The CZ 527 — CZ’s Best Rifle

One of the neatest and classiest rifles of all time is ignored by many shooters. When I fire the CZ 527, I am not concerned with getting off the X or engaging the target in enfilade fire, but rather in hitting what I am aiming at, and getting a clean kill and meat.

Not that the rifle would not serve in many situations, but this European stalker is a purebred stalking rifle with many good features.

The rifle is a product of CZ and available from CZ USA. They were once marked BRNO. The CZ 527 is a light, neat looking, and effective rifle that will not strain the back with weight or the shoulder with recoil. The price is right as well.

CZ 527 rifle right profile with Leupold scope and wood stock
A classic European stalker, the CZ 527 has much to recommend.

The action is a modified and miniaturized Mauser. The action is smooth, very smooth, and positive in feed. The rifle features a five-round detachable magazine. The magazine is positive in feeding and the magazine lock is rock solid.

The Mauser action is in use in the millions worldwide. They work and controlled feed actions are the choice for dangerous situations. My rifle is chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge. That’s the handy, able, and affordable AK rifle cartridge.

This means not only that the price of ammunition is modest but that recoil is easy on the shoulder. I can afford to fire this rifle a lot and accuracy is excellent. With the CZ’s 18.5-inch barrel velocity is slightly greater than the average AK rifle with its 16-inch barrel.

Trigger Action

The bolt action is very smooth. Lock up is solid. The safety is positive in operation, easy to manipulate, and nearly silent in operation. The trigger has a bit of take up but breaks smoothly at just 3.5 pounds. An advantage that is standard on the CZ 527 is a set trigger.

Press the trigger forward from the rear face until it clicks. The safety is then set. The trigger press is a very crisp and short 1.0 pound. This makes for excellent control when firing from the bench rest.

If taking an offhand shot at game at long range this set trigger allows the shooter to take a clean shot at long range without disturbing the sight picture.

Form, Function and Specs

The wooden stock is absolutely excellent. Fit to the action and the stocks finish as well as ergonomics are first class. The rifle is designed as a European stalker or a hunting rifle for use at modest range.

The fixed sights are as nice a set of iron sights as you will find on a bolt-action rifle. The sights are well regulated, firing a little high at 50 yards. Using the iron sights and Tula steel case ammunition, three-shot groups of 2 inches were recorded at 50 yards.

With the Fiocchi FMJ loading average groups hovered around one 1.2 inches—all I am good for with iron sights of this type at 50 yards. The sights are adjustable and the front sight features a protective hood over the post.

Hornady 123-grain SST ammunition in red box
Hornady’s 123-grain SST is not only accurate it is a fine hunting load.
  • Action: Bolt Action, Controlled Feed
  • MSRP: $733.00
  • Chambering: 7.62×39
  • Rate of Twist: 1:9.5 in
  • Magazine Capacity: 5
  • Magazine Type: Detachable
  • Stock: Turkish Walnut
  • Barrel: 18.5 in. Cold Hammer Forged
  • Weight: 6.0 lbs
  • Safety: Two-Position


For maximum accuracy, I fitted Leupold rifle scope. Leupold is first class all of the way and after a modest period of adjustment, the rifle was properly sighted in. The 3 x 9 x 50mm scope gave every advantage.

Another plus is using inexpensive ball ammunition to sight the rifle in. The Hornady SST hunting load will strike to the same point of aim as most 122-grain FMJ loads. Groups were small at 100 yards, with some as small as 1.25 inches.

A number of times, I cut the same bullet hole when using the set trigger. This is a fine, all-around woods carbine, full of class and performance.

Are you a fan of the CZ 527? What has your experience been with the set trigger? Share your review in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. Hi guys, I too was captured by the elegant stock and good looks of the Cz 527 Carbine in .223. Also love the idea of the set trigger. Having owned Cz rifles, both semi auto and bolt action, in .22 Magnum and also .17 HMR, I was looking forward to using a centrefire version. What I didn’t love was when I got to the range and found that I couldn’t even jam a round into the chamber except if I slammed the bolt with the base of my hand. The bolt has been a nightmare and has been back to the gunsmith several times. Once that was sorted it was the accuracy issues. The accuracy at 100 yards is average and it 150 yards is more like a shotgun spread. Overall pretty disappointed with this beautiful but deeply flawed rifle.

  2. I’ve owned a CZ 527 American chambered in .223 since 2008 and it’s one of my favorite rifles. Accuracy is superb, rivaling that of the finest varmint rifles. The single set trigger is a dream, breaking at 1.5 pounds as crisp as burnt bacon and with zero creep. It has become my go to rifle for predator hunting.

