A High Grade Production Over-and-Under without Breaking the Bank.
As you read this shotgun review, you’ll have to do your best to ignore the fact that I was outshot by my 10-year-old son this past weekend. I could attribute it to the fact that I am a much better clay pigeon thrower than he is — he sent one careening past my face so close that it tickled my beard — but it is more likely that he doesn’t try to shoot while rehearsing a minimum of fifteen “rules to improve shooting” like I do. I was certainly doing the opposite of the Churchill Method when I most assuredly hit less than 50 percent of my targets. The outing would have been abject humiliation had I not smoked him on the pistol range. Sure, I was shooting the same Walther P22 that he was, but it still counts . . . .
So, that confession out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about the gun I was shooting: the CZ Supreme Field in 20-gauge. I promise you that my poor shooting this weekend was nowhere near a reflection of this fantastic gun. As I ran around the thorn-infested hills of Southern Arizona with Pat Flanagan of Border to Border Outfitters earlier this year, I don’t think I saw him miss a single bird while carrying the very same gun. And I’ve been streaky with it. Some days it seems like I can’t miss. A.J. thinks that it might a little too light for me – with the 20-ga coming in at just under 7 pounds – and I’m glad to say, “That must be it.”
But, again, you’re not here to hear me rambling about my shooting inadequacies so let’s talk about the details of the Supreme Field. Let’s start with the price. At an MSRP of $1,784 it bears the title of “high-grade production gun.” It’s CZ’s solution for those who want some of the nicer features of bespoke guns without the price tag. Which means that while the polished nickel chrome receiver is one-piece CNCed, its engravings are hand cut. And, while some folks prefer the edge-to-edge engraving of a Fausti or Perrazi, I am drawn to the more minimalist styling of the Supreme Field.
It also comes with a very nice matte finish on its Grade III Turkish walnut stock that certainly draws some looks of admiration when you pull it out of your gun case. The gun originally comes in a hard plastic case with each piece wrapped in blue velvet because . . . well, blue velvet. I’m pretty sure Pat puts his back in the velvet and in the case every day. And I if I weren’t so lazy about the prospect of taking my gun apart and putting it back together every day, I probably would too.
The Supreme Field comes chambered in 12, 20, and 28. Before this season I had carried a 12-gauge O/U for the previous three seasons so I thought it’d be a fun switch to 20 with this gun. I will say that there is a noticeable difference in weight to the 12-gauge I had been carrying. And, excuses notwithstanding, it took some time to get used to. I did appreciate its lightness over the course of the season while carrying it for miles across a sea of sagebrush in Montana, up and down the hills of Arizona, and it certainly made me wish I’d had it last year for the punishing valleys of Hell’s Canyon.
Making the adjustment to the weight easier was the fact that it is balanced very well, which make for smooth swinging. One of the things that drives me crazy about some side-by-side shotguns is the tendency to have a minuscule fore-end, which is probably why I prefer over/under shotguns as they tend to have a more substantial chunk of wood up front. The fore-end of the Supreme Field has a solid ergonomic size and shape with a “just right” amount of checkering. Coupled with the matte finish, it gives you a real sense of security and control when you mount and swing. For me, the gun has the elusive “feel” that we’re always hunting for.
My one and only criticism, honestly, is the extended choke tubes. And that criticism is purely an aesthetic one and purely a personal preference. The convenience of being able to swap shotgun chokes without a tool is nice, but for an otherwise gorgeous gun, I just don’t like the way they look. And I feel generally very strongly about this. If flush choke tubes were Frank Sinatra, extended choke tubes would be Kid Rock. You’re welcome for that perfect analogy. I guess what I’m saying is give me flush choke tubes or give me death. Not really, but you get my point.
I’ve put many hundreds of rounds through this gun over the past year or so and it’s been a mechanical champ. Never misfiring, never failing to eject shells or anything of the sort. The action is still smooth and tight, exuding a level of confidence and quality that you can feel and hear. We’ve all had the experience of when you shut the car door of a BMW versus a Kia. No offense to Kia, but you can feel and hear the difference. And in this gem of an analogy, the CZ is the BMW.
The bottom line on the CZ-USA Supreme Field is that it’s a beautiful and solidly-built gun. And for a high-grade production alternative to bespoke guns, with the requisite price tag, I’d have a hard time recommending a better option.
Now, excuse me while I go spend some more time on the range, asking my son for pointers.
Chet Hervey is the Managing Partner of Business Affairs at Northwoods Collective. He lives in the chimney of northern Idaho with his wife, son, and their Braque du Bourbonnais. Chet spends his falls chasing pheasant and quail, his winters coaching youth hockey, his springs chasing turkey, and summers tenkara fly-fishing and/or boating on the Snake River.