Shooting the Trailblazing Compact Rifle in .223

The curse of being a rifle shooter is that the best ranges are often somewhere remote. And the best of the best are usually nearly inaccessible. Whether for adventurous target shooting or the pursuit of deeply embedded game, a compact rifle can be your best friend. This is where the CZ 600 Trail comes in.

The CZ 600 Trail Collapsible Rifle

Unfortunately, there are some tight rules regarding how short the barrel can be. However, the regulations against overall length are a little less restrictive. Basically, as long as your rifle is wearing a legal barrel, it only has to be longer than 26 inches.

With receivers growing ever shorter, CZ took this opportunity to blaze a trail and release a firearm named as such. Last October, at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous held in Victor, Idaho, several of AO’s content creators got their first taste of CZ’s new 600 Series platform.

All were impressed, to say the least. Meanwhile, I had one sent to my home range and really got to wring out the Trail model. Two words—love it!

(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Easy Ergonomics

CZ’s 600 Trail is a compact rifle that features a medium contour barrel and a collapsible stock. As a result, comes easy transport and the ultimate in utility.

Originally intended to be a switch barrel, the company decided that it would be better if they left the factory in a dedicated chambering. As such, its initial offerings are in 7.62×39 and .223 Remington. This put both a target and medium-game hunting model on the table right off the bat.

Oh, I can hear the trolls now…”I hunt ‘X’ with .223 Rem all the time!” Good for you. I said what I said.

Aside from length, excessive weight can also make things less portable. Therefore, CZ headed this off by using aluminum to construct the receiver. In doing so, they also made sure to integrate a Picatinny rail up top for easy scope or sight mounting.

The aluminum receiver keeps the CZ 600 Trail lightweight and portable.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Hallelujah to that. If you’ve ever worked with CZ rifles, they have an affinity for weird shit where things ought to be simple. This also provides an option that can never come loose under recoil. Not to mention, the continuous heating and cooling cycles that a firearm is prone to.

This serves as home plate to a rugged yet simplistic three-lug bolt that is operated by an oversized, tactical-style handle.

The rifle features a rugged yet simplistic three-lug bolt that is operated by an oversized, tactical-style handle.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

The 600 Trail’s User-Friendly Adjustable Trigger

Controls play a significant role in the 600 Trail, as CZ wanted them to be instinctual and effortless. This is evident through the installation of the ambidextrous push-button magazine release and the AR-style safety selector that is also of the like.

Lastly, the Trail has one of the most user-friendly adjustable triggers that I have ever worked with. For starters, I loved that it can be adjusted without removing the stock. This means there isn’t any need to own a torque driver or re-zero your rifle after pulling the stock.

It is also built with four positive positions that click into place. Thus ensuring things don’t walk and that you can easily repeat a setting. When dialed to its lowest, I measured an average break at 2 pounds on the nose. However, for those who like it a little harder, I was able to dial it north of 3.5 pounds.

The trigger is the most user-friendly adjustable trigger the author has ever worked with.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Fancy Features

If you’re a true rifle shooter, then you only look at a receiver as a way of deploying a barrel. And CZ’s receivers are works of art.

Hanging off the aforementioned is a 16.2-inch launch tube that is cold-hammer forged with a 1-in-7-inch twist, as it was chambered in .223 Rem. This twist rate is designed to stabilize some of the heaviest projectiles on the market. This can turn this compact truck gun into quite a long-range bomber.

The final product is capped off with caliber-appropriate threading. This allows for the simple addition of a sound suppressor, muzzle brake, or flash hider.

While merely a footnote on most rifles, the Trail’s furniture is a large part of what it is. The star of the show is the collapsible PDW-style stock. Correspondingly, the entire package is more manageable in the field and takes up a fraction of the space in a gun safe.

Before we get into how it’s deployed, can we stop for a second to appreciate the fact that the Trail can be fired with it closed? That’s helpful if you’re out hunting and kick something up whilst on the way to your stand. Anyway, whipping it out is as simple as pressing the tang-mounted release and pulling it straight back.

The stock release button sits where one might expect a tang safety, so it takes a little getting accustomed to.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

If you do it slow enough, the stock can be locked into one of two intermediate positions for smaller-statured shooters. Still, otherwise, it will blow right past them, getting you to an uninterrupted full extension.

Once shouldered, you’ll find a cheek pad that is only compatible with right-handed use. Be that as it may, lefties can also shoot the trail; it’s just not going to be as cozy.

