Externally, this is a beautiful little shotgun. The stock is straight grained walnut, finished in a matte oil finish which completely fills the grain pores. A better finish than what I have seen on guns costing two to three times as much. The checkering is very well executed, especially where it wraps around the knob on the Prince of Wales pistol grip. The diamonds are flat topped, but are uniformly so,both front and rear. The forend is a semi-beavertail, but sized to match the petite 28 gauge action and barrels, it feels much like a splinter forend on the average 12 gauge. Finished with a very well proportioned schnabel tip the wood on this gun strikes me as truly exceptional in size, shape, fit and finish. With all that going for it, I can live without the fancy figure.
The action shows blues and silvers from the case hardening, but seems to be lacking the brown shades commonly found in this process. The fit of wood to metal and metal to metal are both reasonably good, and again better than some much more expensive guns I've seen that seem to leave their stocks proud of the metal everywhere. So, fit, finish size and weight make this little gun a joy to handle and carry.
But, at some point you'll want to pull the trigger and that is where the gun starts to disappoint. It feels like the action was lubricated with cement. I don't know what the weight of pull was, but to my hand, it was extremely heavy, inconsistent and rough. I shot about 100 rounds before it began to develop a problem, where after firing the right barrel, there would be a slight click when the trigger was pulled for the left barrel, but not the click which one would hear if the hammer had fallen. I took the gun apart and found that all of the internals were rough as-cast parts. I was not about to start stoning everything in sight, but I did add a little lubrication. What a difference!
Now, after 500 rounds through the gun, the trigger surfaces seem to have worked in, giving a reasonable, consistent pull, fairly uniform between both barrels.
A couple of further points: CZ advertises hand engraving on the gun. While that may be true, it certainly is not worth bragging about. It is engraved, but the pattern is so simplistic that it could best be compared to a crayon drawing where you award full points for keeping the coloring inside the lines. It is cleanly and uniformly cut, but just uninteresting as far as engraving goes. But again, this is a $1000 gun, not $5000. Second point: the butt plate is perhaps the best design I have ever seen for a production gun. It is a two part plate with the under layer and the full thickness at the heel being a smooth hard plastic. The outer layer from the toe up to within an inch of the heel is a smooth rubber whose job is to keep the gun from slipping on the shoulder rather than recoil control. When the gun is stored upright in a cabinet, it rests on the hard plastic heel, but when placed on the shoulder it locates on the high-friction rubber portion.
And finally a note of WARNING: Don't go taking the gun apart unless you are willing to give up the manufacturer's warranty. I used to do this for a living and am entirely willing to order and pay for any parts and do my own work. And if you still insist on taking it apart, as I did, make sure you have screwdrivers that fit, which means you will probably have to grind your own. And when you take the screws out, label every one as to it's location. If you'll note on the assembled gun, every screw slot on the entire gun lines up along the axis of the barrels, and there's only one way that they go back that way, and that is to replace each screw in the hole it came from. Again this is a classy feature rarely found on today's guns and almost never on guns at this price range.
Well, that was quite a mouth-full. But the bottom line is - (drum roll please) if you're not comfortable opening the gun up, you probably ought to stay away from this one. If you feel up to working on it, and again, all I did was lubricate) then this could end up being a real joy for playing at the skeet range or for carrying through the field for upland game. I have a 12 gauge Citori and a couple of high grade 20 gauges, but it is this beautiful little CZ that will be with me and my dog through most of the fall hunting...