REVIEW: CZ-USA’s Upland Ultralight All-Terrain

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The “git ‘r done with one” shotgun

by Larry Case

“Hey, boy…hand me that scattergun,” he said in a low growl. I carefully handed him the double-barrel, a Fox Sterlingworth that I greatly coveted. We were hiding in his old corncrib and he slid the barrels out the hole in the wall he had selected. Four crows had just landed in the end of his garden where the sweet corn was planted, I heard the snick of the safety and knew they were about to have a bad day.

I watched for a few minutes as he waited for them to cluster together. This guy did not believe in wasting shells. Three of the crows mostly stayed together while one wandered off a little. At the shot, those three stayed. The lone crow left for parts unknown and I doubt if he ever came back.

My gruff mountaineer mentor eased out of his seat and opened the door to the corncrib. His work for the morning was done. Crows had been ravaging his corn, he took care of the problem and that was that. He used a tool for the job, in this case, a shotgun, just like he would use a shovel or a hammer for different jobs on the farm. The old double-barrel was the same gun he used for rabbits, ducks, squirrels, or anything else he hunted with a shotgun.

Things were a lot simpler back then.

Time was when most hunters used one shotgun for about everything. Like my long-gone friend on the mountain, one gun did the job from ducks to squirrels to grouse, and usually with one choke. Now don’t get me wrong, I like shotguns and I have several, but there is something to be said for the simplicity of one gun that does it all.

The CZ-USA Upland Ultralight All-Terrain

It has been several years ago since I went to my first NRA Convention in the capacity of a gun writer. I stopped by the CZ-USA booth and was handed an Upland Ultralight model in 12-gauge. It was love at first heft. This is a 12-gauge shotgun that weighs six pounds. The 20-gauge is less than 5 ½. Many times since then, I have said, “you carry a shotgun a lot more than you shoot it.” And to me, for a hunting shotgun, the lighter the better.

The Upland Ultralight has been a lightweight, fast handling shotgun since its inception, but when CZ-USA came up with the All-Terrain line, they just made a good thing better.

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Daniel Holder, the Special Project and Event Coordinator at CZ-USA, gave me his take on the Upland Ultralight.

“I refer to the Upland Ultralight as a ‘guide’s gun.’ What I mean by this is some upland guides will often carry a shotgun, especially if they want to get a little hunting in. That person is going to be carrying that gun a lot more than they will be shooting it. Having an over/under that is close to six pounds makes it a lot easier to carry in the field. Upland hunters, in general, are not going to shoot a lot but, boy, do we walk! I would rather carry a 6.5-pound gun two miles and deal with a little bit of recoil than do the same with an 8- or 9-pound gun. The All-Terrain Upland Ultra-light is the ultimate upland gun. It’s light, rugged, and almost impervious to the elements. How many times have you been walking a field and gotten caught in rain, snow, sleet, et cetera? With the Cerakote finish on that gun, I never worry about it getting wet. The magnets in the extractor are a big plus as well.”

The Four-Wheel Drive of Shotguns

First thing you will notice in the differences between the standard Upland Ultralight and the All-Terrain models is the barrels and receiver boast a Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a hard-coat ceramic and polymer finish. Developed in the 1980s, Cerakote protects against abrasions and is a virtually bombproof shield against corrosion.

So, let’s talk about one of my least favorite topics in the gun world, and that is cleaning them. If you love to clean guns, I truly envy you. I don’t, and whether this can be chalked up to just plain laziness or an inherent character flaw, I don’t know. Bottom line is hunting shotguns take more abuse than any other gun around. Does any shotgun get banged around and exposed to more water, mud, snow, and Labrador drool than one that belongs to an avid duck hunter? Turkey hunters can be rough on a shotgun, and grouse and other upland bird hunters drag their scatterguns through some places not fit for man or beast.

