Versatile Light & Handy
The CZ 527 7.62x39mm Carbine.
The CZ 527 carbine in 7.62×39 is light, compact, very well made, reliable and accurate. The GUNS 2012 special edition had a very good review of the CZ carbine by Todd Burgreen (available free online at www.gunsmagazine.com in the “Web Blast” section). My experience and thoughts on the carbine certainly agree with Todd’s. Here I’d like to add some information on sight and ammunition options I’ve found useful.
The CZ carbine comes equipped with a hooded front bead sight and open blade rear sight, the latter adjustable for windage by drifting it in its slot. Elevation adjustments require changing either the front or rear sight. CZ has moderately priced replacements for both in various heights.
For me at least a receiver (“peep”) sight is so much better than open sights there is no comparison. NECG makes an excellent receiver sight for the integral 16mm rails of the 527 (they also have versions to fit the 19mm 550 series, and the Ruger 77 rear scope base). The peep is well protected by the body of the sight. Quality of material and workmanship is outstanding.
The receiver sight requires a higher front sight. Changing CZ front sights takes just seconds—just hold down a spring-loaded button, slide the sight forward and slide in the replacement. The carbine came with front sight No. 9. After some experimenting I ended up using size No. 11 which allowed sighting in while keeping the peep fairly low, and with an adequate adjustment range for fine-tuning. NECG also makes front sights for CZs in various heights to fit the CZ front base, including a fiber optic option.
Many imported loads in 7.62×39 use Berdan primers and steel cases, lacquered to prevent rusting. The CZ website says of its carbine, “Built to CIP (Commission Internationale Permanente) specifications, our 7.62×39 chambers are ideal for shooting steel-cased surplus ammo.”
Sight options for CZ carbine include (top) a Leupold VX-II 6-18×40 in CZ rings, (middle) a Burris
Fullfield II 3-9×40 in Warne rings and (bottom) the CZ 527 carbine in 7.62×39 with NECG receiver
sight fitted. Both the CZ and Warne rings allowed quick removal and reinstallation by loosening
the base screws, and returned at or very close to original zero.
Dave fitted the CZ 527 carbine in 7.62×39 with a Burris Fullfield II 3-9×40 scope (above) in
Warne high rings he had on hand. With the new angled bolt handle there is plenty of clearance
between handle and the scope’s eyepiece. Extra detachable box magazines allow fast reloading
and the option of quickly switching to a different load.
Some surplus 7.62×39 ammunition uses corrosive primers. The word “corrosive” seems to strike fear in many hearts. Actually, provided the bore is cleaned with water or a water-based solvent promptly after firing (certainly the same day), there shouldn’t be a problem. Good old Hoppe’s No. 9 or Birchwood Casey No. 77 will both do the job.
Non-corrosive options are plentiful, generally at higher cost. I used Russian-made Barnaul cartridges with non-corrosive primers. They were loaded with 123-grain FMJ bullets. Over the Oehler 35P they chronographed at 2,410 fps with 100-yard groups in the 2- to 2.5-inch range. Often there would be three shots in a tight group but I never managed to get five shots much under the 2-inch mark.
Hornady makes two softpoint bullets suited to the 7.62×39, both 0.310-inch in diameter and weighing 123 grains. Production of the Interlock spirepoint is temporarily suspended. I was still able to find a box of each. I pulled the FMJ bullets from Barnaul cartridges and seated the Hornady bullets to the same overall length. Velocities averaged 2,415 to 2,420 fps, virtually unchanged.
The spirepoint shot very well, with 5-shot groups of 1 MOA or a bit over. The SST did even better, consistently placing five shots under 1 inch at 100 yards. Several times I had four shots in a ragged hole of 1/2 inch or less with one shot opening the group a bit. If your perception of the 7.62×39 cartridge is it’s “only adequate for plinking,” try firing it in an accurate rifle.
The NECG peep sight (above) attaches securely to the 16mm scope base rail of the CZ 527. Windage is
adjusted with the knurled screws on each side, elevation by rotating the peep. Once zeroed, adjustments
are locked with set screws. By loosening right-hand knurled screw, the sight can be removed and
reattached while retaining zero.
Think the 7.62×39 is only accurate enough for plinking? Here’s what it can do in the CZ 527
carbine when standard FMJ bullets are pulled and replaced with Hornady SST bullets of the
same weight and diameter. This 5-shot group was produced at 100 yards.
When exchanging emails on the subject with Ye Olde Editor, Jeff suggested checking powder charges for consistency. If there is considerable variation it might be worthwhile to dump all the charges, figure average weight, and re-throw (or weigh) charges. With the Barnaul cartridges this proved unnecessary. Consistency was impressive, with at most 0.2-grain variation in 20 cartridges. Nonetheless, It is certainly worth checking.
For accuracy testing, I used CZ medium rings to fit a Leupold VX-II 6-18x40mm scope I had on hand. Yes, the scope looks oversized on the little carbine, but I like lots of X’s when shooting from the bench.
As a practical option for all-around use, I used a Burris Fullfield II 3-9X, sighted at 150 yards. Rings were a set of high Warnes I had on hand. My CZ came with the new angled bolt handle for better scope clearance. With this handle, Warne medium rings will work with most scopes. Incidentally, if you own an older 527 and would prefer the new angled bolt handle, CZ-USA currently shows them as being in stock. Part number is 40110, price $35.
By Dave Anderson
P.O. Box 171073
Kansas City, KS 66117-0073
Actio type: Bolt-action repeater, detachable box magazine
Cartridge: 7.62×39 (tested), .223 Rem
Capacity: 5, Barrel length: 18.5”
Length overall: 37.4”, Weight: 5.87 pounds
Length of pull: 13.46”
Trigger: Single-set, adjustable
Sights: Open rear, bead front, integral 16mm scope rail
Materials: Blued carbon steel, walnut stock
Safety: 2-position (locks bolt handle and firing pin), Price: $733
3-9x40mm Fullfield II
920 54th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
Magnification: 3X – 9X
Objective diameter: 40mm
Tube diameter: 1 inch, Eye relief: 3.8 inches (3X), 3.1 inches (9X)
Adjustments: 1/4 MOA, Adjustment range: 50 MOA elevation & windage
Length overall: 12.2 inches
Weight: 13 ounces
Reticles: Plex, Ballistic Plex
Finish: Matte, nickel, Price: $279
Hornady Manufacturing Company
3625 West Old Potash Hwy
Grand Island, NE 68803
Leupold & Stevens
14400 Northwest Greenbriar Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
New England Custom Gun, Ltd.
741 Main Street
Claremont, NH 03743
Warne Scope Mounts
9500 SW Tualatin Road
Tualatin, OR 97062