Personal Replacement

I’ve spent some time talking about a replacement for the Boomershoot ULD rifle.  Now I’m going to talk about what I might consider as a replacement for my stolen 6.5x55mm CZ 550, and let me share my thoughts.

All my 6.5mm Swede ammo was stolen, along with the rifle.  (I have more — okay, a lot more — Hirtenberger mil-surp stashed away at a sooper-seekrit location, but all my soft- and hollowtip ammo went bye-bye.)  So I’d be starting from scratch, so to speak, and thus I have the option of either exploring a different chambering altogether — either one I don’t have experience with (e.g. 6.5 Creed), or one I know and love (.308 Win) or one of which I have a boatload of ammo stock already (7.62x39mm).  To make sure we all know what I’m talking about, I’ll be looking for a bolt-action scoped rifle which will be effective at 100 yards, and can reach out to 200 yards if necessary.  (Beyond that, I’m not interested unless with a ULD-type rifle.)

Budget would be about $1,500.

Taking the last one first, the only candidate for a 7.62x39mm boltie is the CZ 527 carbine, with a quality medium-range 9x or 10x scope:

The 527 retails for about $700, and a decent illuminated scope (like this one) about the same.

As for the other options, the options are pretty much endless;  but for my “unfamiliar” chambering, I think I would certainly entertain the Tikka T3 Hunter (because wood stock, and because Tikka) in 7mm-08 Rem:

Amazingly, I’ve seen 7mm-08 ammo available in quite a few outlets, and I’ve always had a secret hankering to shoot what is after all an improvement over the venerable 7x57mm (an old favorite).  The Hunter is also available in .308 Win, so that covers both “new” and “old” chamberings.

Another lovely rifle I’m familiar with, and which is likewise available in both .308 Win and 7mm-08 is the Sauer 100 Classic:

The Classic retails for about $950.

At this point, the question might be asked:  “Well Kim, if you’re such a fan of the CZ 550/557 rifles, why not one of those?”  and it’s a fair question, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 557 American:

As everyone knows, I have a long and excellent relationship with CZ rifles, from the old Brno 602 back in Africa to its more modern descendants.  However, I’m not considering it here because for some reason CZ has discontinued the CZ 557 hunting rifles in both 7mm-08 and .308 Win — so if I were to want to purchase either of those two chamberings, I’d be SOL unless I found a decent secondhand one, or some retailer / distributor had an old “Sporter” model in .308 Win.

Of course, someone’s going to complain that I’m only considering furrin guns and not Murkin ones.  Au contraire, mes amis aux fusils :   I would indeed consider (at $850) the Savage 110 Classic, in either 7mm-08 or .308 Win:

…the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight (at around $900):

…as well as the Browning X-Bolt Micro-Midas (at just under $800) in the same calibers:

What really gets up my nose is that in Ye Olden Dayes, (or Days Of Yore, if you prefer), a visit to your local Merchant of Death would find at least four or five of these fine rifles already on the shelves, to be handled, fondled and trigger-tested at will.  Nowadays, of course, you have to just order the damn thing and trust to luck that the rifle will not turn out to be a total dog (like the Savage Axis rifle I tested earlier this year, which arrived in no fit condition to shoot).

But these are the times we live in, I suppose, and the only factor in my favor is that I know my rifles reasonably well, and can make a more-or-less informed judgement thereof.  Pity the first-time buyer…

And you’re probably going to ask me which of the above I’d choose if I had to make a decision right now.  Most likely, the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm because at least I wouldn’t have to sink another $500+ into building up a starter ammo supply.  Otherwise, I’d go for the Tikka T3 Hunter.

Don’t ask me which caliber — and I’ll be looking at the caliber choices later next week, because while you can get decent .308 Win brass-cased ammo for under or close to $1 per trigger-pull, 7mm-08 runs over $2.  Phew.


  1. If I’m going for white tail or just punching .30 caliber holes in anything my first choice is my Model 70 Classic Featherweight in .30-06. I bought the rifle about 25 years ago in ’06 just because I’m old school. Mine has a nice stock for what was a lower end rifle at the time and I much prefer the flat oil finish over the hard gloss plastic coating that Remington and even Browning were using. I shoot the same 150 grain military style loads out of the Winchester and my Garand and get good results in either gun. I know that Winchester has gone through lots of upheaval since the mid 90s so I can’t speak to the quality or accuracy of their current rifles, but I’ve been happy with mine. I recall that I paid about $400 for it which seemed like a lot of money.

