CZ 527 Bolt Action Rifle Chambered for the .221 Fireball

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 1st, 2008

 

 

 

CZ-USA in Kansas City, Kansas imports some of the most handsome, useful, and well-made rifles available. Most all of them feature good-looking and comfortable walnut stocks, along with barrels and receivers made from genuine polished blue steel. The CZ Model 527 is a particularly handy little rifle, using a Mauser style action with fixed ejector and claw extractor that is perfectly scaled to the diminutive cartridges for which it is chambered.

It has been just over a year since I reviewed the smaller Model 453 that was chambered for the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire cartridge. It proved to be an accurate and handy little rifle, so I was anxious to get to shoot this slighter larger Model 527. The 527, like other CZ bolt rifles, has an excellent set trigger. The trigger pull is fully adjustable for weight of pull, engagement, and overtravel. Pushing forward on the trigger places it in “set” mode, and the release is both light and crisp, contributing greatly to the practical accuracy of the weapon both at the range and in the field.

The Model 527 wears a medium weight tapered twenty-two inch barrel that is free-floated its entire length, and has no sights mounted. The rifle has a five-shot detachable box magazine. The magazine, like all of the metal parts on this rifle, is made of steel. The checkered walnut stock is of the classic straight-comb design, is equipped with sling swivel studs fore and aft, and has a synthetic rubber butt pad that fits the stock very well.

The CZ-527 reviewed here weighs in at just barely under six pounds, and is chambered for the wonderfully efficient .221 Remington Fireball cartridge. The Fireball was introduced as a pistol cartridge almost fifty years ago, but I think that in the compact CZ rifle, it has found a better home. The 527 chambered for the Fireball has a one-in-twelve inch twist. The trigger pull on the sample rifle measures three pounds, two ounces in the normal mode, and one pound, four ounces in the “set” mode. As noted earlier, it is adjustable, but I left it alone, as it suited me perfectly. I got in the habit of always firing it in the set mode, as it is a wonderful trigger to use as such.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a favorite Leupold VX-III 6.5 to 20 power target scope.

I fired the 527 for accuracy at 100 yards, and with Remington 50 grain factory ammunition, the performance was very good, grouping consistently into less than one inch, with most groups under three-quarters of an inch. Four groups were fired that measured only nine-sixteenths of an inch, with one of those pictured here, along with a five-eighths inch group. The Remington ammo averaged a velocity of 2931.2 feet-per-second (fps), with little variation. This was very consistent ammunition, and I am sure that the larger groups were my fault, as I am certainly no expert marksman, but even the largest group fired with the Remington ammunition still went into a cluster of less than one inch at 100 yards. The wonderful trigger made shooting good groups pretty easy from the bench. I rested the rifle in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest for all accuracy testing. Handloads also performed admirably. I usually reach for Barnes Varmint Grenades when testing any .22 caliber centerfire cartridge, and was anxious to try them in the 527, but they did not perform well in this particular rifle. Weighing in at only thirty-six grains, I pushed them up to speeds as high as 3567 fps out of the CZ’s barrel, but groups were in the one and one-half inch range, no matter the bullet speed. Trying Hornady 52 grain hollowpoint match bullets resulted in superb accuracy, at a velocity of 3032.1 fps clocked ten feet from the muzzle. This load used a Remington Number 7 ˝ primer and 16.7 grains of H4227 powder. Other powders that proved well-suited to the .221 Fireball were Hodgdon Lil’Gun and Accurate Arms 1680.

After accuracy testing was complete, I mounted a Leupold Compact 2 to 7 power scope, which is much better suited to the trim lines of the little 527. The CZ 527 has scope bases integral with the receiver, and comes from the factory with scope rings. However, for some reason the rings were not in the box with the test rifle, so I mounted the scopes using Warne rings which are made to fit the 527 bases. The Compact Leupold was used for field shooting with the 527, and also while shooting the rifle at the Confederate Sixgunners Association gathering near Clarksville, Arkansas. The CSA is a loosely-formed informal group that meets each Spring for a weekend of shooting and fellowship, and the little CZ 527 performed admirably. I had two boxes of Remington factory ammo left, and my good friend Chuck Smith sent most of it down range, firing at target at various ranges. Chuck is very handy with a rifle, and is a great fan of CZ rifles in general, and the trim little 452, 453, and 527 Models in particular. The controlled-round feed, detachable box magazine, classic trim lines, and set trigger endeared the rifle to all who handled it, and Chuck fell in love with the little Fireball.

CZ continues to listen to rifle shooters, and to manufacture rifles that are not just a copy of what others offer. CZ rifles fill a niche which needed filling, especially with this little Fireball. The .221 Fireball is a wonderfully efficient little cartridge that offers a lot of performance in a small package, and the CZ 527 is a rifle which is perfectly scaled to the svelte dimensions of the dandy little cartridge. It is built of blued steel and walnut by craftsmen who know what a rifle should be, is easy to use, very accurate, and priced right.

Check out the entire line of CZ rifles, shotguns, and handguns online at www.cz-usa.com.

For the location of a CZ dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER icon at www.lipseys.com.

To order the 527 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

For a detailed look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:

 

 Our friend and brother Shootist, Captain Chuck Smith, fires the CZ 527 at the Confederate Sixgunners Association shoot.

 

 

 Author used Leupold VX-III 6.5-20x scope and Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 Rifle Rest for accuracy testing.

 

 

 Leupold's 2-7x Compact scope is a perfect match for the handy 527.

 

 

 Warne rings were used to mount both scopes.

 

 

 

 

 Accuracy was excellent, as we have come to expect from CZ.

 

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 CZ 527 Bolt Action Rifle Chambered for the .221 Fireball.

 

 

Jeff found the CZ 527 to be everything he expected, and more.

 

 

 

 

 Barrel is fully free-floated.

 

 

 

 

 Set trigger pushes forward to "set".

 

 

 

 

 Magazine release is conveniently located.

 

 

 

 

Bolt release.

 

 

 

 

Mauser-style claw extractor.

 

 

 

 

Safety pushes forward for "safe" and pulls rearward to "fire".