Review: CZ-USA 912 Twelve Gauge Autoloader
The great appeal of the CZ 912 is the cost of entry. With a MSRP of $509 and a street price of around $465, it is a lot easier to swallow than many autoloaders on the market that have soared to $1200 – $1400 price points and even more. 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 out there.
The first thing we noticed out of the box was the walnut. Hanging off of our Lyman electronic trigger gauge, the gun came in right at 7-1/4 lbs., a bit lighter than the published weight. The 912 has a horribly heavy trigger, breaking at 8-3/4 pounds or so that we felt was unacceptable for any shotgun. So, we called the folks at CZ to get their stance on the trigger weight. The answer was that their spec is 7 lbs., give or take a quarter pound either way. In this case, yes, they would be happy to touch up the trigger but only to their 7 lb. specification. Still, way too heavy as far as we are concerned so if you want a decent 4-1/2 lb. trigger, it is gunsmith time. As the trigger is a 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 lbs., and a recent sampling of Remington Versa-Max models (all roughly 8 lb. guns) all had trigger breaks exceeding the gun weight. While I’ve lamented ridiculous trigger pulls for years from many manufacturers, including Browning, now it seems that Browning is far better than typical.
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 we generally liked. The 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.