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CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

The Czech firm has gone all out on its new series of rifles and Bruce Potts is particularly keen on this precision centrefire

CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

Overall Rating: 84%

Manufacturer: Czeska Zbrojovka

Price as reviewed: £1,181

The CZ 600 Alpha .223 Rem is not your usual ‘tweak here and there’; much like the 455 to 457 makeover, this centrefire rifle is something completely different. Key features include a new bolt design, which maintains a 100% controlled cartridge feed for reliability, as well as a vertical safety system that is silent and easy to operate. There is also a novel magazine lock system. Like most CZ rifles, the 600 series comes in a range of styles for sports, target or hunting, and this Alpha model is designed with a slimline, durable, fibre-reinforced polymer stock and tough metal surfaces.

Current calibres available include nine of the most popular, from .223 Rem to .300 Win Mag, with further calibres announced at IWA earlier this month. An integrated Picatinny-type rail sits on a lightweight yet strong aluminium action, and each rifle is factory tested and guaranteed sub-MOA (minute of angle) at 100m (three-shot groups with match-grade factory ammunition). The barrels were interchangeable but now come permanently fitted to the action.

The 600 series is an exciting new range of rifles, with this Alpha .223 Rem model suitable for foxes and small-species of deer. (More on rifles for deer here.)

Let it not be said that CZ rests on its laurels. Far from it. This Czech arms manufacturer has reinvented, updated and improved its product lines year in, year out for some 85 years now.

CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

Need to know

  • Manufacturer CZ
  • Model 600 Alpha
  • Action Bolt action
  • Barrel length 24in, threaded muzzle 15mm/1 metric
  • Weight 6.6lb
  • Length 43in
  • Length of pull 14in
  • Magazine capacity Five shots
  • Scope mounts Integrated Picatinny
  • Trigger Single stage, adjustable
  • Stock Black polymer Sporter
  • Price £1,126.99
  • Distributor Sportsman Gun Centre, 01392 354854
CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem

An integrated Picatinny-type rail allows for universal scope-mount fitment

CZ 600 series Alpha .223 Rem in depth

Everything on the 600 seems scaled to fit. The stock is a big departure from previous designs with its radical and modern styling. A symmetrical fibre-reinforced black polymer composition ensures a tough, weather-resistant and practical stock for a hunting arm. It’s a bit slimline for me but the soft-touch plastic inserts on the pistol grip and fore-end, along with the raised chequered panels to the full fore-end and sides, provide multiple grip areas.

The cold hammer-forged barrel is unusual for a .223 Rem in that it has a very fast 1:7 rifling twist rate, so it is really designed for heavier .22 calibre projectiles – important to note. It is 24in in length, with a M15x1 threaded muzzle and cap, and has a semi-varmint profile of which 12in within the fore-end is not free-floating. The Alpha is guaranteed to be sub-MOA accurate at 100 yards for premium loads. This is impressive and, given it is a CZ, I don’t doubt it. The aluminium action has dispensed with the usual scope dovetails, replacing them with integral Picatinny rails — a good idea and ultimately far more versatile.

The bolt release is a small push-down button in front of the bolt recess, revealing a three-lug head bolt (60-degree bolt lift) and semi-controlled round-feed system, with these bolt lugs locking into the steel barrel. The bolt heads are detachable as originally barrels were to be exchangeable; this can still be done at an approved distributor if needed. The extractor is strong and ejects forward rather than to the side to avoid both you and scope. Feeding is reliable, especially from the detachable magazine, which is easy to load either in or out of the rifle. The release catch can be locked so the magazine does not pop out accidentally while stalking.

Built into the stock is the trigger-guard and the Sauer-like push up/down safety. Down is ‘off’ and up is ‘on’, which locks the bolt, too, although the bolt release catch can be used to raise the bolt on safe. In front of the trigger-blade is a four-position catch that sets the trigger pressure between 1.3lb and 2.9lb — ours was set at a crisp 2.4lb.

rifle stock

The stock is a big departure from previous designs with its radical and modern styling


CZ has gone all out with this 600 series of rifles and there are some interesting models to choose from. The Alpha would be my preference as it is a decent working rifle for fox control or deer management and benefits from good accuracy as well as CZ’s renowned dependability in the field. Sensibly priced, the Alpha .223 Rem will prove popular with seasoned shooters as well as those wanting their first centrefire rifle.

  • Accuracy 17/20 Good overall accuracy
  • Handling 17/20 Light and quite thin to hold
  • Trigger 17/20 Nice adjustable trigger unit
  • Stock 16/20 Durable but a bit slab-sided for me
  • Value 17/20 It’s a CZ, so it will last and shoot well
  • Overall score 84/100 Ideal for foxing and deer management
rifle ammo

The release catch can be locked so the magazine does not pop out accidentally while stalking – a very handy addition

In the field

I fitted a Zeiss Terra scope and MAE moderator and proceeded to test at 100 yards over the chronograph. It was nice to try out some .223 Rem loads for a change. The Sako Gamehead Soft Point 55gr shot superb 0.75in groups, and at 3,187fps/1,241ft/lb it is legal for small deer species. Norma’s Tipstrike 54gr cartridge achieved a healthy 3,211fps/1,237ft/lb and MOA groups. It is designated as a varmint round but also works well for Scottish roe and Chinese water deer.

The RWS T-Mantel 55gr, designed for a more controlled expansion and deep penetration, is another good small-species deer round and hovered around the 1in mark at 3,181fps and 1,236ft/lb.

Because of the fast-twist barrel, I also tried some heavier bullets for long-range crow control. A Sierra MatchKing 80gr shooting 24.0 grains of CFE 223 powder achieved 2,671fps/1,268ft/lb and 0.95in groups.

I settled on the factory Sako 55gr Gameheads and set forth among the after muntjac. The CZ 600 plus moderator was a tad long but easily slung on the shoulder and light enough not to matter. It’s easy to shoot off sticks, bipod or offhand, and that up-and-down safety catch is handy in the field. It’s nice to be able to top up the magazine while in the rifle, and that locking release catch saves losing a magazine and stops it rattling too.

A small muntjac appeared at 65 yards along a field edge and stopped long enough for a heart shot. Low recoil and good handling meant I was reloaded and ready to follow-up if needed, but the stalk was at an end.