RJ Renner vs Complete Restock on CZ Safari?

Never Been

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 4, 2024
Messages
61
Reaction score
56
I've got a 550 Safari I should hopefully be taking possession of at some point and I keep reading how the stock is like shouldering a fence post. I've heard nothing but postivie things about Renner's work so I gave him a call, and it sounds like it would be just shy of $1700 to "slenderize" the factory stock-- a sizeable investment almost equal to the cost of the rifle.

Looking at the wood on some of @CrippledEagle 's guns got me wondering what the cost of a complete restock might be. I see blanks going anywhere from $300-1500, so obviously there is a lot of variation depending on how fancy you want to go, but what does labor generally run?

Assuming the wood on the 550 is average, I'm just trying to figure out what the cost difference may be to really step up my wood game! For those who have had custom stocks made or Renner work over a stock, what did you feel the pro's and con's were?
 
Last edited:
Never Been, before deciding to change things, I'd try shouldering and firing your new to you CZ 550 Safari. I have one in 458 Lott and I for one don't want anything to do with weight reduction.
 
Never Been, before deciding to change things, I'd try shouldering and firing your new to you CZ 550 Safari. I have one in 458 Lott and I for one don't want anything to do with weight reduction.
I agree. I'm 6'3", weigh 225, and the CZ stock fits me just fine. A lot is going to depend on your personal physique, how high you mount the scope, the caliber vs overall gun weight which will determine recoil, etc.

I'd try it first, then maybe think about having one made from a nice blank with grain, dimensions, checkering, etc., all the way you want it. Spending that amount you might as well have your heart's desire, then sell the factory stock. Because these rifles are no longer in production, owner's are going to be looking for a factory replacement.
 
Last edited:
I've got a 550 Safari I should hopefully be taking possession of at some point and I keep reading how the stock is like shouldering a fence post. I've heard nothing but postivie things about Renner's work so I gave him a call, and it sounds like it would be just shy of $1700 to "slenderize" the factory stock-- a sizeable investment almost equal to the cost of the rifle.

Looking at the wood on some of @CrippledEagle 's guns got me wondering what the cost of a complete restock might be. I see blanks going anywhere from $300-1500, so obviously there is a lot of variation depending on how fancy you want to go, but what does labor generally run?

Assuming the wood on the 550 is average, I'm just trying to figure out what the cost difference may be to really step up my wood game! For those who have had custom stocks made or Renner work over a stock, what did you feel the pro's and con's were?
hefty price for the cost of the rifle
 
I had a CZ550 375H&H with the Kevlar stock and found it a little bulky/blocky. I had an AHR #2 upgrade done, but the stock was not changed other than bedding it.

After all that, I still found it to be too heavy and blocky for how I shouldered it. Sold it to another member here.

IMO - the 375H&H is very easy to control with a gun weight below 8 lbs as long as it fits you properly. Keep the stock original in case you want to sell it in the future, and buy a new one that is to your liking and fits you.
 
I've got a 550 Safari I should hopefully be taking possession of at some point...

Looking at the wood on some of @CrippledEagle 's guns got me wondering what the cost of a complete restock might be. I see blanks going anywhere from $300-1500, so obviously there is a lot of variation depending on how fancy you want to go, but what does labor generally run?

Assuming the wood on the 550 is average, I'm just trying to figure out what the cost difference may be to really step up my wood game! For those who have had custom stocks made or Renner work over a stock, what did you feel the pro's and con's were?
A CZ 550 Safari is at most a $2000 rifle. We've watched a few for sale on this site sit for weeks at hundreds less than that.

Good wood for a restock will run $500 to $1500 or more. A professional stock maker (stocker?) will charge at least $1000 and probably more like $2000 or more for their work. Add it up and you are into a restock for $2000 or more. That is NOT the level of money I or most anyone will pour into a $2000 rifle.

If you have a custom rifle built then that money into a stock is well spent. You just missed this AHR custom rifle. https://www.africahunting.com/threads/new-american-hunting-rifles-ahr-416-rigby-5-500.81861/

It was listed at $5500. That included the basic barreled action, wonderful wood and stocking effort, shortened barrel, better sights, barrel band for the sling, good recoil pad, straightened bolt handle, custom AHR trigger, and the Winchester Model 70 style 3-position safety.
1716816824905.png

"New and flawless .416 Rigby. Has remained unfired since it left AHR. 23” barrel and 13.75” LOP. I usually shoot 14.25” but for some reason this feels great as is. I do have a new red 1.5” NECG pad I will include with the rifle. Would bring LOP to right at 14.25”. I have used this pad on other AHRs and they look and function great.

Obviously built on CZ 550 with clean billboard (no CZ markings). Very nice wood and wood and metal are without flaws. Straight grain through the wrist. Holds 4 down. Straightened handle, AHR trigger and 3-pos. safety."
 
Labor should run $2500-$5000 for a custom stock depending on amount of work done. I think there are better ways to spend your money. Then again, it is your money. :)
 
Mark, you beat me to the punch. :). Good work. Just think there are better ways to spend a comparable amount of money and you end up with much more gun.
 
