Gas-Less Magic: The CZ 1012 Brings Affordable Inertia to Semi Auto Hunting Guns

03/31/20 5:00 AM | by

CZ 1012 with shells

(Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

What if hunters could have a semi-automatic shotgun capable of running 5,000 rounds “without a drop of oil or cleaning of any sort” and no breakages or malfunctions? That almost sounds too good to be true, but then again, perhaps you haven’t pulled the trigger on CZ’s new 1012. Are those manufacturer’s claims all talk or will the 1012 be the most reasonably priced, gas-less repeater on the market today?

Guns.com gets some field time with the new 1012 All-Terrain model.

What About this Gas-Less Design?

CZ 1012

The CZ 1012 brings a gas-less semi-auto shotgun design to CZ fans. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The CZ 1012 line of gas-less semi-automatic shotguns is not only new to the company but fairly new to the market at such a reasonable price point, with MSRP on our test CZ 1012 All-Weather set at only $690.

Rather than cycling the action using dirty gases, CZ uses a spring within the bolt assembly to harness energy during the shotgun’s recoil motion, and then essentially re-uses this energy a split second later to both rotate and unlock the twin lugs from the barrel extension. This withdraws the spent shell and feeds the next round.

While the majority of semi-automatic shotguns are cycled with the gases generated through the gas system, the 1012 takes a page brought to popularity by Benelli and their Inertia Drive. Inertia scatterguns have been around for years, but that technology generally comes at a much higher cost.

While gas-driven guns are incredibly popular–and we’ve relied on them for much hardcore, foul-weather hunting over the years–the case for inertia operating systems is primarily driven by the less rigorous maintenance requirements. Let’s face it—gas guns get dirty and need to be cleaned more often. CZ claims the 1012 requires less maintenance. “During our testing, we pushed 1012s to 5,000 rounds without a drop of oil or cleaning of any sort, while experiencing zero parts breakage or malfunctions. In normal field use, the occasional cleaning and oiling should be more than enough,” CZ said in a statement.

Deets on the 1012

1012 receiver

The gun looks and ships like a higher-dollar hunting rig. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The CZ 1012 is a 12-gauge shotgun, each with a 3-inch chamber and 28-inch barrel. It comes with a host of finishes and stock options to include Black, Bronze, Grey, and Green finishes, with a full camo option available as well.

Our test model was the brand new All-Terrain series of shotguns, which includes not only the 1012 but also O/U and SxS styles, each done in OD Green Cerakote with quality wood furniture. While the 1012 does not have it, the other All Terrains have a set of rare earth magnets in the extractor/ejectors.

The 1012 ships with a full pack of shims for custom-fitting the buttstock for point of impact and is topped with a quality rubber buttpad. Our test gun came with a nice Turkish Walnut that is well checkered for adequate grip in either hunting or sport shooting — several polymer stock options are also available for those who prefer synthetic over wood. There’s a standard crossbolt safety at the front of the trigger guard. The guard itself is roomy even for gloved fingers with oversized controls easy to actuate in the field.

1012 trigger guard

The 1012 offers a standard crossbolt safety at the front of the trigger guard(Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The gun looks and ships like a higher-dollar hunting rig, shipping in a custom fit hard-sided case with the embossed CZ logo, alongside halved duo components in velour/crushed velvet sleeves. It also comes with a full set of five extended choke tubes in Full, Mod, Improved Mod, Improved Cylinder and Cylinder in their own wallet-sized hard case.

MSRP is $659 for standard finishes and $749 for full camo coverage – a reasonable price for an inertia driven semi-auto.

Magnum or Not?

1012 with choke tubes

The 1012 comes with Full, Mod, Improved Mod, Improved Cylinder, and Cylinder choke tubes in their own wallet-sized hard case. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Like most semi-autos on the market today, the 1012 is tuned to run everything from light target loads up to the heaviest 3-inch magnums without adjustment. That’s correct though–no 3.5-inchers for the 1012. The gun chambers 2-3/4-inch and 3-inch shells.

Though much will be made of the lack of a 3.5-inch option, astute shooters and hunters will recognize the rise of the specialty shots—think TSS and other dense alloys—in 3-inch, with several major manufacturers moving the emphasis away from magnum length shells. For instance, the recently introduced Savage Renegauge also forges a 3.5-inch magnum chambering.

With 3-inch shells, the 1012 has a capacity of 4+1 rounds.

In the Field with the 1012

1012 barrel

The test gun’s 28-inch barrel is covered in OD Green Cerakote, to match the receiver’s metalwork. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The 1012 is a hunting gun, first and foremost, but also pulls double duty on clay busting. Our test gun’s 28-inch barrel is covered in OD Green Cerakote, to match the receiver’s metalwork, and is topped with an 8mm flat vent rib.

The scattergun weighs in at 6.5-pounds empty, which makes it quite light, though well-balanced and soft shooting. We ran everything from the lightest 2-3/4-inch target loads to the heaviest 3-inch Federal Black Cloud TSS and Winchester Snow Goose loads, and the 1012 proved a shell-eating monster.

The checkering on our Turkish Walnut stock set is quite nice. The wood, itself, is nothing to write home about, but at that price point, it’s better than expected. In the end, it’s good to see hardwood options on today’s firearms. The LOP is a pretty standard 14.5-inches. The gun comes up nicely, points well and swings like a dream.

The included five extra-length extended chokes are fantastic—some of the finest we’ve seen included with a shotgun in a while, in fact. They’re extended, knurled and clearly marked with both the constriction and numerical value. Most importantly, the gun patterns well on the board, which translates to more busted clays and birding bag limits in the field.

A Guinness Record Shotgun

CZ 1012 with shells

The CZ 1012 is an ideal meeting of performance and price. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

If you’re still thinking the system may be too good to be true, especially for the price, the proof is in the pudding—or in this case—in the Guinness Book of World Records. For reference, the new 1012 action was the one used by competitive shooter David Miller and his hand-selection team of four youngsters to break the Guinness world record.

Together, they fired 20,425 Aguila shotguns shells through nine guns over 12 hours. They smashed the previous record by busting 14,167 clays, with one shooter using the same shotgun for the span of the event. The others only switched once.

In short, the CZ 1012 is the ideal meeting of performance and price.

GRAB THE CZ 1012

Latest Reviews

  • Gun Review: Diamondback DB15 Pistol After 500 Rounds & Some Gel

    Gun Review: Diamondback DB15 Pistol After 500 Rounds & Some Gel

    We have been kicking around a Diamondback DB15 AR-pattern pistol for the past several weeks and have a report from...

    Read Now
  • The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Inexpensive Carbine

    Review: The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Affordable Carbine

    If you're looking to pick up a pistol-caliber carbine, the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 has been a handy, reliable and affordable option since...

    Read Now
  • Henry Side Gate

    Why We're Excited About Henry's .45-70 and .410 Side Gates

    We’re digging the .45-70 Side Gate, but the .410 shotgun is slick too with both built on the same frame....

    Read Now
  • Pint-Sized Parabellum: A Look at the New FN 503 9mm Pistol

    Pint-Sized Parabellum: A Look at the New FN 503 9mm Pistol

    Offering concealability and reliability, the new FN 503 shares the lineage of their full-sized pistol line but comes in a...

    Read Now