This made me think...

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Badboymelvin, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    Hey guys,

    My wife said something today and it literally made me stop and think.

    Now, she's not a hunter/ firearm enthusiast, but she is utterly amazing and will politely and intently listen to me when I talk about guns/ my guns/ cartridges/ gunsmithing/ ballistics/ hunting...

    Just today I was talking about the CZ550 because I was reading about one on a forum - and I was talking about the 2 CZ550 .458's I've owned and the work needed to make them feed properly.
    Then I got talking about the current Zastava M70 that I own and how the first thing that I had to do - even before firing it was to replace the stock. (This is because the Zastava's in the bigger calibers - especially .458 have a tendency to split the stocks. I can talk from personal experience here...)

    My wife then looked at me and with a calm, reasonably voice said, "Russ, why don't you just buy a rifle that doesn't need any work done to it?"

    BANG!!!!!

    That is a very good question!

    Surely when we buy a NEW rifle REGARDLESS OF PRICE (especially one designed for Dangerous Game), we can at least expect it to work as advertised.
    I'm not talking about custom, personal touches - I'm talking about the basic things such as reliable feeding from the mag, reliable ejection and at least passable accuracy.

    Surely that's not to much to ask?

    Now, I know people are going to respond that their high-end, expensive rifles function perfectly and that's awesome.
    But you know, not all of us can afford expensive rifles.
    And just because we can't afford a Mercedes so we drive a Ford instead, we would still expect the Ford to perform the basic functions and be safe and reliable.
    Why do we expect less from rifles?
    I really think we are to forgiving sometimes and don't hold firearm manufacturers as accountable as they should be...

    Just my 0.02 ...

    Cheers,

    Russ
     
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  2. Major Khan

    Major Khan AH Elite

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    Well, Russ...
    I am told that the new Winchester Model 70 " Safari Express " line of bolt rifles ( including a .458 Winchester magnum calibre chambering ! ) work nearly flawlessly out of the box.
    That is part of the reason why I consider the Winchester Model 70 bolt rifle to be my favorite currently manufactured bolt rifle of all time . Classic , American old school craftsmanship as a working man's budget .
    I fired 1 very recently which belongs to @Captain Nwz . This 1 was also chambered in .458 Winchester magnum .
    It functions extremely smoothly .
    Now , the pre 64 Winchester Model 70s...
    They were a whole different story .
    In the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre and .458 Winchester magnum calibre models ... a great deal of work needed to be done to them in order to make them " field ready " .
    > Reinforcing the wooden stock with cross bolts.
    > Re bedding said stock
    > Polish and file the feed rails in order to smooth them out and ensure proper feeding with round nose soft point cartridges .

    The new Winchester Model 70 " Safari Express " seems pretty close to perfect ... right out of the box .
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020

  3. BnC 04

    BnC 04 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Agree with you Russ. That being said even the Mercedes will put out a lemon every now and then just like a Ford will.
    Doesn't make it right and sure irritates the owner to no end but it does happen. Same goes for any/all firearm manufacturers.
    I own more Winchester products then a person should probably have and knock on wood haven't had any issues. That's ranging from M70's, M21's and levers. Reason I state this is because I have a buddy that just bought a M70 new in the box that turned out to be a lemon . Was sent back and hopfully/expected to be replaced.
     

  4. CJW

    CJW AH Veteran

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    All of that is why I didn't go with a CZ and why if I ever do buy one the price needs to be cheap. Otherwise I haven't had any issues short of a couple new triggers.

    There are some common issues that make you scratch your head from time to time. You think, "surely they tested for this before putting it on the market?". Then I realize I've seen that laziness first hand so it doesn't surprise me.

    But I think she just gave you the green light to buy a new rifle. That's how I heard it anyway.

    Cheers
     

  5. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    No mate... ummmm.... that's not what you heard.... and that light is definitely RED! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
     
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  6. Panther Shooter

    Panther Shooter AH Enthusiast

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    Bad Boy Melvin
    I do believe that near perfection can be had in a rifle for fairly affordable prices if you are an eagle eyed searcher who knows the little places to look in .
    45327658-6C64-4E04-9201-95E04AD10E81.png
    Find a nice Springfield Model 1903 receiver and a straight or classic stock of French or Turkish walnut , order a Douglas barrel chambered in your desired caliber choice ( I am a 7 millimeter Remington Magnum man ) , and then find a competent gunsmith who can “ Do The Deed “ . I had a marvelous custom rifle maker named Mr. Jim Zahm of Oregon, USA build me exactly one such rifle in 1976 . In the last 44 years , it has not let me down even once. Be it for Sambhar Deer , Chital Deer , wild boars , Asian Sloth Bears or man eating Hunting Leopards .
     

