Always on the lookout for something unique in the market, I picked up a CZ 600 Trail just because it was so different from anything I currently own. To push that uniqueness further, I chose the 7.62×39 chambering, which is unusual in a bolt gun format. I like bolt guns, but as a semi-auto rifle person, I often find myself feeling that bolt guns can be slow and usually heavy compared to a something like an AR.

In many cases, this seems like a step backward — especially in cases where accuracy is very similar. The CZ 600 Trail is none of those ‘ideally problematic things.’ It can be shot very fast, has all the modularity of an AR, accuracy that far surpasses its comparable AK semi-auto platform, and is crazy light and packable. What else can I say? The CZ 600 Trail is an addictive little gun that is tough to slip into a category.

CZ 600 Trail bolt-action rifle in 7.62x39, right profile
At just over 6 pounds, this is an incredibly handy and light little rifle.

The gears start to turn the moment you pull the CZ 600 Trail from the box. You think, “This thing is an insanely-light 6.1-pound rifle with the pop of 7.62×39, and the option for Hornady’s new subsonic rounds.” Then, you realize with the 27.2-inch collapsed length, it can slip into a myriad of SBR/PDW covert packs and cases. It’s literally a can-go anywhere rifle with the power to also do most things. After all, who doesn’t need a slim, light, compact rifle?

Admittedly the rifle is unique. Not in the “That’s freaking weird” kind of way, but more in a “Huh, why do we not see more rifles like this?” The answer to why the rifle is so unique is pretty simple. After the CZ/Colt rollup, CZ now has access to a lot of non-typical engineering, design, and manufacturing capabilities.

Some of those capabilities include advanced design, machining, molding, and industrial 3D-printing expertise, which greatly speeds up R&D on new ideas. They also have a refreshing drive from the executive team that lacks the fear of pushing the envelope of what CZ could be. The CZ 600 Trail is a representation of that forward thinking, which is pretty unique within the industry. I have to say, this rifle changed my mind a lot about CZ. Now, I’m feeling a near insatiable itch to see what else it has to offer.

Adjustable trigger on the CZ 600 Trail rifle
The trigger pull weight is adjustable right from the trigger guard.

Mini Action

The action is an extremely short-throw “mini-action” with the ability to quick swap bolt faces and barrels. This capability opens the CZ 600 Trail to caliber swaps. Technically, CZ offered this caliber-swap feature as an option on another CZ 600 action model. However, customers would inadvertently configure incompatible bolt barrel combos. So, they have (at least temporarily) discontinued that option.

Personally, I think color coding a barrel and bolt face with Cerakote would make it rather clear, but people do stupid stuff. Therefore, it seems reasonable that CZ took the precaution. I like the way CZ’s design team is thinking through things and hope they reintroduce the barrel-swap option idea.

With the lower power AR spec rounds, the receiver does not need to be a pound of steel. Instead, it is lightweight billet aluminum, which drives down the overall weight. CZ carried forward its standard hammer-forged barrel profile, but in a 16-inch threaded muzzle. CZ tipped the muzzle with a recessed match crown, which must have contributed to the extremely impressive accuracy.

Carried forward is the truly impressive adjustable trigger that can be user tuned from 3-6 pounds right from the trigger guard and the controlled feeding. This makes fast shooting, extremely reliable. If you want to do that ‘combat bolt-action speed shooting maneuver’ (where the thumb and index finger run the bolt and the middle finger trips the trigger), the 10-round BREN magazine empties fast. However, I am not sure most buyers will do those antics.

The CZ 600 mini-action is an impressive and proven foundation. However, the innovative chassis is what makes the Trail model unique. It is an extremely lightweight and compact chassis delivering BREN magazine, M-Lok mounting, and a unique SBR-like collapsible stock. CZ also integrated a BREN-style ambi-selector and magazine releases. Owners can also swap out the AR-spec grip, if they like, as well.

The ergonomics feel fast and familiar, to hands familiar with an AR. For those who want a big magazine (beyond the included 10-rounder), CZ offers a 30-round magazine option. While the 10-rounder is a great compromise, a 20-round magazine option would be perfect — if CZ offered one (hint, hint). The only real gripe is the expandable stock could be a bit tighter and the cheek rest a bit wider. However, it works and certainly delivers a solid-enough platform for some surprising precision from the 7.62×39 round. 

