Zastava Model CZ99 Precision .22 LR Bolt Action Rifle with Weaver Classic 4x28mm Rimfire Scope
By Jim Force
I love it when I finally get a firearm "right," but what a tortured path it sometimes takes to get there. This is the story of my almost perfect Zastava Model CZ99 .22 bolt action rifle.
It started when I was a camper in Northern Michigan at age nine and was taught to shoot. We learned on well used Remington bolt action, single shot .22s, lying prone on a concrete slab and shooting paper targets at 50 feet. I absolutely loved it.
At age 14, my father purchased a Marlin 25 bolt-action, magazine fed .22 rifle for me. It came with a scope and I dragged that rifle everywhere I could. We had a summer cottage on a lake outside of Detroit, where I shot at tin cans and soda bottles.
When I was in my mid 20s a cousin, who was living in a rather rough part of Detroit, asked to borrow my Marlin 25 for self-defense. Unfortunately, I never saw that rifle again and I miss it to this day.
By my mid-40's, I had settled into a comfortable family life in North Carolina with my beautiful bride and I was operating my own construction company. Because of certain friendships and access to their land I was able to renew my hunting passion and fascination with firearms. I felt a definite need/desire for a .22 rifle and I started this current quest.
I purchased a Marlin Model 60, a tubular magazine fed semi-automatic rifle. (See Marlins and Pawnshops.) I mounted a Bushnell .22 scope and it served well for plinking and hunting squirrels.
Unfortunately, Marlin 60's are difficult to un-load, occasionally jamb and are almost impossible to single load. Having experienced these difficulties while teaching my niece how to shoot, I started to consider acquiring a different 22.
Several years ago, while visiting one of our local gun shops, I noticed a bolt action, magazine fed .22 rifle on the wall. Upon examination, it proved to be a Zastava Model CZ99, produced in Kragujevac, Serbia by Crvena Zastava. ("CZ" is part of the Crvena Zastava model designation and there is no relationship to the better known CZ brand rifles made in the Czech Republic.) It had a walnut stock with four panel cut checkering, a fluted comb, black plastic butt plate and steel detachable sling swivel studs.
The un-loading problems were solved by a five shot, sheet steel, detachable box magazine. An open top receiver makes it easy to load a single cartridge directly into the chamber.
Zastava Model CZ99 rifles have been imported and distributed in the US by a number of different firms, including Century Arms, Charles Daly and Remington (as the Model 5) among others, so designations and details may vary. I negotiated with the owner and walked away with the rifle for $245.
Zastava Model CZ99 Precision Rifle Specifications
The oiled stock looked almost unfinished to me, so I removed it and applied six coats of Timberlux wood finish. This provided a nice, deep luster that seemed to fill all of the wood pores. The single border checkering appears to be hand cut, three rows at a time, with European style flat-top diamonds and there are plenty of run-overs.
The two-piece bolt uses dual extractors and the ejector is fixed in the receiver. The bolt handle protrudes well out from the stock and the bolt knob is round. The square root of the bolt handle serves as a locking lug.
The single stage trigger is adjustable for take-up and pull weight. Remove the barreled action from the stock to access the adjustment screws.
A two position safety is located at the right rear of the machined steel receiver. It locks the bolt and trigger when the action is cocked.
The steel parts of the gun exhibit a deep, polished blue and, together with the refinished walnut stock, make for an attractive looking rifle. I didn't like the open sights, so mounted a Nikon ProStaff .22 riflescope, which proved easy to zero, and started shooting at 50 yards.
With its 22 inch, six groove, cold hammer forged barrel and crisp, adjustable trigger, the rifle performed well for me. From a camp chair and using shooting sticks, I shot informal groups ranging from two inches to four inches (center to center) at 50 yards.
I continued to teach young and old beginners how to shoot with this rifle. The only flaw is the magazine, which is difficult to load, although with experience and practice it became easier.
What I did not like was the size of the Nikon scope. Aesthetically, it was just too big for this nimble little rifle.
Another online search led me to an old reliable, a Weaver Classic 4x28 rimfire scope. This scope features a one-piece, aircraft grade aluminum, one inch diameter main tube with a matte black finish and fully multi-coated optics. It is guaranteed to be waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. The image is bright, with good edge sharpness and low flare. It looks great on the rifle, being the right size with clean lines.
Weaver Classic Rimfire 4x28 Riflescope Specifications
In the field, it took me about 20 rounds of CCI .22 LR Mini-Mag ammo to get the new scope sighted-in, using my shooting sticks and camp chair. I was able to place the final group within the target's four inch center circle, with one shot in the center of the bullseye, which is pretty good for this old grandfather. This CZ99 with the Weaver scope is about perfect for me!
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