  7. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    I will tell you that I wish I had know about Blaser R8 years ago.
    One rifle in multiple calibers with the exact same fit.
    No modifications needed, it's good to go straight from the factory.
    Albeit at a price.

    Rifles are an investment in your future.
    If you choose to go with CRF, no one will doubt you.
    Choose wisely.
     

  8. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    Beautiful rifle

    Cheers,

    Russ
     
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  9. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I see it a bit differently; my perspective is a costs/benefits analysis...

    #1 I agree 110% with your wife Russ, and with everyone who has been saying, re-saying, re-re-saying, re-re-re-saying those same things about the CZ 550 for years...

    No challenge here, I am on record lamenting, like everyone else, the fact that but for a few dollars more at the factory CZ could have spared themselves oceans of bad ink...

    #2 But regardless of #1, I see the costs/benefits analysis differently and the only point I disagree with is not your wife's, but yours, Russ, when you say:
    Precisely, the CZ 550 was NOT purchased by most regardless of price (this would apply to Mauser 98 or Rigby $15,000 rifles), but the CZ 550 has been purchased by most because it was a $1,000, incredibly value-laden double square, magnum length, Mauser clone, which when given $800 of AHR upgrades 1 became a genuine alternative to a $15,000 Mauser 98 or Rigby .

    From this perspective a $1,800 ($1,000 purchase + $800) CZ 550 was a incredible steal by any magnum length (i.e. .416 Rigby, .505 Gibbs, etc. capable) DG rifle definition.

    But not to worry, folks won't have to poo-poo it any longer, they finally succeeded convincing CZ to discontinue it, which essentially will kill again all these grand old cartridges because non one but the few able to afford a high priced rifles will be able to shoot them anymore...

    I personally never regretted, or had second thoughts about the few hours I spent tuning up my CZ 550 and the $600 or so I spent on each of them for an AHR bolt-mounted safety and a B&C Kevlar stock (I do most of my tune-up work myself as I have in general observed that I do it more carefully and better than third parties), and I own the three CZ 550 I wanted (.300 Wby, .375 H&H, .416 Rigby) but I feel sad for the new comers to DG hunting who will not have this option, and for the inevitable return to the grave of the Rigby, Gibbs, Jeffery calibers to which the CZ 550 had given a new life through affordable mass marketing...

    Perfect African Battery.JPG
    My idea of a perfect African Battery. Three magnum length, double square bridge "Mauser" actions with proper magazine capacity, direct triggers and firing pin-blocking, bolt-mounted true safeties, barreled with proper contour, integral rear sight island, band front swivel, and band front sight in .300 Wby, .375 H&H and .416 Rigby, and a .470 NE double. Four Rigby ($15,000 + $15,000 + $15,000 + $75,000) would have been nice for sure, but three CZ and a Krieghoff ($1,800 + $1,800 + $1,800 + $15,000) provide exactly the same functionality - even though not the same aesthetics - and are working quite nicely than you very much. I am spending the $100,000 savings going to Africa once a year... :)

    God bless those who see a better costs/benefits analysis in a $8,000 or $15,000 rifle. To each their own :)

    All this being said, I never personally handled a CZ - FROM THE FACTORY - that failed. Rough? Sure! Dysfunctional? No. Conversely, the safety could not be engaged on my limited series .300 Wby New Hven made Classic Stainless Winchester 70 :whistle:
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020

  10. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    Hey mate,

    Don't get me wrong, I like the CZ's and I'm sad that they are being discontinued...
    Like you say and I agree, they have many features that make them desirable and I'd own another one.

    However,

    I would still rather pay a bit more for the rifle initially and have it work as it should - than have to outlay money at a gunsmith to get things fixed that really should've been done from the factory.

    I have had a lot of work done to various rifles at gunsmith's and I can see some very distinct disadvantages to getting this work done by a 'smith rather than from the factory...
    One is the waiting time. Your favourite gunsmith may be booked out for some time and this can be frustrating - especially if an upcoming hunt is looming...
    Another is as soon as the rifle is out of your hands - and in someone else's, anything can happen.
    Theft, damage, miscommunication etc... I have heard of all of the above (and experienced some personally) happen when rifle was at a gunsmiths.

    I would personally prefer that 'bargain priced' CZ - that needs a few tweaks to make it work satisfactory,
    INSTEAD BE a 'good rifle for the money' and not need this work done.

    Again, not picking on CZ's (I like them) but just using them as an example from my personal experience...

    YMMV...

