Gun Review: Cz958 Bringing the Cold War into the 21st Century

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It has been just over a year since the RCMP re-classified the Cz858 rifles in Canada. We are still waiting for “the fix” Bill C-42 to come into full effect and remove the restrictions on them.

But the original importer of the Cz858, Wolverine Supplies, already has a fix ready to go. More than a fix, they have an improvement, an evolution, an honest effort to bring the Cold War era rifle into the 21st century.

Now there is a Cz958.

If you are not familiar with any of the 58 pattern rifles available in Canada, they all trace their origins back to the Sa.58 which was developed for the Czechoslovakian army during the Cold War. Rather than producing Kalashnivkovs like the other Warsaw Pact countries, Jiri Cermak designed an alternative. They’d use the same ammunition as the Russians, and at 500 yards they might look similar, but the Sa.58 was very different from the standard Kalashnikov. It was striker fired, had a last round bolt hold open, and could be fed from both magazines or stripper-clips.

This new rifle is a joint project between Wolverine Supplies in Virden, Manitoba and Česká zbrojovka in the city of Uherský Brod, Czech Republic. With two major additions, they’ve improved the rifle and tailored its design to Canadian law.

Cz958 with folding s

The biggest addition is a complete top rail that removes the old dust cover, ejection port, and rear sight block. Now, instead of a massive ejection port and exposed bolt, the 958 has a flattop optics rail and a more traditional ejection. The interior of the rail acts as an extra large brass deflector.

The second addition is a scalloped space around the trigger guard. This newly manufactured receiver has an improved finish, and is deeply narrowed around the trigger guard. This does improve the ergonomics for the shooter. Magazines are easier to remove, and your finger has a natural indexing point that is off the trigger. But it also serves a deeper purpose to make sure that the Cz958 can never suffer the same fate as the Cz858. The RCMP reclassified them on the possibility that some rifles could be converted to automatics.

There will be two variants of the Cz958: A tactical model, which was what I spent time with, and a new hunter’s model. The hunter model will feature a clean pencil barrel, without the front sight block or a threaded muzzle. It also comes with a fixed stock rather than the metal folder.

CZ958_hunter

The 958 weighs in at 6 lbs 11 oz in its factory configuration with an empty magazine. By the time I’d put optics and some more ergonomic furniture on mine I was up to 9 lbs 11 oz. Using a Timney Trigger scale I got a consistent pull just over 6lbs with a bit of creep to it. The rifle ships with a full 19 inch non-chromelined barrel.

Now, with a proper ten inches of rail (or rail-estate as I like to call it) you’re free to use variable power optics over the ejection port, even with a full four inches of eye relief. I opted for a Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10×44. After all, we’re still shooting 7.62×39, so I’m not going to be winning any F-class shoots with 24 power optics..

A 10x optic also makes life a little easier when it comes to accuracy testing. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Cz958 shot. I selected 4 different loads of 7.62×39 to test through the rifle.

Over several range trips, I shot groups from a bench at 100 yards, and allowed the barrel to cool between shots. I used four and five shot groups, and did some quick calculation using the-long-family.com’s Group Size Statistical Analysis. This system uses a simple model and produces an average based on multiple groups with varying numbers of shots. So although I only had a single box of Hornaday Z-Max compared to several hundred rounds of surplus, the group sizes can be compared based on a 100,000 shot statistical model.I went in to the comparison expecting Hornaday’s Z-Max ammunition to be the best shooter. After all, it is the most expensive, and one of the only ballistic tip options for the caliber. But I was shocked to find the Polish surplus rounds routinely outperformed every other type of ammunition.

Cz958 groups

The original Czech laminated wood grips, stocks and handguards have been affectionately named by Canadian Shooters “beaver barf furniture.”

Personally I find the beaver-barf a little small, and so traded my pistol grip out for a Fab Defense grip. I also traded the military folding stock for a Fab Defense enhanced stock that allowed me a proper cheek weld, QD sling mount, and a decent rubber butt pad. I found the straight tube stock and cheek rest made for a much better cheek weld when shooting at 10x.

cz958_tactical_tfb

There are two lost features in moving from a Cz858 to a Cz958: first, you can no longer feed rounds off a stripper clip directly into the box magazine. This made life easier for Cold War soldiers receiving crates of ammunition already fit on stripper clips and filling 30 round magazines, but for a Canadian shooter with 5 round magazines I don’t see it as much of a loss. The other lost feature was one of the rarest and most sought after Cz858 upgrades: a left handed bolt. With the enclosed optic and dust cover, a bolt with a left side charging handle will no longer fit into the Cz958. These left handed bolts were most popular among high-speed low-drag shooters who liked the ability to rack the charging handle using their reaction hand.

