» » Masterpiece Arms BA CZ 455 Chassis Review

Masterpiece Arms BA CZ 455 Chassis Review

posted in: Featured, Firearms, Gear, Review, Shooting 1

After I acquired my CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool Suppressor-Ready rifle in late-2017, I looked into acquiring the Masterpiece Arms BA chassis for it to have a rimfire rifle in a similar form-factor as my 6mm Creedmoor rifle. My American Rifle Company Mausingfield 6mm Creedmoor build sits in a Masterpiece Arms BA Competition chassis.

ARC Mausingfield 6mm Creedmoor build in a MPA BA Competition Chassis

I found the MPA BA Competition chassis to be a great platform and thus wanted a similar chassis system for my CZ 455. When I started looking into the MPA CZ chassis at the turn of 2017/2018, I noticed a few differences between the two. The MPA CZ 455 chassis is based on the BA (Ultra) Lite system which does not utilize the NV bridge as seen on the BA Comp, nor does the BA Lite have the thumbwheel adjustable cheek riser. Notably for me, the MPA CZ 455 chassis did not have the Arca-Swiss dovetail on the forend to accept Arca style clamps.

I did ask MPA about their CZ 455 chassis at SHOT Show 2018 and if they would be able to put an Arca-Swiss dovetail on it. The response was that they needed to redesign it to have the correct width for the dovetail. MPA indicated it could be sometime in 2018 when they would revise their CZ chassis. So I waited several months and never saw any changes to the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis product page. October 2018 rolled around and I decided to go ahead and order an MPA BA CZ 455 chassis even without the Arca-Swiss dovetail since Area 419 has an add-on Arca rail that fits the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis perfectly.

A long time passed and I was wondering what was going on. Then 20 weeks from the day I ordered I finally got the call from MPA to make payment to close out the invoice. It was a long time to wait, but when I spoke with MPA at SHOT Show 2019 they did indicate that their lead times on chassis orders is one issue they are trying to address.

Anyway, 21 weeks after placing the order the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis in flat dark earth arrived.

When I opened the box and inspected the chassis, two things immediately caught my eye. First off, the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis came with the MPA Enhanced Vertical Grip. This is in contrary to the product page which indicates the chassis comes with a standard AR-15 A2 grip.

The second and more surprising discovery is that the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis was milled with an Arca-Swiss dovetail.

I was so surprised to see the milled forend that I thought MPA sent me the wrong chassis. But it in fact is the BA CZ 455 chassis.

MPA BA CZ 455 chassis magazine well view

So as I mentioned earlier, the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis that I received came with the MPA Enhanced Vertical Grip and I am glad it did. The MPA EVG has great ergonomics.

The MPA BA CZ 455 chassis did not come with a bag rider, but I have the standard MPA bag rider from my BA Comp chassis that was removed when I installed the MPA Enhanced Bag Rider on it.

The MPA CZ 455 chassis is similar to the BA (Ultra) Lite chassis in that it supports the RAT (Rapid Adjustment Technology) system.

So you can start attaching various MPA accessories such as their barricade stop or Picatinny rail adapters.

MPA is continuously making improvements and since I bought my BA Comp chassis a couple years ago MPA has redesigned their bubble level system.

The BA CZ 455 chassis I received has the latest level system.

MPA chassis level system with inclinometer

Before I swapped out the black-painted laminate stock with the MPA BA CZ 455, I did weigh the rifle and it came out to 10.0lbs (with the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen 2 5-25x50mm MRAD, ARC rings, and Area 419 scope rail).

Photo of CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool Supressor-Ready just before chassis install.

After the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis was installed, the weight only went up to 10.4 lbs (0.4 lb increase)

10.4 lbs does sound like a lot for a rimfire rifle, but this does include the optics setup and the Viper PST Gen 2 5-25x50mm scope itself weighs 31.2 ounces (1.95 lbs) and the chassis itself is 2.7 lbs.

I will say that the 16.5″ barreled CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool handles very nicely in the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis. it feels well balanced and has a sense of maneuverability because the barrel is so short (compared to a 24″ centerfire rifle).

As mentioned earlier, the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis does not come with a bag rider, so I installed the standard MPA Bag Rider which is basically what came with my BA Competition chassis.

I would like a longer bag rider like the MPA Enhanced Bag Rider on my Mausingfield build, but given the size of this rifle and the fact that it is a 22LR, I feel like the standard bag rider will be fine.

