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CZ 527

CZ 527

Classic 7.62X39 Bolt Gun

Webster’s College Dictionary defines classic: 1. Serving as a standard of excellence; 2. Characterized by simple tailored lines in fashion year after year. I want to set the tone by starting with this definition — The CZ 527 rifle belongs to both components of the definition for classic. Few would argue that the Mauser action isn’t worthy of being considered a classic. The CZ 527 utilizes the classic Mauser action and adds two twists in the form of a micro-Mauser action and an interesting chambering in the 7.62×39. The CZ action is a true micro-Mauser and not a standard Mauser action that has been chopped and re-welded. This makes for a sleeker action. The compact 7.62×39 cartridge is a natural, though unlikely, candidate for use in conjunction with a micro-Mauser bolt-action. Credit must be given to CZ for coming up with this for the American market; to my knowledge only one other mainline firearms company is offering the 7.62×39 in a bolt-action rifle format.

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The CZ 527 Carbine was tested from the bench for accuracy and
sighting-in of Leupold VXII 2-7X scope before turning to more
field expedient positions.

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What role is the CZ 527 intended to satisfy? As with most things related to firearms the answer depends on individual situation. Take into consideration personal-defense rifles aren’t required to be semi-automatic. Factors such as mindset, personal preference, skill level, training, need to fulfill multiple roles and even legal requirements all come into play regarding rifle selection for defense. The CZ 527 with its Mauser action is definitely at home in a hunting role and we shall see below the CZ 527 enhances the 7.62×39 cartridge performance.

CZ-USA, based in Kansas City, is the importer of CZ rifles. Its company history dates back to the mid-1930s. CZ is based in the Czech Republic. In 1991, it was one of the first Eastern European corporations to emerge from the post-Soviet era to compete in the West. CZ is one of the world’s largest firearms manufacturers, employing over 2,000 people and selling its wares in over 60 countries. The products include handguns, shotguns, sporting rifles and military weapons.

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CZ 527 tested with various available ammunitions from Wolf,
Silver Bear, Surplus and Hornady.

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All loads tested were chronographed with the Hornady 123-gr. VMax
clocking about 100 fps below factory list, but with good consistency
supporting why it is such an accurate load out of the CZ 527.

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The CZ 527 Carbine 7.62×39 utilized 5-round detachable box
magazine. The micro-Mauser bolt has been removed from the
rifle to show its compact, almost petite size.

A Mauser Carbine

CZ’s modern rendition of the classic Mauser carbine — the CZ 527 chambered in 7.62×39 caught my eye and I had to get my hands on one. The CZ 527 has the classic Mauser sporter appearance and takes advantage of CZ micro-Mauser action to create a lightweight, great-handling rifle. The CZ 527 micro-Mauser action allows for a more compact, faster handling rifle compared to a standard-length bolt-action. The 1898 Mauser is one of the strongest actions on the market. The CZ Mauser bolt retains the bolt head and extractor with the single slotted internal collar of Peter Paul Mauser’s original design. The legendary performance and loyal following of the Mauser action starts here with control round feeding. The cartridge is captured and held in place by the claw extractor as it comes free from the magazine and is placed into the chamber. However, CZ has added some “improvements” with a streamlined bolt sleeve, set trigger — more on that later — 2-position safety, stiffer tang, Winchester Model 70-type bolt stop and blade ejector, with the primary extractor cam at the base of the bolt handle.

Truly a shortened profile, the CZ 527 micro-Mauser action is only 6″ long and saves at least 1 pound over a standard short-action design. This is not a quick design fix — the whole action is miniaturized. The bolt has been scaled down, but the twin opposed locking lugs are suitably large to provide precise and safe bolt closure. Common to most Mauser designs is the external extractor, which is non-rotating and acts in conjunction with the bolt stop positioned ejector spur to eject used cases positively. The bolt cocks on opening and the rear bolt shroud is used as the cocking piece. The bolt handle is straight and rather short, but the comfortable small ball operating end ensures a smooth and trouble-free cycling action. A Mauser action is intended to be worked vigorously and the micro-Mauser is no different; an added benefit is with its compact size, comes a shorter of the action cycle.

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Details

Initial tightness from the new CZ 527 bolt-action is quickly “slicked” up after range and field tests, with the bolt smoothing up nicely; positive functioning was never an issue. CZ has fitted the 527 with an 18-1/2″ hammer-forged barrel. The hammer-forged barrel is free-floated from just in front of the action to front of the stock. Sling swivels are standard feature with the CZ 527 and it comes equipped with a sturdy fully adjustable set of open sights. The sights are more than usable for anyone not wanting to mount a scope, or if your scope goes out of service in the field. The hood design for the front sight is very well done with the notch machined in the top to allow for the maximum amount of light to enter, yet still protects the front sight from damage. The overall appearance of the CZ 527 is enhanced by an attractive stock made off Turkish Walnut. I found the classic-style buttstock conducive to proper sight alignment and recoil management.

