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Review: CZ-527- 7.62x39 / .223 Carbine



The CZ-527 is one of the finest small rifles available today.  The manufacturing and overall build quality of the 527 is top-notch, and I've never seen a single one with so much as a blemish on it from the factory.  Although the CZ-527 is available in a number of variations, I personally prefer the carbine version and own two of them, one in 7.62x39 and another in .223.  These guns have a true micro-Mauser action that's butter smooth.

I'm a big believer in short, fast handling rifles, and the 527 Carbine is one of the finest examples of an all-purpose bolt action rifle in existence.  To say that I'm a fan of these rifles is an understatement.  Without a doubt they are my favorite bolt action rifles.  I like the fact that they come with scope rings and I like the fact that they come with iron sights (something that I view as being very important for a general purpose rifle).  My favorite is the 7.62x39.  Having shot many rifles in this caliber, I can say, without a doubt, that there is no more accurate rifle available, at any price, shooting thata cartridge.

A .223 in the CZ-527 isn't that special.  Sure, the rifle is still a superb example of small bolt action and all of the general characteristics of the rifle still make it unique, but there are plenty of .223 rifles available and almost all of them are very, very accurate.  While the CZ-527 in .223 can compete with these rifles, it wouldn't be my first choice for a dedicated varmint rifle.

That being said, the 7.62x39 version is a superb design and it shoots any ammunition, even the cheapest Russian imported stuff, extremely well.  How well, you ask?  Try half an inch at 100 yards with Wolf 122 grain stuff for the first 3 rounds (it opens up a bit after that).  That's right, I said half an inch.  Mine happens to be an exceptionally accurate sample, but I've never seen another 527 that shoots more than 1.5 inches with the same ammunition. There's no other rifle that can do that with this ammunition.  I could talk about the beautiful handling of the rifle, how with the addition of a small recoil pad it handles and shoulders wonderfully, but the truth is that best part of the rifle is the trigger.  These rifles all come with a "single-set" trigger, which means that it can be fired like a conventional trigger, or, with a slight push forward, the trigger can be set for an ultra-light, zero take-up pull.  These triggers are a truly great invention.

Now, there are a lot of people who don't like the 7.62x39 cartridge.  The criticisms are always the same; inaccurate, short range, under-powered.  None of these criticisms are legitimate.  In terms of accuracy, the CZ-527 proves that the 7.62x39 is capable of extremely good accuracy as long as it comes out of the right barrel.  As for range, well, we're talking about a fairly low velocity cartridge here, although the ballistic coefficient is certainly better than what most people compare it to, the 30-30 WCF.  At 200 yards(with a 100 yard zero), the 122 grain stuff drops about 6 inches.  That's the maximum range I hunt at with this rifle, although if there was a perfect shot at 250 yards I might just take it.


Now, there are a few things I don't like about the rifles.  The first is that these guns don't have adjustable sights in the traditional American sense of the word.  Need to adjust for height?  Then you need to purchase a new front blade.  I don't like that, especially because CZ parts still aren't that easy to come by.  And yes, mine did need a new front blade because my rifle was shooting 6 inches low at 100 yards.  I got one, but it took nearly a month.  My second gripe is that because the rifles are so short, there isn't necessarily enough relief with the scope.  Yes, it works perfectly for me, but it won't for people that have long arms.  As it is, I had to put on a recoil pad to make it fit the way I wanted it to (which, as I mentioned, is perfect).  Anyone looking at these rifles needs to understand that they aren't designed for big people.

I love the CZ-527s and can't say enough good things about them.  I would love them even more if there was an available 10 round magazines (the 5 round mags are pricey at about $50).  An additional 5 rounds would make this a wonderful self-defense rifle.  Still, there just aren't any other rifles like this on market at any price, and for around $600 these are an absolute steal.  Of course, that can be said for just about every CZ product.

In the end the CZ-527 in 7.62x39 is one of my two favorite rifles.  It's cheap to shoot, rugged, accurate, and beautifully made.  Mine has been bounced around, gone down trails and been immersed in water and mud, yet it still functions flawlessly.  It is also one of the few rifles that seems to hold a zero no matter how long it sits in the trunk of my car.  I can't recommend these rifles highly enough.  If you're in need of a world-class brush gun at an affordable price, then you can't do better than the CZ-527.

Potomac