  2. Oooooh. Tough choices! Just purely on esthetics, I’d go for the Tikka T3 Hunter, it’s gorgeous, and a fine rifle, indeed. I’d be tempted to get it in 7mm-08 just to play with that cartridge, as I’m a reloader. I know you are not a reloader, however, and that would tip me in the direction of the .308, simply because, in general, the commercially available 7mm-08 fodder looks to be meaningfully more spendy than .308 upon a short search.

    As usual, though, you’ve put a lot of thought into this, and you almost cannot go wrong any way you look at it. If the Tikka T3 came in 7.62×39, you’d be done based on your existing ammo supply, IMO, but I do not think it is chambered for that cartridge.

  3. Kim, I think it’s gonna be ’bout time for you to make a Pilgrimage to Collector’s Firearms, down in Houston. Yeah, I know “website” and all, but I know this, also. Their website does not track all that well or thoroughly, day to day, with their actual inventory.

    And forty-thousand square feet of racks and cases is a LOT of inventory.

    In addition. You’ve met Mike Clark, the owner at Collectors. He knows who you are, as well. Why don’t you try a phone call with the gent, let him know the parameters of your search, and see what he might turn up, for you? I’ve no doubt, if it’s out there on the market, Mr. Clark has about as good of odds to finding it as might be imagined.

    Make the trip. I’ll buy lunch.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  4. Oooh – the Savage! Wood stock is lovely, with checkering in the right places. And adjustable for length of pull and cheekweld, also in wood. Accutrigger. Traditional pillar bedding. threaded barrel, for you choice of muzzle device, if desired. Very nice. And excellent bang for buck (pun not only intended, but entirely appropriate).

    If you have all that 6.5 swede, what’s chambered in 6.5 swede? You can replace the hunting rounds.

  5. I have a Tikka, and I have yet to find anything about it that I do not like. The action is buttery smooth (better than anything else at the same price point, IMO). They are freakishly accurate – to the point that you’d have to spend at least 3-5X the purchase cost on gunsmithing wizardry to get anything that is meaningfully more accurate. I cannot recommend them enough.

    On the other hand, my son has a Browning X-Bolt, which I’ve been surprisingly impressed by. “Surprisingly” because Brownings have always seemed indistinguishable from other comparable rifles (Rem 700, Win 70, Weatherby, etc.), and thus not worth the extra price that they seemed to fetch.

    So, although I personally prefer the Tikka (and I’m reasonably certain that the Tikka is the better value, cost-wise) IF there were no Tikkas to be had, I would not hesitate to own an X-Bolt.

  6. Grab that sporterised Lee Enfield off your mate.

    Get it chambered with 308 or whatever takes your fancy, assuming you don’t have a stockpile of 303.

    Plenty of options for a scope, if you must.

    Get it threaded for a suppressor.

    Sporterised 303s have probably accounted for more wild deer in NZ than any other gun. Here and in Oz they are typically the next step up from your first bang stick, which was probably a single shot 22. The Lithgow specials are cheap, rugged and plentiful. Say what you like, but they have always been effective at 100 yards 😉

  7. Kim, have you looked at Mossberg’s Patriot bolt-action rifles? They sell them in both walnut and synthetic and they are chambered in many of the calibers you mentioned.

  8. Kim, I think that CZ has temporarily discontinued the 557 in those calibers because they’re currently making left hand versions of the Hunter in .308 (SA) and 30-06 (LA) in their place. CZ makes three to four year runs of a couple of calibers in LH models. Knowledgeable left handers grab them while they’re available. I missed the chance to get one of their .22 Luxe models when it was available, and now ANY LH CZ .22 is nearly a grand when you can find one at all. I do have my brand new 557 Hunter in .308 and it’s very pretty indeed.

  9. 100 to 200 Yards that would be the CZ for me, ad a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X24 plus some magazines and You are good to go. After failling to “Liberate ” that of my friend it is now on my top priority list.

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