I’ve never fancied bolt action rifles, but something about intermediate caliber bolt guns just appeals to me. Maybe it’s the affordable ammo or the novelty of a .223 Rem caliber bolt action. I can’t quite say, but when the CZ 600 Trail hit the market, I was entranced. While most people love CZ for their pistols or their various Scorpion and Bren incarnations, their bolt action rifles have always been rather nice.
The CZ 600 series encapsulates a wide variety of rifles in a variety of calibers. This does include full-powered cartridges and traditional wood stocks and the like. The CZ 600 Trail model is a good bit different. It only comes in 5.56 and 7.62×39 and uses either AR or Bren 2 magazines. Additionally, the rifle is designed to be very compact.
The weapon has a collapsing stock system that’s a bit wire-like in design. It’s very minimalist, with just a cheek rest to make it stand out. The receiver and barrel sit in a chassis system complete with all the M-LOK you could ever want. It’s very AR-like but obviously not an AR. Across the top, we have a very long monolithic sight rail for optics, night vision devices, and iron sights. It’s an unusual-looking rifle.
Plenty of rifles use chassis-style designs, but not many are in .223 Remington, and not many use a PDW-type stock. Unusual draws me in, but performance keeps me.
The CZ 600 Trail Rundown
A 16.2-inch barrel is about as short as you can legally get with a rifle. That barrel is cold hammer forged and features a 1/2×28 thread for all your favorite muzzle devices. The overall length is 35 inches with the stock deployed but only 27.2 with the stock collapsed entirely. The length of pull can be adjusted to 13.7 inches at the max position. The stock has four positions, and the cheek rest can be easily swapped to accommodate left-handed shooters.
At 6.1 pounds, the rifle isn’t exactly tipping scales. CZ includes 10 round Magpul P-MAG with the .223 Remington version. Any other AR magazine can find its way into the gun. A 10-rounder is nice, but a 20-rounder is perfect for maximizing capacity and keeping the rifle nice and low. The rifle has an MSRP of $1,155.00.
Features and Ergonomics
Let’s start with the good and work our way to the bad. The good is the massive oversized bolt handle on the 600 Trail. It’s huge and ribbed for an easy grip. Manipulating the smooth bolt and springing it into action is easy. With some practice, you can get your mad minute going fast.
Another great feature is the ambidextrous controls. The magazine release and safety are entirely ambidextrous. They are both AR-type designs that a variety of shooters will certainly be used to. Speaking of AR-type, the grip is an AR-type design and can be replaced by any AR grip.
I personally enjoy the grip CZ provided. It features adjustable backstraps that use the CZ P09 series backstraps to adjust the grip to your size. The included grip is nice and thin and heavily textured for a sure grip.
The M-LOK handguard is plenty thin and nice to grip. It has plenty of room to attach a variety of lights, lasers, bipods, and beyond.
The bad kind of comes down to the stock, and it’s a mixed bad. Four positions allow for great adjustment, and the rifle can fit everyone from my massive frame to my son’s much smaller body type.
That’s great, but like all PDW stocks, it has some wiggle to it, and you have to lock down on it tight to keep it from wiggling. This rifle has a sub-MOA claim, and the shakey stock seems counterproductive.
This rifle is all over the place in terms of acceptable optics. Like, you can shove anything on this thing. It seems plenty acceptable to toss on a red dot for those out to 200-yard engagements. An LPVO wouldn’t be out of place, and neither would a 2.5-10X style optic. Heck, as a prism nerd, I just tossed on a Saber from Swampfox and called it a day.
It’s a versatile rifle, and when adding optics, you really have to think about what you intend to do with the rifle. I also believe you should keep the rifle light and maybe avoid the 6-24X type optics.
At the Range
A sub-MOA guarantee, huh, well, I’m an average-to-mediocre shooter, so I’ll challenge that claim. After a very easy zero at 50 yards, I stepped back to 100 yards. I set up my gun with a bipod and assumed a supported position. I wanted to try and erase all of my shooting errors as much as possible.
I set up my target and slowly fired three rounds. CZ delivered in the trigger department. It’s a two-stage trigger that’s fairly light and even adjustable if you float that way. The adjustable trigger has four positions that allow you to adjust the trigger weight between 1.3 to 3 pounds. I kept it at a stock three pounds, and 1.3 pounds feels scary light!
At 100 yards, with some basic brass-cased Wolf Gold .223 Remington, I produced a .72-inch group measured from the center of the holes. Not bad, especially with the rather cheap ammo I was tossing through it.
Rocking and Rolling
The CZ 600 Trail has a little recoil to it. Nothing stout or heavy, but surprising. Being spoiled by semi-auto AR-15s has its effects on recoil perception. The end of the barrel is typically bare, and with a bare barrel, you do get some noticeable muzzle flash. A suppressor can make that disappear.
Cycling the bolt is a blast. Especially trying to land rapid-fire shots. I used a series of clay pigeons positioned on the barm as targets and practiced shooting five as fast as possible at 50 and 100 yards. If I had to deck some rodents in the prairie dog family, I’d have zero issues moving from target to target. The minimal recoil and fast cycling bolt, plus the good trigger and accuracy, make it easy to engage targets quickly and accurately.
If I took this rifle on the trail or for a stalk, it’d be quite nice. The lightweight design makes it easy to tote and fast to the shoulder. While the rickety stock isn’t perfect, it’s workable. The collapsing design makes it easy to strap to the outside of a pack for the movement to set up camp.
Hitting the Trail
The CZ 600 Trail is a lightweight, modular rifle that’s a rather novel design. It’s easy to shoot and is a lot of fun to shoot. General gun season just opened for me, and I might be trying to bag a hog or deer with the 600 Trail. CZ continues to impress with their rifles, and I’m betting the rest of the 600 series is equally fantastic.
Editor’s Note: CZ has done a recall on the CZ 600. The CZ 600 was intended to have a user-replaceable barrel but apparently, the barrel can be installed incorrectly which can result in a catastrophic failure. See note below from CZ: