It's the start of deer season here in Utah, so I figured we could share some interesting new info about a trend we have been seeing for mid-west hunters. Almost every year we hear about adjusted regulations to what cartridges are permitted in certain states and what has been consistently gaining momentum is the limitation to straight-walled cases for rifle seasons. Sometimes states only offer pistol cartridges in rifle hunts if they're straight-walled of a certain length . . . regulations are finicky and I don't claim to be an expert or even try to keep up on other states.
But with these changes we see ordering trends shift each year and this year is no exception. We were suddenly inundated with requests for 357 Maximums in rifle lengths (not a bad choice in any platform, really), with multiple requests to put the cartridge in a bolt action.
Now, if you're a bolt action shooter you might not want to be talked into a break action G2 or ProHunter (despite our accuracy guarantee and nearly unlimited stocking options), but the rimmed cases can be their own issue in the bolt action rifles that have a double/stagger stacked magazine. And thus one of our favorites enters the scene. The CZ-527 rifle is the small bolt-faced version of the heftier 550 (sort of the G2 to the ProHunter) and comes in a few factory chamberings ranging from Hornets to the 7.62 x 39. That's where the magic happens.
The 7.62 x 39 is nominally the same diameter as the 357 Rem. Max's rim, so that bolt face and magazine seemed ideal to serve as a jumping off point, we just needed to do some testing first — feel free to read that as "playing around" since R&D is always fun. Thankfully CZ-USA sells all sorts of parts for their firearms so a simple order was made and we soon had a loose 7.62 x 39 magazine in-hand. It wasn't long before Troy managed to work out the kinks and found that the .357 Maximums would definitely work.
Since the 7.62 is a bottle-necked case the magazine has to be modified to allow for the straight-walled case, as visible with the front magazine. Additional alteration to the feed ramps was the last stage of making the mag work properly with such a caliber change. Before confirming if the magazine capacity could stay at the intended 5 rounds or have to be reduced we needed to make a custom barrel, modify the bolt face, and get it all put together.
Troy worked his magic and completed the project with our typical attention to detail and we are happy to say that the 357 Maximum not only looks good as a CZ rifle but works well, all while maintaining the 5-round capacity.
Things to know if you want to go after a project like this:
• Our bolt action barrels in .357 are all made using Douglas Barrels' blanks. This means they're great quality but also are a special order so they feature a premium price; $625 in blued Chrome-Moly, $655 in Stainless. The modifications to the 7.62 x 39 magazine box and bolt/extractor are $100.
• You always have your choice of barrel profile and finish when ordering our custom barrels. Our 11° recessed target crown is a given.
• If you're looking for a full custom rifle we are able to get the actions straight from CZ-USA. This makes the process of building exactly what you're looking for even easier as there's no factory stock and barrel to waste. They are received otherwise complete — for $400 we receive the action with bottom metal and magazine. At that point you can choose either wood or laminate as you prefer and the wood will be finished as you choose AND be built to fit you and your preferences.
If you have a CZ-527 action already:
It is possible to start with a smaller bolt-faced 527, but the 7.62 x 39 is the best way to go. The alteration to the larger bolt face and mag needed is relatively cost prohibitive:
$100 to modify bolt,
$35 for new extractor,
$90 for new bottom metal to properly fit the larger magazine, and
$40 for the new magazine, before alteration.
Oh, and I can't forget to add roughly $20 shipping expense for those items ordered from CZ-USA.
Give us a call if the 357 Maximum in a rifle is just what you've been needing for your next hunt. Whether your preference is a break- or bolt-action, we now know for sure that there is an ideal option for you to get guaranteed accuracy in a caliber that works for your hunting needs. 435.635.9866 — firstname.lastname@example.org