I’ve long appreciated the virtues of the Russian 7.62x39mm. round (the cartridge used in the ubiquitous AK-47 and SKS rifles). It’s low-recoil and very controllable by the average shooter, adequately accurate (although no match-winner), very reliable, and more than powerful enough for combat purposes (I should know – I’ve been shot twice with it!), or for hunting small to medium-sized game (it’s ballistically comparable to the US .30-30 cartridge).
I’ve owned both AK-47 and SKS rifles in the past, but I’ve hankered after a bolt-action rifle chambered for the same cartridge. The reason is very simple. If one wants to train frequently with a bolt-action sporting rifle, ammunition can get very expensive, very quickly; and rimfire rounds such as .22LR, while relatively cheap, don’t have the same recoil or shoot out to the same range as more powerful centerfire rounds. However, military-surplus or similar 7.62x39mm. ammunition is so cheap (typically about 20c-25c per round) that it’s hardly worth reloading for the caliber. Furthermore, it’s low-recoil enough that it can be used to train new shooters without inducing a ‘flinch’ that will affect their accuracy.
Czech riflemaker CZ introduced a light, handy bolt-action carbine in that caliber, the Model 527, some years ago.
It attracted favorable reviews, but was hard to find – CZ-USA doesn’t seem to import many, for some reason. I’ve been looking for one for some time, and yesterday spotted one for sale in a Washington gunshop. A quick telephone call and a couple of e-mails later, and it’s mine. It wasn’t cheap, but since they’re so scarce, I wasn’t in a position to argue. It should arrive at my local dealer for transfer next week. Color me happy! That’s my Christmas present to myself.
Now, what to get for Miss D. so that she won’t feel left out???