View Full Version : I'm off to see a CZ550 Lux tomorrow: anything I should check?

Pond, James Pond
July 16, 2012, 01:16 PM
I'm looking for any general or model-specific pointers on what to look for when buying a used biolt-action rifle. This is potentially the most gun I can get for my money, but buying used is a gamble: I want to improve my odds.

The gun is a .308 CZ 550 Lux model. It is allegedly 7 years old and has apparently seen 100rds...

I'm a bit sceptical about that rounds count, but it could be possible if this was a hunter's gun. They look used but don't see the round counts of a range enthusiast...

I won't have access to any special tools or gauges: just my eyes, fingers and common sense. So basically that's eyes and fingers...:rolleyes:

I'd like to know what to check for play.
What should be tight and what should be a bit loose.
I'd like to know any tips on checking the condition, wear, and straightness of a barrel, if that can be done

Any tricks you care to share with me?

July 16, 2012, 01:52 PM
Most important thing to look at, aside from the obvious usual stuff, is as you alluded to... the barrel.
Get your self a borelite or at least one of those plastic 'L' bars that you can seriously illuminate the barrel with. If you can score a real bore scope... congratulations!

Anywhoo... look for a clean, pit free, scratch free, carbon build-up free barrel. If the owner takes pride in his rifle, the barrel will be spotless.
Pay particular attention to the muzzle... nicks, chips, scars are bad and may require a re-crowning (not really expensive to have done, but there'd need to be a price reduction to offset).
If they'll let you, run a tight fitting patch with copper solvent thru the barrel and look for signs of remaining copper fouling. Not a deal breaker, but may indicate how well the owner takes care of the gun... especially if you get a boat-load of blue on the patch. Again, not a deal breaker, but what might be hiding under the crud?

If the guy has a dummy round, or even a once fired case (from that rifle)... chamber it and see how the bolt opens and closes. Should be a tiny bit more drag than no round at all. If you can score a set of "Go-No Go" gauges... even better. Not very likely that the chamber is overlong... but it don't cost nothing to check it.

See if he has any fired cases that haven't been de-capped. Look at the primer strike. Shallow... deep... off-center? You know what they're suppose to look like.

Pull the bolt and look for any kind of scaring on the backs of the locking lugs. Should be relatively smooth and even, and may even have a tiny amount of lube on them. That's not a bad thing.

I might be a bit overkill here... but it's your money, honey. :p I'm sure others will come up with a few other areas of interest, but that's about all I got that people tend to blow off.

CZ makes a nice rifle, so... unless it's been abused, it should still be a nice rifle.


Willie Lowman
July 16, 2012, 01:54 PM
Look at the crown of the barrel. If there is any damage, knicks, chips, etc it will hurt your accuracy. You can have a barrel recrowned but that will add to your costs.


Will you be able to test fire the gun?

Pond, James Pond
July 16, 2012, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the tips so far.

I'll pressé them into a checklist. I may also buy a snap-cap on the way to check the bolt movement and pin strike.

Will you be able to test fire the gun?

Most probably not...:(

July 16, 2012, 10:11 PM
Another thing or two to look at...
Grip the stock with one hand and feel for looseness such as up and down or side to side play. If found, ask the seller if he can tighten them. If for some reason they can't be tightened- that's a bad thing and probably a sign that it's been tinkered with by someone who shouldn't have.

Boogered up screw heads.

Cracks in the stock.

Pull the bolt rearward and forward again. Then, place your right thumb BEHIND the trigger and push it forward until it clicks. Now gently start putting pressure on the trigger face until it breaks (releases the sear). It should be much much lighter than normal providing that rifle is equiped with a single-set trigger.

Scratches and gouges in the wood- I wouldn't worry about those, but I would try to use them as distractor points to talk down the sales price.

It's not uncommon to see used firearms with very low round counts- even firarms that are quite old. Not everyone is a dedicated range user. I really like coming across firearms used by folks who just buy a rifle to impress a boss or potential business client. Some folks buy a rifle and realize they just really don't want to learn to adapt to and overcome the recoil or noise issues. Or, it could be something as simple as the previous owner received the same rifle as a gift and didn't need two of them, or he/she elected to simply move up or down a caliber.

