By Chris Parkin
CZ’s 457 Match Target Rifle or “MTR” has a great visual appeal for those wanting the latest mechanics yet still showing some of the classic looks in a material that will forever be associated with beautiful gunstocks, Walnut.
The MTR uses the same action as all other 457 variants and although only currently available in 22 and 17 HMR, CZ offer barrel minisets that allow you to have multiple calibres and barrel types on just one platform, including the 22 WMR. This 520mm cold hammer forged 17 HMR barrel is 22mm in diameter assuring the greatest levels of accuracy and precision from a predominantly target or varmint-oriented rifle and it’s screwcut ½” UNF for a moderator or muzzle brake. Overall length is 975mm, length of pull from the buttpad to trigger is 351mm and the gun weighs in at 3383 grams.
The walnut stock’s forend fully free floats the barrel, it offers stippling for grip and matches well to the heavily stippled grip further rear. The action is held into the stock with twin T25 Torx screws through the bottom metal either side of the 5 shot detachable magazine. If you remove the screws, the barrelled action comes out revealing pillar bedding within the neatly machined action inlet to assure you of minimal bedding stress. The bottom metal is a two-piece assembly and with the action out of the stock, you can clearly see the two Allen screws on the action face that allow barrel removal and swaps. The magazine has a filler block that can also be interchanged along with smaller magazines if you were to add a 22 LR barrel in the future or vice-versa. Barrel swaps take about five minutes and zero is only fractionally affected yet as the procedure is likely combined with an ammunition and possible scope swap anyway, I don’t see that is a problem.
When you refit the action and tighten its screws, you feel each come to a reassuringly firm stop implying the lack of bedding stress as the action tightens into position against the inner pillars and woodwork. If you chose to, the trigger is fully adjustable and one of the great things I have found across many 457’s is that once the trigger is bedded in, you can fine adjust it to take up any perceptible movement, assuring a perfectly crisp break. This indicates CZ engineers accept that through the life of a rifle, mechanics will bed in and wear so the ability to adjust mechanics is superb and my own 457 LRP has remained perfectly tuned once the initial 300 shots had settled all the brand-new mechanics some 3 years ago now.
The trigger is weight adjustable from 11.1-14 Newtons and I measured this rifle, it showed exactly the upper 14 newtons or 1400gr breaking weight. The safety catch is a silently operable button to the right side of the action, forward for fire, rearward for safe. There is a neat shroud at the rear of the bolt with a cocked action indicator which is visible and tactile above the very top of the vertical pistol grip. CZ also use a firing pin with a flat top above the chisel tip which initiates the cartridge. This another design factor I think is a super feature for both consistency and longevity. The flat upper surface meets the back of the barrel and on a switch barrel gun, prevents the sharper chisel edge ever coming into contact with the chamber entrance circumference!
An 11mm dovetail for scope mounting is machined into the top of the steel action which is treated by CZ to prevent corrosion to it’s matt black sheen. Final action controls are the left side bolt release catch, and, on the underside, there is a release catch for the magazine at the front of the mag well.
The walnut stock is beautifully finished and the one on my review rifle had some delicate tiger stripes to show off. It has a matt oil finish so will need some aftercare throughout its life but has so far resisted any blemishes from my month of usage. The forend is long and with a deep buttstock at the rear, the rifle is particularly stable and comfortable when being shot prone or from a bench. There are twin studs at the front for a bipod and sling as well as a third at the butt whose underside slopes gently allowing your non-firing hand to support fine elevation control, or you can use rest bags. The grip itself is vertical and asymmetric with a distinct thumb groove to keep your hand well positioned and secure while still relaxed, enabling precise trigger control.
The gun is quite heavy and in fairness, not really designed for hunting but there are many other stock choices within the 457 range, allowing you to choose exactly which ergonomics suit you and your shooting style the best. I think the MTR is a fine example of Walnut with modern mechanics and was certainly very accurate on paper and steel targets at ranges out to 150 metres. I did a little rabbit control with it too but made sure I treated the borrowed gun with great care so used it from a tripod to avoid mud or gravel scratching it. On that note, the tripod’s clamp could be firmly attached without compressing the forend and there was no loss of zero.
|Ammo||Average Muzzle Velocity/fps||Muzzle Energy/ft-lbs||5x5 shot 100m average group size (mm)|
|Hornady 17gr V-Max||2629||260.9||12|
|Hornady 20gr XTP||2472||271.3||16|
The 520mm barrel enabled slightly above average muzzle velocity and energy in a gun that was possibly one of the most consistent 17’s I have ever used, especially over longer shot strings. The barrel was easy to clean with little copper accumulating and it was noted how few fragments of copper residue were shaved off the bullets when loading the rifle. Ejection was positive with no failures to either eject or feed a new round into the chamber throughout the 500 shots fired and as usual with the 457, the bolt stroke itself was smooth without any likelihood of stalling when operated quickly. There is no specific left-hand rifle available yet but although the gun is right-handed, it is not uncomfortable to shoot from the opposite shoulder if the need arises.
Yet another great CZ 457 Variant and for prone and bench rested shooting, possibly the best given the weight and stability offered when aiming by the stiff stock which is quite reminiscent of a prone target rifle.
Model - CZ 457 MTR
Calibre - 17 HMR, 22RF (16”), 22 WMR also available)
Magazine Capacity - 5 round supplied
Barrel - 510mm Cold Hammer forged steel screwcut ½” UNF
Length - 975mm
Weight - 3.3kg
Length of pull - 351mm
Trigger - Single stage, adjustable from 11.1-14N
Price £741.99 (extra barrel minisets £230-£350 including magazine and spacers)
Also Used Hornady Ammunition, thanks to Edgar Brothers, www.hornady.com
(Element Optics also from Sportsman Gun Centre)