picked up my first big bore today

matt85

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after extensive waiting (don't buy from budsguns!) my rifle finally showed up! a fine CZ 550 American safari in 375 H&H which im hoping will serve me well in my future hunts.

this is the first magnum rifle ive owned and while ive fired a few medium bore magnums (mostly 300 win mag) that belonged to friends, ive never dealt with a rifle this powerful (excluding a 50bmg of course). the closest big bore I have to compare this to is a 45-70 gov loaded with a 510gr cast bullets and 70grs of 2f black powder. needless to say im very excited to get to the range! ive got a variety of cartridges loaded up from light loads of 225gr bullets at the low end load to heavy loads of 300gr bullets at upper mid range loads (nothing near max of course). I bought a leupold VX-R 2-7x33 scope along with some warne quick detach rings but I think my first range trip will strictly be iron sights to get me used to the recoil and movement of the rifle.

things i like about the gun:

1. it shoulders well and seems well balanced.
2. the wood is actually decent looking, nothing to write home about but suitable. (ive seen CZs with some ugly wood)
3. the trigger is actually pretty smooth which is a shock cause other CZ rifles ive owned and used have pretty rough trigger pulls.
4. 6 round capacity! how many other bolt guns hold 6 rounds of 375 H&H?
5. it has a single set trigger which i always consider to be a huge bonus and make extensive use of set triggers when they are available. (even when hunting, for the first shot)
6. express sights... no DG rifle is complete without them.

this im not fond of:

1. its heavy! 9.5 pounds unloaded is nothing to sneeze at and im sure during my hikes i will wish it was lighter. according to my bathroom scale: the rifle with 6 rounds, rings, and a scope weighs 12 pounds!
2. the wood work around the barrel is lacking. the stock presses against the barrel at the for-end and on the left side. i suppose this isn't a huge problem since i plan on having it bedded.
3. it came with a sticky bolt, this is a common problem with all CZ bolt guns and it does go away with use but it still bugs me.

overall im happy with the rifle. it may not win any beauty or weight contests but it will be a rugged durable gun that will likely be very accurate (most CZs are). a simple solution i have to the action break in is to dip the bolt in CLP then cycle the action 100 times with upward pressure on the bolt and 100 times with downward pressure on the bolt this only takes about 10 minutes and greatly reduces the bolt sticking. id offer pics but my camera is on the fritz at the moment so it will have to wait for another day.

on a side note, is there any place i can find some decent instructions on the proper stance for shooting rifles with heavy recoil? ive been told that the normal rifle stance will lead to unnecessary pain that can easily be avoided by using a different stance/hold.

thanks for reading
-matt
 

Royal27

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Congrats!!!

I have the same rifle and love it!!! A couple of comments:

I would go ahead and send the rifle back in to CZ - their customer service is great and they will make the rifle right. This is what I did. I had the same pressure on the fore stock and the rifle grouped decent at best. After the work they did it is now a tack driver. My trigger also has a little creep and they adjusted it. It is now one of the best triggers I own. This was all done for free, including shipping both ways. As well as my rifle shoots there is no need for a bedding job, which is what I was originally going to do, too.

You're right on the bolt. Mine was so rough that it almost wouldn't cycle. After working it a TON and lubricating it is now acceptable. I look at this rifle like I do the AK-47. I want it to work, period. I'm not after a work of art.

Not sure on the instructions, but I'd start with Youtube. With the weight of the rifle I think you may be surprised at the relative lack of recoil. Shooting it open sight first and from a standing position isn't a bad idea either. It is the bench position that kills you....

enjoy!!!
 

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congrats on getting your new rifle. not sure about different stance, i stand the same from .22lr to .458lott/.470, and with it weighing 12lbs i doubt you will feel hardly any recoil :biggrin2:
 

matt85

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I just got off the phone with CZ's warranty department and they suggested a few fixes I could do on my own instead of sending the gun back. for starters they informed me the 550 safari is not supposed to have a floated barrel and in fact the barrel is bolted down half way down the for-grip. to fix the uneven spacing of the wood around the barrel they suggested I remove the rifle from the stock and reinstall it while paying attention to gaps. to handle any creep in the trigger they pointed me to a set of instructions on there website which explains how to adjust a trigger to remove any creep. they said they could do this for me if I wanted but it would take up to 6 weeks for them to get around to working on the gun, so I figure ill give fixing the gun a try on my own. as usual CZ's customer service was very friendly and patient with my questions.

having just learned the barrels on these rifles are bolted down. what have you guys/girls done with your CZ 550s as far as bedding them? in order to bed the barrel wouldn't you need to remove this bolt?

thanks
-matt
 

Royal27

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I just got off the phone with CZ's warranty department and they suggested a few fixes I could do on my own instead of sending the gun back. for starters they informed me the 550 safari is not supposed to have a floated barrel and in fact the barrel is bolted down half way down the for-grip. to fix the uneven spacing of the wood around the barrel they suggested I remove the rifle from the stock and reinstall it while paying attention to gaps. to handle any creep in the trigger they pointed me to a set of instructions on there website which explains how to adjust a trigger to remove any creep. they said they could do this for me if I wanted but it would take up to 6 weeks for them to get around to working on the gun, so I figure ill give fixing the gun a try on my own. as usual CZ's customer service was very friendly and patient with my questions.

having just learned the barrels on these rifles are bolted down. what have you guys/girls done with your CZ 550s as far as bedding them? in order to bed the barrel wouldn't you need to remove this bolt?

thanks
-matt

Interesting...

