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GUNS Magazine July 2011 Digital Edition - Page 20

• h O L t b O d I N S O N • that of the .17 HMR measures +/.049". Even the case body diameters are different, with the .22 LR running +/.225" while the .17 HMR measures +/-.240". And, of course, there is a witch-barrel rifles can be a lot of fun and an economical considerable difference in the overall length between the two case families, solution to having optional calibers available in these with the .22 LR measuring +/-.966" days of tight budgets. The switch barrel concept, like the and the .17 HMR running +/-1.345". detachable scope mount, is very European in its origins. In short, to make the CZ 455 The European market has given us the Blaser, the Mauser American a successful switch-barrel 66 and more recently the SAKO Quad, which offered rifle, you have to accommodate two distinctly different cartridges with owners four, interchangeable, rimfire barrels. The Quad, different rim, headspace and overall because of its cost, was not an overnight success, and requirements. that’s why it’s nice to see CZ enter the rimfire switch-barrel length CZ’s answers were clever indeed. market this year with a modestly priced rifle of impeccable They used a bolt with a rimfire magnum pedigree. Meet the CZ 455 American. dimensioned bolt face, since the magnum bolt face will accommodate The new CZ 455 models are the effective range to 150 yards or so with both rim diameters. They also used latest steps along the evolutionary explosive results. While not packing the a magnum-size magazine well and path of the earlier CZ 452/453 series. heavy duty punch of the .22 WMR, blocked it with a removable polymer The new CZ 455 line is built with the .17 HMR is the more accurate of spacer to accommodate the smaller .22 tighter manufacturing tolerances, the two. Accuracy LR magazine. Headspace and, without dispute, the CZ 455 line just seems to be in was adjusted by the length of offers improved accuracy. The CZ 455 the blood of the the barrel shank. I must say models are available in a variety of .17s. Whether it’s a in passing that headspace was stocks, sights, barrel lengths, finishes .177 airgun, a .17 set very tight at the factory, and rimfire calibers, specifically the .17 Remington or a .17 and you could feel the HMR, .22 LR and .22 WMR. Remington Fireball, To accommodate the head sizes difference in rim thicknesses The CZ 455 American switch-barrel the .17 just performs of both the .22 LR and the .17 from brand-to-brand as you HMR (above), a magnum bolt is set is chambered for the .22 LR and magnificently. closed the bolt. the .17 HMR. That’s a pretty astute Designing a basic used. The two cases (below) When unpacking the CZ combination. The .22 LR cartridge platform like the CZ require separate magazines and 455 American switch barrel, comes in more flavors than Campbell’s 455 American to the .22 LR magazine has a block what you see is an extra soup and as we all know, it’s ever so feed, fire, extract and to fit the magnum magazine well. barrel, an extra magazine cheap to shoot. The .17 HMR, while eject a .22 LR and a of the proper caliber, two not cheap to shoot, is a sizzling, rimfire .17 HMR, takes a Allen wrenches, a factory performer, and in my experience, it’s bit of doing. If you 50m, 5-shot test target for the most consistently accurate rimfire take a caliper and a both barrels, an instruction cartridge ever designed. handful of .22 LR manual, a 2-year warranty on The .17 HMR is not a plinking and .17 HMR, you the stock and surface finishes cartridge. It’s a hunting cartridge and will discover some and a 3-year warranty on all while the .22 LR with good bullet interesting facts. other parts. placement is an effective small-game The rim diameter of a .22 LR measures I’m always impressed when a load out to 75 yards, the .17 HMR with +/-.275", but the rim of the .17 HMR company includes a signed test target a 17-grain polymer-tipped bullet at a measures +/-.290". The rim thickness with their firearm. That test target velocity of 2,550 fps will double that of the .22 LR measures +/-.044" while really puts your reputation as a manufacturer on the line. In this case, the .22 LR group measured 5/8" and the .17 HMR, 3/8". On a second rifle I had the opportunity to inspect, the .22 LR test target measured 7/8" and the .17 HMR, 5/8". Excellent performance on both counts. There’s quality built into the CZ 455 American. The 20-1/2" barrel is hammer forged, the action is machined from a billet of steel and the stock is walnut. With a practical, affordable switch-barrel in .22 LR and .17 HMR, today’s hunter has the very best of The trigger is adjustable by turning a small-game cartridges in one gun. single nut, and I was able to bring the vErSAtILE vArMINtEr CZ’s neat switch barrel .22 LR and .17 HMR. S 20 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JULY 2011

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