Story and photos by Russell Purcell
I belong to three different gun clubs and have two gym memberships. So it would be easy to surmise that when I get interested in something I tend to embrace it and make it a big part of my life.
The big expenditure when I visit the gym is calories, and of course sweat, but the other costs involved like the food I need as fuel and the extra loads of laundry I produce are easily incorporated into my every day budget, but when it comes to shooting, the extra expense that comes with consumables like ammunition, cleaning supplies and targets adds up quickly, so I have had to become a little creative when it comes to feeding this hobby.
In a previous post I mentioned that I like to incorporate some dry-fire training into my range routine as it helps me keep tabs on my grip, develop a better feel for the trigger, and monitor my muzzle control. But it also keeps me from blasting away an extra box of ammunition. The unfortunate reality is that the price of ammunition has been on an upward trajectory for several years now, and with our dollar on a seemingly terminal slide, this trend is likely to continue.
I have offset some of these price increases by learning how to reload my own ammunition, but recently I took another step and purchased a new .22 calibre rifle. Sometimes you have to spend money, to save money. The simple fact is that many sport shooters and hunters probably honed their handling and marksmanship skills on either a pistol or rifle that utilized this inexpensive ammunition and there is no reason that you shouldn’t continue to do so today.
Rimfire ammunition is much cheaper than the more powerful centrefire round as the diminutive cartridge takes much less material to produce. The .22 calibre rimfire cartridge has a very long history, as it was initially developed in the 1850s primarily for hunting small game, but larger calibre variants of the simple design were used in military and sporting rifles until the turn of the 20th Century.
There are a number of small calibre rimfire cartridges still in use, but the .22 Long Rifle variant is by far the most popular with North American consumers. The cartridge is comprised of a thin brass casing whose base features an external rim which has been designed to be struck by the gun’s firing pin. This impact crushes the exposed rim which then ignites a priming compound that is housed within the base of the cartridge. Once ignited, the spark will trigger the smokeless powder contained within, which will in turn propel the bullet down the barrel and hopefully, towards the intended target.
The rifle I purchased is a new offering from Ceska Zbrojovka Uhershy Brod, the well regarded firearms manufacturer based in the Czech Republic more commonly known in North America as CZ. The CZ 512 Tactical is a semi-automatic rimfire rifle that features the company’s latest action in a chassis developed by ATI.
I ordered the .22LR model, but the company also markets one that uses the more powerful .22WMR cartridge should you be seeking more punch. The 512 Tactical has a 16.5″ barrel, ½”×28 muzzle threads, a cross-bolt safety, and a very smooth action. The trigger is not adjustable, but it is nice and light, and the reset is short and crisp. There are no sights, but the rifle is fitted with a top Picatinny rail to facilitate the mounting of optics or iron sights.
This non-restricted rifle chassis has a six-position stock (with adjustable comb height) which makes it suitable for shooters of all shapes and sizes. The rifle is 33-inches in length (838.2 mm), but with the stock fully extended the length stretches to 36.25 inches (920.75 mm). Another bonus is the fact that the rifle comes with a polymer 25-round magazine, but it will also accept the same single-stack magazines used on CZ’s earlier 455 platform of rimfire rifles.
Sure, I will be the first to admit that the 512 Tactical looks “tacti-cool”, especially when dressed with a quality optic and sights, but it feels very similar in weight and function to my centre fire rifles of similar concept and design, which is a huge plus. The relatively low-cost of .22LR ammunition means that I can spend more time at the range tightening up my groupings or plinking away at the local gravel pit range without breaking the bank, and in my books, this is time and money well spent.