[Hands-On Review] CZ 527 American: Mini Mauser

CZ firearms have a cult following and if you’ve ever shot one, you’d know why!

While the pistols are insanely popular, CZ’s rifles are also nothing to sniff at.

CZ Model 527 American Shooting Times
CZ Model 527 American (Shooting Times)

If you’re looking for a fabulous, functional work rifle (that can wipe the floor with other shooters at the range), we’re pleased to introduce the marvelous mini Mauser, the CZ Model 527.

We’ll take a look at all the different models of Model 527 available, as well as give you the rundown of how just how this rifle feels, functions, and performs!

Ready? Let’s roll!

Table of Contents

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A Little CZ History

In 1936, CZ (Česká zbrojovka), or Czech Armory, was born, beginning production of civilian and military arms in January of 1937.

CZ Model 48 machine gun
CZ Model 48 machine gun

Over the years, CZ wore many hats such as aircraft parts fabrication, tractor, and agricultural parts production, and automotive industry manufacturing.

But for shooters, CZ stands for high-quality, accurate firearms!

CZ Pooh

In 1998, CZ established CZ-USA, headquartering U.S. operations in Kansas City, Kansas.

Today, CZ-USA’s brand boasts the designations of importer, manufacturer, and distributor of pistols, rifles, shotguns, and suppressors for the American markets.

CZ BRN 2
CZ BRN 2

CZ-USA also designs and imports the CZ-USA Field Sports line of shotguns from Turkey.

Additionally, the company serves as the parent company of Dan Wesson, makers of revolvers and 1911-style handguns.

CZ and the Mauser 98

For those who know and love bolt-action rifles, the Mauser 98 action is likely a favorite.

Mauser m98
The Mauser M98 — a fine gun for hunting or sport shooting.

Controlled round feeding, a big claw extractor, and robust ejection of the Mauser action have been the starting point for many custom rifles. These features continue to set the standard for dangerous game bolt guns.

The Brno Mauser or vz. 24 was CZ’s take on the Model 98.

It gained a lot of fame for its strength and accuracy. Like the Model 98, it became the foundation of many custom rifle projects. 

BRNO Model 22 Mauser
BRNO Model 22 Mauser

Fast forward to today.

CZ bolt-action rifles still use the Brno Mauser action regardless of cartridge dimensions.

But why?

They are one of the few actions available in a production gun that give you controlled-round feeding and the big claw extractor

German soldier with an M.1898 Gewehr
German soldier with an M.1898 Gewehr

True, the Winchester Model 70 and the Ruger Model 77 base their designs on the Mauser action…

But with the advent of more budget-friendly models, the robust Mauser-type actions are becoming harder to find at the local gun store.

Modern Day: Meet the CZ 527 American

Built on a .223 length action, current iterations of the CZ 527 ship in a variety of styles and cartridge choices. 

CZ Model 527 (Grandview Outdoors)
CZ Model 527 (Grandview Outdoors)

Cartridges run the gamut from the .17 Hornet up to 7.62×39mm.

You will find American-styled wood stocks, graceful European-styled stocks, varmint stocks, and even a synthetic stocked, suppressor-ready model.

The wood-stocked rifles look beautiful. CZ uses Turkish Walnut in all the wood-stocked versions. It’s wonderfully figured and checkered on all models. 

All models come with sling studs installed and machined 16mm scope bases. You’ll need to purchase those rings separately, though. 

Model 527 Models

The Lux models and the Carbine offer excellent iron sights already installed.

720
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The varmint models are all heavy-barreled versions of the 527. One model comes suppressor-ready and chambered in 6.5 Grendel only.

With a long, heavy barrel this model proves excellent for hogs and deer, as well as punching steel at the range.

Model 527 Varmint (Varminter Magazine)
Model 527 Varmint (Varminter Magazine)

The MTR Varmint model comes chambered in .223 Remington and 6.5 Grendel and, again, offers a suppressor-ready platform. MTR stands for Match Target Rifle and it uses a heavy stock meant for work from the bench.

A stippled, vertical pistol grip and a wide forearm make this a formidable rifle for small targets at long range. 

840
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Finally, CZ brings a synthetic stocked, suppressor-ready model to the table.

This rifle opts for a handy 16.5-inch threaded barrel and chambers 6.5 Grendel, .300 Blackout, and 7.62x39mm.

CZ Model 527 with synthetic stock and suppressor (Outdoor Wire)
CZ 527 with synthetic stock and suppressor (Outdoor Wire)

Weighing in at only 5.87-pounds, this rifle would be perfect for stalking deer and hogs in thick country.

