Gun test: the brand new CZ 600 centrefire range

Rifle tester shooting the CZ 600 rifle

Tool free cheekpiece adjustment and spacious underside to the butt stock/hook is appreciably beneficial - Credit: HENRY M.LINDER

Chris Parkin is only too keen to get his hands on an impressive new range of centrefires from CZ all based on a brand new action concept.

Rifle tester shooting the CZ 600 rifle

Of the three hunting options, the Ergo would be my choice - Credit: HENRY M.LINDER

CZ’s centrefires have always been slightly in the shadows of the rimfire range, but that is set to change with an entirely new rifle lineup based on a whole new action concept with multiple patents and variants to take on the modern market. Gone are controlled feed Mauser type actions, there are now three truly scaled semi-controlled feed actions with interchangeable barrels and appropriate stock options for a variety of users.

All share three- or six-lug bolt lift geometry (60° lift) for fast action operation and no longer suffer the issue of bolt handles bumping scopes as the 550 and 557 were liable to. Barrels are all cold hammer forged, screwcut for moderators and have accuracy guarantees. The steel actions offer Rem 700 scope mount compatibility, and aluminium actions show integral Picatinny bases spanning the ejection port. 

The mags are all twin columns, so can be loaded in or out of the rifle, which is a huge benefit for hunters wanting to top-up single rounds. All actions are guaranteed for 20,000 rounds and barrels carry 2,500-5,000 round assurances. They are unusual but highly attractive, and show the makers are gun oriented, accepting that some cartridges are harsher than others. I shot all five models on a CZ range day in Olomouc, all .308s except for the Trail model in .223. All surfaces on metal components come with CZ’s new BobOx chemical heat treatment, which gives it a hard, durable finish that resists corrosion. Due to its modular design, users can easily switch to a different calibre from the range for a given receiver size, or switch to a different barrel profile.

Barrel swaps require the action to be removed from the stock, and three Allen bolts loosened and swapped over. The bolt is full diameter and lugs lock into the barrel to ensure headspace and the action itself is a supporting factor, not pressure bearing. The bolt heads are interchangeable, and the safety catch now sits behind the action, sliding through the stock, down for ‘fire’ and up for ‘safe’ with bolt locked. It’s all tactile and silently perceptible with thumb above and second finger below and behind the trigger guard.

With barrel screws tensioned to 5Nm (engraved on the action), CZ guarantee return to zero after the first cold bore shot, which seems a fair allowance to settle headspace under full firing pressure. The trigger is available in single and two-stage variants, and just in front of the blade there is an Allen screw that offers four positions to alter pressure on the blade from 600g to 1,300g. Performance was predictably crisp, and although I had no tools with me to verify the weight, it seems easy to adjust and the manufacturer’s specification seems honest.

Accuracy is guaranteed with three-round sub-MOA groups from the standard sporting variants (Alpha and Ergo, aluminium action, and Lux, steel action) supporting the barrel. The Range variant with steel action assures five-round 0.75 MOA groups. The Trail version shows a totally different build with telescopically extending stock and has a rotation safety on the right side of the action, above the trigger like an AR-15. You will soon see why when we get to the ergonomic elements of the five models. Trigger weights are a slightly higher 900-1,550g, seen as a relevant benefit, and it’s also a two-stage pull.

Rifle tester shoots the new CZ 600 rifle

The Alpha is a no-nonsense approach to hunter’s needs in the field with wide calibre range for ammo that is actually available to purchase, not dream to be more `accurate` - Credit: HENRY M.LINDER

CZ 600 ALPHA 
The fibre-reinforced polymer stock of the CZ 600 Alpha features a symmetrical design with soft touch plastic inserts on the pistol grip, forend and toe. Its interchangeable, semi-heavy barrel comes with a threaded 15x1 muzzle with integrated Picatinny mounts on the durable aluminium receiver. The Alpha is factory tested and guaranteed sub-MOA at 100m (three-shot groups with match-grade factory ammunition). This typifies an entry-point hunting rifle – a tough, tactile stock with inflexible forend and truly free-floating barrel suited to any stalker or fox controller and with great anti-corrosion potential.

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Technical specifications
Available:
223 Rem., 7,62×39, 224 Valkyrie, 308 Win., 6 Creedmoor, 6,5 Creedmoor, 6,5 PRC, 30-06 Sprg., 300 Win. Mag., 8x57IS, (Dimensions in 308)
Model length (mm): 1020
Barrel length (mm): 508
Weight (kg): 3.2
Twist rate (in): 1:10“
Grooves: 4
Magazine capacity: 5+1
Sights: No
Trigger: Single-stage adjustable
Stock: Polymer
Stock finish: Soft-touch
Cheekpiece: No
L.o.p. (mm): 355
Barrel thread: 15x1mm
Receiver size: Medium
Estimated Price: £1127

Chris Parkin shoots the new CZ 600 rifle

I rather liked the Lux, it’s handling for fast standing shots was exemplary in terms of LOP, bolt speed and pointability - Credit: Chris Parkin

CZ 600 LUX 
The Lux is a modernized classic European centerfire hunting rifle with select grade walnut stock and distinctive fish scale chequering for grip, with a dark brown laminated forend. Walnut is also used for the bolt knob. Looks aside, the comb design and other ergonomics suit a riflescope far better than a hog’s back, even though adjustable fibre-optic front and rear iron sights are still supplied. Available in five popular hunting calibres, the interchangeable, cold hammer forged barrel is threaded, again using a nitrided steel receiver. It’s a beautiful rifle with utterly modern capability and a notably generous length of pull!

