CZ550 Production ceasing?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by CBH Australia, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    It will take a little time but the demographics will speak...

    I believe that Hogpatrol makes a very good point that has multiple implications in this discussion: demographics...

    I wish I knew how many new DG rifles are sold in the US each year, but I do not... I would not be entirely surprised if it was a lot less than many of us AH aficionados would expect...

    There certainly has been a revival of DG rifles sales in the last two decades, precisely due in great part to the wide availability of the CZ 550 in mythical calibers (.404, .416 Rigby, .500 Jeff, .505 Gibbs, etc), not to forget the newer .458 Lott, but I suspect that this was pent-up demand that could not be satisfied in the previous few decades. I agree with Hogpatrol that the likelihood for the market to see another rebound a decade or two from now is pretty slim...
    • Per my rather casual count of the CZ 550 in African calibers (.375, .416, .458) available on GunBroker today, there are still 625 new CZ 550 in the US, plus whatever number is not advertised on GunBroker, so the penury will not start "tomorrow."
    • However, I also note that apparently all the new .500 Jeffery are already gone from GunBroker. This surprises me a bit because last I checked about a month ago there were still about a dozen available.
    • It will be quite interesting from a demographics perspective to see how long it takes to sell the 625 CZ 550 still available on GunBroker today. I would not be overly surprised if the message turns out to be confusing due to:
      • On one hand: less DG buyers than most of us likely expect;
      • On the other hand: an 'upcoming penury' effect that encourages folks who have been on the fence for a long time to take the jump, or folks with upcoming projects to stock up. I know that I am personally strongly considering buying 2 x .375 for my two boys...
    • Then, it will be interesting to see what happens. I am on record in several posts predicting that the CZ 550 will acquire the same 'legend status' as the ZKK 602 did (after all, they ARE the same action), and I further expect, as the availability of CZ 550 becomes scarcer, that many folks will find quite acceptable the need to spend a couple hours or a couple hundred $$ smoothing them, when the alternative comes at 3x to 10x times the price for those who want a magnum length action for the .416 Rigby case family, and/or a true double square bridge, and/or a deep belly magazine, etc. THIS, by the way, has been my position all along when I shared what few folks knew: that the CZ 550 was used by Rigby for decades to build their $15,000 rifles before Mauser resumed the production of their magnum length action, in 1998 if memory serves...
    I personally expect that it will take a year or two (or three?) for the full effects of the CZ 550 discontinuation to show. Maybe enough were sold that there will be enough used ones for sale when prices start climbing, to satisfy the demand (?). We shall see...
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  2. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    I was having an interesting conversation over telephone today with a friend of mine who lives in the United States of America about this topic . He has hunted in Zimbabwe , in 2006 and knows far more about modern calibres than l .
    He speculated that with the discontinuing of the model 550 from CZ , the Winchester model 70 will eventually be the leading seller of control round feed configuration bolt operation rifles for the big game hunting market , once prices of used CZ rifles rise on the market .
    He made another interesting speculation .
    Many people ( professional hunters backing up clients , being a prime example ) may want something more potent than a .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre. Yet at the same time , many will tend to eschew the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . That essentially means that the .416 Remington magnum calibre will rise in popularity among those who buy model 70 rifles .
    I do not know how accurate his speculation will be . But it was an interesting speculation .
    I personally think that Winchester may introduce other large game calibres to their safari line , which are in demand from the international hunting community .
    Also , if Montana Rifle Company ( whom l know nothing about ) manages to satisfy their customer demand , then they may very well become one of the leading sellers in the market and compete directly with Winchester.
     

  3. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2019
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  4. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    An issue of length...

    What seems apparently missed quite often in the CZ 550 vs. Win 70 discussion is the issue of length.