    Drawbacks? There are two. First, the bolt action could be much smoother. Second, if you put the rifle on safe while the single set trigger is forward, it has been known to discharge when the safety is disengaged! This dangerous defect is usually the result of the trigger adjustment screw working itself loose and getting turned down too low. It can be fixed by putting clear fingernail polish on the screw, though a wise owner should never leave the set trigger forward except immediately before shooting.

    Despite these shortcomings, it’s quite a n attractive fine rifle. I honestly cannot imagine any gun enthusiast not wanting one. It’s that good.

  3. Bought one in youth verion for my kids as their first deer gun and told my mom to pick it up at the store. She called me back saying I need to order another one because she fell in love with it and decided to keep this one for herself…

  4. I totally agree with Jonathan Rude. I think the Ruger is really all around more useable, rugged, and far better priced. The finish is not superior, but this is a ranch rifle expecting some hard use. And as far as accuracy goes…… psst! M.O.A at 100yds with surplus ammo.

  5. I have one in .22 Hornet. It is a tack driver at 150 yards. The set trigger is great. The fit and finish is excellent. It takes a couple boxes of rounds to get the feed smooth but I would never part with it.
    My next deer rifle is going to be another one in .270

  6. I have owned a 527 in 7.62×39 for several years. Really enjoyed reading your article. It is one of my guns I refer to as an heirloom piece. Never to be sold or traded. When I purchased it I also acquired some Cor-Bon Hunter ammo. With it I frequently get 1 inch groups at 100 yds.. It carries a Burris Fullfield II scope in 6 power. Thanks for the article again!

  7. I have the 527 in 223, and it’s my favorite among dozens of rifles. With its preferred load it will shoot 1/2 MOA, with off-the-shelf ammo it rarely goes over an inch at 100. The wood is gorgeous, the action is slicker than greased owl poop, and it’s a joy to carry. Mine came without sights so I mounted at nice Nikon 6×18 and it’s all I can ask for in a rifle. The 7.62×39 version is on the buy list as well!

  8. Great firearm but we had some issues with magazine causing feeding issues. Plus the bolt was not smooth at all. I bought new magazines from CZ and lapped the bolt. Now it is a silky accurate rifle with zero issues. Using the Fusion brand of ammunition it groups well under an inch.

  9. One point I forgot to mention in my original comment was that way back when CZ first began offering the 527 Carbine it could be ordered in .22 Hornet. Ialways regretted not buying that chambering in the carbine. .22 Hornet is one of my favorite “farm gun” calibers. It can be loaded down to .22lr specs for permanently removing rats and weasels or loaded up full house to really reach out and “touch” a woodchuck in the head across the pasture. These days it is only available in a long barreled version.

  10. The 527 is my idea of an affordable and very practical “Scout Rifle.” Compact and not over-powered.” It would be nicer with a double stack 10 round mag but carrying extra mags solves that issue. This rifle proves that even the very low priced steel cased ammo can be very accurate.

  11. First off, a 50MM scope on this rifle takes away all of the gun’s ‘handiness’. My 527 is in .223 with a 2.5-7 LER pistol scope mounted in the scout position. Handy? Heck yea. And I can do an 8″ paper plate at 600 yds until I get bored.

  12. This is a very neat little rifle but I’d really like to see it in something like a Rem. 6.8 SPC.

  13. Love this rifle. See they also offer it in .17 Hornet, .204 Ruger, .22 Hornet, .223 Rem, and 6.5 Grendel I believe. I’m having trouble locating this model with the iron sights. Neither the “European Variant” I’ve seen and the 527 American offer iron sights. The only one I can find on the CZ site is the “527 Carbine” version, which comes in .223 and 7.62×39, so suspect that’s the model you are reviewing here? Thanks for confirming. Nice to see a traditional wood and blue steel rifle, especially with a nice stock and set trigger.

  14. I’ve known about this rifle for many years, and have wanted one in 7.62×39 since first discovering it. I want it for deer and pig hunting, but my state restricts most hunting lands to shotguns and a limited number of rifle chamberings, of which 7.62×39 is not included. If the laws here change, which they seem likely to do, I would definitely buy a 527 in 7.62×39. I may buy one anyways just to add to the collection.

  15. I have owned a CZ 527 for several years. I was amazed at how accurate the rifle was right out of the box. I can put a tight group right on the x at 100 yards. In the beginning I tried to see if it worked with Brass casings. The rifle had problems with brass. I contacted CZ and they said use steel cases only. I have used steel Tula ammo since then and have had no problems. I am considering the rifle for Wild Boar hunting. I live in California and need to get lead free ammo. Haven’t found any yet. Reloading is not an option as the rifle does not shoot brass very well. I am not sure why that is other than it was designed to shoot Steel Tula ammo.

