Hunting varmints like coyotes, jackrabbits, or prairie dogs doesn’t require anything special to succeed. Just about any rifle, in almost any caliber, can get the job done. But like any pastime, there’s playing and there’s excelling. CZ’s new 527 Varmint MTR—available in .223 Rem or 6.5 Grendel—elevates a shooter’s potential for dead-on accurate shots at longer ranges with a host of high-end, competition-grade features, making it ideally suited for varmint hunting or benchrest competitions.
A rifle’s trigger is arguably its most important feature. A sloppy, spongy, or gritty trigger will undermine your efforts to achieve tight, consistent groups. Fortunately, the 527 Varmint MTR boasts a crisp, precise trigger that you can easily adjust to suit your exact preference, though my .223 variant was set up perfectly from the factory for my tastes.
An unusual stock
I initially thought the unusually shaped (yet unquestionably beautiful) one-piece, oiled walnut stock would be bulky and difficult to grow accustomed to. It appears CZ’s designers borrowed a number of elements from bench-rest-style rifles, delivering a wide stock with a right-angle pistol grip and a comb that comes straight back to the heel without the drop seen on most rifles. The forend is flat and wide, making it well suited for shooting from a bench.
The stock actually proved quite easy to master, providing a positive grip with its stippled palm swell and forend, and aligning the shooter’s eye perfectly with the scope upon bringing the rifle to bear.
Heavy barrel, heavy gun
The 527 Varmint MTR comes suppressor-ready with an M18×1 threaded muzzle on its 26″-long, free-floated, cold hammer-forged heavy barrel. Cold hammer-forging, compared to other barrel-making techniques, produces a barrel with superior dimensional accuracy, smoother surfaces, and more resistance to heat, ensuring a longer service life. Plus, heavier/thicker barrels like this don’t heat up as quickly as standard barrels, meaning the shooter can take more successive shots before accuracy is affected. The barrel on the .223 model has a 1-in-9 twist rate that works well with standard 55-grain bullets.
It’s worth noting that this is one heavy rifle, weighing in at nine pounds before the addition of optics or a bipod. That said, weight is actually of benefit to a predominately bench-bound marksman’s rifle: It reduces felt recoil and translates to added stability—a valuable benefit when taking long shots.
The little details
The 527 Varmint MTR comes factory standard without sights but with well-made 30mm scope rings. The rifle’s intuitively placed two-position safety at the rear right of the receiver stays visible to the shooter throughout firing and locks firmly in place with the flick of a thumb. And the detachable, single-stack five-round magazine makes reloading a breeze.
Attractive but vulnerable finish
My only complaint with the 527 Varmint MTR is the durability of the blued finish. After our first night on the South Dakota prairie (granted, it was an insufferably humid day and night), I awoke to find rust speckling on the barrel that, when wiped down with oil, exposed bare metal. I’ll concede that the conditions in which we were hunting were extreme, and it’s entirely possible I purchased a rifle with a manufacturing flaw that’s since been rectified. (TUP has not yet followed up with CZ about this as of the time of this writing.) Still, I found the premature wear a disappointing disfigurement of the rifle’s otherwise gorgeous aesthetic.
Great value for an accurate rifle
CZ has a history of providing immense value for the price of their guns. The 527 Varmint MTR is no exception to this. With an MSRP of $879 and a street price of a hundred-or-so less, this is a superb option for those seeking high-end features on a mid-price rifle.