CZ550 Safari SCORE!

One Day...

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Thank you for the kind words fourfive8 and ZG47 :)

B&C on ZKK

I do BELIEVE RTG that the Bell & Carlson American Safari is a drop-in for the ZKK 602 and that the American Sporter is a drop-in for the ZKK 601, but I have never done it myself so I will not affirm it.

I owned my ZKK 601 and 602 in Europe in the late 1970's and only had CZ 550 (American i.e. standard length, and Magnum) after I moved to the US in the 1980's.

My suggestion would be to call B&C and ask, they may know for sure, and to buy the stocks and check them carefully, and return them if they do not fit.

A little more on smoothing ZKK and CZ

There is a long-standing belief that the ZKK were a lot smoother than the CZ, but in my experience, this is not always - although often - the case.

Undoubtedly, it seems that after the collapse of the Iron Curtain when Brno re-branded itself to CZ, the profit incentive drove them to reduce/remove the manual deburring operation of all the small parts. This was clearly a mistake, and it created the CZ bad reputation over the ZKK.

However, even the ZKK can be quite rough when the action on a rifle happens to have been manufactured toward the end of a production run, when the cutting tools were reaching end of life. I have seen night & day differences between both ZKK and CZ actions that were apparently machined with fresh cutting tools and others that were apparently machined with dull cutting tools.

The luck of the draw was/is critical regarding whether a factory ZKK or CZ is smooth or rough...

Regarding action smoothness, following the 6 bulleted steps I indicated in my previous post will eliminate the machining burrs and swollen lips. The objective is simple, and the test is also simple: no edge on any part must be able to scratch the top of a nail when dragged against it. The edges MUST remain square, but they must be mirror polished to perfect smoothness.

The final step is to coat liberally the bolt and the inside of the action with valve grinding compound, EXCEPT in the locking lugs recess, and sit in front of a movie cycling the action endlessly for 2 hours. The results are simply amazing.

As to feeding smoothness, as previously indicated in my previous post, the ZKK and CZ .375 H&H have a near perfect geometry of feeding rails and ramp, so these MUST NOT be reshaped by excessive material removal. However, tooling marks are something different.

If one runs their nail on the underside edge of the feeding rails that hold the cartridges in the magazine, one easily feels the tooling marks. These are generally visible too on the brass after feeding. Using sandpaper 300 grit dry, then 400 dry, then 400 with a drop of oil, held on a small flat block (never polish with paper on the tip of a soft finger, it will always result in an irregular wavy surface) and polishing until these edges are mirror smooth will result in incredibly effortless and 100% reliable feeding.

When you do this, also check the feeding WITH THE ACTUAL AMMO YOU INTEND TO USE ON DG. A rifle feeding perfectly conical bullets may jam with the newer flat meplat solids. This is not a big deal, even 1950's Holland & Holland or Rigby do not feed such bullets, and it is easy to fix. Look which square edge blocks the bullet as it comes up from the magazine into the chamber, and round this edge.

When all this is done, touch up the bluing of the edges you have smoothed (Birchwood Casey Super Blue works well for these small touches), and it is a nice touch when you have $100 floating around to get the bolt and extractor jeweled...

ZKK / CZ value: a diamond in the rough...

Many have decried the above and argued that they should not have to do themselves the finishing work of a new rifle. They are certainly right!

However, my take as always been different: I have always happily spent $700 and a few hours to transform a rough CZ into the FUNCTIONAL equivalent - I certainly admit that it is not the aesthetic equivalent - to a $15,000 British or German custom DG rifle.

The CZ value is simply extraordinary, i.e. out of the ordinary, for those willing to add to the $1,000 - $1,500 for a CZ 550, another $700 - $1,000 (typically an AHR Upgrade #1). Sure, they do not get a Rigby or an original Magnum Mauser, but they do not spend $15,000 either............................

As already mentioned, keep in mind that Rigby of London themselves, as well as many premier American custom gun makers (Griffin & Howe, Craig Libhart, etc.) have used the ZKK/CZ action to build their rifles during the long decades when the Mauser Magnum action was out of production from the 1950's to 1990's. This is no faint praise...

The cost / benefit analysis is what held me to the CZ, until I recently moved to the Blaser R8 for the ease of bringing 3 calibers to Africa in a gun case that meets the maximum 62" linear size and 50 lbs. airlines requirements.