  16. I agree this is a rifle built with craftsmanship that is uncommon today. My rifle is amazingly accurate with Golden Tiger fmjs and 8M3 hp. Tieing bullet holes is common with both rounds and the point of impact is the same. Using a good scope and a steady rest this rifle with shoot sub Moa with both rounds. Perfect bolt carbine, I love every CZ product I have ever bought.

  17. Wow, a 3x9x50 scope from Leupold, huh? Hmm, never heard of that one. Must be new or something. Or, perhaps the writer need to better understand his vernacular before writing publicly about it…

  18. I’ve owned one for several years. Your review is spot on! Very handy, a good off-hand snap shooter over the iron sights. The 7.62×39 is roughly the Soviet equivalent to our .30-30, so pick your shots accordingly. Out to about 150 yrds, you’re The Man!

  19. In a bolt action, you can’t go wrong with a Mauser 98 controlled feed action. The quality of manufacture of products coming from CZ’s Brno factory has long been of high acclaim. While their military arms can sometimes seem rough on the outside, they are always finely machined and fitted on the inside, but all of the sporting arms I have seen in 30+ years of gunsmithing have been finely finished and are marvelous when it comes to fit and function. The set trigger is found on the finest European hunting and target rifles and it a nice bonus on this new CZ. Having a detachable box magazine is also a nice feature as you can unload the rifle easily and pocket the magazine and then know there is absolutely no chance of an accidental discharge when you are climbing into that deer stand or crossing fences. The safety on this rifle also allows you to lock the bolt while making the rifle safe which is a nice safety feature.

    About calling this their best rifle – I only find the caliber to be questionable here as there are far better cartridges for accuracy in both hunting and target shooting. However if you are wanting a 175 yard hunting gun this caliber should serve well on deer sized game. This is a short round, well suited to the mini Mauser platform, but please avoid using the lacquered steel cased ammunition – the lacquer cooks off the case and builds up in the chamber, and unless you clean the chamber with a brush and a solvent capable of liquefying the lacquer you are going to have a damaged chamber. This isn’t so much of a factor in a semi auto action because the case is rapidly extracted/ejected before it can cool down, but in a bolt gun and when hunting, once the game is down some do not work the bolt to eject the spent case for some time during which the lacquer separates from the case and gets deposited on the still warm chamber walls.

    If you are a woods hunter, for deer this rifle should be just enough gun without lacking anything. Personally I would always use either brass or nickel cased ammunition in any gun, and I prefer nickel if it is available. When you are paying $700.00 + for your rifle you should take as good of care of it as you can – someday it will be someone’s, “grandpa’s deer rifle”, and it will be treated with the reverence and care it deserves.

  20. That is a nice rifle (CZ 527).

    For the money and accuracy however I will stick with the Ruger American Ranch in 7.62×39.
    With Wolf and Red Army I’m shooting 1.25 to 2 inch groups at 100 yards.
    With Hornady 123 SST I’m hitting a .5 to .75 inch at 100 yards.
    And the Ruger is about $200 cheaper and made in the US.

    Good luck.

  21. Have the 527 Maple in .223, 20” barrel. SWFA 10×42 Tac scope and Harris Bipod. This thing shoots clovers with cheat Americans Eagle 55gr @100 yards. Wonderful machining quality on the bolt, excellent stock fitment, the magazines are functional but awkward to seat (especially prone with the Bipod deployed)

  22. I have had my CZ527 Carbine in .223 for just over a year. I am a big fan of the Mauser action, and when I saw this micro-Mauser made by CZ, I just had to have it.
    Unfortunately, my original rifle would not hold a group. I sent it back to CZ, because they guarantee 2moa. Mine was shooting about 4moa. They send me back a brand new rifle. Dang! THAT is customer service!!!
    The new rifle is much better in the accuracy department. It shoots about 1moa, something I would expect from CZ, and from a rifle costing over $700.00usd.
    I absolutely love this rifle. I put a 10x fixed power SWFA SS scope on it, and now, even with my old, tired eyes, I can hold 1″ groups. I did have to remove the rear iron sight to fit the scope on the rifle because the low Warne rings cause the objective to interfere with the iron sight.
    Not a lot of companies make rings to fit the peculiar CZ dovetail, but the Warne rings are sturdy, and don’t break the bank.
    I target shoot, mostly just for fun. I don’t compete. And since I reload, I can shoot this rifle all day for about the same amount of money that the rifle reviewed above shoots 7.62×39.

    I’m seriously considering purchasing another one, and having a K98 style stock made for it, and fit it with the K98 hardware, to have a “new” military style Mauser, just to see the funny looks at the range. 🙂

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