    Russ
     

  11. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    And herein lays the true take-home-point of this thread in my mind.

    There is no such thing as a DG-ready rifle out of the box, regardless of how much you pay for it and regardless of the reputation it comes with. One would have to be out of their mind to trust their life to a rifle without testing it and likely tuning it up. In my experience, I am afraid that "the rifle that does not need any work done to it" does not exist in a price bracket most can afford...

    Admittedly chances for quality increase with the price tag, but based on personal experience one needs to climb pretty high up the price ladder to get a reasonable expectation that indeed "surely they tested for this before putting it on the market?"

    Sure, I too "would still rather pay a bit more for the rifle initially" but the reality is that "a bit more" could buy you a bolt-mounted safety or a barrel band front swivel on a CZ for example (I would have happily shelled out an additional $250 for those), and that same reality is that you have to spend exponentially more to get the hours of hand labor that give you poop-through-goose smooth feeding, glass-rod-breaking trigger break, etc. i.e. everything that a machine cannot do or control, and that requires good old elbow grease.

    As previously stated, it all boils down to a costs/benefits analysis, but I believe that the premise that one can buy best-artisan hand-made quality at the price of machine-made high volume production is likely unrealistic. In so many words, if one wants perfection, it can likely be purchased, but at perfection price, which is waaaayyyy higher than just "a bit more."


    To me, the factory CZ 550 IS a heck of "a good rifle for the money." Under the rough is a diamond. Just my$0.02 :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020

  12. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    Good post.

    And thats the good thing about these forums, you can put your point of view out there - and then hear other points of view that give you food for thought...

    Cheers,

    Russ
     
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  13. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    The Major hit the nail on the head, if you want a reasonably priced safari rifle that is ready to hunt right out of the box, buy a Winchester M70. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test it extensively before taking it on DG hunt. That’s just common sense, and fun to boot.
     
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  14. CJW

    CJW AH Veteran

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    I saw what seemed like a legit informed video explaining the discontinuation. If it's correct it explains that it was a business decision based on choosing to retool to get quality to where it needs to be or to discontinue. They chose to discontinue based on retooling being so $$$ for such a small market of rifles. The quality over the last 5-10 years had slowly gone downhill to the point of being horrendous on looks and functionality. In reality nobody including yourself can expect the rifles to continue in their current state. Were they offered in awesome calibers? Yes. Were they a good thing for a long time? Yes. Were too many of them sent out to smiths or back to CZ themselves, sometimes multiple times immediately after purchase to fix feeding issues, sights, etc.? Yes. Did CZ know this and make a business decision? Yes.

    Let's face it. It's a small market to try to keep anything over a 375 around in mass production. IMO the 458 might be doable but the 500's are a different animal. Most people don't even want to shoot them for fun so you are left with the actual hunters buying them. Alot of the big bores get bought new, shot 10 times, then sold because the user doesn't like the recoil or the price of ammo, which is a big factor. $4ish per shot is one thing but $10, 15, 20 per shot is another. Now you have those guns floating around the used market keeping people's curiosity satisfied. And alot of the people who want a 505 gibbs and can afford to feed one can afford a custom built or a double.

    I think you are a little off with your prices too. The smaller DG calibers were/are around $1200-1300 but I think the last time I saw a 500 jeff or gibbs it was more like $2200. Maybe I'm wrong and they were cheaper 10+ years ago? Of course they probably were but were the prices $1000 different? So now you have to spend probably another what, $800-1000 to make sure it's reliable? So now your price point is up to $3000+ for the big boys. An $800-1500 whitworth, ruger, browning, winchester, etc. that has already been reworked looks alot more appealing now in be it a smaller caliber. Heck you can buy a 458 wm for under a grand and ream it out to a 458 lott and you have yourself a heavy hitter for $1000 ish. Or you can spend a few thousand more and shop around for an affordable double in a nostalgic caliber. I've seen some perfectly serviceable doubles for $4000-6000.

    I'm just giving my perspective and logic and what I know from the company's decision itself as to why we've lost the 550. I think it sucks too that you can't buy a 500 jeffrey off GB for $2200 but I just think it was a long time coming. From what I know it isn't because too many people poo pooed it. CZ realized it needed to be done.

    Who knows. Maybe they'll change their minds in the future or someone else will step in to the shoes.
     
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  15. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Veteran

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    Hey mate,

    Here's a pic of one of my CZ's that I used to own that I gave the custom touch...

