I think most of us get the idea behind polymer. It’s cheaper to build frames from, lighter in weight than steel and can be just as durable as aluminum in certain applications. Polymer has several advantages that appeal to many today for those very reasons, and not just to gunmakers. Gun buyers also appreciate those same benefits, especially at the cash register. Polymer’s taken much of the gun world by storm during the past 30 years or so, and that wouldn’t have happened if the stuff didn’t work. But there’s one aspect of these “plastic” guns that’s not normally spoken of much in polite society—they tend to run a shade toward the ugly side. You can dye it to match green forest, black city asphalt or tan desert, you can mold it to any shape that meets a gun’s structural needs, and you can give it any surface texture you want, but basic polymer still stays…ugly. It doesn’t blue, it doesn’t plate, it doesn’t engrave, and it doesn’t shine. It just sits there, ugly. To be fair, pretty isn’t a necessary requirement for function, and it’s certainly not a determiner of quality, but for those of us who appreciate good looks along with great function, sometimes it’s nice when a new rimfire gun comes along that doesn’t get too carried away in the trend toward lowering production costs. It’s even nicer when a new gun comes out that combines modern polymer with old-fashioned construction and actually goes beyond merely functional in appearance.

CZ offers traditionally built, Czech-made bolt-action rifles at prices that are very reasonable, and that business plan’s carried over into the company’s rimfire lineup, where there’s enough actual steel and walnut to keep people like me quite happy. Having worked with CZ’s rifles before and finding that their quality is without question, the new CZ 512 caught my eye and a sample was arranged for testing.

Before I go any further, let me say that the trend toward plastic frames and plastic furniture is perfectly understandable. It keeps the price tag down and these weapons work just fine, so don’t take my commentary in the wrong way. When the 512 arrived, I was quite surprised. You’d hardly know it has a polymer frame if you didn’t already know it had a polymer frame…


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I think most of us get the idea behind polymer. It’s cheaper to build…