When you look the rifle over, consider how robust those things really are. Unless someone really abused the muzzle or how the metal contacts the stock- it's not all that easy to mess up a rifle. Chances are, it'll likely be a good one if it looks like a good one.

Pond, James Pond
July 17, 2012, 09:16 AM

...I took the plunge, and bought it.

I honsetly don't know if this was a good idea or not, but I guess, either way, it'll be part of the learning curve.

Things I don't like:

The wooden furniture:
The stock looks hideous. I don't know what possessed him to do that to it. It looks like a kid tried to decorate it with a penknife and a blowtorch!! Still most of it should sand out and it'll look neater.

The round count:
The more I think about it, the more I feel that "100 rounds" was not even close!! The magazine area looks OK, but has been used somewhat.
The trigger on the other hand doesn't look über-polished from loads of shooting, but there are signs of use on the bolt. It is smooth, however, and not gouged...

Things I like:

Well the inside of the barrel looks pristine. OK, it was just with the naked eye, but still. So even if the bore has been worn out to 7.64, at least it was cleaned regularly!!:rolleyes:

The outside of the barrel also looks neat and tidy. It may have been polished and re-blued but, unlike the stock, it has not been nicked at all. Sights are also tidy and unmarked.
Allegedly, the gun was last used about 3 years ago, cleaned and put away.

The muzzle crown:
That bit is spotless. It may have been redone, but either way it's neat now.

The ring mounts: they are 30mm, just as I'd like and appear to leave enough space under the objective and barrel to accommodate the Burris 50mm I've bought!!:D That is €50 saved.

The scope is actually OK, and so if I sell that, it could be another €80-100 to offset against the price.

Finally, the price. I knocked it down from €530 to €470.

Ultimately, the only thing I can be sure of is that the stock needs work. the rest is conjecture and the proof will be in the pudding and I'll know more when I shoot it on Friday.
5 rounds of Barnaul and 5 of Lapua and see how it fares on 50yd target. That will soon tell me if it is a the bee's knees or a dog's dinner!!

Whether or not my punt works out or back fires; thanks to everyone for their input....:)

July 17, 2012, 04:39 PM
Run the serial number to see if it is stolen!

July 17, 2012, 05:18 PM
Like above, check that serial number. People burn stocks and such to show it is one of a kind. When someone buys a gun often times they cant tell you the serial number and its tough to prove anything. Once its burned or darkened its tough to get anywhere.

July 17, 2012, 08:42 PM
Congratulations. Can you post a picture of it?

July 17, 2012, 09:29 PM
In time you can buy a replacement stock from CZ. I hate Bubba'd up stocks.

July 17, 2012, 09:43 PM
Have you tried to single set trigger? What's your opinion of that little work of art?

On the stock- fret not. With a little fine sandpaper, steel wool, and tung oil, teak oil, true oil, or such (whatever is available over there)- you can experience another learning curve and refinish that stock. You can even go with a stain and make it darker or whatever you fancy. There's a good link on stock finishing in the "Smithy" section. You don't have to do it like that step-by-step as there are probably some old world furniture craftsmen over there who have some neat methods as well.

I can't wait to hear how the shooting goes.

Pond, James Pond
July 18, 2012, 01:36 AM
Have you tried to single set trigger? What's your opinion of that little work of art?

You know?
It doesn't have the S-S trigger...:(

The trigger itself is very smooth, but no single-set, unfortunately.

Perhaps this model was made before S-S triggers were introduced.

I hope he did not pull the wool over my eyes, but it was registered with the police as a Lux... so I also know it was not stolen.

I'm going to contact CZ to see what they can tell me about it.

The stock is definitely Lux: the local CZ dealer confirmed that, but he also told me that 100 rounds was unlikely: only a shoot would tell.

July 18, 2012, 11:14 AM
it could also be a possibillity that some people don't like the SS trigger and adjust or lock that feature out.. the action has to come off the stock to adjust it..

but.. i really like it on the 527:)

July 18, 2012, 11:45 AM
I loved it on my 550, great trigger. What I didn't like - the 550 is a long action. The magazine is blocked to accomodate the 308 family of cartridges. Not a big deal but you have to work a longer bolt throw than needed to chamber a round.