I also installed the MPA spigot mount just to have more room to use my Magnetospeed on the Wiser Precision mount or for a place to mount the bipod if I want more stability (placing bipod farther down the rifle helps with stability).

For those that do not know the CZ 455, the magazine release is forward of the magazine and is a small tab release. The chassis inlet for the magazine well is milled to provide access to the magazine release.

Front view of magazine well with 5-round magazine inserted.

A 5-round magazine basically disappears into the chassis when inserted and you cannot tell from a side view glance that there is a magazine in the rifle.

You have to place your finger forward of the chassis magazine well inlet to get your finger on the magazine floor plate, which is where your finger will be when you actuate the magazine release anyway.

The 10-round magazine partially protrudes from the bottom of the chassis.

Side view with CZ 10-round magazine

With all that said, how does it shoot?

Sadly, it was not able to get to the range right after I received the chassis. The recent rainy weather in Southern California caused the creek that I have to cross to get to my primary shooting facility (West End Gun Club) to become very active. Basically, the creek became unsafe to cross due to fast deep water flow and all the large rocks. While I have a Jeep with both rear and front lockers, I was not comfortable trying to cross without backup (second vehicle to pull me out) if I got high centered.

Desperate to get some trigger time on the CZ 455 with the new chassis, I ended up going to the Lytle Creek Firing Line which is the public shooting range down the street from the WEGC.

Unfortunately, it was a very cold and windy day and I had a cold myself, so it was a morning of miserable shooting. The rifle functioned fine but testing accuracy and action torque screw value did not happen because the groups were being affected by conditions (even at 25 yards) due to target movement.

But my initial impressions of the chassis are highly favorable.

The rifle feels very similar to my full size centerfire MPA BA Comp Chassis. Of course, the shorter bolt throw is much different, but the ergonomics are very similar. The CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool Suppressor-Ready 16.5″ barreled action still feels very balanced and maneuverable in the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis.

Inserting the magazine feels much smoother and more intuitive than with the original factory black painted laminate stock. With that stock, inserting the magazine blind (without looking) sometimes had me placing my hand too far rearward than where the magazine well was. With the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis, the sloped point on the chassis on the aft of the forend serves as the perfect index point for magazine swap and insertion, thus making blind magazine changes less error prone.

If you have a CZ 455 rifle and want to convert it to a chassis system for a shooting experience similar to your centerfire rifle system(s), I highly recommend the Masterpiece Arms BA CZ 455 chassis. Short of going with a Vudoo Gun Works V-22 action, the MPA BA CZ chassis is about as close as you can get to simulating centerfire with a rimfire rifle.

This chassis made perfect sense for me considering I already have an MPA chassis for a centerfire platform and I already have a CZ 455. If you want a rimfire trainer/practice gun, but do not own an MPA chassis for any of your rifles, then you could probably pass on a chassis system and just go with a traditional stock (e.g. off-the-shelf CZ 455 Tacticool or even the CZ 455 Precision Trainer with the Manners Stock). Ruger Precision Rifle owners could opt for the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle. Or you could simply go all in and get a Vudoo V-22 and build using all Remington 700 pattern action parts.

Anyway, I am very happy with the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis and the long 20+ week wait was tempered by the fact that it now comes with the Arca-Swiss dovetail machined into the forend.

Days before this review was published, MPA updated the product page for the MPA BA CZ 455 chassis to reflect that the BA CZ 455 chassis now includes the Enhanced Vertical Grip and inclinometer. The product page does not make any reference to the milled Arca-Swiss dovetail on the forend, but the product pages for the other MPA chassis systems (e.g. BA Comp) also do not mention the dovetail. MPA now indicates the current BA CZ 455 chassis is modeled after the Hybrid chassis.

Unfortunately, the price has increased with the new revision. Current list price is $925 which is a jump up from the $650 from when I placed my order.

For reference, the current rifle configuration is as follows:

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  1. Thomas D Davis Jr
    |

    Jonathan,
    Your review covered exactly what I’ve been considering for my CZ 455 Tacticool. The rifle shoots so well “as is” that I can’t help but wonder what else is achievable with the right mods. I have only modified the trigger with the MCarbo spring though I suspect the YoDave kit can make it a bit lighter. The scope I have installed on my 455 is a Nikon Black FFP 3-18×44 which has a nice reticle but not as nice as the Vortex PST Gen2 5-25×50 which I also own and have installed on a Bergara HMR 6.5 Creedmore. Anyway, thanks for a great review and great photos of your rifle… truly inspiring. I agree that the 455 is a platform worthy of investment.
    Tom D. In AL

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