Does anyone know a good source for the Izmash?
I'm in the same boat, just started biathlon this year, and am currently eyeballing a CZ 452.... it seems to meet all the specs except weight, and that shouldn't be too hard adjust.
I've used (borrowed) the Marlin version - while its clearly a couple steps below the Anschutz and similar... it was a still a fun rifle to shoot, the sights were acceptable, and if you can find one for a decent price I'd say go for it - just can't seem to find one. IMO, Andy's points above aren't invalid - it IS slower, the sights aren't as high-quality as the normal biathlon rifle's (though I wouldn't necessarily agree with "inferior" - I was able to knock down targets with them, no problem), and for a serious biathlete, it would probably be frustrating to use. But for an entry level biathlon rifle that would allow me to compete with me own equipment and I could take to the range and shoot along with my other 22s... I'd buy it if I could find it.
As expressed in my first paragraph, the biggest issue I've found is locating the rifles to buy.
Sorry I got long-winded, but that's my two cents.