Střelecká revue (Czech Republic), issue 4/2018
Over the last two years, Česká zbrojovka a.s. introduced two new pistols for the civilian sector. One could therefore expect the company would turn their focus and efforts in a slightly different direction. The more curious of you could hazard a good guess as to which direction that might be, as there is one model line of long guns that hadn't seen that much action for a while.
They are, of course, the CZ 527 light rifles. Unlike the Medium category rifles and rimfire rifles (the current CZ 557 and CZ 455 flagship lines), this part of the company’s portfolio hasn't undergone a generational revamp yet. Although CZ has repeatedly hinted of going in a similar direction with their popular minimausers, it is obvious it would not be an easy task to think of something that would surpass the solution of the legendary Koucký brothers. They came up with their new concept shortly after the end of World War II, and while the CZ 527 model entered the market in 1990, its basic design features are identical to the 1948 original Vierling from Brno. And one can hardly imagine a weapon being made for an incredible 70 years, unless it was a really impressive.
Upgrade CZ 527
On the other hand, many things have changed over the seven decades, from the preference of calibres and design of some features to production materials and technologies. And all these changes were to a greater or lesser extent reflected in the original minimausers, first produced in Brno and then from 1967 in Uherský Brod. The current CZ 527 will see the latest upgrade in 2018. CZ uses the word facelift, though some changes go much deeper than that.
Here is a brief summary of the most significant innovations customers can look forward to: The receivers of all the CZ 527 models have been modified so as to be suitable for manufacture from solid material on modern turning and milling CNC centres with all the benefits these machines bring ultimately resulting in better accuracy of the weapon.
All CZ 527 models with iron sights have borrowed both the front and rear sights from the CZ 557 rifle. It means these models have a side-adjustable sloped rear sight blade and a height-adjustable front sight accentuated by red fibre optics.
The wooden stocks of the CZ 527 rifles with iron sights and the Exclusive Ebony Edition variants are now oiled rather than lacquered. The reason for this is not just a more elegant look and perfect impregnation but also easier repairs of scratches and dents. Then there is the issue of muzzle threads for the attachment of a silencer and other accessories - for the time being, we won’t find these in all the versions but the aim of CZ is to gradually implement these modifications to all CZ 527 rifles without iron sights.
From the second half of 2018, all metal parts of the CZ 527 rifles should be finished with blasting. The result will be a satin matte finish with less reflection and higher resistance to corrosion.
Three new minimausers
In addition to the above mentioned changes, CZ has prepared several new light rifle models for 2018. Without a doubt, the most significant one is the CZ 527 Varmint MTR. The letters stand for Match Target Rifle, yet it is not just a model for sport shooting but a highly accurate weapon suitable for hunting as well, which is supported by the choice of calibres: 222 Rem, 223 Rem and 6.5 Grendel (all using a 5-round removable magazine). It is good to see the last one especially, as this relatively young intermediate cartridge (on the market since 2004) certainly offers impressive ballistic performance.
The CZ 527 Varmint MTR is not equipped with iron sights and has a sophisticated ergonomic walnut stock in oiled finish. The trigger mechanism has been borrowed from the CZ 557 rifle, so the user can set the trigger travel as well as the trigger pull weight between 10 and 22 N. The cold hammer forged thick-walled barrel is 650 mm long and has a thread on the target pattern muzzle for the attachment of accessories. The result is a remarkable weapon, both visually and with regard to the parameters and it is bound to catch your eye even on an over-saturated market.
The CZ 527 Carbine Synthetic is a “working” weapon for everyday use. This means compact dimensions, powerful 223 Rem and 7.62x38 cartridges originally used for service weapons (the magazine capacity is 5 rounds), iron sights readily available to use at shorter as well as longer distances, and a polymer frame in a modern design with a user-friendly soft-touch finish.
The same stock can also be found on a rather special variant that is bordering on the bizarre, the CZ 527 Suppressor Ready. It is a tiny little thing of a gun, only 880 mm long, with a 16 inch barrel and a muzzle thread for the attachment of a silencer, and uses the 300 AAC Blackout or 7.62x39 cartridges.
