Waterfowl hunters are a dedicated lot; heading off to the lakes and swamps before daylight, stringing out decoys, shivering motionlessly in the blind as the morning fog cuts through their best camo jacket, all for the sake of making the skies rain ducks and geese.
CZ has just the ticket for those of you who are really serious about filling the skies with shot and bringing down every bird that comes in range, the CZ Swamp Magnum Camo. The 12 gauge over/ under with its 3 ½-inch chambers and 30-inch barrels can reach out and touch whatever passes your way.
The Swamp Magnum is camo’ed out in Realtree Max5 pattern except for the receiver, trigger group and choke tubes, which are all a matte black. The Swamp Magnum seemed to blend well into all the surroundings used during the testing, the pictures don’t do it full justice; this is a good camo pattern. The coatings and finishes of the CZ also make it relatively weather resistant, supporting its role out in the swamps and streams. Action surfaces and barrel bores are the only areas that would need more than an occasional wipe down for regular maintenance.
The CZ comes with five extended length chokes that are the same black finish as the receiver; with a pair of chokes and the selectable barrel feature, you can address both close and high birds with this blaster.
The weight on the Swamp Magnum is just about right. Weighing in at just a little over 7 pounds, the Swamp Magnum is light enough to carry and swing quickly but heavy enough to swing smoothly and soak up a bit of the recoil from heavy loads.
CZ has done a great job on the design of the stock, the rib height, camo, barrel length, selectable barrels, and trigger weight; if it were to be improved all I could recommend is a recoil pad upgrade and possibly a mid-rib bead. A mid bead would give the shooter that extra assurance of barrel alignment and enhance the long-range hit potential.
- Type: Over/Under shotgun
- Gauge: 12; 3.5 in. chamber
- Trigger: 3 lbs., 2 oz.
- Overall Length: 30 in.
- Barrel Length: 25 in.
- Length of Pull: 14.5 in.
- Weight: 7 lbs., 2 oz.
- Straight Vent Rib: 8mm
- Features: Dual ejectors; selectable barrels
- Safety: Automatic tang safety
- Finish: Realtree Max5 Camo (stock & barrel)
- MSRP: $929
- Manufacturer: CZ-USA
The gun shot wonderfully and broke a bunch of clays with it using standard 2 ¾-inch shells, and it will be just as at home on the dove field as in a duck blind. A trip to the dove field on opening day proved it was true.
Setting up an electric clay thrower to throw a high fast crossing bird along the far side of the pond was excellent practice for those fast movers at some distance. These were engaged with the modified and full choke with good success out in the 40-yard range.
Putting a little more elevation on the thrower and moving around to the end of the pond made for some interesting incoming bird type practice. Varying your position by about 15 to 20 yards left and right for either of the above shots gives enough of angular change to make it a quartering shot and causes you to adjust your lead, great practice.
I was truly amazed at the trigger pull, so much that I went and checked it with my digital trigger scale. The trigger broke consistently at around 3 pounds, 2 ounces, better than most factory rifles.
The safety/ barrel selector is mounted on the top rear of the receiver and allows the shooter to quickly select the barrel of choice depending on the path of incoming birds. The safety automatically engages each time the action is opened increasing safety in the field.
The 3 ½-inch magnum loads were definitely a bit stout during test firing off a rest. The tested loads have about the same muzzle energy, and therefore recoil as a 7mm Rem Mag rifle; leading to one of the two suggestions for possible improvements, add a thicker, better recoil pad like a Limbsaver while keeping the LOP at 14 1/2 inches. Recoil, while standing and firing test patterns, was not as stout as that off the bench, and winter clothing while hunting would surely lessen it more.
Patterning the Swamp Magnum turned out to have some high and low points. The gun shot really well with several different loads of birdshot, ranging from light dove loads to 2 ¾-inch magnum 1 ¼ ounce No. 6’s. Both barrels put loads of birdshot right where you would expect and want them to be. The vent rib design, height, and taper are responsible for the good point of impact on the Swamp Magnum.
The pattern testing of the heavy 3 ½ in. shells did not go quite as well. The Winchester loads were tested with the full choke tube at a distance of 40 yards. The loads consistently hit where we were aiming and the BB-sized shot had pellet impacts reaching the boundaries of the 30” target zone both horizontally and vertically, but consistently had some holes in pattern density. A more evenly distributed pattern would be more desirable, though this pattern would probably bring down larger waterfowl.
After the performance of the smaller birdshot loads and nice patterning of the extended choke tubes, I believe the shortcoming of the 3 ½-inch BB load patterns was due more to the shells than to the firearm.
This testing just re-enforced how important it is to test your firearm with the shells you intend to use in the field and find the right combination to maximize your results.
Overall the CZ Swamp Magnum functioned flawlessly, shot well, and would make a fine general purpose shotgun as well as filling that niche as a 3 ½-inch waterfowl howitzer per its design. It’s well equipped for trips to the field and hits with authority.
For more information on the CZ Swamp Magnum, click here.
To shop for CZ shotguns on GunsAmerica, click here.
For information on Limbsaver recoil pads, click here.
For more information about Winchester shotshells, click here.