in my opinion cheapened the line up a bit and are trying to sell the changes as " features "
That's the way I understand it as well. Supposedly they shoot just as good.
This thread shows some of the details:
I'll add that the 455 Lux doesn't have the nice ladder sights of the 452.
As far differentiating the 452 models
452 Lux - Iron sights, walnut stock
452 Ultra Lux - Irons, walnut, 4" longer barrel
452 Special Military Trainer - Same as Lux but Beechwood stock (not as nice as walnut but no one has ever called mine ugly)
All the above have a "hog's back" stock which lines up nicely with irons but some people find harder to scope. There is also a Mannlicher "Full Stock" model.
The 452 American and Varmint have straight comb walnut stocks and no iron sights. Varmint has a heavier barrel.
If the model says 453 it has a single set trigger.