    It's in .458WM and had the following done;

    barrel shortened to 21"
    cross-bolts fitted
    barrel-band sling swivel fitted
    fore-end shortened and buffalo horn tip fitted
    & feeding sorted out

    It was a nice rifle - and accurate too. And I loved the magazine capacity :)
    I used to load the .458WM rounds to Lott length (due to the mag length) and I got a nice, easy, un-stressed 2150fps with the 500gn Woodleigh PP in the 21" barrel.

    The only reason I sold it is because a Winchester M70 .458 came up for sale and I just had to have it. (I have a bit of a thing for M70's...)

    So this was my diamond from the rough and I thought highly of it :)

    Cheers,

    Russ


    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  16. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I did not see this video, but it seems to represent accurately what I know. I happen to have friends at both CZ USA and Triple River, their custom shop, and what I was told was that the CZ handgun market was 8 times bigger than the CZ rifle market, and that the decision was made to focus on the pistol market. From a financial/investment/business perspective this makes complete sense, the DG rifle market is indeed a very small market...

    You are completely correct, but I never bought a brand new CZ 550. I bought the .375 and .416 used-as-new, likely from folks who, as you mention, never fired a full box of ammo through them and certainly did not hunt them, one for $750 and one for $900 if memory serves, and I bought an action only for the .300 Wby barrel Triple River machined to match (CZ did not chamber the .300 Wby and I wanted a 26" pipe anyway). The rifles made at the custom shop were indeed in the $2,500 range, but one can still buy today on GunBroker virtually new CZ 550 in .375 or .416 for less than $1,000.

    My initial interest was in a .416 Rigby. This eliminated all of the above "standard" length actions... One of the major and unique characteristics of the CZ 550 was to be a true magnum length action (the other one being to be double square bridge action with integral scope bases). Barrels and bottom metal can be changed on any of the above to increase contour or capacity, but welding together two actions to make a magnum length one, or welding square tops is another story altogether... My .375 H&H and .300 Wby could have had any of the above shorter actions, but I wanted three matching rifles, and I have seen enough scope bases go loose on DG caliber rifles that are actually shot regularly, to place a very high value on the double square bridge. This eliminated all the above...

    Wow, good for you! I have never seen a .450+ caliber double rifle that I would want to own for less than $8,500. Admittedly this does not include Baikal, Sabatti, etc. type of rifles, nor does it include black powder proofed pre-WW I British rifles.

    We all do, and all perspectives are equally interesting.

    Agreed, these custom shop CZ 550 were an incredible value.

    It would be interesting to know how many sales CZ lost due to their poor decision making over the last 10 years. The way I look at it, the tooling they had over the last decade was not any worse than the one they had for the previous few decades, and the ZKK 602 was arguably much better cleaned up.

    I personally think that CZ had so much value in the action that they could have easily sold the rifle for an additional $500 after spending maybe an additional $50 in hand-deburring/polishing of a very few critical surfaces, and $200 in mounting a "Win 70 type" firing pin-blocking safety and a barrel band front swivel. This was the point made by Badboymelvin, and I agree. Not to mention that they could likely have saved $ by leaving the simple direct trigger on the DG caliber rifles (who uses a set rigger on a DG rifle anyway?!?).

    In my mind, CZ killed the 550, not the market, but the poo-pooing certainly did not help as most people (ah, the wonderful internet experts!) completely failed to realize the irreplaceable value in the action/rifle (magnum length, double square bridge), and never realized too that it offered from the factory so many features (steel high capacity bottom metal, proper contour barrels, integral rear sight island, barrel band front sight, etc.). These were the characteristics that made accepting the roughness of the rifle worth it to me...

    What a great rifle, Russ. Do you miss it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  17. AES

    AES AH Senior Member

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    The CZ is a turd. I think we all know that but can tolerate a turd if its in budget. I am a proponent of finding a used rifle that is perhaps a bit "better". to define that term is a fools errand but with the market being what it is about to be, one could buy a truly stunning Dakota rifle for a similar price. Just my thought and I certainly would take a CZ of not shooting!
     
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  18. AES

    AES AH Senior Member

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    Also, despite what others have said and believe, good DG rifles ARE ready to take game out of the box. There is no correlation between a gun being "ready" and you being comfortable with a rifle. Of course you should be comfortable ... what you are hunting could fucking kill you! This may be taking a few prior opinions in a vacuum but simply being "comfortable" does not make a rifle more ready, nor does it being "ready" and you placing its first (post factory) tested shot through a buff.
     
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  19. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    Your humility is surpassed only by your ignorance.
     

  20. AES

    AES AH Senior Member

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    You may be right. You may not be right and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. From a person who owns / has owned both; it is glaringly obvious which is a better built rifle. Clearly, they both get the job done if they work, but that isn’t exactly what we are aiming for.
     
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