Versatile Varminter

CZ’s neat switch barrel .22 LR and .17 HMR

Switch-barrel rifles can be a lot of fun and an economical solution to having optional calibers available in these days of tight budgets. The switch barrel concept, like the detachable scope mount, is very European in its origins. The European market has given us the Blaser, the Mauser 66 and more recently the SAKO Quad, which offered owners four, interchangeable, rimfire barrels. The Quad, because of its cost, was not an overnight success, and that’s why it’s nice to see CZ enter the rimfire switch-barrel market this year with a modestly priced rifle of impeccable pedigree. Meet the CZ 455 American.

est steps along the evolutionary path of the earlier CZ 452/453 series. The new CZ 455 line is built with tighter manufacturing tolerances, and, without dispute, the CZ 455 line offers improved accuracy. The CZ 455 models are available in a variety of stocks, sights, barrel lengths, finishes and rimfire calibers, specifically the .17 HMR, .22 LR and .22 WMR.

The CZ 455 American switch-barrel set is chambered for the .22 LR and the .17 HMR. That’s a pretty astute combination. The .22 LR cartridge comes in more flavors than Campbell’s soup and as we all know, it’s ever so cheap to shoot. The .17 HMR, while not cheap to shoot, is a sizzling, rimfire performer, and in my experience, it’s the most consistently accurate rimfire cartridge ever designed.
The .17 HMR is not a plinking cartridge. It’s a hunting cartridge and while the .22 LR with good bullet placement is an effective small-game load out to 75 yards, the .17 HMR with a 17-grain polymer-tipped bullet at a velocity of 2,550 fps will double that effective range to 150 yards or so with explosive results. While not packing the heavy duty punch of the .22 WMR, the .17 HMR is the more accurate of the two. Accuracy just seems to be in the blood of the .17s. Whether it’s a .177 airgun, a .17 Remington or a .17 Remington Fireball, the .17 just performs magnificently.

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