Shooting the CZ 712 Semi-Auto at the Heart of a New Clays World Record

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On May 16, 2015 Dave Miller, Shotgun Product Manager for CZ-USA, established a new Guinness World Record for breaking the most clay targets in an hour by smashing 3,653. Mr. Miller’s shotgun of choice actually involved an armada of 30 12-gauge, CZ 712 semi-automatics equipped with 30-inch barrels and Nordic Components magazine extensions, which expanded shell capacity to 16 rounds instead of the standard five. Bottom line, the CZ 712 pounded out a shell every 1.2 seconds, resulting in the Guinness entry. (See Shotgun Life story here.)

We wondered, what it’s like to shoot an off-the-shelf version of the semi-auto behind a world record?

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A few of the CZ 712 shotguns used by Dave Miller to set the new Guinness World Record.

Well, based on our experience, the CZ 712 shoots just fine. And with a price tag of $499, it’s also within reach.

The CZ 712 dates back to the 2004 Shot Show, when it was introduced to Americans. Although CZ is based in the Czech Republic, the company assigns manufacturing to Huglu Hunting Firearms Cooperative in Turkey, which has been in business since 1962 and has qualified to the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. With some 450 employees, Huglu says it exports firearms to more than 50 countries

Over the years, the CZ 712 has benefitted from incremental refinements. Still, the 7.4-pound shotgun retains the original gas-operated action, 4+1 shell capacity, light-weight alloy receiver and chrome-lined, corrosion-resistant, matte-black barrels available in 24, 26, 28 and 30-inches depending on the model.

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The CZ 712 G2.

Through reconfigurations of forends and barrels, the CZ-712 has become a bedrock platform for the company when it comes to wing and clays shooting:

  • The 712 Target is built for the trap and other clays sports. It features a 30-inch barrel and a larger target style stock that absorbs recoil.

The CZ 712 Target model.

  • The 712 ALS is outfitted with the fully-adjustable ATI Akita stock. This nifty accessory allows users to change the length of pull with the push of a button. It also has three comb height positions with an easy screw adjustment. Available with 26 or 28 inch barrels that handle 2¾ and 3-inch shells, CZ-USA says the ALS is perfect for women and kids.

The stock on the CZ 712 ALS.

  • The CZ 712 Synthetic is your “truck gun” for the hunter who needs a rugged, weather-proof shotgun.
  • And finally the CZ 712 is the model we shot. It accepts 2¾ and 3-inch shells. CZ-USA describes it as an “all-arounder for upland game, waterfowl or clays.” The up-market G2 version adds new laser-engraved checkering, and a right-hand palm swell as well as a barrel lock-ring to make assembly easier.

Our CZ 712 arrived with a plain, field-grade, matte-black receiver highlighted by a bright bolt-release button, trigger and cross-bolt safety behind the trigger. The Turkish walnut and laser checkering is commensurate with the price point.


The receiver on the CZ 712.

Five flush chokes in popular constrictions were included, along with a wrench. The rib was flat and vented on the 28-inch barrel.

There had been early complaints that a rubber O ring would snap, but three years ago CZ changed the implementation from a floating O ring to one that’s embedded in a steel collar for much improved durability.

We shot Winchester 1⅛-ounce, 8-shot loads with a 3-dram equivalent at 1,200 feet per second purchased at Walmart. The objective was to evaluate recoil levels using the type of 2¾-inch heavy-hitters bought by many economy-minded wing and clays shooters.

After several hundred rounds of sporting clays, the CZ 712 proved to be a soft shooter. The action was slick and smooth with no hiccups in cycling or ejecting shells. The trigger felt authoritative and responsive with its short travel.

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The action on the CZ 712 semi-automatic in 12 gauge.

Given that the significant mechanicals are under the forend, the muzzle bias was evident. With that in mind, the biggest risk was see-sawing the shotgun from the pistol grip while executing a low-gun mount – potentially shooting under the targets. But we settled in nicely with the CZ 712. Fitted with an improved cylinder choke, we mastered the shotgun’s dynamics for fast crossers (both birds and rabbits) as well as report and true pairs.

In short, you would definitely take the CZ 712 on a pheasant or waterfowl hunt for reliability in any weather.

Our sense of the CZ 712 is that it’s a genuine workhorse – sort of like a classic Chevy C10 pick-up truck. For $499, our CZ 712 was a plain-and-simple, down-to-earth semi-auto that will consistently put meat on the table.

Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Useful resources:

The CZ-USA web site

Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein is Publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments to