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Range Report: CZ 600 Alpha Hunting Rifle

This modern bolt-action has the perfect blend of technology and ergonomics for top performance in the field.

Range Report: CZ 600 Alpha Hunting Rifle
Sections of Picatinny rail integral to the rifle’s aluminum receiver accept rings for mounting a scope. (Photo by Darren Choate)

The 600 series is a new generation of rifles from the Czech Republic-based gunmaker CZ that combines innovative technology, top-notch materials and creative design. One of five variations in the line, the CZ 600 Alpha features a cold-hammer-forged barrel, aluminum receiver and polymer stock, resulting in a durable hunting rifle. The lightweight receiver balances well with the semi-heavy barrel, making the 600 Alpha a capable rifle for a variety of hunting scenarios.

Several innovations contribute to the 600 Alpha’s accuracy and handling in the field. First, the bolt locks into the barrel and not the receiver, meaning pressures during firing do not act directly on the receiver. This gives CZ the option of making the Alpha’s receiver from aluminum instead of steel to reduce weight and optimize balance with the barrel. The receiver includes two integral Picatinny bases for mounting a riflescope.

The bolt has a 60-degree throw for faster cycling, as well as more clearance for the bolt handle and knob for compatibility with a wide range of optics. Depending on the chambering and receiver size, the bolt has three or six locking lugs. The bottom of the bolt head is designed so that the rim of a cartridge being fed from the magazine slips under the short, AR-15-style extractor for controlled-round feeding.

safety button on rifle
Press down on the safety button to ready the rifle for firing; press up on the button from the bottom of the stock to activate the safety. (Photo by Darren Choate)

Located on the tang, the vertical push-button safety is intuitive to operate and quiet. When the safety is engaged it locks the bolt, but a release mounted on the receiver just ahead of the cutout for the bolt handle allows the bolt to be unlocked while the rifle remains on safe.

The 600 Alpha’s patented single-stage trigger is user-adjustable for pull weight by using a supplied hex wrench without any disassembly required. Pull can be set to one of four weights ranging from 1.3 to 3 pounds.

The double-stack detachable box magazine can be locked in place via a sliding catch button. When the magazine is locked into the receiver, loading it is accomplished through the action port. Capacity is five rounds.

  • See CZ 600 Alpha Specifications Below

Constructed of fiber-reinforced polymer, the stock includes a parallel comb, symmetrical geometry and a vertical grip. The sharply angled contours of the stock are futuristic but ergonomic, while the checkered rubber panels are pragmatic, enhancing a hunter’s ability to firmly hold and control the rifle under any condition.

The test rifle I received was chambered in 6 mm Creedmoor, a capable cartridge for deer-size game and predators. I found the fit and finish of the 600 Alpha to be excellent, and its overall look was modern meets matte.

The rifle operated smoothly out of the box, and the trigger pull was crisp and light. I measured the pull weight as set at the factory using a Wheeler Engineering Professional Digital Trigger Gauge, and five pulls averaged 1 pound, 15 ounces.

I mounted a Burris XTR Pro 5.5-30x56 mm scope on the rifle for testing. Its 34 mm tube and 90 MOA of adjustment seemed a perfect fit for the chambering and ballistic capabilities of the 600 Alpha. I mounted and leveled the riflescope with a Wheeler Engineering Professional Reticle Leveling System while allowing for proper eye relief. With the optic mounted and its power adjustment knob installed, the bolt operated without any interference.

CZ 600 Alpha Accuracy Results

Load: Federal Premium Gold Medal Berger
  • Bullet Weight: 105 grs.
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,873 fps
  • Average Group: 0.49"
Load: Hornady Black
  • Bullet Weight: 105 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,802 fps
  • Average Group: 0.75"

Muzzle velocity is the average of three consecutive shots fired through a Caldwell G2 chronograph at 10 feet. Accuracy is the average of three consecutive, three-shot groups fired from a sandbag rest at 100 yards.

During testing, I fired three, three-shot groups of Federal Premium Gold Medal and Hornady Black ammo. The rifle performed flawlessly, and I was impressed by its accuracy and precision. Both factory loads shot well within 1 MOA, and the Federal ammo averaged less than half that.

Recommended


trigger on a rifle
Adjusting the pull weight of the trigger can be accomplished without having to remove the barreled action from the stock. (Photo by Darren Choate)

Along with the excellent barrel, I am confident the trigger is a major factor in the superior accuracy of the 600 Alpha. A great trigger makes every shooter better. The moderate weight of the rifle is also conducive to accuracy performance. With the larger Burris XTR mounted, the test rifle weighed a bit more than 10 pounds. Weight comes with pros and cons, and in this case, the aluminum receiver and the barrel work in tandem to provide ideal balance and pleasant shooting.

Another feature I prefer is the bolt lock. As a Western hunter, I usually carry a rifle shouldered with a sling or attached to a backpack. This often leaves the bolt handle exposed, and thick, brushy cover can catch on it and open the action. The lock removes the chance of the bolt opening, but it can still be operated with the safety engaged by pressing the release when needed.

I also like the rifle’s 60-degree bolt throw. The short upward stroke allows the shooter to extract and chamber a second round quickly when a follow-up shot is needed. Additionally, it prevents interference with just about any riflescope, meaning hunters can choose from a variety of optic solutions to fit any scenario.

At its $650 price point, the CZ 600 Alpha is a superb rifle. With excellent accuracy and handling, the rifle is well designed for not only hunters, but also recreational target shooters and even competitive shooters. The 600 series represents a new path forward for CZ, and I believe it has a bright future.

rifle with magazine
A sliding catch located ahead of the magazine well locks the five-round box magazine in place. (Photo by Darren Choate)

CZ 600 Alpha Specifications

  • Type: bolt-action centerfire rifle
  • Caliber: 6 mm Creedmoor (tested)
  • Barrel: 22"; cold-hammer-forged; semi-heavy contour, threaded muzzle
  • Trigger: user-adjustable single-stage; 1.9-lb. pull weight
  • Safety: two-position, tang-mounted vertical
  • Magazine: detachable box; 5-round capacity
  • Sights: none; integral Picatinny bases for mounting optics
  • Stock: fiber-reinforced black polymer with rubber panels
  • Finish: matte black
  • Overall Length: 42.2"
  • Weight: 7.7 lbs.
  • Info: cz-usa.com
  • MSRP: $649



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