CZ512 Tactical .22 LR 25-Rd Mod Barrel
- By Chris Parkin
- 5 Comments
- Last updated: 22/05/2018
I tested a standard CZ512 semiautomatic 22 rimfire a few years ago and was refreshed by a manufacturer who are often see obeying older design strategies, taking bold steps forward. The gun used familiar single column magazines with a simple blowback mechanism to cycle, had fast disassembly for cleaning and an action not prone to gumming up. This was undoubtedly thanks to the smooth ammunition feed from those magazines not ‘shaving’, then plastering lead and wax debris all over the internals.
Follow on a few years and they now make a ‘Tactical’ version but the one shown here is not in standard format! This one has had its hammer forged barrel shrouded within an 18-inch/460mm aluminium cylinder with a 3.5-inch/87mm baffled thread cap, creating a fully suppressed unit. Given the UK market’s fondness for subsonic ammunition for rabbit control and generally unobtrusive, calmer days on the range, this was an inspired step taken by importers Edgar Brothers, in collaboration with Barton Gunworks (whose MaccTec moderators already feature extensively within their portfolio). The shroud doesn’t actually free float within the forend, it is bolted in place along its length and with the bullet technically flying through several inches of free space within it between the internal barrel’s muzzle and baffled thread cap section, it’s not really any surprise to see a belt and braces approach to keeping everything precisely located and in position.
The gun offers minimal disassembly possibilities in the field with an aluminium upper and fibre reinforced polymer lower, but it’s easy enough to unscrew the cap at the muzzle to use a cleaning rod if necessary, not that 22 rimfires are much of a barrel fouler.
You do need to poke about a bit through the right-side ejection ports to clear a bit of fouling eventually but as always with 22 rimfire, the amount of fouling deposited by different ammunition types varies widely and the dryer coatings of Eley were particularly clean to shoot in this rifle. Eventually you will probably need a full strip down and clean, so an Allen key will facilitate this once every while but, in the workshop, not at the range.
Following the general tactical trends sees the action hidden within AR15 derived ergonomic foundations between a well ventilated 294mm tubular forend and telescopic extending rear butt stock; the underside lever of which allows length of pull (LOP) adjustment from a very compact 305mm/12-inches up to 15.25-inches/387mm in six well-defined stages. Coupled to the 530mm Picatinny rail running the full length of the gun’s upper and forend, there is masses of space for mounting any type of optic with eye relief versatility for shooters of any age and size. No left hander is available, but ejection is designed to throw cases away from a shooter’s face, so I happily shot the gun from my ‘off shoulder’ too. It’s delivered with both short flush fitting 5-round magazine and far longer banana shaped 25-rounder. The gun is compatible with the intermediate polymer 10-rounder from CZ too, with all designs loading one at a time into the feed lips up top. It clips in under the action with a release catch in front and you soon get used to the snug, but smooth fit after a few dry runs on the mag well entrance. There is no last round hold open, but the bolt locking catch is in front/above the trigger blade, so it’s well positioned to operate with your fingertip, whilst opening the short bolt handle with your thumb.
It’s not large enough to press for a fast bolt release on a full mag ready to shoot but a quick grab of the 15mm bolt handle, snatched to the rear and released will allow the bolt to spring home and you are set to fire.
The trigger shows about 3mm of creep during its ‘single stage’ 1850gr/4lb break, but rather intermittent, sometimes feeling like having a partial two stage intermission within that creep. You do get used to it and if taught correctly, bad triggers can actually help train good shooters, purely because they give you a harder challenge to conquer! Thankfully, time has started to slick up the operation and while still on the heavy side, consistency has improved. I don’t really think you want a 500gr trigger when movement with a loaded rifle is involved in your course of fire anyway. A cross bolt safety sits just behind the trigger blade, locking its movement within the smallish trigger guard that suits light gloves better. It’s cramped for thicker winter ones, which ironically appreciate the heavy trigger pull in cold weather. An underslung rubber backed grip is tactile and hand filling, with slightly extended reach over an AR15, giving better trigger reach and feel.
There are multiple threaded anchor points among oval ventilation slots in the forend for cooling, it’s more for looks and weight saving than required airflow in a calibre not prone to overheating yet you have multiple anchor points for more accessories. The full-length rail along the top and forend bolted to both barrel and action creates a totally solid build with neutral balance and no concerns over things getting knocked out of line if dropped or mishandled. There is no play between the buffer tube and action that can plague guns of far higher prices; only the slightest play occurs between the buffer tube and telescopic butt pad/cheekpiece.
Sadly, no sling stud is fitted up front but there is a double side hole in the buttstock to accept flush cup QR designs and it’s a feature I would add immediately; this compact rifle is a pleasure to use and carry, so this is a slight failing. Only a thin rubber buttpad is fitted but the long ‘octagonal’ shape of the butt, whose corners wont snag, is comfortable and mounts quickly without fuss. Best of all, if you are equipped with a rucksack and thick shoulder straps, the lever on the underside will soon remove an inch off the length of pull - I wonder where that design ethos comes from? Twin Allen bolts on either side allow cheekpiece height adjustment and two are supplied for alternate comfort choice. At its lowest setting, it is a fair squeeze down on top for your cheek/head/eye to align with a low mounted red dot optic or small objective riflescope but fast and repeatable. It remains warm in the cold too and wont ring or rattle when fired and It’s perfect for a 50-56mm objective scope in a more conventional mode.
Accuracy on paper at 50m was not the best I have ever seen but an inch/25mm 5-round group with consistent point of impact from any position was more than acceptable. It’s after all not a precision bolt action rifle and the reciprocating variability of the bolt blowback etc. will never equal that consistency but critically, the rifle was utterly reliable to shoot with no missed chamberings or ejection in 250 rounds with radiused profile bullets. The squarer nose of Winchester’s hollow points was fractionally more sluggish but with round nose 40/42gr subsonic hollow point of match ammunition, there was a decisively fast ‘snappy’ feeling of speed from the gun, that made loading 25 round magazines an utterly addictive chore, emptying them was terribly good fun!
With a red dot Trijicon zeroed on top, snap shooting close range steel knock over gongs, it was double tap city. If this rifle has one thing, it is character, it might not be perfect, but it has that dangerous ‘FUN’ word written all over it, with simplicity and effectiveness to shoot all day. Buy extra magazines!
I must admit this was a deliciously fun gun to use, with streamlined looks and excellent sound moderation from the fully suppressed barrel. Reliability with subsonic ammunition was noticeably efficient across multiple brands.