My ol’ (Brno) rifle..
Many of you – hunters quite enjoy shooting as much as hunting itself. It is only logical, since in most of the cases, we are using our rifles, bows, crossbows, pistols, revolvers, shotguns… (OK you definitely get me now! :)) … to humanely dispatch the game. Anti-hunters may argue, that we are just trigger happy and blood thirsty killers, but for me, it is the other way around. I like to shoot, and one of my top reasons to spent so much time learning about firearms, ammo, ballistics and at the shooting range is very straightforward. I want to be ready when the moment comes and I want to be able to kill the animal in most humanly possible way. Yes, I am 100% convinced that it is OK to harvest and eat animals, but I can do as little as that to do it in a way which is not unnecessarily unpleasant and painful.
For that reason (and many more), I am in love with my rifles. I really treat them in a way that make my girlfriend jealous. She even claimed once that “she would be happy if I would treat her as my rifles in the future”… Yes, she is overreacting a bit, but she has a point. Each time I am back from the forest, I check the rifle exterior, barrel, magazine and even wood. Just for the sake of longevity and reliability. With this approach, I can be 100% sure, that when I pull that trigger, the rifle is going to do exactly what I expect it to do.
But to the point. Currently I own two amazing bolt action rifles made by Zbrojovka Brno (today known as well established Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod or as CZ-USA overseas). One of those ol’ pieces is as old as I am and the other even older. Nevertheless both shoot with amazing accuracy and look about as good as they shoot. Actions are smooth and feed reliably. And that Mauser claw extractor just knows how to throw that spent casing a very LOOOOOOOONG way. So here they are! My ZKK 600 in 9,3×62 Mauser (TOP) and CZ 537 in .270 Win (BOTOM).
Some of you may start claiming that ZKK 600 on the top is not original ZKK 600 in 9,3×62 Mauser. And you are 100% correct. It is definitely missing prominent features of slightly “swelled” rifle stock, which is a feature necessary to accommodate magazine big enough, that five 9,3×62 cartridges can fit into it. Original caliber of this rifle was 7×57 and it went through re-barrelling with original CZ barrel after an unfortunate accident of previous owner which left barrel full of pitting and slightly bent.. (Do not ask me what the hell did he do with it, I was not able to get the answer myself).. As you can see, rifle has original stock and is in very good condition now. However, there is small downside to this type of rebuild. Since original magazine liner meant for 7×57 is considerably smaller than original ZKK 600 “swelled” magazine, it can accommodate only 3 cartridges of 9,3 now. Luckily, there are some replacement parts on the way from CZ Uhersky Brod factory, so I am pretty sure that I will be able to boost its capacity to 4 or maybe even 5 rounds soon enough. But why I do like it so much? ZKK 600 is rifle of amazing quality and 9,3×62 Mauser is something I would call beast anchor – throwing 285 grain bullets downrange at 2300 fps or 700 m/s. Get these two together and you just have 1000 if not more reasons to fall in love…
ZKK’s younger sibling CZ 537 is made about as well as predecessor. It is something of a crossbreed between modern line of CZ 550/527 and older models. Just to point out – 537 series were the first rifles made in Uherský Brod which benefited from CNC machining. That helped to make little bit cheaper and even more precise. I somehow regret not taking pictures of my targets at 100 meters, but I will do it soon. For now you will have to believe me, that this rifle is capable of shooting sub MOA groups with cheap factory ammo. The only “adjustment” which I needed to make on both of my rifles to improve the accuracy was opening up barrel channel to remove any points of contact and make the barrel free floating.
Also .270 Win is just about as amazing as 9,3×62. It is very easy to shoot with its little to none recoil. This Winchester cartridge shoots very flat up to 200 meters and what is more – even in Europe and especially countries like Slovakia, where coming across quality ammo may be an issue, you can get whole lot of good quality loads with bullets ranging from 100 to 154 grains. I tend to use bullets within 130-150 grain range myself. 537 is topped with equally well build Meopta Artemis 2100 3-12×50 RD scope which makes it ideal for low light conditions.
When it comes to aesthetics, both rifles are stunning. CZ 537’s Bavarian style stock was touched up by local craftsman who managed to carve very nice fish scale pattern to improve grip and ZKK’s original stock with Monte Carlo profile, decent quality Walnut and white liner spacers always please my eye.
Detail of the CZ 537 action and Meopta Artemis 2100 rifle scope (notice obvious signs of extensive use on the scope mount and scope itself as well):
Brno Arms – CZ 537, .270 Win
Since my ZKK’s trigger was “tuned up” little bit while being re-barrelled, I have the same trigger mechanism (one from CZ 537) on both rifles. This type of trigger is called set trigger and you can either use it as regular trigger which is right about 1200 grams on both rifles. If you want to get less resistance, you can use hair trigger feature, which can be activated by pushing trigger lever forward. Triggers on both rifles when set trigger is activated break at about 300 grams!! That is what I call very light trigger pull. So usually I do not even feel a need to use it in the field. Nevertheless it is very nice feature when you are out at the range punching paper at 200+ meters. Also anybody who has ZKK rifle with set trigger knows, how much that straight trigger sucks. So I am pretty glad about this minor trigger upgrade.
Detail of the trigger mechanism and magazine of CZ 537:
With this, I am ending my intro about two of my favorite rifles. There is definitely more to tell, but I will be writing more detailed review about both of them very soon (when I get the chance to hit the range and take pictures of some targets). Also I will throw in little bit of information about buying used guns – what to look for and how to get the price right.
I will also prepare an article about other gun I have privilege to hunt with – BRNO 502. It is amazing under over with 3 sets of barrels in .222 Rem/12 Gauge, .243 Win/12 Gauge and 12 gauge/12 gauge configuration. This makes the rifle very universal and suitable for pretty much anything that lives in my home country. But 502 deserves article on its own..
Cheers and have a nice day.
… BRNO 502 Teaser: