CZ 527 was a part of the CZ portfolio since 1990 and despite being discontinued lately it is still a very popular choice for those looking for a lightweight, accurate and reliable bolt action hunting rifle. Let’s have a look at how it all started.
Even though the production of CZ 527 officially started at the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century, the history goes much deeper.
Shortly after the end of World War 2 Zbrojovka Brno (ZB), the famous arms manufacturer that gave the world, apart from other legendary weapons, ZB 26 machine guns, began to work on a brand new compact hunting rifle.
ZB had plenty of experience with Mauser-style rifles as it was producing the licensed variants of the legendary Gewehr 98 for the Czechoslovak army since the early 1920s. On top of that the task to create a new addition to their hunting portfolio was given to Josef and František Koucký, the famous firearms designers responsible for some of the biggest successes of the Czechoslovak firearms industry including the CZ 75 pistol.
The result was ZKW 465 chambered initially in 5,6x35R Vierling later modified to accept the then-popular .22 Hornet caliber.
Due to delimitations in the ZB portfolio, ZKW 465 Hornet production was transferred to the CZ factory in Uherský Brod in 1967.
After 9.205 rifles were assembled in Uherský Brod ZKW 465 Hornet was replaced by a modernized ZKB 680 Fox chambered in the new .222 Remington. This cartridge offered more energy than the .22 Hornet, however, the demand for its predecessor was still high and so CZ decided to offer ZKB 680 in the earlier caliber as well.
The production of the „Fox“ model ended in 1989 with a decent result of 33.988 rifles built. Fortunately for the hunting community, it did not end entirely, it was replaced by a refreshed model CZ 527 which has become the „fixed star“ of the CZ product catalogs up until 2021.
So what were the benefits of CZ 527 making it so popular among hunters worldwide? The Mauser action would most probably be the key. It is simple, firm, safe, and versatile for the vast majority of hunting calibers including the powerful ones like .458 Winchester or .416 Rigby used in the larger siblings of CZ 527.
The smooth action of CZ 527 is not the only benefit, however. The wide variety of versions and calibers was the main selling point of the series. As you can tell, the hunter in Australia will face quite a different game than the American or European one. He or she may also have different requirements in terms of the barrel profile, length, weight, or shape of the stock.
CZ had something for anyone beginning with traditional calibers like the already mentioned .22 Hornet and .222 Remington through the military style rounds like 7,62×39 and .223 Remington all the way to the very up-to-date 6,5 Grendel or 300 Blackout. And that is just a short list of choices you had with CZ 527.
Do you wish for a polymer stock version with a Varmint-style barrel? Sure, why not! Are you more traditional? The Lux version with Turkish Walnut stock and fixed sights is here for you. Are you a left-handed shooter? No problem, there was a left-handed version too.
The brand-new trigger mechanism was offered in a standard form as well as with a set trigger. The portfolio included both a German-style double-set version with two trigger blades and a more popular French-style single-set variant.
The pinnacle of the CZ 527 series was the beautiful CZ 527 Ebony Edition.
Even though CZ 527 series was discontinued in 2021 in favor of the newer CZ 600 series it remains a loyal companion of thousands of hunters worldwide.
Author: Jakub Ondrušek
- David Pazdera – Legenda Jménem CZ