CZ 455 Varmint Review: How good is it?

Hello and welcome to my CZ 455 varmint review.

Today Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) is known for the well-designed CZ 75 pistol that is one of the most cloned 9mm pistols

If imitation is the best form of flattery, it is also a sign of a good initial design.

Yet the company is equally acknowledged for the impressive quality of their sporting rifles. A commitment that is not abandoned in the design and manufacture of their rimfire rifle line.

In fact, their most recent model, the CZ 455 has all the attention to features one expects from a top shelf centerfire rifle.

CZ 455 Varmint

CZ 455 Varmint Review
However, with a standard of excellence that is the expected norm for custom built rifles, the CZ 455 offers a fit and feel at a price that is really quite acceptable given its features and adaptability to fulfill different roles in the diminutive cartridge sporting and hunting world.

The bolt action CZ 455 was introduced as a successor to the highly popular model 452 rimfire rifles in 2007.

Like its predecessor, which also included the 453 model, the CZ 455 has an interchangeable barrel system allowing the model to change calibers among the popular .22 Long Rifle, .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire and .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire cartridges.

CZ 455 Varmint Review - 1

This feature alone sets CZ apart among the bolt action sporting rifles, giving it a versatility that is not seen rarely in modular rifles like the Ruger 10/22 or AR variants, and seen almost not at all in a wood stocked, sporting rifle fashioned along the classical lines of European or American shooting tastes.

Similar to the way a Ruger 10/22 barrel is mated to the receiver, the CZ 455 uses a two set screw set up under the receiver, hidden within the stock for fastening the action together with only the use of a special tool provided with the rifle so swapping calibers is a breeze. This makes the rifle a potential cure all for all rimfire applications.

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However, the bar does not rest there. The attractive wood grain of the walnut stock along with the adjustable trigger pull and an action that is manufactured at remarkably close tolerances are combined to provide an impressive sporting rifle that belies its rimfire chamber.

With many other rifle companies, the .22 is often a bargain version of the more substantial calibers with machining, fit and finish left at good enough. The CZ 455, however, remains a rifle that is a source of pride for the manufacturer and the owner alike.

CZ 455 Varmint Review - 3

The action is milled from bar stock and is remarkably solid, again belying the act that it is a rimfire rifle. The receiver itself is made to similar dimensions of the Model 527 which is chambered in .223 Remington or 7.62x39. All this makes cycling the action a fluid action of ergonomic beauty.

Further, the receiver has an 11mm groove for mounting optics with enough clearance relief whether the rifle variant has iron sights or requires an optic sight system.

The precision trigger is adjustable to pull weights between just under a pound to 3.5 pounds. While the stock trigger may have some creep to sensitive shooters so after market trigger kits are available. For precision work at 100 yards or less – the typical target and hunting ranges for small game, it has proven remarkably popular.

CZ 455 Varmint - trigger

Many customers picked up the rifle accepting they would replace the trigger in short order but have found out after an initial break in period, the triggers are quite adequate if not surprisingly good. Yet should the consumer opt for customized options, they are easily installed into this robust design.

The stock magazine is plastic and admittedly somewhat flimsy to the minds of a lot of customers, especially when compared to the quality of the rest of the rifle.

There is a 5 rd steel magazine found available from aftermarket providers which arguably improves the impression of a top quality, classical lined rimfire platform.

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The plus side is that it is the same mag as the semi automatic 512 (.22 LR only), so there is some encouragement that it is not a single model proprietary magazine vulnerable to model discontinuation.

Quite the opposite, in fact as there are literally a dozen variants of the CZ 455 model, each made with a particular style of sporting rifle in mind from precision, to full stocked, to bench to light and easy handling: no squirrel is safe.

As each rifle offers features for different applications, they also offer alternatives to any one rifle by virtue of the ability to exchange barrels for sights and caliber changes.

The Varmint variant maintains the interchangeable barrel system of the entire CZ 455 model system: 

The 20.5” long, heavy barrel (.866”) is larger and stiffer than the 452 and 453 predecessors which lends itself to a more consistent delivery of accuracy whether using premium ammunition or the bargain basement plinking ammo bought up by the brick and pallet.

As with all the rifles in this model series, the barrel is hammer forges and hand lapped: craftmanship often reserved for custom built, centerfire rifles.

The wide barrel also leaves ample room in the stock for alternative, accessory barrels that are available across the 455 production line allowing the installation of open iron sights or threaded barrels that can be paired with a suppressor: the CZ 455 is one of the most popular rifles for use with discretionary upgrades.  

CZ 455 Varmint - 5

Often CZ sporting rifles are considered the modern equivalent of the Mauser hunting rifles of the last century: well designed, beautifully made and examples of craftsmanship that are sought after as family heirlooms in the making: these are rifles that are made to last and be handed down (but only after a rich period of use, of course).

If there is only room for one rimfire rifle in the safe, this is an option that has a lot going for it: classical beauty that offers caliber and sight system options on the same operating system. It is small wonder that the CZ 455 is taking the varmint hunting and RF precision shooting world by storm.

Hopefully, this CZ 455 Varmint review will help you in your decision. If you want a review for any gun, feel free to leave a comment below!

Check out sambo cotton’s review of it too:

CZ 452 vs 455 comparison from The Gun Shop:

Photography credits

We would like to extend thanks for the following sources for images.

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