THE CZ-527 7.62x39mm
by Paco Kelly

photography by Paco Kelly

November 25th, 2003




Ceskoslovenska-Zbrojovka is the whole name CZ stands for. The confusion with the name Brno comes from the name of the city the factory was first situated in.  The company was the Austro-Hungarian Armament Co. in Bruno Czechoslovakia.  After a series of names, in 1924 it was named Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka A.S.,  which simply means Czechoslovakian Arms Factory Ltd. the rifles built by them from 1924 on till the 1980s had the name Brno in the markings, both military and civilian. It is just recently that the company went back to the CZ name and markings, dropping Brno.

CZ’s latest caliber rifle is going to be a real sleeper; small, compact, powerful for it’s size and very alluring.  How did it come about? Starting way back after WW2,  in 1940's through the 1960s a few civilian small sized Mauser type actions floated into the U.S., along with the great flood of military rifles, mostly Mausers, that hit our shores from Europe. These were in very small commercial calibers of the 1930s that were popular in Europe, and the actions over here caught the name mini-Mausers.  They were snapped up as fast as they showed themselves.... many never even made it to public offering, being taken out of the rest of the used military Mausers, by those handling the imports and sold at premium prices, or kept for themselves.

These were small compact rifles, and at the top of the mass production market in quality with barrels from 16 to 20 inches, and that’s why in part, a good number of them were restricted from entering the U.S.  At that time in our history, the Federal gun laws stated rifle barrels for centerfire cartridges had to be 18 inches or greater.  Brno was the name they came in under, and for years after the 1950s, rumors  flourished that the mini-Mausers were still being sold in Europe. 

The first one I bought was in 1970, chambered for the .222 case head sizes.  Mine was a .223 and it was sweet. The actions were made in Brno, and entering the U.S. in small numbers, mine came through Canada.   And in a moment of crazy trading in the middle 1970s, mine went out of my life for a new siren song, one that I can’t even remember.

After all those years from the Second World War to the 1990s, when only small amounts and scattered examples of their existence were  showing up here and there... suddenly CZ in the early 1990s started importing them into the U.S. in the .222 case head size chamberings, under the model number 527.  The early ones were rough in their actions, but still were pretty rifles, clip type magazines and all.   Then about a year ago when I was searching for a 7.62x39mm chambered bolt action and purchased a Ruger 77... I received much E-Mail stating that CZ was now chambering their small action for that round.  A number of calls to Kansas City (CZ’s U.S. Distributors), netted only that the rifles were being produced, but not yet for the U.S. market.

But that changed some time this year, and the rifles were cataloged on CZ’s web site (  My local gun shop located one for me, and the price was $450.   Suggested retail was over $550.  It took four long days of waiting for it to arrive.

The rifle that came was the ‘Prestige’ model 527 in 7.62x39mm.  It has a 18˝ inch barrel on the ‘mini-mauser’ action with very deep dark and lustrous blue... but it doesn’t stop there.  The wood is a very nice piece of walnut, cut to what the Europeans think is our American taste in design.  But it has their continental design hints all through it, with excellent hand checkering, and fit and finish is very close to perfect.  The barrel has open sights that are drift rear, and elevation front adjustable.  I have found that CZ’s rifles that have open sights, have some of the best made on the market today.   Our lever action producers could learn a vital lesson from them.

One of the great things CZ carried over from the 1930s model ‘mini-Mauser’ is the set trigger.  Yes, this 527 has a single set trigger.  Un-set, mine breaks at under four pounds... and set, it goes off clean at one pound even.  The overall feeling I get every time I lift this rifle to my shoulder is... this whole rifle is miniature, which of course it is not.  But the shorter barrel added to the small action, with the bolt and safety a size that fits the rest, gives that feeling.  And does it shoot! 

“Mine eyes grow older” says an old back woodsman I know. He is also describing mine.  So, when I shoot a one-inch group at fifty yards using the open sights with Wolf Ammo, I know the rifle is very accurate.  The only nit I can find is.... the rifle takes odd-size scope rings.  It is of square bridge base design, that takes a strangely-sized tip off set of rings.  If you are thinking about buying one of these rifles order the rings with it.  o I can’t give 100 and 200 yard accuracy till I get it ‘scoped.

Two reasons to buy this rifle....

1. It is an excellent choice for a new shooter, a youngster or someone who can’t take recoil.  It will take deer out to 200 yards or so, and they can practice diligently without busting the piggy bank. Because commercial ammo is that cheap.   A round of non-reloadable, non-corrosive ammo, is cheaper than the cost of just a jacketed bullet you would use to reload.

2. And that is the second reason.  I already reload for 17 calibers...ugh!  I need one rifle and ammo I can just grab and head for the woods. A small, light and compact rifle that has good power for woods and brush hunting that won’t tire me toting it around. Cheap but accurate ammo with soft nose or hollow pointed bullets and throw away brass (really mild steel). It being absolutely fast handling and beautiful is an added plus.  It doesn’t get any better than this..... 

CZ’s 527 in 7.62 x 39 mm 


Ed. Note: Check out CZ's web site: Along with more info on CZ's product line, the site features a Dealer Locator to help you find a dealer near you.

Boge Quinn

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