The Feature Rich 600 Trail

Although designed to be minimalistic, CZ incorporated a thick rubber recoil pad as well as a rearward Picatinny section. Additionally, a sling socket accommodates two of the most popular adaptation systems.

Other stock considerations include the AR-style grip that accepts interchangeable backstraps to better fit it to your unique hand structure. Likewise, it features a handy storage compartment for tools, batteries, or snacks.

Chambered in .223, the 600 Trail from CZ uses AR-style magazines.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Continuing to follow AR stylings is the M-Lok forend, featuring 270 degrees of accessory slots and an extended Picatinny rail. Between the two systems, you can install nearly any flashlight, laser, bipod, or sling setup you wish.

Setting up my test sample wasn’t very different from any other rifle. Except it took up far less space on my bench. A handful of us have been working with Trail rifles for the last year, and the consensus is that they play best with LPVOs. To that end, I mounted a 1-6x to the rail and called it a day.

Looking out onto the forend, I contemplated the addition of a bipod. But, alas, I decided against it to keep things on the lighter side. My testing was also going to include closed-stock firing. So, I wanted to keep the balance point as far rearward as possible. Adding a scope was all it took to get this range ready, so I turned my attention to ammunition.

Range Workout

Because the .223 Rem version of the Trail uses AR-15 magazines, I took this as an opportunity to work with Winchester’s M193 Clip Pack. It comes with three 10-round stripper clips and a loading spoon for rapid magazine filling.

The author chose to work with Winchester’s M193 Clip Pack.

Because M193 isn’t known to be the most accurate ammo in the world, I also added some of Hornady’s new Superformance CX and Federal’s 62-grain FMJBT to the mix.

My range day was well anticipated, as I literally waited for a hurricane to pass before being afforded clear skies and only a hint of wind. I started by giving it the ol’ 5×5 accuracy test treatment. It was impressive how well even the inexpensive ammunition shot.

I did most of my testing from the right shoulder. But I also tried it off the left shoulder to get a feel for the stock bars against my face. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. I did have to adjust my cheek weld, but for the off chance that you might need to shoot it ”weak side,” it’s certainly doable.

Being chambered in such a light round helped immensely in this department as well.

Running the 600

While bench shooting works wonders for zeroing and group testing, it’s not what this gun was designed for. Therefore, I spent the rest of my range time shooting in the offhand and kneeling positions. All the while pinging steel at 100 and 200 yards.

During this phase, I grew fond of the short 60-degree bolt throw and the ultra-positive ejection my fired brass received. Needless to say, I didn’t experience any problems in this department, nor in the feeding or firing stages either.

C-gripping a bolt-action rifle might be wrong, but on the CZ 600 Trail, it feels so right.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

The controls were right where they needed to be, and everything from the safety selector to the magazine release worked with minimal pressure to activate. It was one sweet running rifle, indeed.

I finalized my range day by playing around with some CQB maneuvers and firing the Trail with the stock closed. This was interesting, to say the least, as with the right forward support, putting your face against the buttpad isn’t entirely out of the question. Better still would be hooking a sling to it to provide a bit of outstretched stability.

Nonetheless, I found it gracefully swung around obstacles. And if kept steady enough, it could repeat the same 100- and 200-yard accuracy as when fully extended.

The Takeaway

The CZ 600 Trail was a handy little rifle that provided comfort and accuracy not typically associated with utility-minded firearms. I thoroughly enjoyed the action and the commonality shared with the AR-15. Not to mention one fantastic little trigger that is easy enough to adjust regardless of your knowledge of firearms.

Overall, this is a convenient platform to have in your safe, as it keeps you prepared no matter where your journey takes you.

For more information, visit please CZ-USA.com.

CZ 600 Trail Specs

Caliber: .223 Rem
Barrel: 16.2 inches
Overall Length: 27.1 to 35 inches
Weight: 6.1 pounds (empty)
Stock: PDW-style, four-position
Action: Bolt
Capacity: 10+1
Finish: Matte black
MSRP: $1,155


Hornady Superformance 55 CX 3,260 1.25
Federal American Eagle 62 FMJBT 2,732 1.32
Winchester M193 55 FMJ 3,153 1.81

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second (fps) by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100 yards.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of Tactical Life magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

The CZ 600 Trail collapsible rifle.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

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