The point is, unless you immediately grab your shotgun and tear it apart for cleaning after a long day in the hinterlands, especially if it got wet, a protective coating like Cerakote can be heaven-sent.

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REVIEW: CZ-USA’s Upland Ultralight All-Terrain

A unique feature of this series of scatterguns is a small but revolutionary addition to the ejector/extractor of the break-open variants. To make them more ideal for use in a duck blind or while handling dogs and equipment in the field, each of the All-Terrain over/under and side-by-sides has a set of rare earth magnets installed in their extractor or ejectors. With these magnets in place, most modern shells are retained in the gun even when the gun is open and turned upside down. This makes loading them easy in a pit blind or a boat, and never will a dog-handler accidentally dump shells out of their gun while bending over to work with their dog.

Why hasn’t someone thought of this before? I don’t know, but CZ-USA Shotgun Product Manager Dave Miller did and believe you me, it is handy. Lots of over and under fans (and fans of side by sides) will routinely break down the shotgun and put it over the shoulder. It is a handy way to carry the gun during a break and it ensure safety as the gun cannot fire. The magnets holding the shells just makes it handier.

Rounding out the features on the All-Terrain models is factory-installed studs to install a sling. Probably all my shotguns that I carry afield now have slings on them. Once again, we carry the gun a lot more than we shoot it. The All-Terrain guns also feature extended choke tubes, making changing chokes in the field easier and it opens a world of aftermarket options that are out there.

I think of the All-Terrain line of shotguns from CZ-USA as the four-wheel drive of shotguns. Cerakote coating in the muted green tone makes these guns nearly impervious to the elements. (Great camo for ducks and turkeys, too). Add the sling studs to install a sling and carry it everywhere. The screw-in choke options will get you ready for most any type of shooting you may come across.

This shotgun will be equally comfortable in the duck blind, turkey woods, pheasant prairies, or grouse thickets. And you will not have to worry about babying it one bit.

More All-Terrain models

CZ-USA didn’t stop at making the Upland Ultralight a four-wheel drive shotgun. Maybe you would rather have a semi-auto? The CZ 1012 is an inertia-driven shotgun that was fired well over 5,000 times in testing with no cleaning or malfunctions. I saw this gun used last fall by Dave Miller and his team to set the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest number of clays broken by a five-man team in 12 hours. Miller and his crew of young shooters shot these guns almost continuously and broke 14,167 targets. One young man used the same 1012 the entire time — a few others used only two guns that day. Believe me, there were some hot barrels out there that day. So, you can have the inherent ruggedness of the 1012 semi-auto in the Cerakote finish and sling studs.

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CZ-USA also made the Redhead Premier, the Bobwhite G2 double-barrel, and the Drake model shotgun with the All-Terrain features. All these shotguns except for the 1012 are available in 12 and 20 gauge.

“The product development team at CZ-USA is comprised of hunters,” said Daniel Holder. “What I mean by this is that we not only design and build the products we put out, but we all use them, extensively. Whether it is hunting ducks at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee or chasing Easterns in the woods of the “black belt” region of Alabama, we use our products. Because of this experience, we make products that fit the lifestyle of hunters. We know that often the conditions are not favorable to metal guns. Out of the demands we put on our products, the All-Terrain series was born. We wanted to design the “Mack truck” of shotguns. Our goal was to create a product line that no matter what we encountered, the guns would function year in and year out. These guns are also remarkably diverse and can be used on a wide range of game. In the 2019/2020 hunting season, they took pheasants in South Dakota, quail in Texas, snow geese in Missouri, and a turkey in Alabama with one of the Redhead Premier All-Terrains in 20 gauge.”

You may never use your CZ-USA All-Terrain shotgun for as many different things as my old friend on that mountain farm, and then again, you might. Whatever you need a shotgun for, the All-Terrain models are there, like a four-wheel drive truck, sitting in your driveway gassed up and ready to go.

REVIEW: CZ-USA’s Upland Ultralight All-Terrain