CZ 712 G2 Shotgun – Best Budget Semi-Auto Hunting Shotgun Tested – Review (videos)

The CZ 712 G2 shotgun is excellent. You’ll love everything about it, especially if you get the Green version. The look and finish, the way it comes up and points, the feel as it shoots–it’s all terrific. Even CZ-USA’s customer service is top notch. Check it out here at CZ-USA

The CZ 712 performs marvelously and looks good doing it.

Basics

The CZ 712 Green G2 is a gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun chambered in 12 gauge for 2 3/4 and 3-inch shells. The G2 added the palm swell and laser-cut checkering. There’s a 20 gauge model, as well (CZ 720), and other color options. It’s available with a black receiver, or with all black furniture, and I’ve seen it with a bronze barrel and receiver–which actually looks pretty good.

The CZ 712 on the right with the classic Remington 870 on the left.

The aluminum receiver shaves weight, which you’ll appreciate when you take this gun chukar hunting and hike 17 miles a day. The receiver has a Cerakote-like finish which is very tough. Mine has had some rubs on it, but they buffed out with a little oil. The 28-inch barrel is chrome lined with a matte black chrome finish on the outside, too. There’s also a 30″ version out there. It has an 8mm rib and Turkish walnut stock and rubber butt pad.

Forend and buttstocks are Turkish walnut with a satin finish.

Out of the box, it’ll hold 4+1 rounds, with a plug for waterfowl that drops it to 2+1. It comes with five flush mounting chokes: full, improved modified, modified, improved cylinder and cylinder. It’s manufactured in Turkey and sold in the USA by CZ-USA.

Quality Finish

When you pick it up, this gun feels like a quality tool. The satin finish on the Turkish walnut stock is accented with laser-cut checkering. The checkering is flawless and it’s one way this gun is set apart from others with cheap pressed checkering. It feels good in the hand and makes the wood feel soft and more grip-able. 

The green receiver is just cool. When your buddies all have black and brown guns, this one stands out from the pack. It takes some getting used to at first, but it quickly becomes a quirky favorite, especially when you lay it out next to the game for pictures. The aluminum makes a significant weight difference compared to steel guns and the Cerakote-like finish is durable. The receiver and barrel have a true matte sheen that won’t give you away waiting for ducks or stalking big game in the late season.

The green receiver grows on you but it’s available in black, too.

Marvelous Fit

This is a decidedly right-handed gun. It’s cast off 1/4″ at the heel and 7/16″ at the toe. That means the stock is not perfectly in-line with the barrel– cast off means it is angled out to the right (cast on would be canted to the left) which makes it come up easier for right-eyed shooters. The 7/16″ at the toe means that if you look at the gun from the back, you’ll see that the stock is tilted with the bottom farther to the right than the top. This also helps the gun come up and fit better against your chest and shoulder. It just glides up to your body easier. Women will notice the difference and I notice it more when I’m wearing a jacket. The stock is also cut with an asymmetrical comb so that your cheek fits farther to the outside when you bring it up. All these combine to allow you to raise the gun into position on your face and shoulder quickly and then it lines up with your sight intuitively. That means you’ll hit targets on the move much easier than with a straight and symmetrical stock.

The CZ 712 points so well because the stock is shaped specifically for right-handed shooters.

The stock also swells under the palm so it fills your hand and gives you a secure and intuitive grip and helps place your finger in the right position over the trigger. Combined with the checkering and satin finish, this is a gun that just loves to be held.

This gun comes up, points, and swings like other guns that cost twice as much. I’ve shared it with several friends and their first comment is always, “Man, that comes up nice!”

Cycling

CZ-USA told me that this gun is designed for 2 3/4 and 3-inch shells with velocities over 1275 fps and that low-recoil shells won’t work well. Remember, it’s a semi-auto, so it uses gases from firing the shell to work the action to eject the shell and load a new one. I’ve been using it with cheap ammo at 1250fps and waterfowl loads shooting at 1500 fps and have experienced no trouble.

 

CZ-USA recommends using rounds that shoot 1275 fps or faster. I’ve had success as low as 1250 fps.

This gun works a little differently than most semi-autos. Most others have a return spring that extends back into the stock to drive the bolt. The 712’s return spring is in front of the action and pulls the bolt forward, and there’s nothing in the stock. I’m not sure if this is why the recoil is smooth and very manageable, but I think it influences it. It also makes it easier to get after-market buttstocks. The CZ 912 has components in the stock, but the CZ 712 keeps all the action up front.

It ships with a molded plastic case with the barrel disassembled from the action. Both pieces come in a velour sock to keep them clean. Assembly is easy and toolless. It’s simple enough that I don’t mind disassembling it for transport to the field. Two tips–make sure the bolt is closed when you attached the barrel and then open it about an inch to seat the barrel and make sure that the forend fits into the forend iron against the receiver before you put the magazine cap back on.

Sight, Trigger, and Safety

It has a Bradley-style white bead sight. I like this better than the brass bead on my other guns because it’s easier to see in low light and against medium-toned backdrops like sagebrush and prairie grass. This could be replaced or augmented with aftermarket fiber optic sights.

A white Bradley-style bead is easy to see even in low light.

The trigger is sharp and crisp. Mine doesn’t have any slop and it’s totally intuitive while shooting.