The CZ 527 measures 37″ in length and weighs in at a modest 6 pounds. Chamberings include the 7.62×39 of the rifle reviewed and .223 Rem. Both chambering models have detachable 5-round magazines. A better mixture of Russian and American utilitarian cartridges would be hard to come by. All have proven track records without excessive recoil or muzzleblast. My particular rifle chambering in the 7.62×39 may surprise some readers. It should not, as the 7.62×39 is equivalent to the .30-30 in terms of ballistics, with more loadings becoming steadily available. I tested Wolf 154-gr. SP, 124-gr. SP and 123-gr. FMJ loads, along with Silver Bear 124-gr. FMJ in the CZ 527. Most significantly the new Hornady 123-gr. VMax load was also utilized in the CZ 527. Whatever roles the CZ 527 is considered for, whether it is for hunting, personal defense or sport the CZ 527 fits the bill.

The CZ 527 handles great, with excellent portability benefiting a 6 pound rifle. One crucial improvement with the CZ Mauser is its square bridge design, allowing for an integral scope base. The CZ rings mate up right to the action for solid attachment and help ensure reliable scope zeroes. I chose a Leupold VXII 2-7X33mm to compliment the CZ 527. The VXII 2-7X is one of the best-valued scopes on the market. It has the typically great Leupold reliability, clarity and image quality. With a near perfect variable power range that lends itself to hunting in cover, and a 7X setting is more than enough magnification for shots in open terrain. I have found that the VXII 2-7X can be fitted to the biggest magnum boomers due to the generous eye relief of 4.9″ at its lowest setting, and 3.8″ at 7X. The scopes relatively compact size of 11″ and 10.5-ounce weight allows for use on any type of rifle without sacrificing anything in terms of carry characteristics or shooting effectiveness. The Leupold’s modest size, not to mention tough construction, aids in its recoil resistance due to inertia forces experienced by a scope during recoil. The VXII 2-7X is quickly becoming a favorite for multiple roles — not just hunting.

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CZ’s decision to manufacture a “square bridge” Mauser with integral
scope bases will aid in its acceptance for connoisseurs of bolt-action
rifles for which a scope is standard equipment.

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Set Trigger

The CZ 527 sports a single, set-trigger design. This definite European feature may surprise US shooters, but proved useful when firing from the bench. The trigger is set by pushing it forward and offers a trigger weight of 2 pounds. However, the normal trigger pull was a quite acceptable crisp 4.5 pounds and certainly no detriment during accuracy testing at the range. Despite the current limited availability of quality ammunition for the 7.62×39 with most centered around surplus ammunition, more ammunition is coming online for rifles chambered in 7.62×39. I have been using Wolf and Hornady ammunition for my accuracy testing and hunting. Both companies have proven themselves the best in terms of accuracy and reliability. As the table shows, accuracy was certainly well beyond expectations, especially with the reputation of 7.62×39 chambering. The Leupold scope performed wonderfully and the scope zero stayed consistent throughout the test firing.

The classic stock style combined with the 7.62×39 makes for a very appealing, distinctive combination. No need for a super-magnum rifle with a mega-zoom scope and a hyper-complicated reticle. I find it hard to believe anyone using the CZ 527 7.62×39 is ever under-gunned or at a disadvantage when hunting deer-size game or pressed into a defensive posture. I believe the CZ 527 will find a niche for itself in the American market. The ever-increasing numbers of AKs and SKSs found in the US will prove fertile ground for the CZ 527 to pollinate. These users are already familiar with the 7.62×39 cartridge and will appreciate the performance enhancement offered with the CZ 527 in terms of accuracy.

I was quite surprised by the accuracy premium offered by the bolt-action CZ 527 combined with Leupold optics. The Hornady 123-gr. VMax loads produced just over 1″ groups with all loads testing and sub-3″ groups with FMJ surplus loads. It is plausible that the CZ 527 could augment personal-defense armaments with its ability to maximize accuracy out of 7.62×39 loads — beyond what typical AKs or SKS could provide — making it worthwhile to include for defensive purposes outside of a strictly hunting role that bolt actions are associated with.