Technical specifications
Available:
223 Rem., 308 Win., 8×57 IS, 30-06 Sprg., 300 Win. Mag, (Dimensions in 308)
Model length (mm): 1040
Barrel length (mm): 508
Weight (kg): 3.7
Twist rate (in): 1:10“
Grooves: 4
Magazine capacity: 5+1
Sights: Yes
Trigger: Single-stage adjustable
Stock: Walnut
Stock finish: Soft-touch
Cheekpiece: No
L.o.p. (mm): 370
Barrel thread: 15x1mm
Receiver size: Medium
Estimated Price: £1217

Chris Parkin shooting the new CZ 600 rifles

So many hunting rifle companies like to talk `long range`, I think CZ have truly travelled a long way to deliver a package assuring function is truly prioritized over form alone - Credit: Chris Parkin

CZ 600 RANGE
The Range is a target and hunting precision rifle with a guaranteed factory-tested accuracy of five-shot sub-0.75 MOA at 100m using match-grade factory ammunition. The heavy barrel is threaded 18x1mm for moderator or brake, fully floating in a laminated stock. This shows excellent ergonomics with tool-free adjustable cheekpiece and buttstock underside, ideal for supporting with your rear hand or soft bag and spacious enough to avoid the grip hitting your wrist under recoil. There is also an underside rail for a monopod. The stock shows double-sided QD sockets for sling swivel installation. The nitrided steel receiver is drilled and designed to accommodate Remington 700 bases. CZ seem to understand this rifle concept well, and the accuracy improvement is beneficial. It’s utterly superb to shoot prone.

Technical specifications
Available: 308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, (Dimensions in 308)
Model length (mm): 1140
Barrel length (mm): 610
Weight (kg): 4.6
Twist rate (in): 1:10“
Grooves: 4
Magazine capacity: 5+1
Sights: No
Trigger: Single-stage adjustable
Stock: Laminate
Stock finish: Clearcote sealed
Cheekpiece: Yes, adjustable
L.o.p. (mm): 370
Barrel thread: 18x1mm
Receiver size: Medium
Estimated Price: £1442

Chris Parkin shoots the new CZ 600 rifle

The Trail is an unusual yet rather appealing concept, I think it will be popular although may benefit from the cheekpiece receiving a bit of a tweak forward - Credit: Chris Parkin

CZ 600 TRAIL
The Trail stands out with a telescopic stock and mini action with a three lug bolt (still 60° lift). The safety catch is replaced with a locking button for extension control, and the now two-stage trigger is accompanied by a lever safety on the right side of the action. Picatinny rails are integrated on the top of the aluminium receiver and forend with additional M-Lok slots in the free-floating tubular forend. An AR-15 compatible grip features interchangeable backstraps compatible with the CZ P-09 pistol and the four-position telescopic stock features a small cheekpiece on the left side, very close to the shoulder. The Trail is compatible with AR magazines in .223 and CZ BREN 2 mags in 7.62×39. This is an interesting concept.

Technical specifications 
Available: 223 Rem., 7,62×39, (Dimensions in 223)
Model length (mm): 690-890
Barrel length (mm): 412
Weight (kg): 2.8
Twist rate (in): 1:7“
Grooves: 6
Magazine capacity: 10+1
Sights: No
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Stock: Polymer
Stock finish: No
Cheekpiece: No
L.o.p. (mm): 355
Barrel thread: 15x1mm
Receiver size: Trail mini
Estimated Price: £1262

Chris Parkin shoots the new CZ 600 rifle

I can see how the Ergo capitalizes on ambidextrous spacious thumbhole desirability without compromise for fast performance - Credit: Chris Parkin

CZ 600 ERGO
The Ergo is perhaps the most eye-catching and the one I got most range time with from a stable prone position. This premium model, with a light profile barrel, is equipped with a fibre-reinforced polymer stock. A comb module is included to provide proper eye-to-optic alignment when using extra-high mounts or a thermal scope. Stock length can be adjusted by replacing the rubber butt pad, which is available in three sizes, with models from .223 Rem to the .300 Win Mag. The aluminium receiver features Picatinny mounts, and a decocker is currently being developed. This rifle was given to me hot, with lots of mirage shimmering from the barrel, yet it still shot to sub-MOA standard for the further 20 rounds I continued to shoot through it, retaining point of impact. I’m very confident in CZ barrel quality. 

Technical specifications
Available: 223 Rem., 308 Win., 6,5 Creedmoor, 30-06 Sprg., 300 Win. Mag., 8x57IS
(Dimensions in 308)
Model length (mm): 1038
Barrel length (mm): 508
Weight (kg): 2.9
Twist rate (in): 1:10“
Grooves: 4
Magazine capacity: 5+1
Sights: No
Trigger: Single-stage adjustableStock: Polymer
Stock finish: Soft-touch
Cheekpiece: No
L.o.p. (mm): 355
Barrel thread: 15x1mm
Receiver size: Medium
Estimated Price: £1262

Conclusion
This rifle is a radical regeneration from CZ. They seem to be gunmakers first, marketeers second, and this alone impresses me as they make seriously usable, technically exciting rifles to a very high standard and will now surely gain the name they deserve. I hope to do full reviews of all the 600 variants as soon as they become available in the UK, because the brief encounter I had with them was truly inviting. 

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