There are just few thing that make me smile more than hearing shot go off from a good rifle. One of them is bigger boom from bigger rifle. My ZKK 600 in 9,3×62 Mauser does just that. I have been looking for big bore addition to my .270 Winchester for some time. Few months ago, opportunity had risen and I did not resist the urge go buy freshly re-barrelled rifle for 350 €. Price seems ridiculously low. It was not as low when I came across it, but I managed to haggle and obviously haggled well!
ZKK 600 is just great Mauser style bolt action rifle. It is very popular among hunters & PHs in Europe and Africa, due to its durability, reliability, price and great choice of calibers. You can get ZKK in 3 action lengths marked by number. 601 is short action which was used for calibers like .223 Rem, .308 or .243 Win. Bigger brother is hidden under code 600. This medium length action is able to accommodate anything from 7×57 Mauser to 9,3×62. And then, if you find 9,3×62 inadequate for some very strange reason, you may gear up and take magnum length action with model number 602. This one is long enough to accommodate .375 H&H or .416 Rigby anytime. And does so with great results.
Main construction features are Mauser Style bolt, with dual locking lugs. As it goes with all Mauser style actions, it is control fed system. This means that bullet attaches itself to the bolt face as soon as it leaves magazine. Great feature for dangerous game hunting, as you are eliminating possible jams in case you are not able to close the bolt fully and for some reason (tripping over branch while retreating) manage to pull the bolt handle back.
Also, there are no ejector springs, since ejection is simply matter of ramming back of the case against fixed metal plunger. The faster you cycle, the better it works. This makes system very simple, easy to maintain and as result very reliable.
ZKK rifles have two standard trigger levers. One is straight, quite unique construction. It is something I would label as dual function trigger. Here in Europe, it is called set trigger and it used to be very popular option with hunters. From visual point of view, it is very similar to what you find on Savage AccuTrigger, however the central part of trigger is used only if you decide to engage set trigger feature. To activate, you must push the trigger forward. After this simple operation, you get something that might be called hair trigger. One on my father’s rifle – ZKK 601 in .308 Win – breaks at about 400 grams. That is very light trigger pull. If you decide to disengage set trigger and you want to do so without firing, you need to engage the safety and pull the trigger. It is simple as that.
Standard profile (curved) trigger is available without set function only. With my rifle, it brakes at about 1.2 kilograms, which is great on its own and just little bit less than my father’s ZKK without set trigger engaged.
The only downside of trigger construction on ZKK – except for the straight contour which is not favored by everybody – is the fact that trigger lever is actually part of the bottom plate assembly and trigger guard. Thus in case you want to secure 100% repeatability of trigger pull and feel, you need to glass / pillar bed both action and floor plate.
Trigger-wise, my ZKK 600 went through minor upgrade which I appreciate, since I like the set trigger feature, but do not like the straight contour on the trigger. My 600 has trigger lever from CZ 537. It allows me to join two features I like – set hair trigger and curved contour on the lever. Set trigger is great if you hunt from blind and need to take longer shot. Also in case you enjoy hitting shooting range often and checking how far your rifle can reach. Over all I like to construction, especially taking into account the age of both rifles I was able to test – well over 25 years.
Part of trigger mechanism is two position external safety lever. It works exactly the same as any CZ 550 safety, just in reverse. If you move the safety forward you lock the bolt, trigger and firing pin, if you pull it backwards, you are ready to cycle the bolt or fire. Next similarity with CZ 550 is scope mounting system. Since it is once again the same as you find on any CZ 550, scope mounts for 550 will to the job just fine. It is exactly the same system and it has proved itself as very simple and reliable. However, if you choose to buy one piece mount, be careful and take into consideration different action lengths.
When it comes to aesthetics, Walnut sock with white spacers always pleases my eye. Monte Carlo profile is nice to look at and makes target acquisition through iron sights very easy. However, especially with more powerful calibers I personally prefer simpler straight stock which makes managing recoil easier. Nevertheless, that is always matter of personal preference and you can hardly take that as negative on any rifle.
I already mentioned that the rifle is very reliable. Furthermore, it shoots very well. Both ZKKs and their 60 cm/24 inch barrels are Sub MOA rifles!!! .308 barrel has faster than usual twist rate – 1:10, thus it is able to stabilize heavier bullets very well. It is performing very good with 180 grain Nosler Partition factory loads by Sellier&Bellot. 600 in 9,3×62 likes GECO PLUS with 255 grain bullets. However it seems to be working well with Prvi Partizan 285 grain SP bullets, as well as with FMJs by SAKO. Nevertheless, Nosler Partition and Geco Plus are great bullets, well suited for variety of European game – from roe to boar, as I like to say! 🙂 They are also easy to obtain and not overly expensive.
Both barrels are 60 cm / 24 Inch, thus you are not loosing any energy or speed whatsoever. This makes them very good all around rifles. Muzzle blast and recoil is very manageable even with 9,3. However you have to be ready to counter muzzle rise due to stock profile as I mentioned earlier.
Currently, I am looking for next ZKK 601 action. I would like to build .243 Win Long Range/Varmint rifle out of it as I believe that this might be a great platform. I was motivated by very nice longrange.sk project which looks like this.
Overall, ZKK series makes great hunting rifle. Choice of calibers is great and many gunsmiths, especially in Europe know these rifles very well. They seem to be reliable and accurate and thanks to the fact that CZ 550 adopted many of its predecessor’s features, there are no issues when you try to get your hands on scope mounts and other essential parts. Furthermore, Brno Arms / CZUB always tended to use faster twist rates, and that is great if you like to use higher B.C. or sectional density bullets which tend to stabilize better. This means that if you are willing to do glass bedding and little work on trigger, you can get very decent medium range rifle out of ZKKs.