The CZ Hammer Classic – Dropping Hammers

As a shotgun nut, I have an appreciation for basically all types of shotguns. Do I think Winchester made a mistake in making a lever action shotgun instead of listening to Browning and making a slide action? Yep, but I still like the 1887 lever action shotgun. I have a particular fondness for side-by-side double-barrel shotguns. I’m not sure where the appeal comes from, but the style, design, and the throwback to the American West. CZ is known for great rifles, awesome handguns, and now the CZ Hammer Classic. 

Although, to be fair, these double-barrel shotguns are built in Turkey. I’m typically cautious with Turkish shotguns, but if a major, reputable company imports them, I’m willing to give them a try. The CZ Hammer classic fills this particular niche of shotguns that’s largely underserved. There are quite a few side-by-side coach guns out there, but long-barreled, side-by-side double-barrel shotguns with rabbit ear hammers aren’t quite common. 

When these guns are produced, they tend to be extremely expensive, but with CZ having these guns made in Turkey, the price drops significantly. For less than a grand, you can have a true classic in your hands. 

The CZ Hammer Classic – The Niche Shotgun 

The Hammer Classic mixes 30-inch barrels and a dual hammer design with 12 gauge power. This was the type of gun that largely dominated the cartridge shotgun era from the mid-1800s. These hammer-fired side-by-side shotguns remained popular enough to stay in service well into the era of boxlocks and even pump action shotguns. 

The Hammer Classic has two fully functional hammers, with each hammer paired with a trigger. It’s possible to cock both and fire both if you have the gall or a light enough loaded cartridge. A tang safety provides you with a manual option for ensuring the hammer’s lock to the rear. A tang-mounted barrel latch is also present. 

The wood furniture on the gun is quite nice. Nicer than it has any real right to be. It’s medium dark and finely textured. Overall, it’s impressive, especially for a fairly budget-minded shotgun. The finish is a classic hardened look, and it extends to the receiver, the barrels, and even the butt pad. Oh, and there is no rubber, just a metal butt pad, as if the gun was made when Cleveland was still president. 

Overall, the gun looks amazing. It’s a fairly niche gun. What’s the purpose of a hammer-fired shotgun these days? It’s a bit slow for skeet unless you run both hammers to the rear as you shoot. It could be used for hunting, but there are admittedly better options. What’s the purpose? For me, it’s to fill that niche of because I want it. I want it, and I want a rabbit-eared shotgun with long barrels and a fine finish. I might not be the king of England with a Parker, but I can feel like one. 

Give ‘Em Both Barrels 

The CZ Hammer Classic needs a break-in. Not in terms of reliability but in terms of the action opening, the safety sliding, and the general movements. The gun must have some healthy tolerances. The barrel release is stiff and needs a good press, the barrel opening is stiff and needs to be pulled, and the safety takes a dedicated press. It’s all stiff at first. 

After a few uses, it loosens up rather well. You can just walk the gun through the dry fire practice, and it will loosen up pretty quickly. A little range time loosens it up nicely. At the range, the CZ Hammer Classic performs like an old car. It’s not as efficient or as fancy, but there is a charm and quality to it. 

Pulling back the hammers feels amazing, and they have an overly satisfying click when pulled to the rear. The triggers are ultra-light and respond to a slight bit of pressure, and the hammers drop, the weapon fires, and you’re ready to do it again. The controls are all easy to reach with one thumb, and it’s super easy to reach and access. 

The Punch

The gun recoils with a stiff push to the shoulder, and it has no give. The lack of a recoil pad is felt as the steel gives you that punch. Reduced recoil rounds or a slip-on recoil pad make it comfier if you plan to be a high-volume shooter. The CZ Hammer Classic isn’t necessarily a soft shooter, and for the first dozen rounds, it’s not bad, but you’ll feel it, and fatigue will set in quicker than with more modern guns. 

The patterns proved to be adequate and fairly tight. A basic load of Winchester buckshot was patterned at about 8 inches at 15 yards. Slugs were surprisingly accurate, and at 25 yards, I was keeping them in a tight touching group. The only sight is a big white bead that sits at the end of the barrels. The long 30-inch barrels certainly give you a long enough sight radius. 

The gun always went bang. Every round fired and ejected without an issue. Some of the testing involved mini shells, which resulted in a very nice recoil experience. The mini slugs, in particular, were adorably fun to shoot. 

The Hammer Fired 

The CZ Hammer Classic was a ton of fun to shoot and, honestly, a beautiful gun. It’s a pure-range gun for me, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s a throwback to an older era of shotguns that may have aged out of usefulness but haven’t aged out of coolness. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.