CZ 912 Autoloading 12 Gauge Shotgun
The CZ-USA 912 is a Huglo-manufactured, gas-operated autoloader distributed by CZ-USA. Right now, it is offered in only one barrel length and gauge: 28 inch and 12 gauge.
The great appeal of the CZ 912 is its low price. With a MSRP of $509, it is a lot easier to swallow than many autoloaders on the market that have soared to $1200 - $1400 price points. (Absurd prices for a repeater. - Editor) The gas action is what I'd refer to as a fairly conventional design, with dual gas ports inside the barrel ring blowing back a single gas piston that has metal gas sealing rings, not O rings. The action bar has dual rails and the 912 has a three inch chamber with a four shot tubular magazine limited to two with the installed plug that you can remove in seconds. It comes with five screw chokes, more generous than many autoloaders.
The first thing I noticed out of the box was the walnut. Attractive walnut is getting harder and harder to find these days on basic shotguns, some models are offered with blow-molded plastic stocks only, so good-looking Turkish walnut was a refreshing change. Hanging off of my Lyman electronic trigger gauge, the gun came in right at 7-1/4 pounds, a bit lighter than the published weight.
The 912 has a horribly heavy trigger, breaking at 8-3/4 pounds, which I feel is unacceptable for any firearm. I called the folks at CZ to get their stance on the trigger weight. The answer was that their spec is seven pounds (!), give or take a quarter pound. In this case, yes, they would be happy to touch up the trigger, but only to their seven pound specification. Still, way too heavy as far as I am concerned, so if you want a decent four pound trigger it is gunsmith time.
Since the trigger is the primary control in a shotgun, this is a lamentable trend, but the CZ 912 has a lot of company. The recently tested Stoeger M3500 also came with a heavy trigger, 7-3/4 pounds and a recent sampling of Remington Versa-Max models (all roughly eight pound guns) all had trigger breaks exceeding the gun weight. (I've got a plan; let's boycott all firearms with trigger pulls exceeding four pounds! -Editor) In any case, it is a good time to be a gunsmith and sending off triggers to Bob at Precision Sports in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is now standard practice for any autoloader I plan on keeping.
The ventilated rib of the CZ 912 is 8mm in width, a bit wider than the 6mm field ribs that are becoming common. The single bead is a green fiber-optic that I generally liked. The black, ventilated recoil pad is reminiscent of the Franchi I-12 / Browning Cynergy style of pad. While not easily replaceable due to its odd geometry, we liked it and appreciated the hard plastic snag-free heel insert. There are no adjustment shims included with the 912; fine by me, as none were needed.
I'll call the barrel a “satin” finish. Not hot-salt bluing, it is black chrome that looks better than many matte finishes that are more unpolished metal than anything else. The receiver is shiny black anodized alloy, reminding me of several vintage 300 series Berettas.
The gas action of the CZ 912 is straightforward. Residue builds up primarily on the magazine tube and gas piston. It is easy to clean away between shooting sessions. The little button at the end of the magazine tube is the three shot plug and is effortless to remove and replace.
At the range, the CZ 912 functioned flawlessly with no failures to feed or eject a wide variety of target loads. Like most gas actions, you need to clean them after use. Though so many gas actions are touted as self-cleaning, none of them are. I've spent years cleaning a variety of self cleaning actions. Anyway, basic cleaning is easy: a little attention to the magazine tube and gas piston between range sessions is all you need. The bolt stayed essentially residue free, so while you might consider a more thorough cleaning after repeated use, regular cleaning takes just a minute or two.
There isn't much to carp about. The CZ912 is a competent gas gun, far better looking than many with attractive walnut and functional checkering. The trigger is the sole area in need of immediate attention.
Weighing seven and a quarter pounds, the CZ 912 falls right into the middle of a good general weight, fine for the dove field, skeet field and not so over weight that you'd mind carrying it on the occasional pheasant hunt. It swings well and is easy with which to hit. There is a CZ-USA one year warranty on wood and finishes and a five year warranty on everything else. We have found CZ-USA to be more responsive in the customer service department than several companies.
In the “gun for the money” department, I can't fault the CZ912. If it fits you, it is largely just a matter of a trigger job and then go out and have some fun. The thousand dollars you didn't spend on some other autoloader will fund a lot of fun for you.
Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.