Long-range shooting competitors with long experience generally look askance at manufacturers’ claims for production rifle out-of-the-box MOA accuracy. But CZ-USA intends to get nods of approval from those askance-lookers with its 600 Range rifle 0.7-MOA guarantee.
CZ-USA’s sub-MOA claim for the 600 Range rifle includes the caveat, “… with match factory ammo.” Such manufacturers’ claims don’t mean with all or any factory match-grade ammo, but that some brands and bullet weights will make the MOA claim. Such claims also don’t say, “For as far as a bullet will fly,” and it’s routine for a rifle to lose some of its MOA edge at differing distances. For evaluation in a competitive shooting magazine, it seemed reasonable to shoot groups at closer range, and then to shoot for score at extended range. To summarize results here at the beginning, yes, the 600 Range rifle is fully capable of shooting High Master scores at 600 yards out-of-the-box with select ammunition.
BEST PRODUCTION TRIGGER
CZ makes several versions of the Model 600, differing mostly in the stocks. The Lux model wears an oiled walnut stock tipped with a Schnabel of laminated wood. Stocks on Alpha and Ergo models are of glassreinforced polymer, and there’s a Trail Model with a telescoping stock. The Range model in .308 Win. sports a beefy, brown-and-black laminate stock configured for prone and bench shooting. Weighing 10¼ pounds sans scope, it is certainly more at home on the competition range than in the field. Target configurations include a thick, vertical pistol grip stippled for a positive grip, hooked butt for support with the offhand and with a short synthetic Picatinny rail for a monopod, adjustable cheek piece, and two studs for bipod and sling on a two-inch wide, flat fore-end.
The underside of the fore-end has three long relief cuts that lighten weight and aid barrel cooling. Left and right side of the fore-end and buttstuck have countersunk attachment points for quick disconnect sling swivels. A reinforcing recoil lug passes through the stock between the magazine well, and the trigger group where the wood is necessarily comparatively thin between the two. The locking bolt for the height-adjustable cheek piece is rather like a wingnut, the “wing” of which snaps up or down to lay flat into a countersink in the buttstock to stay out of the way. The buttstock terminates in a soft rubber recoil pad about ¾-inch thick.
A thread protector caps the 24-inch heavy contour barrel that measures 0.862 inch in diameter just behind the thread protector. Removing the protector allows the barrel to accept a muzzle brake or suppressor. A Lyman Borecam showed the interior of the hammer-forged barrel to have been lapped (at SHOT Show 2023, a CZ-USA rep told me the company laps all its rifle barrels), and rifling at the crown terminates cleanly. A “dollar bill check” showed the barrel is free-floated all the way to the receiver without impediment.
Remarkably streamlined, the only protuberance on the receiver is the unobtrusive bolt release. Rather than plug screws, the scope mounting screw holes came from the factory with snap-in plastic protectors. For scope mounting, CZ-USA wisely went with a Remington 700 screw hole configuration, rather than some frustrating (to most Americans) European pattern with metric threads. Any two-piece bases for Remington’s Model 700, or one-piece base for a short action Remington 700, will fit the 600 Range, which is threaded for standard 6-48 screws.
With the bolt closed, the oversize knob hangs just in front of the trigger, as seen from the side. The bolt glides smoothly without wobble and cocks on opening; a red indicator protrudes from the back of the bolt when cocked. Six locking lugs, arranged two in tandem at 120-degree intervals permit a 60-degree bolt throw, an aid to faster cycling and—more importantly for long-range competition—the bolt handle clearing the large ocular lens housings on many scopes. A gas escape port in the bolt aligning with another in the receiver ring vents outward to the right in the event of a ruptured case, rather than downward into the magazine box.
A vertical extension on the bolt release rises into a slot machined underneath the length of the bolt body, acting as a guide. It serves triple duty to also act as a bolt stop and to engage the back of the ejector, visible at the bottom of the bolt face, to operate it. The bolt head is a separate piece, and the bolt is easily disassembled for cleaning, with instructions given in the included owner’s manual. Also included is a polymer tool to aid in reassembly, if needed.
A kind of triple-lock secures the magazine against inadvertent release. Both front and back of the magazine audibly click into place, and pushing the mag release forward—again, with an audible click—prevents it from being depressed to release the magazine.
