Zephyr II in .22 LR Performance - RimfireCentral.com Forums

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Old 04-04-2021, 09:16 AM
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Zephyr II in .22 LR Performance



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I reside in the suburbs but spend a significant amount of free time roaming my brother's farm in VA and my ex-in-law's land in WV because it's a nice break from the daily urban grind. Most of the time my youngest son and I fish the farm ponds for largemouth bass and crappie but, every now and then, Granny will task us with pest control duty and that's when I often found myself wishing for something a little better than my ex-FIL's 40 year-old bolt action Glenfield .22 with open sights. Don't get me wrong, though, there's nothing wrong with that old rifle. I just wasn't all that confident making shots at 50+ yards using irons-only so I finally went shopping for a nicer 22LR rifle back in December of last year.



My first priority was portability. I wanted something that would be light and easy to carry on a sling, yet, accurate enough to engage targets up to 100 yards or so. There were plenty of good choices that cost a helluva lot less $ but, the Steyr Zephyr II had the most appeal. The European Walnut stock knocked my socks off. It had the trademark Steyr butter knife bolt handle and swirly hammer marks on the barrel. OK, so the fish scale checkering was different (but practical) and the trigger guard was kinda fugly and the gray Mannox finish wasn't a beautiful polished bright blue but, no rifle is perfect in every way. Honestly, the oddball factor was a big part of its appeal. If Steyr was willing to back it up with a sub-MOA-or-we-buy-it-back guarantee in writing, I was willing to take a chance.



Selecting a scope is always the most difficult part for me but, clearly, purpose would dictate the decision. The Zephyr II is a hunting rifle, not a target rifle. 90% of the time I'll shoot it either standing offhand or from a fixed position using some type of improvised rest. The closest it'll ever get to being a target rifle is when I shoot it off sandbags to test a new brand of .22LR ammo but that's about it.


Leupold VX3i 4.5-14x40 (30mm Wind Plex)



I went with a Leupold VX3i 4.5-14x40 because it offered the best combination of price, size and weight. It also had a decent range of magnification and good low light performance. Talley rings kept the look simple and straightforward. It took about 20 rounds of Wolf Match Extra to get a decent 50 yard zero but, it was so windy and cold that I pulled the plug much sooner than I wanted and waited for better shooting conditions.



We had some unseasonably warm weather a week later that provided the opportunity to sight-in and test a few different types of ammo at 50 yards. I didn't have a lot of ammo to waste so I limited the seasoning shots to 10 before shooting three consecutive 5 shot groups at each 1" target. Under normal, pre-pandemic ammo insanity prices, I'd shoot 20-25 shots before attempting groups.


Wolf Match Extra. I adjusted .25 MOA up and right after the first 10.


SK Standard Plus


Eley Team


Eley Club

Took about a 15 minute intermission to visit the facilities and when I returned, the wind had picked-up a bit. Started getting 10-15mph West-East gusts but decided to keep shooting anyway.


Norma USA Match 22


Eley Tenex

Among the several things I took away from the first 'real' range trip was that the Zephyr II lives-up-to Steyr's sub-MOA guarantee. I attribute all brain fart flyers on it being my first time out with a new rifle. There were several times when I caught myself pulling the trigger instead of squeezing it and the blame for that rests squarely on my shoulders, not the rifle's. I'm used to a single stage trigger. The Zephyr II's is more of a two-stage, with about 1/8th of an inch take-up right before a crisp 2-2.5lbs break. It is really nice but, different.



Overall, I'm going to give it a thumbs-up for its intended purpose. Steyr did a good job of distributing weight and with a Leupold scope and Talley rings it doesn't seem overly front or back-heavy. I'm sure that the more I get out and shoot the Zephyr II, the better its going to get.

Last edited by Patriot_MD; 04-04-2021 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 04-04-2021, 10:04 AM
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Good write up, nice looking rifle...
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Old 04-04-2021, 02:07 PM
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Nice looking rifle and scope set up. I could get to like that rifle with some ammo testing and a little time shows promise.
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Old 04-05-2021, 04:35 AM
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Good write up, nice looking rifle...


Thank you. It's proving to be a great shooter, too.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:02 AM
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Finally got to hold one about two weeks ago, if it had been a .22lr or .17hmr I likely would have bought it but I'd bought a CZ 457 Lux in .22wmr just a few days before.



A twin to yours would have come home with me.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:20 AM
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Finally got to hold one about two weeks ago, if it had been a .22lr or .17hmr I likely would have bought it but I'd bought a CZ 457 Lux in .22wmr just a few days before.

A twin to yours would have come home with me.
Good Lord that 457 Lux is nice-looking! Congrats!
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:59 PM
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Beautiful Rifle! looks like a good shooter! I just purchased a Zephyr 2 about a week and half ago.. Love it so far. Shoots sk rifle match and flatnose match pretty good.. have some sk high velocity match , sk longrange match and rws high velocity to try in it this week hopefully What ammo was used for ur test target that came with your rifle? Mine was shot with RWS HIGH VELOCITY. hope to shoot later this week. will try to do a write up similar to urs!