Pond, James Pond
July 18, 2012, 12:45 PM
Well, perhaps it is locked. Can anyone tell me how to tell if it is there or not?

I've taken the stock off to sand and treat it. It is now smooth and rosewood in colour: huge improvement....

So, if I can find out if it has the S-S facility, that would be great.

Here is an attached picture of the trigger action, from both sides...

Pond, James Pond
July 18, 2012, 01:50 PM
A PM comes to the rescue!!

Following a PM from another member I have followed some instructions and I can now say that I have a single-set trigger and it works!! Quite a contraption it is, too... I like!!


OK, well that is one concern dispensed with!!

Tomorrow, I'm going to see if I can find a gunsmith, whose address I've been given.
I want to make some estimation of the gun's use.

He only speaks russian, apparently, so it might be interesting!!

July 18, 2012, 07:27 PM
I hope that trip goes well.
From the pictures, my initial thought would be to question that round count. It appears there are a few areas where the metal has been peened, there appears to be some wear on the nuts- actually quite a bit of wear for nuts that should seldom be tinkered with. That could be something as simple as the original owner took the trigger group apart, lost pieces, and then had to settle for replacement nuts. Who knows?

Anyhow, if the language barrier can be crossed, I hope you won't be disheartened if he suspects a much higher count. The true proof in the puddin will be determined when you shoot it... and possibly more so when the day comes when you can develop your own custom re-load for it.

July 19, 2012, 05:46 AM
In someways round count doesn't matter as long as it functions well. CZs are very robust rifles. (They have been the rifles purchased by Game Dept's all over Africa since before the end of the British Empire for a reason). I'm not saying you can't break them, or that they should be abused: Just they can be used a lot and generally have long service lives.

Don't worry about the stock too much. If you can hold it comfortably and the rifle is comfortable to shoot then it doesn't matter. (You might want to get a new stock, but if you can shoot the rifle a bit before hand, you will have a better idea of what you want).

Also, it being a CZ and a M98 type action, you can usually get parts / stocks for it as you need.

Enjoy your new rifle!



Pond, James Pond
July 19, 2012, 11:08 AM
Well, I went to see this "gunsmith". He runs a range and fixes guns.

He didn't have a bore-wear gauge, as I'd hoped, but he gave it a once over and seemed satisfied with the gun's condition, saying it was in good nick, so I'm happy about that.

I will still go to the range tomorrow to see how it does on paper, but that was quite nice to hear.

He did point out that the scope that came with the gun was wholly unsuitable for .308... :rolleyes:.

Still, I was not planning on keeping it, but it's surprising what people will buy for their gun: essentially a rimfire scope!!

Pond, James Pond
July 20, 2012, 11:44 AM
First try of the new rifle today...

I went to my indoor range today and they let me sit in their hallway, giving my about 28m to the target!! OK, no great distance, but MOA is MOA...

I took out my first ever bought .308s: 5 x Norma match rounds, but not their best... I managed a pretty bad group, for that distance: about 2 MOA, but them I am new to rifles. So I asked the range guy, who does rifle shooting comps to have a go...

He put 3 bullets through the same hole!!

The rifle is accurate, the single set trigger is astounding and I have a lot to learn about shooting rifles.

So good news all round.

Willie Lowman
July 20, 2012, 11:56 AM
So you shot a half inch group? Did you get a proper scope for your rifle yet?

Pond, James Pond
July 20, 2012, 01:13 PM
So you shot a half inch group?

OK, make that a 6 MOA group!!! :o

Really. My group was baaaad!!

The scope on there is not up to the job of a .308, so I've now removed it although I did use it for today's test.

Online investigating says that model is rimfire!!

Looks beefy, but apparently not: Walther 3-9x44 Night Pro.

I have a Burris 3-12x50 on the way. That will fit the mounts that came with the gun: they seem pretty good.

July 20, 2012, 05:41 PM
The previous owner may not have fired the rifle with that scope on it. Quite a few folks will put the cheapest and most abused scope on a rifle purely for the hopes of upping the trade-in or sale value.

I'm really glad to hear things are coming along nicely for you and your new rifle.

If you didn't keep that target(s)- keep the next ones. It's not a bad thing to study them while you're thinking yourself through what you did and what you should do.

Can you post a pic when the Burris comes in and gets mounted?