    I am on record for extolling the virtues of the CZ double square bridge with integral scope bases (these bases will never come loose); their integral barrel boss for rear sights (these rear sights will never fall off); their barrel band front sights (these front sights too will never fall off); their large magazine capacity (5 for .375 H&H family and 4 for .416 Rigby family); of course, their true controlled round feed (CRF) design; etc. etc. but I always emphasize - because it likely IS the most distinctive advantage: their length. CZ 550 actions accept .416 Rigby family cartridges. Win 70 do not...
    • The .375 H&H is a great caliber, but it is no "stopper," period. I would expect that even the most enamored supporters of the .375 H&H would agree to THAT. So, from a professional perspective, the .375 H&H likely leaves a lot to be desired when backing clients on the big stuff.
    • Shoehorning the .458 Lott in the Win 70 is possible, but uneasy. This is likely why Winchester does not do it from the factory...
    • The .416 Remington is a great success, but those who have seen it used in Africa will tell you that you better keep a really clean chamber when it gets hot. In order to provide .416 Rigby ballistics from the much smaller necked-up .375 H&H case, the .416 Remington operates at the very ragged edge of acceptable pressures, and extraction can get sticky...
    So, the Win 70, Kimber Caprivi, etc. i.e. "standard length" actions CANNOT offer what the CZ 550 is offering: true magnum length, hence the ability to be chambered in a low pressure .416, or all the big .45 cal and .50 cal

    Montana Rifle Company (MRC) certainly offers a full magnum length action, the so-called PH action. Reviews were decidedly mixed under the previous ownership. New ownership came in July 2018 and is reportedly making a number of changes. Good! The MRC PH would be the logical "affordable" replacement for the magnum length CZ 550, but it costs about twice as much... Some folks may also not appreciate the fact that it is cast instead of forged. Opinions will differ on that...

    I do indeed suspect, as Kawshik Rahman speculated earlier, that when the CZ 550 goes, the popularity of the .416 Rigby, .505 Gibbs, .450 Rigby, etc. (all cartridges that need a magnum length action) will drop again.

    We may just go back to the 1950's to 90's when the .458 Win was the best seller DG cartridge. After all, with modern loads and bullets it is certainly adequate enough. The Olin powder compressed loads issue from the 1950's & 60's have long passed from reality to legend to myth... Although some will likely never turn the page and will prefer the .416 Rem...
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  5. Hunter4752001

    Hunter4752001 AH Veteran

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    What is missing from this discussion is official input from CZ (the home company in the Czrch Republic). Their previous documents have announced the that the standard length CZ550s have been replaced by a newer action however I haven't seen any announcement about them ceasing the Magnum length 550 action. Their current website not only still lists the Magnum 550 but also appears to have increased the number of chamberings. Not what you'd expect if they were simply using up their old stock of actions and barrels prior to discontinuance

    The marketing strategies of their overseas agents may give a distorted picture. It is likely that the US company believes they can generate better profits by funneling limited sales into the custom end of the market. In Australia, Olin Corp is the CZ agent and are conflicted by also being the agent for Browning, Steyr, and Winchester. In addition they have a management that lets just say "doesn't leave a feeling of confidence".
     
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  6. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    One day
    Thank you so much for your indepth explanation . As l understand it then , re- barelling a Winchester model 70 to use a cartridge like the " .500 Jeff " or similar is unlikely to be seen by many , as a viable option .
    I suspect that many of the calibres used predominantly by CZ will now only be available through custom rifles ( which are certainly more expensive and out of reach of many hunters ) .
    In regards to Winchester model 70 rifles , l speculate the following :
    80 % of client hunters will get the .375 Holland and Holland magnum variant . I did a round count of forum members here for one of my previous articles and , with the exception of THREE members , EVERY MEMBER agreed that it is the gold standard of cartridges and leaves nothing to be desired , for a client's use.
    My own personal experience with this calibre from my time as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970 also shows the same. 75 % of my clients would come to India with a .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre rifle .
    Let us now go to professional hunters who invariably need something bigger , because unlike clients , they are not afforded the luxury of picked shots , when a wounded animal is charging .
    Considering how unforgiving most forum members are over here towards the. 458 Winchester magnum cartridge ( my round count here showed that only ten forum members here are passionate advocates of this cartridge ) , l , like you , also wonder if it actually ever could regain any popularity .
    A sad reality in life is that most people always look at the down sides of something ( here , a rifle calibre ) and pay little attention to it's virtues ( though , in the case of the .458 Winchester magnum , l am certain that they have their reasons ) . Thus , l do doubt if the .458 Winchester magnum calibre will ever regain it's popularity like the 1950s decade .
    Hence , l believe that the professional hunter who cannot afford a bespoke rifle , will either :
    a ) Opt for a .416 Remington magnum calibre model 70
    b) Purchase a model 70 and have it re-barrelled and modified to use .458 Lott cartridges .