I still recommend it as the basis for likely the best "affordable DG rifle." Once upgraded and tuned up for less than $1,000 it stands head and shoulder above the competition that may be a little slicker off the factory but cannot match a long list of features such as true magnum length (i.e. .416 Rigby class capable); double square bridge; steel bottom; belly drop high-capacity magazine; integral rear sight base; barrel band front sight; etc.

Here is my own CZ 550 .375 H&H. Lord knows I have come to love my Blaser R8 .375 H&H, but I will always love my CZ...

CZ 550 .375 H&H.jpg

CZ 550 .375 H&H upgraded and tuned up. The best "affordable DG rifle" in my opinion, that well deserve its Leica scope.
 
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Bigugly

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@Bigugly check guns international.com they have several of them up there not sure what caliber you're looking for
I found what i was looking for.....the .375 H&H. I was surprised as to finding one still new in the box. i would have taken a .416 too if i would have found one.
 

Louis Toadvine

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Congrats, you have yourself a fantastic rifle. Good suggestions from the others as well.

I bought a 550 in 375H&H with a Euro hogback stock seven years ago. Shot it terribly. Liked the look, but the fit was not good, factory trigger squishy, etc. I got a straight American stock and an upgrade from AHR and it transformed the gun. I shoot it confidently now and it has accounted for a number of animals. Even walked it out to 500 yards on steel in four shots after getting on paper at 25 with a new scope. It's a ringer.

If you can shoot the hogback stock - great. But I could not, especially not with optics (that fit is better suited to iron only).

I'll also chime in on Matrix - they are working on a gun for me currently that I picked up here. Don't have the rifle back in my hands yet, but I have to say that their customer service is excellent. Jerry has been responsive to my (many) questions and also kept me updated on their progress. That alone puts him ahead of many I've used in the past.
 

ZG47

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I find that very interesting. I’d love for you to elaborate.
Building and repairing light vehicle bridges. Erecting Bailey bridges, Medium Girder Bridges (MGB) and Aluminium Foot Bridges (tactical pontoon bridges); for exercises and Open Days. Erecting Bailey bridges as temporary diversion bridges for public works projects. Military demolition training. Building culverts, Irish crossings, adventure playgrounds, bunkers, etc. Drilling and blasting for aggregate to build a concrete slab for the school on Pitt Island, Chatham Islands. Drilling and blasting to improve farm access. Blasting to create culverts and for other civil aid work. Watermanship training in IRBs, assault boats and the Light Tactical Raft (LTR) on lakes, in rivers, in salt water harbours and along the sea coast. All Arms Training and various Engineer training in mining, demining, boobytraps, high risk search. Driver training (obviously) in Landrover Series III V8s (which had far sloppier steering than the Series IIA 88” and 109” Rovers) and Unimogs. NBCD training and other bits that I have probably forgotten about. Training in leadership and instruction.

We had the advantage of being trained by TF SNCOs and Warrant Officers who had served in Malaya and carried out munitions (WW2) disposal in Guadalcanal; plus RF JNCOs, SNCOs, Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers who had either started out as Regular Force Cadets or had joined the Infantry to do a tour in Singapore and then changed over to RNZE. It was a good way of learning All Arms skills and getting honest information, instead of the outright PC lies that were being taught to brand new RF Junior Commissioned Officers.
 

Nhoro

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Lots has been said above that is valid. I polished up my own cz so pm me if you choose that route. I did a thread here on my work. You need to get the rifle bedded- the main recoil lug is backed by a little glued in plastic pathetic thing and bed the front barrel lug too. I think all wood stocks need bedding on big bores but the cz stupid little plastic thing make it necessary right away.
 

Shootist43

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I put Warne QD rings on my CZ 550 and my BRNO ZKK 602. Heed the advice on polishing up the action and the three- position safety. These things are truthfully "diamonds in the ruff," with a little TLC they will bring nothing but smiles to your face.
 

MS 9x56

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LOL, yes i may have to do that......... Both the rifle and the scope purchase were incredible buys. You never know what some of these bigger shops have until you do a little digging........
They call that Lady Luck and she planted a big smackeroo on you. Don’t use it all up before your safari though.
 

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