly, I think public shotgun range managers are nuts if they overlook range or “club” guns as easily adjusted as this one. Imagine being able to stock one model and have it properly fit a range of customers instead of having to stock several guns with different lengths of pull.
You won’t find many semi-auto shotguns with similar a telescoping buttstock because many semis have the recoil spring and related parts contained within the buttstock. When guns like that are fired, the bolt unlocks and moves backward. Attached at the rear of the bolt is a part that looks like a tail usually called a link. The link compresses the recoil spring in the buttstock and then when the spring expands, it pushes forward on the link returning the bolt to its closed position. As you can probably envision, there’s a lot going on right under your nose inside the buttstock with that type of design. It’s a time-proven arrangement though, that you’ll find on guns such as Remington’s 1100. Guns with that type of action are still able to have adjustable length stocks, but I’ve only seen it by way of spacers and shims.
CZ’s Model 712 likewise has a recoil spring to close the action, but instead of being inside the buttstock pushing forward on a link, its recoil spring is around the magazine tube pushing forward on action bars that are attached to the bolt. Mentally the arrangement can be visualized as something like a pump-action shotgun, but instead of having a moveable fore end that you shuck forward, the recoil spring does the forward shucking and it all goes on inside a fixed fore end where you don’t see it. This, too, is a time-proven mechanism–Remington used it on the Model 878–and it’s a popular action type with Turkish gunmakers. I’ve seen it used on EAA Bundas made by Seritsan, H&R Excells made by Sarsilmaz, and now CZ’s 712 made by Hulu.
I’m very impressed with the quality and workmanship of modern Turkish guns and believe they can stand on their own against any gun at the same price point. And since I started paying attention to them, I haven’t heard anything negative about the durability of new-made Turkish guns. CZ’s confidence in the Hulu-made CZ product is so high that they even have exhibition shooter Tom Knapp banging away with one. Knapp is nothing short of a phenom when it comes to shotgunning and exhibition shooting. His abilities include several world records including one for shooting 10 clay targets in 2.2 seconds. Keep in mind that Knapp threw those ten targets up with one hand, and shot each of them with a separate shot. That’s fast! Knapp isn’t going to suffer the embarrassment of an unreliable gun during one of his exhibitions, any more than CZ-USA would expose themselves to that high a degree if either of them had any doubts about CZ-USA’s shotguns.
A real head-turner at the CZ booth was its Model 455 Varmint with “Sky” blue/grey Evolution stock. It’s radical looking for certain, but what’s radical to me is that it has what’s essentially an ambidextrous and shooter-friendly thumbhole stock. Even the cheekpiece and palm swells are ambi-, but left-hand shooters are still going to have to reach over the top of the action to work the right-side bolt. In my experience, thumbhole stocks are often one of those things that seem like a good idea until you try one. Get one cut for prone shooting, and forget about shooting it comfortably from a sitting position. Good luck if you take a thumbhole stock hunting because there is no way to comfortably carry one without your thumb through the hole. But I call CZ’s SS Evolution “shooter-friendly” because it’s a thumbhole stock you can shoot comfortably from any position. If you take it into the field, the pistol grip allows you to carry it cradled over your arm. Overall, its ambidextrous design gives shooters the ergonomic benefits of a thumbhole stock without the problems of a thumbhole stock.
If you’re not into the futuristic looks of the Evolution or still don’t care for thumbhole stocks, CZ has Model 455 rimfires that vary from a full-length Mannlicher complete with hog’s back buttstock to a precision trainer that looks all business. And if you’re the indecisive type, or just like to shoot a bunch of different caliber guns, the 455 series from CZ has interchangeable barrels that you can swap out giving you a .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum or .17 HMR rifle all on the same action.
While the US government’s green initiatives have mostly been embarrassments, the same can’t be said for green in the gun industry. Olive- and sand-colored riflestocks and handgun gripframes continue to be really popular with shooters. CZ added an OD Green color option to the P-07 Duty line this year along with suppressor-ready Duty gun in 9mm. The suppressor gun is threaded to accept a one-inch Slimline can and has its sights set high enough that they’re functional over the can. Nothing had to be done to the CZ USA P-07 to make it function reliably with the can, so know that it will run great with or without the can attached.