    I also believe that this would apply for resident hunters in Africa , who l am told , do not some times have a professional Hunter to back them up.

    Of course , l have not taken Montana Rifle Company into consideration when making this speculation. Since l know nothing about their quality , l will let the more learned members comment on that. .
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  7. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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  8. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    This is fundamentally true. Thank you Hunter4752001 for this obvious but un-mentioned point...

    Until and unless CZ makes an official announcement all of this is speculation...

    I do not doubt the person who informed me, and this person is as close to the issue as can be, but one cannot eliminate the possibility of a false rumor by CZ, including to their own direct & indirect team, designed to prop up sales based on an "impending penury."

    This would not be the first time in human history that organized or perceived upcoming penury is used to manipulate markets, however justified or unjustified (the AR 15 market boom in the US in the months following Barrack Obama's election comes to mind), and if the disappearance of CZ 550 in .500 Jeff from GunBroker over the last few months/weeks is a sign, this would be effective again.

    In addition, I also observe that used .404 Jeffery CZ 550 have doubled in price (selling now for more than they did when new) since CZ stopped producing them, but this did not mean that the CZ 550 was withdrawn in more popular calibers (.375 H&H, .416 Rigby, .458 Lott, etc.)...

    My first post in this thread confirmed that I too heard about this, from a source I consider very credible, but even very credible sources can be manipulated...

    We shall see...

    Agreed, dear respected Friend. I believe that this bout of rational thinking is likely beyond the reach of most...

    Actually I tried. My latest one is in .300 Weatherby, the ultimate do-anything plains game rifle with two 130 gr TTSX and a 180 gr TTSX loads.
    Could not find one available CZ 550 action! Everything was "special order" and no one would guarantee that the order would be delivered. I ended up having Triple River build it. ETA imminent...
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  9. nksmfamjp

    nksmfamjp AH Veteran

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    I like to think that the CZ550 line was pulled off the shelves so we could all save up our pennies for the “B” model!

    I would like to see it reintroduced with a real effort in the area of slicking it up, improving the bolt handle (straight, but curved out and a slightly bigger ball), adding a 3 position bolt safety, modern machining for a more true receiver and a new 3lb trigger that is not a set trigger. Additionally, I would like to see their stock pattern move closer to the M70. Just “hopes and dreams” for now!
     
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  10. CBH Australia

    CBH Australia AH Fanatic

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    I hope you are on to something!
    Browning done that with the A Bolt
     

  11. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Regarding the availability and pricing of the CZ 550 in 404 Jeffery. When I was looking for one several years ago I discovered that CZ offered this caliber as a standard in 2010 only. For years prior to that and or afterwards
    404(s) were only available through their Custom Shop i.e. Triple River Gunsmithing. These guns were at least double the price of the "production" model prior to any upgrades. BTW when I was looking, I never found one of the 2010 "production" models available on Gunbroker or elsewhere.
     

  12. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    I spoke to the CZ girl at our recent Shot Show and she admitted that the rumour is true. However, she claimed that they are doing this because the tooling for those rifles was very old and needed to be scrapped; but that big-bore production would resume when a new actionis got up.

    The production of CZ 550's with new tooling may already be under way ...snip ...

    Fit and finish on both rifles is much better than any of the older CZ 550's I have had; these are really nice, good looking, well made rifles

    Maybe there is hope.
     
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  13. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    This website won’t allow me to add the link. It is at 24 Hour Campfire under “Express Rifles and Big Bores Only”.


     
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