The CZ 527 was tested for accuracy from the bench as well as around barricades and other obstacles to get a better appreciation of its handling and performance. Steel targets were smacked with ease out to 250 yards either standing or using field expedient rests. The increased accuracy of the CZ 527 with Leupold optics paid great dividends. While by no means rivaling a semi-automatic for firepower, the detachable 5-round magazines were handy to recharge the CZ 527 after the last round. As expected from a bolt action no malfunctions were experienced. Some of the steel-cased ammunition exhibited tightness when the bolt was closed, but experienced no problems with extraction or ejection. The safety selector was different compared to US-based rifles, with the safety engaged by pushing it forward and releasing it by moving it rearward. The safety made no audible noise when being manipulated, which is important too in hunting or defense situations. Recoil was not a factor, with nearly 100 rounds fired during the first trip to the range with no issues or detriment to accuracy experienced. The CZ 527 proved too accommodating, digesting 5-round detachable box magazines one after another.

The CZ 527 Carbine is a rifle that can serve in multiple roles whether it is sport, hunting or defense. The 7.62×39 chambering should not dissuade users from the CZ 527 and will not if given a chance. More and more premium load options are becoming available online for the 7.62×39 starting with the Hornady VMax offering, with literally tons of surplus ammunition available that performs better than most would believe when combined with the bolt-action CZ 527 and solid optic. The CZ 527 can serve in its own right or in combination with a high-capacity AK variant for defensive purposes. Right or wrong, the CZ 527 will not stir up looks when fielded, compared to an AK chambered in the same cartridge; prudence can be better part of valor in certain situations. There is no doubt that the CZ 527 will outshoot an AK if pressed into a survival situation requiring the taking of game at distance. With the ability to attract users from a variety of backgrounds, the CZ 527 should prove a popular offering from CZ.

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All loads tested were chronographed with the Hornady 123-gr. VMax
clocking about 100 fps below factory list, but with good consistency
supporting why it is such an accurate load out of the CZ 527.

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The CZ 527 handles great with excellent portability benefiting a 6-pound rifle. One crucial improvement with the CZ Mauser is its square bridge design allowing for an integral scope base. The CZ rings mate up right to the action for solid attachment and helps ensure reliable scope zeroes. A Leupold VXII 2-7X33mm was chosen to compliment the CZ 527.

By Todd Burgreen
From The GUNS Magazine 2012 Special Edition

FOR MORE INFO:
CZ-USA
www.cz-usa.com
(800) 955-4486
HORNADY
www.hornady.com
(800) 338-3220
LEUPOLD
www.leupold.com
(800) 538-7653
WOLF AMMUNITION
www.wolfammo.com
(888) 757-9653

>> Click Here << To View More Website Extras

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  1. Bob Smith says:

    I bought one recently. Expensive, but a great brush and hiking gun with a backup iron sight. I got tired of waiting for Savage to do one in the Axis models. However, this one is much lighter than a Savage and shoots well. No regrets.

  2. Bill Pratt says:

    I am a fan of CZ rifles and this is one of my favorites but I wish that they would skip the set trigger and focus on making one decent trigger. Also the lack of low ring mounts and scope clearance problems with the bolt handles forces a chin on the stock shooting position which I find awkward. For this rifle this last problem was solved by using old style medium Sako ringmounts (fronts with recoil pin in rear)which fit the 16mm dovetails nicely and some judicious grinding on the bolt handle (actually looks better than the original). The rifle mounts a VX3 1.75-6x (the discontinued short version)and shooting Lapua ball the gun regularly produces one inch five shot groups.

  3. Southerner says:

    I immediately noticed the unacceptably high line of sight required by the scope mounts. A high line of sight makes rapid target aquisition, at brush hunting ranges, awkward at best. I also agree that single set triggers and the rear for firing position of the safety are European affectations on a rifle directed to the American market.

    On the other hand, the wood stock is a refreshing change from the constant march toward synthetic stocks. Wood stocks also have the rigidity needed for use with a shooting sling – something many current synthetic stocks sadly lack.

    The article could have included some additional details for complete reporting. The iron sights appear to be non-adjustable and if so, what ammunition had compatible points of impact. Several commercial 7.62×39 rounds were tested, but only one was specifically reported on for accuracy and velocity, perhaps this oversight was an editorial decision for space reasons.

  4. Great article. For years, I have tried to find a way to convert one of the very old and smaller action military surplus junk quality rifles into a 7.62x39mm carbine using a possible AK magazine. For smaller people and youths, this would seem to be a great shooter (and your article verifies this). For some reason, it seems that no one can tell a SKS/AK round that it cannot be accurate if given a good barrel and possibly a low powered scope.

    I think a 16″ to 18″ barrel is a great idea for such a carbine. And the price of ammo (like its parent, the 7.62x54R) would allow people to shoot a lot more and save a lot of $$ on ammo.

    This CZ model may just me in my future if I can read my palm right.

  5. scopes seems high in relation to sock comb in the pictures. Is this because of poor bolt handle design? The “opposite” safety is a accidental shooting waiting to happen.I wonder if 2 inches of added barrel lentgh would perk up velocity levels enough to be worth the effort.

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