One of the few issues I did experience with the Cz958 involved that charging handle. With the addition of the optics rail, and especially with the rings and turrets of a fullsize scope, things become tighter around the charging handle, I found I had to use the index and thumb of my right hand to get a reliable grip that wouldn’t skin my knuckles.

Cz958 stock rail

As of writing, and to the best of my knowledge, the Cz958 has yet to receive a listing in the Firearms Reference Table after seven months of inspection. Of course, I cannot say for certain, because that database is not available to the public, and the lab is not exactly forthcoming.

However the firearm I was given met all the requirements laid out in the criminal code to be non-restricted.So whats keeping Wolverine from importing the guns en masse?

Canadian Border Services does refer to the FRT when processing the import of firearms. They can hold a shipment and request that technical opinion, even though these rifles do not need to be registered. As a result, Canadian shooters are kept waiting while the RCMP takes their time.



Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


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  • julaedo

    stock looks like masonite

    • Tyler John Richards

      It’s what we like to call Beaver Barf, I’m pretty sure they are made by taking sawdust or wood shavings and gluing them into form. I could be wrong, but I’m 95% sure thats how they’re made.

      • Pete Sheppard

        Yep, some variety of particle board–‘Beaver Barf’ is indeed descriptive!!

      • Vitsaus

        “Plastic impregnated wood resin” was how I read it described once.

    • The Truth of the Matter

      Masonite is steamed wood particulate blown onto a screen and pressed, this stuff (bakelite) is a polyresin impregnated with wood fiber (and occasionally asbestos) and pressed. The final appearance of bakelite is usually a bit rougher than masonite, and bakelite is more resistant to prolonged heat and solvents.

      • Richard

        The vz 58 uses wood impregnated plastic and not ANY form of bakelite. Bakelite wouldn’t heat up the way the beaver barf forends do.

  • Blake

    Gotta love Beaver Barf furniture. How appropriately Canadian &ltgrin&gt

  • Wow, that is a slick 58! I used to own a CZ SA58, but this definitely looks like it could be a major improvement over the original configuration that brings it right in line with current ARs. It addresses basically all my misgivings about the design, without adding undue weight. You Canadians shouldn’t feel so bad about your access to evil black guns; this is great!

  • Southpaw89

    I like it, wonder if they have any plans to bring it to the states. If it’s priced under $1000 it could certainly be competitive.

    • I think it’s unlikely that this would pass 922r compliance.

  • Scott P

    i want the Polish and Czech surplus ammo but because it is “steel core” it is considered armor piercing and therefore banned in the U.S.

    It is why the only surplus we have been allowed to get is Yugo surplus because it has a lead core.

    Friggin’ BS!! Hopefully Tom Rooney’s bill goes somewhere and we get to have surplus goodness back!!!!

  • Anonymoose

    I know the vz58 is supposed to be superior to the AK, but I just don’t like the looks of it, especially that skimpy excuse for a folding wire stock, and making it tacticool makes it even more repulsive in my eyes. Sorry. :

    Think there’s any chance of you guys getting semi-auto CZ805s in Canadia?

    • mosinman

      I can tell you for certain it isn’t a wire stock.

      • Anonymoose

        Eh, whatever you want to call it, it still looks too flimsy for my taste.

        • mosinman

          My 58 has it and its pretty solid, I just find it too short

        • schizuki

          Flimsy? I’m betting you couldn’t bend it unless you used it as a pry bar.

          • Anonymoose

            How good is it for crushing skulls though?

        • n0truscotsman

          They arent very comfortable for shooting either. I took a carbine course with one of my Chinese AKs with a underfolding stock and felt like somebody kicked me in the jaw after the weekend.

          • iksnilol

            Try wrapping paracord around it. You can also get a buttpad for them (the underfolders).

            Makes them way comfier, though they are absolutely usable as is at the distance the gun is intended for (300-400 meters).

        • maodeedee

          Looks are important to me, too. I hate the cluttered up tacti-cool look and I like the original form-follows military look. Also I don’t like the looks of “Clean” barrel even on bolt action hunting rifles. Rifle barrels have to have a sight on the front of them or it isn’t a gun, but instead just looks like a section of plumbing pipe.

          I also can’t begin to understand Canadian gun laws, One time I found a website that was selling TT tokerevs that had no added safety, and for a real low price. When I called to place my order, they were in Canada, so no go for me. I didn’t think Canadians could own handguns but I guess they can if they register them.

