One of the greatest benefits of my career in selling firearms is ability to view, handle, operate, and critique a vast array of guns, many of which I would probably not have the opportunity if circumstances were different. This is one such example. CZ-USA is a relative new manufacturer of firearms but is making a huge impact on the shooting world. Their biggest achievement to date has come in the area of performance shotguns with the most famous being their flagship o/u, the Redhead.
I started carrying the Redhead in the shop year ago when it was just starting its debut. It had already received a fanfare of entry into the shooting world by Outdoorlife Magazine which called it one of the best deals on the market. Getting the Redhead in proved to be a challenge as the demand for them had far outpaced the production schedules. When we first tested the market for this firearm, I was in no way prepared for the response would recieve. Instead of the expect inquiries, I literally had 50-60 requests within the first few days with many of them ready to send money when my first order was received.
I immediately contacted my distributors and informed them I would buy every one they could filter to me. My first order was mailed to me a week later. I was more than intrigued at their arrival at how a shotgun, priced in the $700 range would have created such a stir. All I had to do was open the box. There are very few things which match the beauty of a well crafted firearm and these were no disappointment. Fine details were observed and added to make an overall effect which was nothing less than stunning.
The stainless receiver made for a beautiful accent piece at the center of the gun and was milled to such fine tolerances the action felt extremely tight when first assembled. The barrels were beautifully milled and the action components had been precisely jeweled, but the true beauty came from the wood. Beautifully grained and figured Turkish walnut finished with a luster made the gun look far more expensive than its asking price tag.
The gun would have easily looked at home on the rack with the Berettas and Brownings and showed a beauty the sometime plain Ruger Redlabel would envy. They would have looked at home, if they had stayed long enough. I couldn't keep them in store. As the guns came in, customers came and took them away. This gave me very little chance to evaluate their performance and to this day I have yet to have one linger around long enough for me to convince myself to buy it. The other downfall about owning a gunshop is the temptation to own one of everything, but understanding your survival depends on letting them go.
While I have longed to test one, the market is too good to keep one at this time, but I have received numberous reports and all have been from good to outstanding. Quite possibly the most tell-tale moment was when one of my dedicated trap shooters brought in his competition Perazzi for me to sell and went home with a Redhead which had just been delivered. He has literally put thousands of rounds through it and loves it. Even more telltale are number of people who are using these for field applications. Forgoing the idea of tromping through the weeds, brush, and weather and subjecting their $3,000 silver pigeon, or $2,000 Citori, or even their $1,400 Redlabel to the hardships of hunting, they are opting to utilize the CZ Redhead.
The beauty, 5 interchangeable choke tubes, and quick handling make it an ideal blend for upland bird hunting with out the cost of higher end guns. There will always be a demand for the high end shotguns, but the CZ Redhead has challenged the notion you need to spend large amounts of dollars to own a quality over/under shotgun.
Kelsey Hilderbrand is a life long hunter, shooter, and is the founder of High Mountain Hunting Supplies