Apart from these notable innovations, there are several smaller additions: the full-stock CZ 527 FS model is now also available in 22 Hornet calibre, while the traditional CZ 527 American now comes in the 7.62x39 and 6.5 Grendel calibres as well.
Return to tradition, shorter receivers
There are several interesting new products in the CZ 557 family, which CZ regularly “calibrates” in line with the market response. The most remarkable new model is the CZ 557 Lux II. However, calling it a new model has a somewhat unusual significance. Actually, CZ has introduced this model as a reaction to the fact that a substantial part of the hunting community is not keen to change their habits and preferences. For these hunters, the basic version of the CZ 557 is a bit too innovative, especially taking into account the fully adjustable trigger mechanism, safety that allows you to operate the bolt even when engaged, and the 520 mm long barrel.
The traditionalists might therefore appreciate that the CZ 557 Lux II. has a traditional single set trigger, a safety that blocks the movement of the bolt in the locked position, and a 610 mm long barrel. The stock made of high quality walnut has a cheekpiece on the left side of the buttstock and in accordance with current practices it is finished by oiling. At the moment, there is a version with a traditional box magazine (7x64, 8x57 IS, 30-06 Sprg cal., with a capacity of 5 rounds for all) as well as a version with a standard magazine (308 Win with a 4 round capacity).
Another new product sort of follows on the concept of the legendary ZKK 600 line by the Koucký brothers which used three basic types of receivers and bolts distinguished from each other by the maximum length of the cartridges. The CZ 557 Lux SA (short action) rifle is intended for the 243 Win and 308 Win cartridges, in both cases there is a choice of a box (5 rounds) or a standard (4 rounds) magazine. Including the 520 mm long hammer cold forged barrel, the overall length of the weapon is 1040 mm, which is 30 mm less than the CZ 557 Lux. The weight when empty depends on the properties of the wood used (the company uses walnut for their Lux models, in this case in oiled finish), usually it is around 3.1 kg. To put it simply, it is a slightly more compact and lighter rifle whose shorter barrelled action allows faster reloading.
A polymer with a cheekpiece and a left-handed American
Yet another new model is the CZ 557 Varmint Synthetic. As the name suggests, it is a combination of the black polymer stock of the CZ 557 Synthetic (with the user-friendly soft touch finish and suitable for both right-handed as well as left-handed users) and the barrelled action from the CZ 557 Varmint. One new feature is the height-adjustable cheekpiece on both sides in a distinctive green colour. On the top of the receiver, there is a lowered Weaver rail for the attachment of a riflescope. Since this is a rifle intended for sport shooting or hunting, requiring high accuracy at long distances, the use of iron sights is not expected. The 520 mm long thick-walled barrel has a target pattern muzzle with an M18x1 thread. The magazine capacity of 10 rounds is the same as the original Varmint with a wooden stock, the magazine catch is located at the front of the trigger guard. An interesting detail is the interchangeable ball end on the bolt which offers an option for the user to adjust the ergonomics. In addition to the improved user comfort, the use of a polymer stock means that this rifle is considerably lighter - the CZ 557 Varmint weighs around 5 kg, the Varmint Synthetic weighs in at 4 kg.
The same polymer stock cheekpiece is now used for the CZ 557 Predator, although its colour is different with the typical realtree camo surface finish. Furthermore, this rifle is now supplied with a compensator attached to the muzzle as standard.
One more new CZ model for 2018 shall certainly please left-handed users. The CZ 557 American LH without iron sights is fully adapted just for them, including the cheekpiece placed on the right side of the buttstock made from oiled walnut. There is a box magazine (5 rounds, 30-06 Sprg) as well as a standard one (4 rounds, 308 Win).
A new rimfire rifle
Over the last few years, the Uherský Brod company has paid a lot of attention to rimfire rifles, so it is not really surprising that this year the extensive portfolio of their rifles has seen basically just the one new addition, the CZ 455 Varmint Synthetic in 22 LR cal. without iron sights. The name tells us that the rifle has a thick-walled cold hammer forged barrel that is 525 mm long. What it doesn't tell us is the fact that there is a muzzle thread for the attachment of a cylindrical compensator with a lot of round holes. For a long 22, such a feature does not make much sense, nevertheless, the user thus has an option for the easy attachment of a compensator, so popular in many countries and in some instances even mandatory.
