Follow-Up Post

Harking back to my paean of praise to the Savage 99 last week, something else about the originating article has stuck with me.

The author suggests that of the ten rifles everyone should own, one should be a custom-made rifle.

Now I’ll be perfectly honest, here:  aside from the cost involved (which should frighten almost anyone not named Phil Thee Richbags let alone a Cheap Bastard like me), every time I’ve thought about what I’m looking for in a custom-made rifle, I list all the components and invariably end up with something made by CZ.

Here’s a partial list of “desirable” features:

  • Mauser-style bolt
  • hogsback stock
  • Schnabel fore-end or  full stock
  • single-set trigger

…which leads to something that looks very much like this:

…which is the CZ 427, basically.  Or in a more manly chambering, this:

…which is nothing more than the CZ 557 Safari (a.k.a. Brno 602).  As for the full-stock dream rifle:

…which is the CZ 550 FS.

See what I mean?

Sure, I could always say I want a “blueprinted Remington 400x action with a 21″bull barrel, Timney trigger and a Fajen walnut stock” etc. but that’s going to cost me thousands, and I seriously doubt that I’d like it more, or for that matter be able to shoot it better than any of the ones shown.

Maybe — maybe — I could call up the folks at Dakota Arms to make me something to the above specs, but why, when CZ makes exactly what I need as a matter of course, and for a very reasonable price withal?

And if none of the above rifles makes your heart go pitter-pat just a little, then we’re on different pages of the Gun Geek Book entirely.

Don’t even get me started on chambering.  Certainly, I would eschew any exotic cartridge such as a .280 Ackley Improved and forget any custom cartridge designed for me exclusively.  When it comes to the damage-causing projectiles, I’d be perfectly happy with light ones like .223 Rem or .243 Win;  medium ones like .270 Win,  6.5x55mm Swede, 7x57mm, or .308 Win;  or for the heavies, .300 Win Mag or .375 H&H.  Any further tinkering would be in the realms of bullet weight and -type only.

In fact, now that I think of it, I already own my all-purpose “dream rifle”:

For those who’ve been on another planet these past couple years, it’s a Mauser M12 in 6.5x55mm Swede, topped with a Minox ZX 5i scope.

I don’t need  a custom rifle;  in terms of what I love about rifles, I already have one.  And if I want one with more “desirable” features, I’ll get a CZ.


  1. The 557 was something of a first for CZ–it’s a push feed, not controlled feed, action. This upset some traditionalists/fanbois when the gun first came out, it’s not a Mauser action.

  2. I’ll be “breaking in” my Dream Rifle, this weekend.

    Ruger M-77 Hawkeye “African”, in 6.5×55. One of 250, as ordered by Lipsys Distributors. Mine was the Lipsys display rifle at the 2017 and 2018 SHOT show, and I’ve obtained the Letter of Provenence from Lipsys to back that up.

    Unfired (as yet), VERY nice wood, and unblemished in every respect. 26 in. barrel, Safari sights, and unlike other calibers in the Ruger “African” series, no muzzle brake to sully the beautiful lines.

    Just yesterday, USPS brought me the 30 mm rings, with which to mount the Nightforce 2.5×10 x42 scope to the rifle. Imagine, a Nightforce scope in a size format that suits such a rifle.

    I still have that VIRGIN “Zastava” commercial Mauser ’98 receiver, but I’m not now as compelled to build a custom rifle on it as I once was. The Ruger is what I’d had in mind to build, and other than it not being a “pure” Mauser platform, at least for now “what’s not to love?”, about it.

    Gotta do some barrel break in and shoot an assortment of loads, to see what diet it prefers. Long as it preforms, it’s going to end up being all the “custom” I’m gonna need in this lifetime.

    Oh, and I’m going to put the Norwegian Krag up for sale, too. Line forms to the right!

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  3. You have excellent taste in guns, sir.

    The CZ457 training rifle is on my short list of rifles I want; what beautiful lines it has, and that Schnabel fore-end is the icing on the cake. I would not defile it with a scope of any type, rather I’d put on a Tech Sights aperture sight and cheerfully put thousands of through it as I pass into decrepitude.

  4. I have my custom rifle. Of course, my father built it for me – and it loads from the front end. But those suppository guns are just a fad anyway.

  5. I have never cared for the hogsback stocks, but have no qualms about the rest of your preferences. But I’ve only handled one hogback at a shop and it just felt like it was designed to increase recoil by raising the barrel axis above the ‘point of contact’ with your shoulder.

    To me they also look like a throwback to those odd Turkish and other middle-eastern ‘handmade’ rifles with the significant droop in the stock.

    From a very quick check online, supposedly the hogsback is supposed to better align your head/eyes for use with iron sights, where the straight comb works better for taller sights or optics (and add a monte carlo hump for more lift if needed).

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