        • Hank Seiter

          Trust me, it isn’t “flimsy”. It’s stout and it will beat your cheek all up if you use any kind of cheekweld … light or heavy.

          • Anonymoose

            How good is it for crushing skulls, though?

    • We should have had semi-auto Cz805s years ago. But no one ever stepped up to the plate and made it happen.

  • Wetcoaster

    I don’t think the issue is that they could be converted into automatics, but that some of the receivers may have in a prior life *been* automatics – like the BATF in the US, the RCMP takes the stance that a receiver once it has held FA parts is forever a FA gun – hence only some lots of imported rifles are affected – IIRC, none of the restricted-length shipments brought in by Marstar were affected.

    I think it would be great if you could comment on the vZ.58 design – namely the number of sources for the gun, as I am under the impression that the same design was produced by more than one entity (just like there are IIRC three different factories that make Su-27/Su-30 Flankers that develop and market them independently despite all starting out from the same design fom the Sukhoi design bureau).

    • Paladin

      Vz. 58s generally come from one of two companies, Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod (CZ) or Czech Small Arms (CSA). CSA holds the copyright for the Vz.58 name.

      • Wetcoaster

        Aha, that’s the one. CSA was the one that made the ultra-short and .223 models, right?

        I think the affected guns were certain batches of the long-barrelled CZ guns imported by Wolverine? (Sold as Cz-858 as opposed to the older restricted-length Marstar vZ.58?)

        • Marstar imported what they called FSNs. The CSA’s are available in shorty barrels and .223, they’re called Czechpoint in the USA.

          There’s a fair bit of documentation on how to identify if your Cz858 was affected, but the rough of it is: post 2007 manufacture, milled window on sight block.

          The RCMP is essentially throwing a 1-2 punch. They claim some receivers are converted autos, and other rifles are “easily converted”

          • Michel_T

            But (like so many of their other rullings) they failed (and refuse) to explain the easily converted part…

            Just like the government has failed (and refuse) to provide any empirical data to support the prohibitions of some other firearms…

          • “Silly serf. You think the government answers to you? Get back in line!”

            Oops, I’m breaking the cardinal rule of TFB here…

          • Sixshot6

            Hey I have a 223 vz and I live in the uk. Mine is and I dont know if you’ve heard of it the MARS version. Its a system whereby a trigger dis connector is built and requires two pulls of the trigger to fire a round. Its so under uk law its a manual op rifle. I have the 223/5.56 with the ar magwell adapter. Do you know if anyone has made a aluminium magwell adapter yet? I only ask as what AR mags work is limited (mainly some magpul mags, GI mags and a few others) and was wondering if anything that is more versatile is available?

          • I have seen that weird little critter! I have to imagine that even having to double tap for one shot you could still get it moving pretty quick. The CSA adapters are on their Gen 2 or 3 version now, and there are metal adapters made by B&T

          • Sixshot6

            Its a weird expensive critter. Compared to one of your vz’s. Mine cost in Canadian dollars 3170.42. Most have the 223/5.56 version, though a few do have the 7.62×39 and mags for it can be had cheap (as little as £4 pounds, but they are mostly milsurp, I haven’t seen any KCI’s for sale here). What is the full name of the company making the metal ones? Also how hard do you think it would be to have sent to the uk and what are the review on them?

          • Do you have to pin or limit your magazines at all? The KCI have been getting lackluster reviews here compared to the milsurp. I like my .223 polymer mags though.

          • Sixshot6

            No, no mag limiting. With my magwell adapter I could use those new magpul 60 round drums if I wanted (a place in manchester is getting them). It’d be expensive as I’ve seen how much those mags cost in the us. I did want some polymer mags but I couldn’t find any one’s over 10 rounds at first. By the time I did I had the magwell adapter fitted. Scott actually fitted it for me. Only thing I replaced was the mediocre m4 stock with the basic fab stock. Since the tube was a comm spec, I had to go and get a milspec buffer tube cover. Would have ironically have been cheaper to get a magpul ctr stock and run their cheek riser on. But I like the fab for the adjust cheek riser. I couldn’t entertain the folding stock as my build appears to be larger than yours mate.

