- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 06/10/2023
When I first encountered the latest 600 series of centrefire rifles from CZ, the Range seemed an incredibly adventurous rifle from this seemingly modest company. This variant is designed for precision shooters and carries the most precise, 3/4 MOA precision assurances. So, the question is, how easy would that be to achieve?
An 18x1 thread caps the recessed crown on the 22mm diameter barrel. The cold hammer-forged tube measures 24” in length and shows a 1:10” twist rate, which enables the use of heavier 30 cal bullets. During testing, I had superb results on target with both 169 and 175-grain match ammunition. The barrel shows a blacked chemical finish and runs parallel towards the laminated stock’s beavertail forend, which has a spacious barrel channel with enough clearance to free-float the tube in all circumstances.
Although the CZ 600 rifles are modular, this one specifically uses the stiffer steel action in the No.2 specification, which represents standard-length cartridges. Up top, it has four threaded holes to attach a Remington 700 pattern Picatinny rail.
The bolt has six lugs for a 60º lift to cock on opening, and the shaft has a single anti-rotation groove coupled to a right-side release catch for entire removal.
The safety catch sits recessed in the stock, behind the bolt’s tang. To operate it, simply push it down for FIRE or press it back up for SAFE by accessing it behind the trigger guard, on the underside. The bolt is locked when on SAFE but can still be operated by pressing the release catch if needed.
The bolt handle is slim and has a spherical bolt knob for fast, intuitive operation. The action feeds ammunition to the chamber from a detachable polymer magazine with a 5+1 capacity. It’s a twin-column unit so can be loaded in or out of the gun, and it also helpfully allows single rounds to be dropped through the ejection port on top of it to be cycled straight into the chamber. The mag release catch is on the underside and presses to drop the magazine into your waiting hand under its own weight. You can also lock the magazine into the rifle by sliding, rather than pressing, the magazine catch. This is a handy function, although, perhaps more so on the sporters rather than this target tool.
There is no room in the rifle market these days for poor triggers, and CZ offers one of the best. It breaks crisply in a single stage with a silver 5mm blade. There is a small Allen screw in front/above the trigger blade with a white spot on it, and this is easily accessed with an Allen key. It alters the trigger weight from 600 to 1350-grams in four stages, each of which has a repeatable click. If you want a light trigger in the summer for bare fingers, no problem, go with No.1. If you want a heavier trigger in the winter for use while wearing gloves, stages 3 or 4 are perfect. You can further refine the trigger within the stock if required, but this is really a backup for long-term maintenance over the lifetime of the rifle.
Interestingly, the bolt heads are interchangeable. Once out of the rifle and de-cocked, you can withdraw the firing pin, and then with the pressure removed from the sprung ejector, the bolt head slides out. CZ originally intended to make this a switch barrel rifle but decided to limit this to a dealer-only service to avoid user error.
Three screws clamp the barrel in place, a design similar to the Sauer 202. These are now thread locked in place, unlike the initial samples, but the system leaves me with no doubts.
It’s also worth mentioning the ejector is manual, so how far your brass is flung from the gun is based on your operation speed. It was totally reliable in use and works well with a semi-controlled-feed bolt face and single extractor claw to assure plenty of primary extraction force.
Looking at the stock in detail, both the left and right sides of the laminated forend tip show finger grooves with stippling, as well as recessed QD sling stud anchor points. There are also two conventional sling studs on the underside for a bipod, and everything is solidly anchored. Weight savings and some cooling benefits are catered for with a large cutout in the stock. This doesn’t compromise the stiffness and you can clamp the rifle in a tripod without affecting the zero. The pistol grip is virtually ambidextrous, with a slight right-hand-side palm swell, and it has a spacious reach to trigger, with a blade-to-throat length of approximately 90mm. The stippling offers a deluxe feel, and you can wrap your thumb over the grip or shoot with your thumb up.
It’s worth mentioning that when using a thumb-wrapped grip, you can lift the bolt open with a slick upward flick of your three firing hand fingers, all of which causes the least amount of disruption to the rifle’s stability.
The comb lifts 30mm from the stock without needing tools, and its slender profile fits under your cheekbone without excessive jaw displacement. A .308 rifle that weighs 4.6 kg doesn’t develop much recoil anyway, yet a subtle detail of the CZ is its ability to avoid problematic vibration transfer, and that’s partly down to the underside. I see quite a few good-looking rifle stocks, yet minor aesthetic design details can really let them down. The Range is not one of these, and as well as a hand stop, it also retains satisfactory free space behind the grip to allow movement in the rifle under recoil without hitting the back of your supporting hand. This is a serious selling point, as quite a few big names have got this very wrong. There is a short Picatinny rail on the underside of the butt, which could be used for a small monopod, however, seeing as it comes supplied with a rubber protector, it can also function as a bag rider that does not snag. The length of pull is generous at 373mm/14.7” and there is a solid, 25mm, medium/firm rubber recoil pad.
CZ offers a 0.75 MOA assurance on this rifle using match ammunition, so the first step was to see how easy that was to prove. After setup, bipod, and scope addition, plus zeroing with five rounds down the barrel, I cleaned the gun and set out to see how a potential customer with a 20-round box of ammo would fare. Well, it was very straightforward, and the first three 100m groups delivered five rounds sub ¾ MOA. This gun will shoot and if it won’t, it’s you, not the gun.
I also ran some of my favourite 168 and 175-grain .308 hand loads through it, and unusually, I lost track of which group was which, because they all met the required standard, and I didn’t have to be too particular. The 175-grain hand loads also provided single-digit extreme spreads from the 24” barrel, and when I say hand loads, these are not specifically tailored to this gun, just a reliable recipe I know is versatile and safe. On the economic side and away from CZ’s own requirements, Aguila FMJ ammunition was reasonably consistent, averaging just over 1 MOA for 20 rounds.
Within the 600 series, this rifle’s specification and material choices go hand in hand with performance on target. It shares all the great magazine and trigger features of other 600s yet excels due to the heavier target stock and barrel. It was a pleasure to shoot and didn’t need any special attention to fulfil its promises, although I would like to see it offered in a wider range of chamberings, as I fear .308 is seen as old fashioned and 6mm Creedmoor is hard to get hold of. I’m also very surprised no 6.5 Creedmoor option is currently available (according to the CZ website) on what appears to be a thoroughly well-presented design that is easy to operate, deluxe in feel, and very good value.