CZ 600 Alpha review

Review: CZ 600 Alpha centrefire rifle

CZ has launched its new, innovative CZ 600 rifle, a different design of rifle to any CZ that went before. The 600 replaces all other CZ centrefire designs and copies some of the characteristics that have become standard on many economy-class bolt-actions on the market, but the 600 has interchangeable barrel systems, bolt head systems and magazine systems.

The CZ 600’s receiver, both short and long, is machined from durable high-grade aluminium alloy or steel. My test gun’s alloy receiver is 23.5cm (9¼”) long and 4.1cm (1⅝”) wide and all receivers have a guaranteed service life of 20,000 rounds.

CZ 600 Alpha review
The CZ 600 Alpha has a very robust, practical design with modern, angular stock

The CZ 600 is offered with a choice of two different optic-mounting systems. It is flat-sided, angled like the Browning A-Bolt and has a short, integral Picatinny-spec rail atop the receiver ring and bridge. Alternatively, some 600s have the receiver drilled and tapped to take Remington 700 scope bases.

There’s an ejection port in the right side of the action that’s large enough to allow a cartridge to be thumbed into the magazine by hand.

The Model 600 has a dual-column magazine which can be converted from a removable magazine to a fixed magazine; it can be locked into place simply by sliding the magazine release upward. A push-and-click loading system provides very smooth and reliable feeding of rounds.

Except for the spring, CZ 600 magazines are made entirely of polymer. While these magazines work with several different cartridges, for big changes you’ll need a replacement one. For instance, the magazine in the rifle I tested handled 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and .308 Win. Because these rounds have the same size bolt head they will function from the same size magazine and only a barrel swap would be required.

CZ 600 Alpha review
The barrel slides into a split receiver and is retained by three screws that clamp it tightly in place

The left side of the receiver is split and clamped around the chamber section of the barrel. It is secured by three large screws which are sealed with a red epoxy-like material. The bottom of the receiver is flat and has a transverse notch which fits closely over a recoil lug, which is part of the stock. A similar notch at the rear of the receiver engages a shallower lug protruding upwards at the rear of the magazine well. This set-up ensures the action is well supported against any forward and rearward movement in the stock.

The new patented single-stage trigger is a superbly built unit inserted in a slot under the tang. Its rear end houses a unique vertical safety catch — a tube within a tube. A pair of round serrated buttons are visible at the top and bottom of the tang. The button is pushed down to make the rifle safe or up for firing mode.

The trigger is a single-stage design and has four different pull weights which can be adjusted without removing the stock by inserting a small 1.5mm hex wrench (supplied) into a dial located in front of the trigger. The face of the dial has a white dot to line up with any of four marks, indicating four different pull weights varying from 0.8-1.8kg (1.7-4lb).

My test gun had the trigger set to break cleanly at 0.9kg (2lb). That’s too light for safety in the hunting field, so I adjusted it to let off at 1.36kg (3lb) — my personal preference.

CZ 600 trigger
The trigger unit is housed in a slot in the tang. The integral safety works up and down through a tunnel in the tang

The bolt release catch is a spring-loaded lever recessed into the right side of the bridge in front of the bolt handle. It pivots on a long linkage and is depressed to remove the bolt.

The CZ’s bolt has three pairs of symmetrically spaced lugs, a length of 19cm (7½”) and a diameter of 2cm (0.785”). The interior of the receiver is free from raceways and the lugs engage locking seats in the chamber end of the barrel. The bolt stop rides in a longitudinal slot milled in the bottom of the bolt body, forming a guide system for the bolt.

The upper half of the bolt face is shrouded by the two upper lugs while the lower section is left open to have a combined controlled-round/push-feed system. There are rifles out there that claim to have controlled-round feed that are really just push-feeds with full length extractors. The CZ 600 isn’t one of them. As the cartridge leaves the magazine, the rim slips under the sturdy 5.8mm (0.230”) extractor, which holds it firmly until it is ejected from the action.

Cams cut on each locking lug render enough displacement to close on a cartridge without serious hesitation. The steel bolt handle is straight and has a 60-degree lift to clear a low-mounted scope.

CZ 600 bolt
The one-diameter bolt has six equidistantly spaced locking lugs which engage seats in the rear end of the barrel. It is necessary to first remove the firing pin assembly before the bolt head can be removed by sliding it out to one side

Despite the rifle’s abbreviated bolt rotation, its cam systems operate at peak efficiency and the bolt handle lifts just as easily on an empty chamber or a fired cartridge.

A gas port in the side of the chamber aligns with a gas port in the receiver ring to vent gas escaping from between the locking lugs. It helps that the shoulder formed on the bolt helps confine escaping gas to the receiver ring. Gas entering the firing pin hole is handled in an equally thorough manner, being expelled outward through a port in the bolt body 4cm (1.55”) from the bolt face at the rear of the receiver ring.

Any residual gas flowing back along the bolt is released through a hole on each side of the root of the bolt handle. Finally, any remaining flow is shrouded by the solid bolt sleeve. In all, a thorough and positive gas handling arrangement.

The extractor is an angled claw type which sits in a narrow cut in the side of the bolt face. Rather than being sprung inward by the usual arrangement of a coil spring working at right angles to the extractor, which is too often subject to binding even from slight imperfections or tool marks on the parts, it is controlled directly by a vertical wire spring anchored near the base of the bolt head.