          • Sixshot6

            So is the B&t magwell as I said and only for 7.62×39? If thats the case I guess I’ll have to ask Scott about when the CSA metal ones will be around. I like the polymer adapter but I want to see if it will like more mags. Also Scott from Caledonian does sell some AR type flash hiders that will fit vz’s. I don’t know if you have access to anything like that but I’m guessing the metric thread makes using things like pwc hider/brake combos a no go? One more question. Your CZ958 that you used. Was it actually made by CZ or CSA? I only ask as I hear some of the 858’s you have were actually made by CSA. And I’m asking that as the rail system intrigues. I’m asking because Scott Rodgers has since he started selling the mars vz’s had plans for 6.5 grendel version (which will be more costly). He wants to do that as he tried to get a US company to make some mars action FAL’s. According to him, they got them made but the US State department got arsey about letting them out.

            So a grendel is the alternative. Here is the thing though, his idea to use this brass deflector and allow a better scope on using side mount or rear dust cover mounts fell at this deflector actually sending the cases in. So it doesn’t allow the grendels to reach their full potential accuracy wise. But 958 to me is Scott’s prayers answers. If that could be built as a mars to his spec by csa/cz it would allow his grendel ones to be more practical. I’ve noticed you on your youtube channel say they are designed different with the setscrews and the like. But please tell me this. Does it retain zero 100% when it removed for cleaning (with the scope attached) and then when placed onto the rest of the rifle did you find it hold its zero as close to 100% as you needed it to be. I’m sorry for asking, but if I can direct Scott to a solution I will and your help and advice would be much appreciated.

          • Sixshot6

            I cant get it shooting quickly too mate. It seems like more people in the US and Canada know about, mostly as a tale of don’t let this happen to you. I also have the bc tactical scout mount coming. I might put a vortex razor hd red dot. What would you recommend?

          • I love my Vortex Razor. They’re one of the few red dots that will present a sharp clear dot with my astigmatism. I used it on my competition shotgun all last summer shooting 3-Gun:

          • Sixshot6

            You sold me on it. You reckon with the setup on the vz with the bc tactical rail that replaces the rear sight (its so I’m not taking the sight with its rail all the time, the side rail and even the rear dust cover replacement I had no luck with). Do you reckon I could get 100-200 yards shooting if I wanted with that red dot?

          • Sixshot6

            And that is the one thing the uk has over canada gun ownership wise. We have Saigas and Molot veprs (well I havent seen any new saigas in months, molots yes though). On the plus side hopefully I’ll one day be on the Isle of man, where pistols are still allowed so I’ll be in a happy place then.

          • Sixshot6

            One more thing. I checked the info on the b&t metal adapter, it seemed to be for the 7.62×39 version to use robinson xcr 7.62×39 mags (I know the reason to increase mag capacity to 10 rounds). Have they made a metal version for the 5.56? I do remember Scott Rodgers who imports the MARs versions into the uk (the are actually made at the csa factory, not modified. It was to remove any argument about them being converted from the police) and he mentioned he was in touch with czechpoint usa and that they were developing a metal adapter for the 223 to come out this year. Have you heard anything about that?

          • Sixshot6

            Also I see you live in Calgary, I have friends there and in Medicinehat. If I go again I’ll try something like the shooting edge there. I know they rent stuff, does that include stuff that is normally prohibited also like AK variants?

          • Dunno about TSE. I don’t go there after the Swiss Arms Debacle. I do go to CSC, who does have prohibs for range guns. A G3 of some kind if I recall and an FAL.

          • Sixshot6

            I’ll go there instead. What is the full range name called? I only work in acronyms if I have been to a place before.

          • Oh right! Calgary Shooting Center. Same neighborhood in the city.

          • Sixshot6

            thank you.

      • Don’t forget the FSNs!

      • Chipsa

        Trademark, not copyright. Trademark exists until you decide not to use it (theoretically, forever), and is marketing. Copyright is theoretically for a limited time (though, given Disney and the US Congress, I wouldn’t be surprised to never find Steamboat Willy in the public domain), and covers creative works (like photographs).

    • Canadianhj

      The RCMP noted there was a large milled window on some of the CZ858s. They assumed these were military parts that had the military markings removed and this was covered up by the large milled out window (that was deeper than the original military markings).

      they don’t have any proof…they simply said that the milled window COULD HAVE been put there to hide up surplus miltary markings from FA receivers….

      therefore because it is theoretically possible they assume it is true and ban all Cz858s as converted automatics (guns that were once full auto military guns, converted to semi auto).

      again, no proof….but they say so therefore they ban them.

  • noguncontrol

    They should make these in 5.45×39, they already make them in 556. And i presume it still uses the unique tilting locking wedge system of the vz58 series rifles.

    • Esh325

      What would really be the point when 5.56×45 is more available.