Another unusual feature, the safety works vertically and is easily pushed down with the thumb to fire, and upward with the middle or trigger finger to place on “safe,” which also locks the bolt. Depressing the bolt release will permit the removal of the bolt with the safety engaged.
Trigger adjustment is unique in that one of four pre-set pull weights can be selected with the included 1.5 mm hex wrench. Being European, the owner’s manual lists pull weights of 6.5, 9, 11.5 and 14 Newtons (N), which equate to 1.46, 2.02, 2.58 and 3.14 pounds. Measured with a mechanical RCBS trigger pull gauge, the four settings actually weigh ¾ pound, 1½ pounds, two pounds and 2½ pounds. The single-stage trigger has virtually no creep or overtravel. It is the best trigger I’ve ever pressed on a reasonably priced production rifle.
For accuracy testing, I installed Weaver bases and mounted a Weaver T36 36x40 AO with a 1/8-MOA dot reticle. Everyone has their own idea about barrel break-in and whether it’s needed; I suppose we can consider the five rounds of military surplus 7.62 mm NATO I fired first to get on paper as a break-in. After that, I fired for groups at about the same cyclic rate as when shooting a Mid-Range or Long-Range match.
Factory ammo included offerings from Berger, Hornady and Remington, as well as some military 173-grain Lake City Match (1987), 173-grain M118 Special Ball and 175-grain OTM Long-Range XM118LR. The accompanying table shows the 600 Range rifle lived up to CZ-USA’s 0.7-MOA boast at 100 yards with the Lake City Match—and with the XM118LR, if you can allow six hundredths of an inch overage at 0.761 inch. Among the commercial loadings, the rifle crowded five of Berger’s 168-grain Classic Hunter rounds into an impressive 0.325-inch group. Hornady’s 178-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter came in sub-MOA, as well. Note the last two are marketed for hunting, not competition, which speaks volumes about the quality of commercial ammunition today.
Shooting at 100 and 200 yards was from a heavy rest on a concrete bench with light five to eight m.p.h. winds. With a 100-yard zero established, the easy High Power formula for come-ups (found in the Jim Owens Data Book) got the rifle on-paper at 200 and 600 yards.
For a 600-yard evaluation, I shot the rifle prone from a light bipod during a club practice at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix on a rare day when winds blew from zero to five m.p.h. at half to full value. Boiling mirage helped dope the wind, but during calm moments tended to obscure the target. I was able to fire sighters and 10 rounds each of the Berger, Hornady and Remington ammunition in my allotted time on the firing line. While it wasn’t possible to measure groups directly, I plotted impacts on data book targets. Though the three 10-shot groups appear to be about one- to two-MOA in size, note that the scoring of 94-2X, 98-1X and 100-4X tells a clear story of competition-grade accuracy from both the rifle and the ammunition. A more-skilled shooter firing from a high-quality F-Class rest would undoubtedly do even better.
Since I still had the rifle and plenty of the Remington ammo when the CMP came to town with its Western National Championship games, I took it back to Phoenix to shoot the new 3x600 match (three 20-round matches at 600 yards) prone with a sling. I might have performed better with a hand stop installed, as the rearmost sling swivel under the foreend is still too far forward for my arm length, so I was pretty wobbly. But even though the 600 Range is not configured specifically for the Match Rifle classification, I still managed an out-of-the-box 186-0X in the last match. From a competitive shooting perspective, beyond a hand stop rail, the 600 Range would also benefit from a magazine single-shot follower.
PRECISION AT A DISCOUNT
From the box, CZ-USA’s 600 Range has the accuracy for nearly any competition that includes the elements of centerfire slow fire shooting with a scope. The “Any rifle-Any sights” class of NRA Mid-Range prone and NRA Long-Range (1,000 yards) comes to mind, and the 600 Range conforms to the rules for an NRA Match Rifle and F-Class Rifle. The 600 Range surely qualifies for many other games, as well.
At about half the cost of a custom match bolt gun, the CZ 600 Range rifle offers an opportunity for a beginner to get into the game with a rifle fully capable of winning with quality factory ammunition. It’s a confidence-builder to know that when a shot goes wrong, we can look to ourselves and not to the rifle or ammo. MSRP for the 600 Range is only $1,199, a hunting rifle price for a competition rifle accompanied by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee. Go to cz-usa.com.