Six weeks sounds about right, but they definitely removed the fore stock pressure on mine. I can now slide a dollar bill in between, and have. It may not be all the way down, but it definitely goes most of the way. If you're confident in trying go for it. I wasn't going to mess with it myself.
 

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Congrats on the gun, Matt. You are where I was about 18 months ago. With regard to recoil, I have a 300 Win mag and a 300 Wby mag. The 375 is easier on the shoulder than both. Part of it is probably weight, but the recoil of the 375 is more of a push and the 300 mags are more of a slap. I only shoot mine on the bench to sight in, the either off hand or off of sticks.
 

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Interesting...

Six weeks sounds about right, but they definitely removed the fore stock pressure on mine. I can now slide a dollar bill in between, and have. It may not be all the way down, but it definitely goes most of the way. If you're confident in trying go for it. I wasn't going to mess with it myself.

I just weighed my CZ .404 Jeffery, and with scope mounted and 5 rounds, its 11.25 #. It has the barrel screw also, wood touches most of the way in the barrel channel too. Shoots great. With my loads I get 4 shot groups of an inch or so, certainly more than adequate, or as the cliche' goes, minute of buffalo!
Triggers on these rifles are great and easy to adjust by the user with a little instruction. I did mine and have also done the others I have owned, this being the only one currently. This being a more or less custom item, the bolt was already pretty smooth when I got it. I did have to send it back to CZ to open the bolt face a tad, as some brands of ammo were a bit tight, others were OK, but I want it to fit all ammo. Works fine now.
This was more addressed to the OP but didnt want to start all over again!:rolleyes:
 

matt85

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my scale isn't exactly precise, im sure the weight is closer to 11-11.5 pounds but its very heavy none the less. to test my scale I just stood on it and compared the weight to the weight the doctors scale measured me at this mourning. the scale says im a little heavier then I actually am (women would be advised not to use this scale!).

Royal27, are you sure you have the same type of rifle? I can clearly see the bolt that holds the for-end of the stock to the barrel and there would be no way to get a piece of paper past this.

edit: as an after thought, I realize that a free floated barrel might not be as important with these big bore guns due to barrel thickness. I could be completely wrong but these large thick barrels likely do not flex or vibrate nearly as much as thin small bore barrels do. the barrel on this 550 is thick to say the least with the barrel wall being 0.15 inches at the thinnest part and an overall diameter of 0.67 inches at that part.

-matt
 

Royal27

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Now you have me wondering if I'm right.... I will look as some as it gets back. I'm having it cerakoted. :cool:
 

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i got it out to the range yesterday and had some fun. over a couple hours we managed to burn threw the 50 hand loads which varied from light loads to heavy full power loads. first, the recoil wasn't nearly as bad as many lead me to believe! even with the 300gr bullets loaded just a few grains under max the recoil was just a heavy push, sort of like a heavy magnum shotgun load but not as snappy. i fired at least 30 rounds from the bench most of which were 250gr sierras at (according to the book) around 2700 fps or Hornady 225gr bullets at speed ranging from 2500-2700 fps (again according to the book). i did fire a few 300gr bullets from the bench though, these were loaded to around 2450 according to the book.

accuracy was pretty bad with most of my loads but i learned a bit about what the gun likes. like most calibers the best accuracy was had with loads that completely filled the case. i was able to achieve MOA with the 225gr bullets over 71gr of H4895. the rest of my loads did not fill the case and accuracy ranged from "ok" to "bad". i will probably switch to W760 for the 300gr bullets and load them a tad hotter to see if i can get better accuracy. i will try increasing the loads on both the 225gr and 250gr bullets to get a little better accuracy aswell.

on a side note: while working with my gun another shooter came in with a 378 weatherby and we ended up swapping shots so i could compare the calibers. his rifle was a real pig at 12 pounds naked and 15 pounds loaded with a scope. regardless of weight this 378 certainly let you know when it went off! having said that, the recoil still wasn't painful even from the bench. apparently he used it for elk hunting and packed it around the mountains... he didn't look it, but he must be in vastly better shape then me.

all in all it was a great day and this morning my shoulder is only a little sore to show for it. now its time to load up some more cartridges and go back at it.

thanks all
-matt
 

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That's a lot of shooting Matt, glad you had a good time. I'm sure the heavy weight of the CZ helped. I think the weight of the gun balances everything else.
 

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Glad you enjoyed!!! Can't wait to get mine back and shoot it with my new scope - Zeiss 2x10. I also can't wait to go to SAAM Safari training at the end of Feb!
 

matt85

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I do have one major complaint, my dang scope is too short! the leupold VX-R 2-7x33 just barely fits the long action and has no room to move back and forth. this works fine at low powers but at 6 and 7 power I really have to strain my neck forward to get a full picture. I suppose this adds a safety feature of not being able to give yourself scope eye but it certainly wasn't ideal for long range shooting.

-matt
 

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Congrats on your new rifle. The .375 H&H has always been a favorite of mine. I hope it brings you many good years of hunting.
 

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Congratulations on your new CZ. I have always found that the best way to reduce the felt recoil on DG rifles is to have the sights on the critter you're about to dispatch. I've never felt recoil when hunting.
 

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Congratulations on your new CZ. I have always found that the best way to reduce the felt recoil on DG rifles is to have the sights on the critter you're about to dispatch. I've never felt recoil when hunting.
I am going to refer you to a thread called the “big bore addiction group” to see what happened after this haha. Matt bought a few more guns hahaha
 

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Congratulations on your new CZ rifle. I have the same in 458 lott. Enjoy!
 

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