It has a cross-bolt safety situated behind the trigger. My only critique of this gun is that the safety button could be larger. It’s fairly small, and it’d be nice if it was just a bit bigger to make it easier to disengage when a covey of chukar flushes up in front of you.

Customer Service

My gun had an issue with the safety right out of the box. It was sometimes stiff and just wasn’t normal. I compared it with several other guns at stores, which were all smooth and easy, so I contacted customer service using the form on their website. They responded within the hour and sent a shipping label for the gun to be returned and fixed. They said it could take up to six weeks, but I got the gun back in less than four. Not only were they prompt, but they also emailed an update each week so I knew my gun was still at the top of their minds. I appreciated how easy it was to work with them and that they were speedy, too. It sucks to need warranty service, but on the rare occasion it’s necessary, CZ-USA will take good care of you.

This gun is just fun to use–you’ll be grinning the whole time. Photo by Nick Holloway

Should You Buy This Gun?

Full MSRP on this gun is just over $500 and that’s a steal. You’ll find it cheaper on sale and at certain retailers. It’s not the cheapest gun out there, but I do think it’s one of the best values. You won’t spend a ton of money on it and it feels and shoots like a thousand-dollar gun. It’d be worth saving a little longer to buy it.

It’s perfect for the all-around shooter. It’s great for shooting clays recreationally and it’s perfect for upland game hunting. It’ll even get it done for waterfowl. With aftermarket mods, you could make it do a lot of other chores, as well. It’d be a terrific first shotgun. If you’re graduating from a pump action gun, this one will make you feel like a much better shooter immediately. It’s cut to fit like an expensive European gun, it’s high-quality workings should last a lifetime, and for its feature set, it’s a great value for your wallet. Check it out here at CZ-USA

Highly recommended.

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Bill March 28, 2019, 9:24 am

    Left-handers left out- bummer!

  • K Denton March 28, 2019, 12:18 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with this review. I got one in the bronze Cerakote last summer and shot at two sporting clay events last year. I had the only non-black gun out of over 400 shooters at both events. Everyone wanted to see and hold it. I have cycled over 1500 rounds through this gun with no FTF or FTE. Mostly shooting Herters and Winchester ~1200 FPS loads. My shooting partner handed over his Briley pimped Benelli SuperSport several times during the shoots to be able to shoot my 712. My son’s Montefeltro has nothing on this gun and cost 3x what I paid.I’m embarrassed to say what I spent for it. Cabela’s had it on sale for $499 ($50 off). My gun was purchased the week before and the owner brought it back in trade for a 20ga black composite stock gun. He’d shot exactly 10 rounds. So I was able to negotiate another $50 off the price and with a $100 gift card I went home with this beauty for $350 plus tax. What a steal. I love this gun.

  • Bob Marbert March 25, 2019, 10:58 am

    The green receiver reminds me of the Browning double auto. It was a two shot 12 ga., and came in Standard, Twelvette and Twentyweight models. Receivers could be had in green, chrome (looking), brown and black. All receivers (that I’ve seen) had some simple engraving.

  • philip egnatovich March 25, 2019, 9:42 am

    DOES THE 20 GAUGE COME IN A RIFLED BARREL FOR SLUG USE FOR DEER HUNTING, IF SO IS THE BARREL READY TOO MOUNT A SCOPE?

    • K Denton March 28, 2019, 12:20 am

      Not rifled – it’s an upland bird gun. No scope mounts. This gun is too pretty for that.

  • Keith M Ryea Sr March 6, 2019, 4:55 pm

    I’d be nice if manufacturers would make more for left handers like me. I’m sure there’s a couple hundred thousand or more of us out there.

    • Michael December 30, 2019, 11:58 am

      No doubt. I’m right handed usually till it’s time to shoot I prefer left. But I can adapt easy enough to shoot right handed. Be it bow or gun. I have shot a many right hand weapons left handed also. No big deal. I do not own a strictly left handed weapon to say the least. I’ve never really felt the need & wonder at this point if it wouldn’t just confuse me ?

  • Bob March 5, 2019, 11:36 am

    Looks decent but the sticky safety on a brand new gun is a source of worry.
    I picked up a Stoeger M3000 a couple of years ago for $500 and it runs like a champ with anything I’ve ever put through it. I usually use AAs dove or quail hunting so that’s the lightest load that’s been in it but I’ve never had any kind of malfunction. It runs 3″ steel just as well.

    • Levi Sim March 5, 2019, 2:25 pm

      Honestly, I’d really not worry about the safety. It was just a fluke. I went to every store and tried out several others and there were no other issues.

  • Robert Mccallum March 5, 2019, 10:17 am

    I’m not sure who the woman reviewer is, but she is hot!! The new shotgun appears to be a good shooter worth a look

    • DT March 25, 2019, 5:25 am

      They didn’t put her on the front page to catch your attention!-:) lol

  • Driscoll A. Otto III March 5, 2019, 8:27 am

    The trigger is intuitive? Really? And you shoot a shotgun with both eyes open.

  • Nordberger March 5, 2019, 7:57 am

    What kind of choke interchanges with OEM? Does the stock have adjustment shins? I don’t buy a shotgun that doesn’t adjust for drop or cast any more and would be surprised any new models would be designed without it.

    • K Denton March 28, 2019, 12:30 am

      Interchanges with Beretta/Benelli threaded chokes. I have not tried these yet but will eventually go with some Carlson’s with external knurling to be able to more quickly change chokes on the sporting clay course.

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