CZ 600 Alpha review
The alloy receiver has short Picatinny bases fore and aft to take Weaver-style ring mounts. Note generous ejection port and bolt release catch in front of bolt handle recess

The ejector resembles a plunger type, but is actually a manually activated blade type. If you want to salvage your brass, open the bolt slowly and the fired case simply falls out; yank the bolt back fast and the case gets pelted far and wide.

An alloy bolt sleeve caps the rear of the bolt. Its exterior is not only contoured to blend perfectly with the lines of the receiver, but it fits up against the bridge so closely as to almost resemble a continuous piece. The bolt knob is large and round like a soccer ball and free from chequering.

The CZ 600 Alpha has a cold hammer forged barrel 51cm (20”) long which is rated as being medium-heavy. It has a diameter of 27.3mm (1.076”) at the receiver ring and gently tapers to 18.3mm (0.720”) at the muzzle, which is threaded to attach a brake, flash hider or sound suppressor.

Barrels have an optimised length for each different calibre and a medium-heavy or light profile according to the intended purpose of each specific model — big game hunting, varmint shooting or target shooting.

CZ 600 receiver detail
The CZ 600 receiver is very solidly constructed, with some models equipped with Picatinny-spec mounting rails

A modular design, the CZ 600 can be converted to use a different cartridge family, one that’s compatible with the length of the receiver. After removing the bolt, the entire bolt head can be removed in literally seconds and exchanged for another head that suits a different cartridge family.

For instance, you can swap from a .30-06-size bolt head to a belted magnum bolt face. Or go the other way and swap for a .223 Remington. To remove the bolt head you simply twist the bolt sleeve clockwise, slide the firing pin assembly out of the bolt body, then push the ejector button forward to release the bolt head, which is slid out to the side. Reassemble in the reverse order.

The barrel profile can only be changed if the stock design is compatible. When barrels are changed, retention of accuracy is guaranteed after the first shot. Barrels are a press fit into the front of the action and are clamped solidly in place by tightening the three cross-bolts in sequence.

CZ has issued a warning about the changeover of barrels; it must be done by a qualified gunsmith. If you attempt to do it yourself, you will forfeit your warranty. To enforce this mandate, CZ barrels and spare parts will be made available only to gunsmiths.

CZ 600 receiver detail
Butt has a high comb for use with a scope and a steep angle on the pistol grip with grippy mouldings

All external metal surfaces on the 600 series are given CZ’s new Bobox chemical heat treatment, a hard, durable finish that’s corrosion resistant.

The stocks for the 600 series are another departure from CZ tradition. Made of polymer, the Alpha model’s stock features a very high, straight comb and a slim, vertical grip that allows the righthand thumb to ride high on the left side of the grip. The trigger guard is moulded integrally. There’s no cheekpiece and the nose of the comb is deeply dished on either side.

The hollow forend is squarish and, like the grip, has angled flats on the bottom and upper edges. The grip panels have a series of raised rib-like lines rather than being stippled or checkered. Two recoil lugs are moulded in together with the sling swivel studs.

A soft, hollow, rubber recoil pad with a Monte Carlo dip at the top absorbs and softens recoil. Length of pull is 35.5cm (14”).

As tested, my Alpha .308 weighed at 4.1kg (9lb) with Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18×50 SFP (second focal plane) scope in Recknagel Q/D Weaver rings. This heft is manageable for a sporter.

CZ 600 Alpha accuracy

Initial range tests inspired great confidence in the CZ 600, which shot many sub-MOA groups of five shots with Winchester factory ammunition; it is guaranteed sub-MOA for three shots. The outfit was comfortable to shoot off the bench, the trigger excellent, and the bolt easy to operate, with each round feeding smoothly from the magazine.

The velocity of Winchester ammunition is taken in a 61cm (24”) barrel and I expected some loss in the short 20” barrel. Big surprise! The 150gn loads actually gave slightly higher than their stated velocity.

You can expect similar performance from the other models in the 600 series.

Summing up, the entire CZ 600 range is an exciting, new and innovative concept, based on the premise that there will always be riflemen who like distinctive rifles — something a bit different yet one that conforms with an individual’s preference in looks and feel, and a high standard of accuracy. For these people, there’s a CZ 600 to suit.

CZ 600 Alpha review


  • Manufacturer: Ceska Zbrovska, Czech Republic
  • Type: Bolt-action, modular design with interchangeable barrels
  • Calibres: .223 to .300 Win Mag; tested, .308 Win
  • Magazine capacity: 5 rounds
  • Barrel: 51cm (20”) cold-hammer-forged, medium heavy, 1:10” twist
  • Overall length: 102cm (40”)
  • Weight empty: 3.2kg (7lb)
  • Stock: Fibreglass-reinforced polymer
  • Length of pull: 35.5mm (14”)
  • Finish: Matte black metalwork and stock
  • Sights: Picatinny rail machined integral to receiver
  • Trigger: Single-stage, adjustable from 0.8-1.8kg (1.7-4lb)
  • Safety: Two-position
  • RRP: $1695
  • Distributor: Winchester Australia




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.