We all remember the release of the new line of bolt-action centerfire rifles, the Model 600 Alpha, Lux, Range and Trail. This exciting release included a rifle that would have interchangeable barrels and bolt-heads! However, once the rifles hit the shelves, CZ-USA dropped a bombshell… They issued a recall for the Model 600 line, where they would permanently attach the barrel to the receiver and the future of an interchangeable barrel and bolt-head change, went up in smoke. Soon, a rifle that was bound to be one of the most innovative options in the bolt-action centerfire world, turned into a moderately priced rifle that was a potential throw-away if you shot out the barrel. I purchased one of the first CZ Model 600 Alpha rifles in the .224 Valkyrie cartridge. Although the original purchase was made for the reasons listed above, I felt that it was time to show what this rifle could do and ask the question, “What Happened?”.
CZ Model 600 Alpha – .224 Valkyrie Rifle Overview:
One positive aspect of the CZ 600 Alpha I purchased, is that it is very accurate. I do not believe this is an anomaly, as many other people have reported the same results with their rifles on social media and forums. I used three different types of ammunition for the range testing, but I was focused on the varmint style ammo, because I believe that is where the .224 Valkyrie shines.
Federal Premium Ammunition:
90 Grain Gold Medal Sierra Matchking projectile
Sierra Prairie Enemy Ammunition:
69 Grain Sierra Blitzking projectile
Federal Premium Ammunition:
60 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip projectile*
(*The ammunition/projectile I use for varmint and predator hunting)
As you can see, the CZ Model 600 Alpha rifle is very accurate. I found that the 60 NBT and the 69 SBK to be excellent for varminter and predator hunting. The Alpha is comfortable to shoot and coupled with the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56mm optic, is an accurate combination. This will be proved out during an all day rockchuck hunt in Southern Idaho.
Rockchuck Hunt Report:
Southern Idaho has become kind of a mecca for Rockchuck hunting. I spend many hours every year scouting out locations for future hunts, so these spots were already chosen with the knowledge that they held good numbers of Rockchucks. We hit two areas, with both allowing for shots out to 375 yards. We were using the Federal Premium ammunition loaded with the 60 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip projectiles. This Federal .224 Valkyrie ammo, shooting the 60 Grain NBTs, is my go-to varmint round. The CZ 600 Alpha performed flawlessly, with every round feeding properly from the magazine, even when the shooting got hot.
Although I was extremely disappointed with the recall from CZ-USA, the 600 line of rifles still show signs of a solid, accurate option. The rifle I purchased shoots extremely well, with all types of factory ammunition. The 1:7″ twist does a good job stabilizing projectile weights from 60 grain, up to the 90 grain that I tested. Other functional aspects of the rifle worked without any issues. The Model 600 line has an integrated rail for standard rings, which is a much needed improvement over the 527 scope ring mounts. The new, flush-fitting magazine is plastic, so at first glance the cringe factor starts to creep in. However, the CZ 600 magazine I had experience with, performed perfectly. It is another improvement over the 527 metal magazines. New in the Model 600 line is the short throw with the bolt, coupled with a larger bolt-knob, is a nice option when hunting. Lastly, the barrel comes threaded from the factory.
Some of the things I dislike about the CZ 600 Alpha are the following:
– The stock is too thin and is difficult to acquire a good cheek weld.
– The safety is a new, push-button type. Instead of being a traditional horizontal safety, it is a vertical safety (up/down). It takes some getting used to and out of all my firearms, it is unique to the CZ line.
The question of “What Happened?”, has yet to be answered by anyone that is believable. I have heard so many different reasons why CZ-USA decided to recall the 600 line of rifles, but none of them are based off an actual catastrophic event. Instead, the recall was meant to prevent a potential future issue. I believe that insurance companies and bean counters discount the knowledge that many American shooters have when it comes to firearms. This is speculation, but no other reason has been given to the general public on why this major change was made. Unfortunately, this takes a unique rifle platform and turns it into a rifle priced at the high-end of other rifles in the same class. The only unique option in the 600 Alpha line is the .224 Valkyrie chambering. Though, this is not guaranteed to be offered again in the future.
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