When’s the last time you bought a 22LR rimfire that, like a transformer, could quickly morph into both a 17HMR or 22 WMR?
How about a rifle that drops into both a short youth stock or high-end precision adult furniture? Never, that’s when. But that’s exactly what CZ offers in their new 455 Scout.
What is the CZ 455 Scout?
Fans of CZ will instantly recognize the 455 line as one of quality and myriad options. Rimfire shooters will likely remember an earlier iteration of the Scout, as CZ catalogued a model 452 Scout. That version, however, was discontinued a while back and until now, had not been replaced. Apparently, the company was working their magic in the design room, and here we are watching the new-and-much-improved 455 Scout enter the market with little media fanfare.
By retooling the Scout into the company’s 455 line of rifles, adding any of the company’s full-size stocks is drop-in easy. CZ’s entire 455 platform is modular, which means users can swap not only stocks, but also barrels and chamberings. That means the Scout, which ships as a 22LR, can be quickly converted to either 17HMR or 22WMR with purchase of another barrel.
The base model 455 Scout bolt-action rimfire rifle is built for and marketed as the ideal buy for young shooters. That is at once a boon and a disservice. With a 12” length of pull and simple iron sights, the Scout indeed makes a marvelous first gun. To limit the market to growing youngsters, however, is less than ideal, as the Scout works well for both small-framed shooters and hunters desiring an ultra-maneuverable varminter.
Overall build quality is solid. The leaf rear sight is windage adjustable while the hooded blade front can be set for elevation adjustments. In addition, 11mm dovetails on the receiver make scope mounting simple. To help promote both safety and ammo conservation, the .22LR rifle is shipped with a single-shot adapter that limits the gun to single-round feed. We would’ve definitely liked to see the gun ship with a regular-capacity magazine, though CZ offers numerous mags from five to 25 rounds through their webstore.
The best part of the whole deal is the price, with MSRP on the Scout rimfire set at $339. Extra barrels are available in various lengths and weights in the $139-159 range, and each ships with its own magazine. Meanwhile, the company offers everything from plain hardwood to mannlicher to Manners Precision stocks, selling for $120-300 in the webstore as well. (http://shop.cz-usa.com/cz-products/rifles/stocks/rimfire) Those who love the concept but are seeking a straight-up adult combo can also find CZ’s 455 American 22LR/17HMR combo priced at $421.
Weighing in at five pounds empty with the factory 16.5” cold hammer forged barrel, the Scout is one of the most comfortable and well-built small guns on the market. An adjustable trigger is icing on the cake. And in one of the coolest moves we’ve seen on a “youth gun,” the Scout comes threaded at 1/2×28 for a suppressor or other muzzle device attachment. Factor in the exceptional CZ trigger, and you know this rifle is not just for kids, but for the kid inside us all.
Transformers on the Range
For T&E purposes, we picked up the base 455 Scout in addition to a 17HMR heavy barrel and a standard full-length stock. The factory short stock is made of beechwood, more cost effective and somewhat softer than traditional walnut, but the finish is smooth and attractive. Our additional 17HMR barrel is of the varmint variety, measuring 20” long, and sans sights. Our sample adult stock is made of Turkish walnut, with a standard 14.25” LOP and retails for $125.
This one’s not just for kids, even right out of the box. I’ve met plenty of varminters, author included, who recognize the benefits of a compact stock for those out-of-the way shooting situations and positions we get into. Take this rifle prairie dogging, or chasing vermin and bring 22LR, 17HMR, and 22WMR ammo. While you reload mags, swap out the barrels, and you’re extending ranges and cooling barrels all at once. Unfortunately, we were unable to get our paws on one of the company’s most sought after Manner’s Precision Trainer stock.
Accuracy testing with the rifle in its various configurations was a treat. Barrels are swapped by loosening the forward magazine well bolt 1-2 turns and backing out the two angled barrel retaining allen screws with the provided wrench. The instruction manual is clear and easy to follow, and the recommended torque is provided for both barrels and stocks. The 22LR magazine requires use of a mag well spacer blocks which is held in place with a single pin. This is quickly removed when you have the gun out of the stock to swap barrels.
The bolt action is not that of a custom rifle but is smooth and accurate enough to hold its own in most any casual range competition or rimfire hunting scenario. As we’d expect with any bolt action, all ammo cycled flawlessly, all while using the same bolt and internals for both 22LR and 17HMR.
We did some accuracy testing from the bench with both the 22LR and 17HMR, scoped and unscoped. In spite of the shorter barrel lengths, both shot admirably, no doubt aided by the excellent trigger quality. The 22LR easily cut hole on hole at 50 yards, while the 17HMR did the same at 100 yards out. The only knock we could find on the gun is also one of its major benefits. The factory trigger breaks crisp and clean just a hair under three pounds, which no doubt aids greatly in accurate shooting. We were able to adjust the trigger down to two pounds, but not much heavier pull than 3.2lbs, which is on the light side for a gun marketed to youth, though there is no replacement for teaching proper and safe handling and shooting. The threaded barrel allowing suppressor use is ideal for young shooters, who often shy away more from the noise than anything else.
The CZ 455 Scout has mass appeal in its versatility, yet has hardly garnered mention in its 2017 debut. Buy it for the youngster in your life and the Scout becomes a lifetime gun with stocks, barrels, and calibers that grow with them. Pick it up as an adult and build yourself a combo that can be suppressed or quickly fitted with a heavy barrel and varmint stock for long range accuracy. The bottom line is, no matter your taste, shooting style, or quarry, the CZ 455 Scout has you covered. For the cost of one higher dollar rimfire rifle, you can own a rimfire with three calibers, a couple stocks, and an exceptional trigger.
The modular CZ 455 Scout rimfire rifle is a win-win-win. It grows with a youth shooter for a lifetime and at once appeals to the kid at heart as well. With simple-to-swap barrels, calibers, stocks, and accessories galore, the Scout comes with every hot rimfire feature and a price tag hard to beat.