Perfect plinker

0101Chris Parkin puts Edgar Brothers’ all-in-one starter package based on the CZ 512 rimfire through its paces

The CZ 512 is the latest update to the Czech company’s vast rimfire rifle line-up. Following the 511 and original 581 designs, the latest generation has moved away from its metallic heritage into the composite material future.

As well as a standalone gun, importer Edgar Brothers offers a package deal covering several top brands, creating a one-stop option to get you shooting in 20 minutes. Accordingly, the rifle’s 20in hammer-forged barrel in a sporter profile is screwcut ½in UNF at the well-crowned muzzle for instant moderator use. The included Sirocco SM11 sound moderator incorporates 11 baffles and can be dismantled for cleaning.

The 512 shows its departure from conventional aesthetics in that the forend and butt of the beech stock are separate components. The barrel does float a little, but the forend bolts to it anyway with a small tenon at its rear to slot into the recessed action face of the rifle.

Disassembly for cleaning or maintenance takes about a minute, requiring only one screw to be removed in the forend.  Sliding it off and pushing a small pin sideways beneath the breech allows the upper and lower halves of the action to slide apart. The aluminium upper moves forwards about an inch, then the bolt knob can be freely withdrawn to allow both sections to fully disengage and separate, taking care to hold the bolt assembly in position.

Dismantling for cleaning took barely a minute

Dismantling for cleaning took barely a minute

Twin sprung guide rails support the simple blowback action – the symmetrical design prevents the bolt torqueing and makes sound, functional sense. Cautious removal of the bolt, which I would only recommend being done in the house (the potential to start dropping bits is mounting), reveals the firing pin hammer and sear unit in the polymer ‘lower’. A cross-bolt safety sits to the rear of the trigger guard, clicking right-to-left for fire.

Breaking at 58oz, the trigger also ‘crept’ a bit. The lateral bolt handle cycles the action with a locking button in the front upper trigger guard. It doesn’t hold open on the last round from the supplied five-shot magazine, but will automatically release when re-cocked upon reload. CZ’s 10-round polymer unit also fits the gun with its mag release catch at the front of the well. It’s worth taking the time to learn how to accurately to insert the mag without deforming the nose of the topmost soft lead bullet.

The straight stock has no chequering or palm swell, comes in at 13¾in length of pull, and can be removed using a hex-headed key via the base of the grip. A plastic butt plate terminates the straight, fairly low cheekpiece, which seems optimised for the open sights featured on the .22 WMR version of the rifle. This one is a specific UK spec with no open sights, screw-cut at the muzzle and equipped with an 11mm rail atop the action for scope mounting. Although recoil is hardly an issue with a .22 rimfire, I find a grippier rubber butt pad helps weld the gun into the shoulder. At 7¾lb and 45½in long, it is handy to carry.

The package came with two-piece aluminium scope rings to mount the Bushnell 3-9×40 scope’s 1in tube in place. The mounts are see-through in case you do want to use open sights, but if you’re getting a scope in the package, you may as well use it. A fast-focus eyepiece keeps the simple duplex reticle in sharp view, and when used at the correct magnification it focused clearly at the typical 30-100 yard ranges expected. Zero was accomplished easily with tactile turret clicks calibrated in ¼in-at-100-yard graduations, with easy fingertip adjustability beneath the aluminium caps.

Bushnell 3-9x40 with fast focus eyepiece: ideal for rimfire ranges

Bushnell 3-9×40 with fast focus eyepiece: ideal for rimfire ranges

Blackhawk’s Sportster bipod is the final addition, featuring 9-13in telescopic legs that can be clicked to full height or locked off with friction adjusters. Unique to the Sportster is its ability to ‘pan’ as well as ‘cant’, and it includes a locking lever to lock any adjustment made.

Happily, I got the chance to test and hunt with the gun using the new Fiocchi rimfire ammunition supplied by Edgar Brothers. Using a .22 rimfire is addictive, and I was brutal to the gun, shooting it mercilessly in a way that would provoke stoppages at the earliest opportunity. But even fresh from the box, I chattered through nearly 400 rounds before my first stoppage.

Accuracy was dependent on careful use of the relatively heavy trigger. A pronounced squeeze saw the Subsonic hollow points reliably cluster into half-inch five-shot groups at 50 yards averaging 1,042fps. Round-nosed standard velocity solid 40-grainers for economical plinking were actually slower at 1,015fps, but with similar accuracy. High-velocity rounds flew 1,185fps with 2in groups at 100 yards. Poor trigger control cost dearly, but it will encourage correct technique to be learned long-term.

The pan and tilt made for easy pointability without placing undue strain on the barrel, which is effectively a stressed supporting member, but performed well with little shift in point of impact if shot standing. The gun cycled quickly and positively, even with subsonics, but was simple to disassemble for a quick clean as required. Lead/wax deposits from the bullets accumulated to eventually cause a stoppage – extraction and ejection were always reliable, however. The gun was accurate and the moderator very effective, making this the perfect starter package as a bunny gun or plinker.

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Posted in Optics, Reviews, Rimfire

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