I've got a 550 Safari I should hopefully be taking possession of at some point and I keep reading how the stock is like shouldering a fence post. I've heard nothing but postivie things about Renner's work so I gave him a call, and it sounds like it would be just shy of $1700 to "slenderize" the factory stock-- a sizeable investment almost equal to the cost of the rifle.

Looking at the wood on some of @CrippledEagle 's guns got me wondering what the cost of a complete restock might be. I see blanks going anywhere from $300-1500, so obviously there is a lot of variation depending on how fancy you want to go, but what does labor generally r

Assuming the wood on the 550 is average, I'm just trying to figure out what the cost difference may be to really step up my wood game! For those who have had custom stocks made or Renner work over a stock, what did you feel the pro's and con's were?
There are modern stock duplicators out there, so IF you have the shape you like, they trace it via wood CNC machine and then it can be checkered (by hand or machine.) MUCH cheaper than a fully hand-made custom wood stock (which almost doe$n't make sense on a CZ.) They used to trace stocks beginning at $400, but I'm sure the price is higher now...GL! Depending upon caliber, that extra heft serves as effective recoil reduction and I never heard anyone complain about the 550 S stocks (triggers, lack of action bedding, the square bridge mounts, need for accurization-Yes!)
 
Great input all around. Buying a custom is always cheaper than building up your own, but sometimes it's about the journey and not the destination :D. Things are further complicated by the fact that I'm left handed and have always been enamored with the concept of the 3 rifle battery.

So far I have a left handed CZ 452 in 17 HMR for small game and varmints.
20210227_142148.jpg

It's quite accurate, particularly with CCI FMJ--here is a 100 yard target from my initial sight in.
20220302_151355.jpg


Then I've got a CZ 527 I had rebored to 350 Legend, this covers states that require a straight wall cartridges as well big game at closer ranges in other states. Also I figure it gives me a little bit longer range option on larger varmints, though I haven't used it for that yet.
20240317_191519.jpg

Here is another 100 yard target from playing around with subs. Not amazing but gives me hope for supersonic load development. Also I had it sighted in for 50 yards and was aiming at the top bullseye, so about 5.5" of drop!
20240115_162950.jpg


The 550 in .375 H&H is going to be all the other big game, and if I ever make it to Africa will be the only gun I bring. I certainly plan on shooting it a good bit in its factory configuration, but I like researching options ahead of time so I can have context while evaluating (does this stock bother me? Is the bother worth $1700 to correct?).

One thing is certain, I'm almost assured to end up with more in it than I could ever get out of it!
 
IDT buying a custom rifle is cheaper than DIY, by a longshot! Fully custom bolt rigs are easily in the $5K-$10K+ range now (even $4K+ for used). You may be thinking about semi-custom factory guns like Wby (excellent), Christiansen, et. al. ($2K+/-). CZ is considered the lower echelon of available platforms, but they are widely used. 'Have a CZ o/u .20 ga. It's ok. The Euro wood on CZ is typically better than run of the mill factory wood in the US.
 
Great input all around. Buying a custom is always cheaper than building up your own, but sometimes it's about the journey and not the destination :D. Things are further complicated by the fact that I'm left handed and have always been enamored with the concept of the 3 rifle battery.

So far I have a left handed CZ 452 in 17 HMR for small game and varmints.
View attachment 608760
It's quite accurate, particularly with CCI FMJ--here is a 100 yard target from my initial sight in.
View attachment 608761

Then I've got a CZ 527 I had rebored to 350 Legend, this covers states that require a straight wall cartridges as well big game at closer ranges in other states. Also I figure it gives me a little bit longer range option on larger varmints, though I haven't used it for that yet.
View attachment 608765
Here is another 100 yard target from playing around with subs. Not amazing but gives me hope for supersonic load development. Also I had it sighted in for 50 yards and was aiming at the top bullseye, so about 5.5" of drop!
View attachment 608766

The 550 in .375 H&H is going to be all the other big game, and if I ever make it to Africa will be the only gun I bring. I certainly plan on shooting it a good bit in its factory configuration, but I like researching options ahead of time so I can have context while evaluating (does this stock bother me? Is the bother worth $1700 to correct?).

One thing is certain, I'm almost assured to end up with more in it than I could ever get out of it!
Kevin Robertson talks about what mods a 550 S requires in Africa's Most Dangerous, if I recall the book correctly.
 
IDT buying a custom rifle is cheaper than DIY, by a longshot!

Really? I feel like it's a lot like the car world where outside of unique "collector" outliers every listing you see is $xxxxx invested, selling for $xxxx. I know that I've never gotten out what I put into a custom rifle, and the more I put in the more I lose! It could just be I'm putting money into less desirable rifles (like CZs).
 
You have to know exactly what you want. And at the same time it’s impossible to know what you want, without having one.

Classic chicken or the egg.

Best bet is to have a generous friend (or AH member) that will allow you to gain some experience with their rifle before taking the plunge yourself.