Last edited by boone; 04-06-2021 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:01 PM
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Patriot_MD - Great write-up . . .

Your reasons for acquiring the Zepher II were very similar to mine and I have more than my share of 45x CZ's. I thought the Steyr design was very refreshing and your target results are very similar to what I experienced as well using SK Rifle & Pistol Match ammo. If I recall correctly I also did some initial bench work with CCI Mini-Mags and they performed very well, however, I must admit I have not had that one out on a hunting trip as yet. That's decent wood on the one you bought.

I will say the trigger on the Zephr II's feels like a 2 Stage compared to how I have all my CZ's setup . . . so it takes just a bit of initial concentration when I take the Zephyr's out. Some day I "may" do some work on the triggers, but for now, they remain as they came from the factory.

Great rifles - enjoy yours . . .
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Old 04-06-2021, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boone View Post
Beautiful Rifle! looks like a good shooter! I just purchased a Zephyr 2 about a week and half ago.. Love it so far. Shoots sk rifle match and flatnose match pretty good.. have some sk high velocity match , sk longrange match and rws high velocity to try in it this week hopefully What ammo was used for ur test target that came with your rifle? Mine was shot with RWS HIGH VELOCITY. hope to shoot later this week. will try to do a write up similar to urs!
Thanks! Here's hoping for calmer wind and partly cloudy conditions tomorrow when I take it out again and try some other brands of ammo. The test target in mine was also shot with RWS. Looking forward to your write-up!

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Originally Posted by rjferber View Post
Patriot_MD - Great write-up . . .

Your reasons for acquiring the Zepher II were very similar to mine and I have more than my share of 45x CZ's. I thought the Steyr design was very refreshing and your target results are very similar to what I experienced as well using SK Rifle & Pistol Match ammo. If I recall correctly I also did some initial bench work with CCI Mini-Mags and they performed very well, however, I must admit I have not had that one out on a hunting trip as yet. That's decent wood on the one you bought.

I will say the trigger on the Zephr II's feels like a 2 Stage compared to how I have all my CZ's setup . . . so it takes just a bit of initial concentration when I take the Zephyr's out. Some day I "may" do some work on the triggers, but for now, they remain as they came from the factory.

Great rifles - enjoy yours . . .
Thanks!

I ran across the Zephyr II when I was shopping the Anschutz 1416, Bergara B14R and the Sako Quad Pro Hunter on a vendor's site. I had totally forgotten about it after the initial hoopla when it first went on sale in late 2018 but it popped-up unexpectedly and I liked it because it was designed to be a walking-around rifle. That's what I wanted. My Ruger American LRT and Sako Quad Varmint are awesome fixed position shooters but I wouldn't want tote either one of them around on a sling unless I absolutely had to. The Zephyr II, on the other hand is a peach. My set-up is < 7lbs. and the balance is superb.

I haven't added a CZ to my collection yet but have every intention to do so. The 457 LRP looks great and seems to be getting some very positive reviews. Dat 457 Lux, tho. Yikes. What a beauty. I also wouldn't pass-up the opportunity to purchase a nicer 452.

If the weather cooperates tomorrow I'm planning to test some Eley/Remington Club Extra. It should prove interesting to compare it to some standard Eley Club that I got from CMP last year. The Zephyr II seems to like both of those loads and I'd like to see which one it likes more.
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:36 PM
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...And Chicks Dig It



My wife has never taken any interest in my gun collection whatsoever but, unbeknownst to me, she's a secret Zephyr II admirer. I had no idea. This morning she asked if I was going to the range today and, if so, could she come. I nearly choked on my coffee when she asked.

I hadn't really planned on going to the range today but, I was so surprised by her request that I couldn't refuse. We've been married for 15 years and 10 months and today was a first, my friends. I asked, "What do you want to shoot?" She said, "Your new rifle with the pretty wood..." I grabbed the Zephyr II and a couple of boxes of Eley Tenex and off we went!



Considering that this was only the third time she had ever been on a gun range since we've been married, it was safety first. Eye protection, ear protection, range rules, etc. Then she learned about how a bolt action rifle worked, how to aim with a scope, how to breathe, how to squeeze a trigger and when it was all over...she still chickened-out. LOL But that's OK. Today was epic, I'm tellin ya! It's only a matter of time before she pulls the trigger and starts calling the Zephyr II 'her' rifle and I'm totally cool with that.
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Old 04-10-2021, 06:35 PM
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It's a good start....
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Old 04-11-2021, 08:05 AM
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It's a good start....
It's major progress. She's a city girl without any firearms experience and the last thing I want to do is pressure her. Being a Saturday, the range was busy and noisy and it freaked her out a little. I think if I can get her to go back on a weekday when we have the whole place to ourselves, she'll pull the trigger.
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