While this shotgun has been on the market for a little while already, I finally had the opportunity to get hands-on to give the CZ 1012 Grey a full review. This semi-automatic shotgun is designed for use in hunting and sporting applications. The CZ 1012 is known for its versatility, being able to handle a wide range of ammunition types and shot sizes, making it suitable for a variety of hunting and shooting scenarios. The gun features a lightweight, ergonomic design and is considered reliable and easy to maintain due to its unique inertia-driven operating system. CZ states that “instead of redirecting gas from the barrel to run the action, the 1012 uses a spring within the bolt to store energy during the shotgun’s recoil, spending this energy a split second later to rotate and unlock the twin lugs from the barrel extension and withdraw the spent shell.”
- Caliber: 12 gauge
- Max Shell Length: 2-3/4″ and 3″
- Barrel Length: 28″
- Overall Length: 49″
- Rib: 8mm Flat Vent
- Magazine capacity: 4+1, 3+1
- Chokes: Includes 5 (F, IM, M, IC, C)
- Weight: 6.5 lbs
- Stock: Turkish walnut
- Sights: Bead front sight
- Finish: Black or camo
The CZ 1012 shotgun is available in several variations, including Grey (which I used for the review), Bronze, Black, Camo, and Cerakoted OD Green. Other than color, these variants also feature different furniture, but all run on the famed gas-less inertia operating system. While most firearms are shipped in cardboard boxes, CZ sends this shotgun in a gun sleeve packed into its own custom-fit hard-sided case. It also includes a set of choke tubes, including Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Improved Modified, Modified, and Full, all housed in a separate protective hard case.
Gas-Less Inertia Operating System
The defining feature of the CZ 1012 lineup is the gas-less inertia operating system. Becoming CZ’s latest evolution of semi-automatic shotguns, the 1012 operates differently from other shotguns that redirect gas from the barrel to power the action. Instead, it utilizes a spring within the bolt to harness energy during recoil and then releases that energy a moment later to rotate and unlock the twin lugs from the barrel extension and extract the spent shell. Due to this gas-less design, CZ states that they have been able to push “1012s to 5,000 rounds without a drop of oil or cleaning of any sort while experiencing zero parts breakage or malfunctions.” It is also supposedly factory tuned to run light-recoiling target loads up to 3″ magnum shells without requiring any user adjustments. The operating system is noticeable when shooting. While recoil hits immediately after pulling the trigger, I could feel the slight delay of the bolt pushing back on the spring before releasing. This helps to slightly reduce recoil and increase the firearm’s reliability.
The Turkish Walnut handguard and stock on the firearm offer both style and functionality. The handguard has a sleek appearance while providing adequate texturing on the underside to maintain a solid grip when shooting. Similarly, the stock features a textured grip area and a sturdy rubber butt pad, which serves to absorb recoil. Overall, the Turkish Walnut handguard and stock contribute to the firearm’s aesthetic appeal while also providing practical benefits for the shooter.
The CZ 1012 Field model features an 8mm Flat Vent rib and a single white bead front sight. Although I typically prefer fiber optic front sights, I find the white bead sight on my CZ 1012 to be effective in helping me track and hit targets. The ventilated rib on the top of the barrel is also a helpful feature, providing a textured surface that aids in aligning my eye with the front sight. Overall, I find the CZ 1012’s sight system to be reliable and accurate, which makes it a great choice for hunting and shooting sports.
Included with the CZ 1012 are 5 extended choke tubes to fit your needs. Preparing for some duck and goose hunting, I decided to shoot some groups on paper with a full, modified, and straight cylinder choke using Winchester Blind Side 2 3″ BB’s. While I tried to start out with the full at around 25 yards, I had to move up to 15 yards to get the pattern entirely within my paper target. The patterns can be viewed in the picture below and the chokes used, from left to right, are Full, Modified, and Cylinder.
During the course of this review, I was able to run 8 different types of ammunition through the CZ 1012. It powered through every 2&3/4 shell I threw at it. From varying birdshot to buckshot and slugs, the 1012 kept running without issue.
However, when it came to 3″ shells I had nothing but issues. I tried running 3″ BB’s branded as Winchester Blind Side 2 as well as Herter’s 3″ BB’s without any luck. Going out on my first goose hunt, I was pretty upset when every single shot with 3″ shells would jam, mostly from failures to feed. Especially so since The Fowl Life was filming a TV show and I was the idiot that could only get one or maybe two shots off each time we jumped out of the pop-up-blinds. It seems like the recoil spring was not strong enough to fully chamber the 3″ shells, and I have heard of other people facing this same issue. So for those wanting to run 3″ shells be wary. I reached out to their customer service, and they sent me a warranty form to fill out which covers defects in material and workmanship for one year on finishes and wooden parts, and five years on everything else. While I didn’t have time to wait for these repairs, it is good to see they have a warranty that lasts for half a decade.
After this frustration subsided, I took it out with a buddy and shot a pile of clays using #7.5 shot without issue. Again, everything chambered in 2&3/4 length shells ran great without a single failure or jam. While recoil didn’t seem much less than a normal 12-gauge, I could feel the delayed spring back of the bolt which I am sure slightly helped.
In conclusion, the CZ 1012 is a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun that offers versatility and a unique operating system. A great benefit is the 5 different extended chokes that are included with this shotgun. While I had a lot of issues trying to hunt with 3″ shells, the CZ 1012 could be a solid choice when running 2&3/4 shells for competition or recreational shooting. Currently, the CZ 1012 Grey has an MSRP of $679. One of the main perks is the low-maintenance gas-less inertia operating system which is ideal for shooters like me.