A few weeks back I recounted Clan Cornelius’s Astoria raid, and I made mention of an aspect of the operation that remained classified. That’s because I wanted this particular piece of plunder in hand before I crowed about it. I didn’t expect it to take SIX WEEKS to get it done — but that’s Oregon for ya in the year of 2023.
Here’s the caper:
On our way to Portland to see Tom Russell back in April, the Clan stopped at the 5.11 Tactical and Cabela’s Trading Posts in Tualatin, which lies just south of the Dying City of the Weird (or is it the Weird City of the Dying?). I led Jarod to Cabela’s Gun Library, which is where they handle their consignment firearms. There’s always something cool in there. In this case, there were several Springfield Rifles of 1920s to early World War II vintage.
Something caught my eye.
Longtime readers know that I am greatly enamored of the work of the Czech Republic’s legendary firearms maker, Česká zbrojovka — Czech Armory — aka, CZ. My Frontier Partisan Biathlon Rifles are CZ rimfires; my side-by-side shotgun is a CZ. Early in 2022, CZ introduced a completely new 600 series of rifles and I decided I wanted me a CZ 600 Lux in .223 Remington.
Problem was, they were basically impossible to find. Nobody had one, and to order one meant going on an interminable backorder list. Then inflation and exchange rates flared up and the MSRP shot up to $999 — and I gave up on it. I almost put some music earnings into a Ruger American Ranch Rifle in .223/5.56, but the lack of iron sights held me back. A multipurpose general utility rifle — a “ranch rifle” — with no irons just don’t feel right to me. Dinosaur, I know…
But there in the Cabela’s Gun Library was an array of CZ 600 Lux in .223 — with a price tag that had to be a mistake. A BIG mistake. Turns out they were never-fired dealer display models with “cosmetic blemishes” that had to be sold as used guns at fire sale prices. I texted Lady Marilyn:
“Get to the Gun Library. We have a problem.”
No “problem,” actually. Not yet, anyway. An opportunity too good to pass up. Did the paperwork, and put down the plews. That’s where things started getting ridiculous. You see, Oregon narrowly passed Measure 114 in November, a gun control measure that was clearly designed to be impossible to implement. It would have made it virtually impossible to buy a gun in Oregon for at least a year as law enforcement agencies figured out how to stand up an unfunded mandate for a badly defined permitting process. The measure was almost immediately locked down by the courts, but the predictable thing happened: A massive run on guns. On any given day since the November 22 election, the queue for Oregon State Police background checks has been over 10,000 people.
I have a Concealed Carry License, which used to mean a background check took minutes. However, OSP has ceased prioritizing CCL holders in their background checks. I am reliably told that that mandate came down directly from our former Governor Kate Brown, who manifestly despises legal gun ownership and rather enjoyed the draconian exercise of state power when she got to flex her muscles through COVID. Anyway… that meant I was going to have to wait to pick up the rifle.
No problem. Figured we had three more days on the raid, and we’d pick it up on the way back through. Yeah, right. Bought the rifle on April 5, and cleared the background check on May 23. By which time, the federal Form 4473, which is valid for 30 days, had expired. Which meant that we had to roll back over the mountains and fill out another form and await yet another approval from OSP. I was told that could take up to 24 hours, but chances were if we got in early in the day, it would turn around fairly quickly.
So Lady Marilyn and I put wheels to pavement at Zero Dark 30 on Saturday, and arrived at Cabela’s at opening. Filled out the 4473 and got fingerprinted. Three hours later, I finally took possession of a nice little carbine that will be my new truck gun. I have decided to name it ‘Many Hoops’ in “honor” of this ludicrous bureaucratic circus.
Not really. I don’t name my rifles.
Anyhoo… off to the range today to get it zeroed. The sights are an interesting high-profile setup, with a fiber-optic insert on the rear and a fiber-optic on the front. They stack nicely and are very quick to acquire. Its drilled and tapped, but I doubt I’ll scope it, at least not right away. I do love shooting good iron sights, and that’s something CZ is known for.
The 20-inch barrel is threaded for a suppressor — but if you think I’m going to jump through those hoops you are wrong. It’s got that European humpback stock that you either love or hate. I love it. They call the checkering “fish scale,” but that’s obviously a misnomer. Them be DRAGON SCALES, people. Emiliano Zapata agrees.
Length of pull is a generous 14.6 inches, which is nice for a long-limbed galoot like myself.
Eats either 5.56 or .223. This is an arcane, but important, point, which sits atop CZ-USA’s FAQ page:
Q: “Can CZ rifles chambered in .223 fire 5.56 ammunition safely?”
FOR US BASED CUSTOMERS- All of our .223s will happily eat 5.56. Since our factory is in Europe, we build everything to CIP spec, which doesn’t differentiate between the two cartridges and just has the higher pressure as its standard. So the CZ .223s will shoot everything from the cheapest Russian steel to match .223 brass ammo.
I like that.
Easily adjustable trigger. Detachable 5-shot mag locks so you can load from the top if you want to. I’ll be picking up a spare mag or two.
As for the cosmetic blemishes — there’s a fairly evident scratch on the cheek rest, some scratches around the butt pad, and the polymer shroud on the back of the bolt is slightly marred. The rifle went to gun shows all over the country and went in and out of cases and on and off of shelves. No big deal, and certainly worth the hundreds of dollars knocked off the price tag. I reckon there’ll be more added in the woods…
Why .223? Well, I really just wanted a versatile truck gun with more punch than the ol’ .22, and I have a substantial stock of ammo for the AR-15 that this can share. I like to put a lot of rounds through my rifles, shotgun and pistols — that’s how you get good with ’em. I can still afford to shoot a good bit of .223/5.56 — bigger stuff is just getting too damn spendy. I once sold a very nice Winchester 70 in.338 because I was afraid I was developing a flinch — not from recoil, but from sending a cash register down range with every shot. Turned that rifle into a guitar, and it was the right call.
The way things are going, I’m pretty sure that the AR platform will get banned in Oregon, and this can be my “overt” rifle when the Black Rifle must be covert. I’ll definitely rotate it in for the FP Biathlon. So… I am content.
RANGE UPDATE: She’s a shooter. Irons regulated to a perfect pumpkin-on-a-post 6 o’clock hold at 50 yards — no adjustment required. 20 rounds from 25 (offhand) to 50 to 100 yards (rested) on clays — 19 hits.