All barrels are cold hammer-forged and produce excellent accuracy with any cartridge and caliber. 

If you search the web, I doubt you will find a CZ rifle that shoots poorly — sub-MOA groups or better at 100-yards are standard. And most of these little rifles shoot much better than that with tuned handloads.

Specs & Features

Regardless of the number of styles and options, what happens in the field counts the most.

CZ Model 527 American
CZ Model 527 American

After reading about the new 527 chambered in 6.5 Grendel I figured I should dust off the .223 in my safe and revisit the little rifle.

I purchased my 527 for chasing coyotes in the Eastern Oregon foothills many years ago.

Elmer Fudd
Real time footage of me stalking those coyotes!

The 527’s Barrel

It should be noted that early models in .223 were barreled with relatively slow 1:12 twist rates. This means that long, heavy bullets for really long-range work do not stabilize well.

My rifle is no exception.

Once the bullets get into the 62- to 68-grain range, they start key-holing on the targets.

Any 527 in .223 manufactured after 2014 has a faster, 1:9 twist and will stabilize heavier bullets.

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527’s business end

My rifle has a cold hammer-forged barrel that is 21.12-inches long. Current production barrels measure 21.87-inches long.

The barrel brings a deeply blued and polished look, with a recessed target crown. It also is free-floated — which likely contributes to the accuracy potential. 

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 bolt. Note the thicc extractor on the right side!

Overall, the length of the rifle is 40.12-inches, and the length of pull measures 13.5-inches.

CZ Magazines

The rifles come stock with a 5-round, metal, removable magazine.

These take a while to loosen up when new. And I’ve found them to be a bit stiff as far as feeding is concerned…at least until used a bit.

The inside of the feed lips feature a fairly sharp edge and need a bit of attention with very fine sandpaper or a very fine polishing stone to slick them up. 

CZ Model 527 Magazine
CZ Model 527 Magazine, post polishing

Magazines are single stack and I have never experienced a failure to feed.

The magazine release is located on the right side just in front of the trigger guard. Pushing in releases the magazine for removal.

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 magazine release

Let’s Talk Triggers

Speaking of the trigger…in previous articles on Pew Pew Tactical, triggers have been discussed as one of the first improvements that can be made to many rifles.

A great trigger leads to great shooting and smaller groups

Let’s be clear — the 527 has a great trigger right from the box!

It is unique in that it is a set trigger. Once the rifle is cocked, push forward on the trigger to “set” it. 

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 trigger. It’s so dainty!

This results in a very light trigger pull for work from the bench. We’re talking an average of 2.88-ounces for 12 pulls on my rifle when the trigger is set.

There is literally no perceptible movement in the trigger when used in this fashion.

CZ Set Trigger adjustment diagram
CZ Set Trigger adjustment diagram. A: standard trigger pull weight; B: creep; C: over-travel; D: Set trigger pull weight

For use in the field when calling coyotes or when the weather forces you to wear gloves the normal pull averages 3.4-pounds.

Take-up sits around 1/8-inches, but with no over-travel when the trigger breaks.

Regardless, shooting very small groups is possible whether the trigger is set or not.

Safety for…Safety

The two-position safety is on the rear, right side of the receiver.

When in the safe position, the lever is in the forward position. Pull the lever back to fire.

Note: this is opposite most U.S. manufactured guns that typically push forward to fire. 

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 safety selector

Also worth mentioning, current production models will have a push forward to fire safety-lever.

Mine is an older model, and features the reversed safety!

When the lever is pulled back, a large red dot gives visual confirmation the rifle is ready to fire. 

When in the safe position, the bolt is locked and cannot be opened.

Sights and Stock

The standard 527 American does not come with any sights. Instead, 16mm dovetails are machined into the receiver to accept CZ’s rings or those from any number of manufacturers. 

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 milled dovetails for mounting a scope.

In years past, CZ sent a pair of rings with each rifle. Today, rings must be purchased separately.

My rifle wears CZ medium rings and secures a Burris Fullfield II 3×9 scope.

As this rifle was purchased for field and hunting use, I did not opt for a scope with turrets or in-the-field adjustability. 

184
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Finally, the stock is stunning for a factory rifle.

Turkish walnut with great figure and color and well-executed diamond point checkering make this a fine looking rifle.

I have a weakness for blued steel and walnut rifles and this rifle scratches that itch very well indeed.