The second part of the name reveals that this rimfire rifle has a symmetrical stock made of black polymer. In line with the current practice in CZ, the stock has a soft-touch surface finish that ensures a comfortable and reliable grip in all weather conditions. A 5-round magazine is supplied with the weapon as standard.
Three new Kadets
As mentioned at the beginning, in the last two years, CZ has introduced some major innovations where pistols are concerned. First there was the CZ Shadow 2, primarily a sports model, then last year we saw the arrival of the brand new polymer model, the CZ P-10 C with a partially pre-cocked linear striker. The second weapon is meant to be the first member of a large family, though the launch of such a challenging project will clearly be spread over a longer period of time. Not to mention the fact that according to available reports, the company’s capacity has been flooded with orders for models that are already available.
However, even in 2018 we can find some new products in the pistol portfolio, since one can expect nothing less from the demanding market. At first sight, it might be somewhat surprising to see that the new products are three Kadet rimfire adapters for the CZ P-09, CZ 75 SP-01 and CZ Shadow 2 models.
If you think about it, it is a logical response of the Uherský Brod company to their current situation. It seems that regarding design, the task might not have been that difficult, as they were able to carry on with the fairly simple and well proven solution already used for the CZ P-07 Kadet (see the 12/2006 issue of SR for more details). Because the new generation of rimfire conversions for CZ pistols is made in cooperation with other companies due to the technologies used, the operations in CZ are not under that much strain. And what is more, pistols adapted for use with 22 LR cartridges are all the rage nowadays, at least to the extent that even the big players see it worth to pay attention to them.
The new duralumin Kadet for the CZ P-09 SA/DA polymer model has not brought anything new, it had already been discussed in connection with the adapter for the smaller P-07. As with this compact, the new Kadet is entering the market as a separate conversion whose attachment does not require fitting, as well as a complete rimfire pistol. Some users might be a little bit disappointed with the magazine capacity which with 10 rounds remains the same. Due to the shape of the 22 LR cartridges, 10 rounds is regrettably the maximum which ensures that no problems with cartridge feeding might arise. The adjustable rear sight is borrowed from the CZ Shadow 2 and makes it easy and fast for the user to deal with the different powers of the numerous brands and versions of the 22 LR cartridges. After all, the same rear sight is now used for the CZ P-07 Kadet as well.
On the other hand, the other two new Kadets are rather something else. In the case of the CZ 75 SP-01 it is because on this pistol, one can use the original all steel Kadet 2 for the CZ 75 family. And we deemed Shadow 2 to be such a specific model that we were not expecting a rimfire conversion for it at all. But here they are! And they look so good that we believe a good many owners of these models are sure to come to a conclusion that they might just need to get this clever little conversion to enjoy rimfire cartridges as well. Regarding the concept, CZ once again follows up on the solution used for the CZ P-07/CZ P-09, with the only significant difference being the fixed front part. Similarly, the magazine capacity has been limited to 10 rounds and both have rear sights borrowed from the Shadow 2.
Kadets for the CZ 75 SP-01 and CZ Shadow 2 shall be sold as conversion kits only, as the complete rimfire pistols would be prohibitively expensive due to the costs of the body manufacture.
The 2018 will see an extensive upgrade of the whole CZ 527 model series.
The new Kadet rimfire pistol adapters for the CZ 75 SP-01 and CZ Shadow 2 pistols are a great surprise.
Photo description | CZ 527 Carbine Synthetic - in the spirit of the upgrade of Uherský Brod minimausers , this model is equipped with sights borrowed from the CZ 557 rifle
Photo description | CZ 557 Lux SA - a box magazine version in 308 Win cal.
Photo description | CZ 527 Suppressor Ready
Photo description | CZ 557 Varmint Synthetic
Photo description | CZ 557 Lux II. - a standard magazine version in 308 Win cal.
Photo description | CZ 75 SP-01 Kadet
Photo description | CZ 455 Varmint Synthetic
Photo description | CZ 557 American LH
Photo description | CZ Shadow 2 Kadet - in addition to the basic version with a 124 mm long barrel, there is also a model with a longer barrel and a silencer
Photo description | CZ 09 SP-01 Kadet