    • Wetcoaster

      Not a lot of 5.45 in the Canadian market and the US market is served by the Czech-Point products isn’t it? I think the US requires more tailoring than just scalloping out the lower receiver and adding a longer barrel because of the domestic content restrictions

    • Phil

      Yes the lock up is the same technically as the original a tilting block with two lugs and striker type firing pin. I was fortunate to examine one and it a very nicely executed design improvement for the civilian market.

  • iksnilol

    Was a bit dissappinted in the accuracy.

    The only advantage over an AK (for me personally) is the lighter weight and last shot hold open.

    Looks like I will have to wait for the MSBS if I want something more modern in 7.62×39.

    • Blake
      • From what I understand a 7.62×39 RDB variant is still a ways off.

        • MIke

          As is everything made by Kel-tec

    • Esh325

      Or the AK12.

      • iksnilol

        What are the chances of me getting an AK-12 in 7.62×39? I don’t have contacts in Russia. Neither do I have in Poland but at least Poland is way closer and easier to communicate with from where I am (Norway).

        • Esh325

          They haven’t released the AK-12 to the commercial market yet, but when they do it’s possible they might release some to Norway.

    • UCSPanther

      Other than the SKS, it is the only Cold War era 7.62×39 that we can legally own in Canada.

      We have to make do with what we can get until we can change the laws…

    • All the Raindrops

      My converted saiga akm with magpul stock and grip is 6lbs 11oz, so there isn’t a big weight difference… and the saiga has a thicker chrome lined barrel. Accuracy is good. That said, this looks like a pretty cool rifle and of it offers something to Canucks that wasn’t available before, good!

      • iksnilol

        Magpul furniture? How do you like it? Is it the new Zhukov thingy or whatever they called it? I know I was interested in it since I heard they don’t use the handguard retainer but I don’t know how they are attached (only to the receiver? or does it clamp on to the barrel).

        Also, in the post they said the rifle weighed 3 kg (6 lbs 11 oz) out the box with empty mag. Which is pretty close to the weight of your AKM. Intermediate rifles are pretty lightweight IMO. Then again I am used to competition guns that weigh 5-6 kg (11-13 lbs) so I might have a skewed perspective.

  • mechamaster

    Great ! this article finally solved my curiosity about Vz.58 to accept longer rail around the huge ejection port. or maybe in the future, the flattop rail.

  • MPWS

    As being familiar with original military issue, this version with scallops turns me right off; it destroys authenticity. But then, whole gun is somehow busted to fit quirky Canadian ‘gun law’. Besides, this game on full auto discrimination is just plain silly. With this gun, on full auto you hit nothing, except at point blank.

  • Anon. E Maus

    I’ll say, that top rail looks really cool on the 58 there.

  • Brian Hert

    I’d like that top cover replacement on my VZ2008.

  • Hank Seiter

    A year ago I bought a CZ-58 for more collection with the ubiquitous swing-away “wire” buttstock (as pictured above) and boy was it brutal!
    Even after installing a 3/8 slitted gas hose on the extension rail, it was very uncomfortable to shoot with any kind of cheekweld. So I ordered a brand new full wooden “bakelite” buttstock from a Czech advertising one on eBay and received it within two weeks for around $54 (with metal sling mount and receiver mounting screw). Made all the difference in the world ergonomically. Despite the cool factor, take my advice, get a CZ-58 or 958 with the full buttstock … forget about the swing away torture device.

    • UCSPanther

      I agree. Those folding stocks are as comfortable as a lawnmower blade.

  • Canadianhj

    I appreciate all the work Grumpy put into designing this to let us keep our Cz858s (reclassified for no damn reason) but I simply cant buy the Cz958. I liked the Cz858 because it came apart in seconds, was easy to clean, easy to maintain.

    This has alen keys……
    Grumpy claims you can clean it with the top on…….but that just isnt my style, I want the top off- I do not trust that the salts from corrosive ammo did not reach back beyond the chamber, etc.

    I will keep my sks and m14 for now, until the rcmp try to take them from me too……

  • CivilRightsNOW

    This is awesome, definitely getting a folder version and swapping for an improved stock.

  • ak12 vs cz958

    The russians have the AK12 out now……… they would have had the same problem with the upper rail and holding zero but i highly doubt they used screws to hold the upper to the lower…….

    Im thinking it is a quick release compression clam like youd see on a quick release AR15 mount.

    Ive seen photos of the ak12 and it looks like theyhave a quick release on each side, one up front and one rear (on the detachable upper part).

    That i like. something with no tools and quick. If it still holds 0 its a win for the ak12.

    this…. i think cz should have put more thought into a gun that can strip down easy with no tools.