CZ Model 527
CZ Model 527 checkering on the stock. Yowza!

At the Range

As I mentioned earlier, this rifle was purchased as a “walking around” gun when I lived in Eastern Oregon. I wanted a light, accurate rifle for moving from ridge to ridge and through the deep snows to call coyotes. 

My first range trip after mounting the scope, I used a few boxes of Winchester White Box .223 ammo from the local hardware store to zero the gun at 25-yards.

Then moved the targets out to 100-yards. 

CZ Model 527 Ammo
My preferred load for hunting those pesky coyotes!

Not having a spotting scope at the time I was forced to walk down and check my targets after shooting my groups.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that first 100-yard group…5 shots inside 3/8-inches!

I had never owned or shot anything this accurate.

I spent the rest of the afternoon burning up all my ammo and shooting little tiny groups.

Of course, I figured I could save some money hand-loading. Being a Nosler bullet fan I purchased a bunch of 40- and 50-grain Ballistic Tip Bullets

42
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If these shot well, they would be perfect coyote and squirrel medicine.

The little 40-grain bullets scream along pretty well and are extremely accurate in this rifle. With no wind, and if the shooter is doing their part, these bullets will often provide that rare one-hole group that so many riflemen strive for.

I have since loaded up the little rifle with 55-grain full metal jacket bullets as well as 50- and 55-grain soft points for hunting.

They all shoot inside an inch every time. The Ballistic Tips and soft points make fine coyote and varmint shooting projectiles indeed.

Varmint Hunting

Three years ago, in Wyoming after a long, slow, cold morning of looking for whitetails, my partner and I decided to find a nice vantage point in the sun above a big prairie dog colony down the road from our camp. 

Prairie dogs
Sorry, little guys…

Once we set up and things settled down, we began seeing little brown creatures pop up for a look around.

Armed with the CZ and prone on my pack we enjoyed an afternoon of prairie dog plinkin’ in the Wyoming wind.

We were making hits on the little pests way out beyond 200-yards and were able to scare a few across the valley at a range of 416-yards. 

Suffice it to say, I love my CZ 527. Zeroed at 100-yards a slight hold over at 300-yards means center hits.

With a compact scope and shooting from field positions, 300-yards is plenty far for me to be shooting at coyote-sized critters.

Most times, if the cagey rascals don’t see you, they will come in far closer when you are calling, so the shots become pretty easy.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

I have never had any type of malfunction with this rifle in all the years I owned it. The Mauser action comes built to last and built for hard use.

Remember, when the trigger is set it feels very light. So be sure you are on target with the muzzle pointed safely downrange before your finger wanders near the set trigger.

Ergonomics: 4/5

This rifle fits neatly into the classically-styled, wood-stocked category. But that means no adjustments. If the rifle fits you, as it should the average shooter, you will shoot it well. 

CZ Model 527
So. Pretty.

The deeply blued steel and the finely finished, checkered walnut stock meet that classic bolt action look.

The 5-round magazine protrudes from the stock immediately in front of the trigger, so field carry will require the rifle held a bit forward of the natural balance point.

Not a big deal, but it may take a little getting used to.

Accuracy: 5/5

This is by far the most accurate rifle I own. I never see groups larger than one MOA.

Be sure to check the rifling twist of your model. Some older models do not stabilize heavy bullets well in .223.

Newer models should allow you to take advantage of today’s heavy caliber bullets to really reach out there.

Customization: 3/5

Again, wood-stocked bolt gun, so the only customization you can add is a sling, maybe a bipod on the front sling swivel, and your choice of optics.

This rifle meets all your needs as a great walking-around varmint rifle as it comes from the factory.

Worth noting, other 527 models do offer bench rest-type stocks and muzzle brakes if you intend to use the rifle mostly from the bench or in a competitive fashion.

Value: 5/5

This rifle provides extreme accuracy as well as ease of use and classic lines. At a retail price point of $785 you get a lot of rifle for the money.

You will not go wrong investing in a CZ 527 rifle as a companion.

Overall: 4.5

Conclusion

Classic styling, Mauser action, extreme accuracy, and a price tag that won’t destroy your budget make the CZ 527 a keeper in my book.

While newer models feature some updates, I still love my older 527, so I don’t think you can go wrong browsing the used market, either!

If you want a brand new or a new to you .223 bolt gun…give the CZ 527 a good look. 

Do you own a CZ rifle or want one? Let us know and leave a comment down below! Check out our Hunting Ammo Buying Guide to learn more about what’s best for annihilating ground squirrels!

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