If you are fortunate, the learning process doesn’t cost you too much money before you have it sorted out.
 
There are custom rifles and there are Custom Rifles. A custom rifle built by a relatively unknown gunmaker will rarely bring half its cost in resale. On the other hand, a rifle by Tod Ramirez is one of the most sought after creations in the country - new or used. In between are a host of makers, some still active and some long gone, whose rifles will do somewhere in between on resale value. It is one reason I never look at a rifle from a resale perspective. I look at it from the perspective of how I value owning it.

These three sort of run the custom gambit. I have owned them all for 15 to 20 years because they appealed to me. The first is a .404 built for me by Craig Libhart on a modified CZ action. He is a member of the American Custom Gunmakers' Guild. It is perfect.

I have every expectation it one day will do very well at auction.
Rifle1.jpg


The second is a Germanic interpretation of a 7x57 by Al Lind. I bought it used and suspect that I paid approximately 2/3's the cost of the original order. Having owned it two decades, and with Lind's reputation, I suspect it will exceed my "investment" at time of auction, but not by very much. However, it too is nearly perfect.
rifle2.jpg


The last is a truly wonderful .375 H&H by a very skilled and unknown craftsman. Note it was designed without a rear barrel sight and uses a perfectly inletted Griffin & Howe side mount to accommodate both the scope and rear peep. Simply brilliant execution. I purchased it for a song in 2007 and it likely would not exceed inflationary value of that "investment" at an auction tomorrow. But what a wonderful elegant and useful thing to own. It handily killed my first buffalo, and it has great value to me.
rifle3.jpg


My point in this show and tell, is simply that there are some great custom rifles languishing at gun shows or on internet lists, that are the equivalent of far more costly creations by the best gunmakers in the country or the best manufacturers. Whether they will ever appreciate, who knows. But from my perspective - who cares?

By the way, that Renner fellow does brilliant work. My 1970's era No. 1 B retooled as a Germanic stalker.
Ruger3.jpg
 
I would follow the advice of @Shootist43, @Red Leg, and many others.
Try the CZ 550 .375 H&H first in the factory stock. You may find it OK. Stock fit in a big bore rifle, (or Shotgun) is a very personal thing. You can spend a lot of money on a custom stock, and many are excellent.

You may find that it is okay, then move on to practice, and then more practice with the rifle.

In my experience, the factory CZ 550 American stock fit me okay. A .416 Rigby, and a .500 Jefferey.

I wanted nothing less. Comparing the CZ .416 Rigby with a Ruger RSM (an excellent rifle with beautiful wood, Quarter rib, etc.) the choice was easy. The .416 Rigby Ruger beat the hell out of me, the CZ .416 Rigby I shot accurately. Sold the Ruger.
 
Really? I feel like it's a lot like the car world where outside of unique "collector" outliers every listing you see is $xxxxx invested, selling for $xxxx. I know that I've never gotten out what I put into a custom rifle, and the more I put in the more I lose! It could just be I'm putting money into less desirable rifles (like CZs).
You're onto something. Fully custom rigs never quite sell for the initial price (some are amazing and capitalize,) but the factory rig, hot-rodded isn't worth all that much (only to the beholder that recognizes its accuracy.) ;) Custom has a relatively high sticker price from the get go.
 
I smile at the comments made by folks that it is only a CZ and therefor may not be worth the dollars. A few years from now I believe the CZ will be as sought as the model 70 as the basics are there and in the hands of a craftsman is an excellent DG rifle that will give many years of service.
 
I've had a CZ 550 in 500 Jeffery for going on 15 years. I've never thought about doing anything about the stock except maybe adding an ebony forend and grip cap purely for looks. It's a little bulkier than my BDL in 7mm Mag but so is the cartridge. Shoots great, recoil is er "sporty" More to love!

full
 
Last edited by a moderator:
To me a factory 550 stock is ridiculously big. I couldn't believe how fat it was compared to my other rifles before I slimmed it down. I probably could have shot it just fine as it was but I couldn't stomach the look of it. That said, $1700 to modify an existing stock seems outrageous even if that includes checkering.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,196
Messages
1,172,505
Members
95,934
Latest member
DaneDorset
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

JG26Irish_2 wrote on WISafariHunter's profile.
About Lon's Elephant hunts w/Tokoloshe? I hear Lon is battling cancer? What is his long term prognosis? I am already booked to hunt Africa in 2024 2025. Might consider 2026 for another African hunt. I want to hunt a more wild open region devoid of civilization. Concern is the risk that I book f/2026 then find poor Lon has passed on? Does Lon have any assistance to carry on the business in his absence?
Life is Short live it how you want...
jgraco33 wrote on 85lc's profile.
Is your 22HP still available? If so have the original case?
tacklers wrote on ianevans's profile.
Hi Ian, I'm contemplating my first outing, leaving UK via Dubai to Africa, taking rifles as you did.

I presume it went okay for you, would you have done anything differently? Cheers, Richard East Sussex
A.A. wrote on Msprenger!'s profile.
Are you still looking for a 375 H&H?
 
Top