The collapsing stock retracts into the rifle chassis
The collapsing stock delivers a very short rifle format that makes for easy transport and concealment.

600 Trail Accuracy

Frankly, accuracy was shockingly good. Even with some rather inexpensive bulk-packed Russian 7.62×39 rounds, sub 1-inch, 50-yard groups were typical and match-grade rounds such as the SST-tipped Hornady Black delivered nice little clover leafed ¼-inch groups. At 100 yards, it was interesting to see most quality FMJ rounds such as Sellier & Bellot printed sub 1 MOA. With the Hornady SST tipped rounds, I actually printed more than a few .5-inch groups.

Skeptically, I reshot these groups again and repeated the .5-inch groups. Is the CZ 600 Trail a 1/2-MOA guaranteed gun all day long? No, but it is certainly capable if you are not on your 9th cup of coffee, doing your part, and are not fighting 30 MPH crosswinds. From an accuracy perspective, the superlight 6.1-pound weight is more challenging than nestling behind a 18-pound precision rig and letting gravity deliver a steady shooting platform. However, that is the price for a 6.1-pound rifle (that you would gladly go hiking with).

Many will ask, why not wait for the new latest 2023 .300 Blackout model? I really would prefer the 7.62×39 round, because I can still shoot subsonic ammo. The new heavy hitting 255-grain Hornady subsonic rounds deliver about 20% more thump than Hornady’s own .300 Blackout subsonic rounds. Though the 7.62×39 may not be many people’s first choice, the cartridge usually delivers more power on the hot rounds than the .300 Blackout. With the Hornady subsonic option, it’s a clear power factor winner across the board.

reinforced polymer chassis view of the CZ 600 rifle
Though not a billet chassis, it is made from glass-reinforced polymer with matrixed, stiff engineering.

From my personal experience with over a dozen .300 Blackout guns, it is a picky round from an accuracy perspective, whereas the old 7.62×39 round is far less finicky. The 7.62×39 also has the option to shoot the cheap stuff, which makes it super fun to just plink. Though the round is definitely a sub 300-yard round, it was very fun to figure out the artillery trajectory using my ballistics app for consistent 600-yard hits on the steel gongs. For those who would never buy this rifle in anything but .300 Blackout, you will be glad to hear that CZ plans to offer a CZ 600 Trail .300 Blackout model by the end of 2023. 

Optic Selection

Honestly, I was not expecting the CZ 600 Trail to need more than a 1–6x low-power variable optic. However, the gun was clearly more capable than the limits of the magnification, so I upgraded to an Athlon 1–10X Helos rifle scope. The Athlon 1-10x delivered both a better reticle system for the ranges intended and more magnification to take advantage of the accuracy. The Helos 1–10x is about all I could ask for to support the 7.62×39 round. Likewise, the expanded reticle tree comes in handy with shots beyond 300 yards while using the Hornady subsonic rounds. 

Athlon 1-10 Helios rifle scope atop a CZ 600 Trail bolt-action rifle in 7.62x39
The Athlon 1–10 Helios optic was the perfect choice for this rifle and the round.

Final Thoughts

The CZ 600 Trail has a lot of flexibility to be what you want it to be and what you need it to be. It can handle a bunch of mounted accessories, such as a light or laser, which can be a huge challenge for your average hunting rifle chassis. It feels familiar, like a lighter weight partner to my AR in a caliber that I could go deer or hog hunting with.

Additionally, the CZ 600 Trail offers the option for very quiet shots with subsonic rounds. The weight really is truly amazing considering the internally-matrixed chassis is fiber-reinforced polymer, and not just a flexible, hollow, injection-molded, legacy-style stock. The chassis has AR controls, a solid grip, SBR-style collapsible stock, and aluminum M-Lok forend, which is a lot considering the overall weight.

I find myself thinking that this was the bolt-action rifle that I never knew I needed. The rifle can go from hunt, hike, ATV, to truck and still be cheap to shoot, powerful, and precise enough to get the job done. This is a fun and handy little gun that fits in many categories. Great Job CZ!

In a world of superbly-accurate semi-autos, do you ever turn to a bolt-action rifle? What do you think of the CZ 600 Trail? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

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