Cz557 Ranger Rifle Submission: Hidden Benefits to Military Competitions

The Canadian Rangers, our official presence in the Northern reaches of the country, have been carrying the World War II Lee Enfield rifle since their inception in 1947. In the extreme cold of the Canadian arctic, the Lee Enfield is tough enough to survive transport, and reliable enough to continue feeding and functioning in the toughest situations. But 70 years on, the rifles are showing their age, and stocks are no longer what they once were. They need replacing.

TFB has done some substantial coverage on the competition requirements, awarding, and what will happen to the surplus rifles.

When a Federal government opens the door to a contract like this one, they spec out what needs to be made, and accept offers from a variety of manufacturers. They take the different submissions, test them, and pick one. In the case of the Rangers, a version of the Tikka CTR was selected to be produced by Colt Canada and sent into the polar service.

But what happens to the guns that didn’t get picked?

This is where civilian shooters can reap the benefits of Government contracts, for many firearms manufacturers will bring those alternate designs to market after a selection is made.

I would suggest the rising flood of new striker-fired handguns in the United States right now can be attributed to the M9 replacement competition run by the US Army. On a much smaller scale, we’ve seen the same thing happen with the results of the Ranger rifle program.

The Cz557 Ranger Rifle from Česká zbrojovka was originally built to compete for the Canadian contract, but found new life in the civilian world after the results had been awarded. I’ve had one in my safe for the past few months, and taken it out to the range on some of the coldest days of the winter for several shooters to try.

The requirements of the Rangers share some interesting overlap with Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle concept first put forward in the 1980s, and the .308 Cz push-feed rifle is an interesting take on the solicitation. A detachable 10 round box magazine is something the 557 series has never seen before, and certainly a big step up from fixed magazine of the Lee Enfield.

This contract is one of the only times since the Second World War when a western government has requested a new bolt-action rifle with iron sights. The Ranger Rifle has a section of weaver rail for optics, with a central channel that provides visibility to the barrel mounted irons. Both sights are adjustable: a rear dovetail sight with white dots matches to a red fiber optic front-sight that is hooded to shield from impacts.

This rifle came from Wolverine Supplies in Canada, and sells for $1,199 CAD ($891 USD) with additional 10 round magazines available for $60 CAD ($44USD.)

In a classic beech wood stock with a free floated barrel, the rifle feels like a work-horse, something made for the back country of Canada. But it’s unlikely it would have been built without that initial request from the Rangers. Federal contracts influence the wider shooting industry, and can drive small arms development in new directions. As a sport shooter, I’m pleased to benefit from the results.

Expect to see a full review of this unit on TFBTV this summer, with a look at the adjustable irons, a full accuracy report, and maybe a few precision rifle series competitions for fun and games.

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.


  • Just Say’n

    I don’t like the short sight radius.

    • Giolli Joker

      It doesn’t look to work great without removing the rail, the solution on the Tikka seems much better.

    • Anonymoose

      Maybe XS will come up with a ghost ring-rail combination like they have for the Ruger GSR.

      • L Thomas Spinner

        Mossberg uses the ghost ring and rail combo on their MVP rifles in 5.56 and .308. I have the .308 patrol rifle with the 16″ barrel and love it with a Vortex Strike Eagle for an optic. The fact that it uses M1A and AR-10 magazines just makes it even better, because you don’t have to buy proprietary mags for an arm and a leg. Next investment will be the 20″ rifle with synthetic stock for longer range.

    • Just Say’n

      For the record though, I DO like girls in camo. I might buy one based on the last picture alone.

    • iksnilol

      It’s the point. Short sight radius means fast aquisition. A bit more important than ultimate precision when something is charging you. + it helps with mounting optics low.

      All dangerous game rifles have the sights like that.

    • RBR

      The iron sights are simply a “belt and suspenders” solution in the event of scope damage/failure. It is a very reasonable wilderness precaution. A Mauser auctioned rifle my father had included iron sights and two scopes with a quick change mounting system.

  • J-

    I want one. I love my CZ 552. I want the Tikka but that is a $2,400 rifle.

  • DetroitMan

    “A detachable 10 round box magazine is something the 557 series has never seen before, and certainly a big step up from fixed magazine of the Lee Enfield.”

    The Lee Enfield does not have a fixed magazine. It is easily removed and replaced with a spring loaded latch, just like modern rifles, though not as ergonomic. Otherwise, good article on an interesting new rifle.

    • Cloudhidden

      Yeah, and the funny thing is that the Lee-Enfield takes 10-round magazines, too. Exactly the same capacity as the replacement.

    • Holdfast_II

      Right? But have you ever seen any military force issue spare mags for L-E users? It’s almost like everyone forgets that capability. Though if I recall correctly, the mags are kind of heavy.

      • Anonymoose

        The Brits thought James Paris Lee was crazy when he suggested issuing detachable box magazines in the 1880s, but then they ended up modifying the Lee-Enfield to use stripper clips after they encountered Mausers in the Second Boer War.

      • SP mclaughlin

        I think the L42 sniper rifle had to use the detachable magazines to reload, but yeah you are right about that.

      • Phillip Cooper

        IIRC, the magazines don’t retain the rounds well outside of the weapon, either.

      • Vindice

        I carried two mags with my Enfield a few months ago. The mags are sorta heavy, but that is mostly the weight of the large rounds and nothing disproportionate to the size and amount of ammo carried. While not as ergonomic and easy to change mags, after only a few tries I could change them enough to make me happy, and faster than I would probably be feeding them off of stripper clips. As far as retention, I never had an issue with rounds not staying secure in the mags, and I was carrying them in a variety of pockets, so it is not like they were held in by a properly fitting pouch preventing them from being bumped and jostled around.

      • kyphe

        The original LE were issued with 2 mags prior to the adoption of chargers. All rangers carry spare mags, watch their training vids and see them load using mags not charger clips. No they are not that heavy in fact they were too light for most of their service. The main flaw of the Lee Enfield was that they made the mags as cheaply as possible to convince the brass that quick change mags was affordable, but then the brass kept that thin walled mag as a single fixed mag leading to many problems. Same happened with the M15 and the disposable mag concept. People also forget that in British service you have more than the regimental issue. Each level of officer is expected to supplement the issue of those men under his command from his own funds, also each soldier tops up their own kit. This was seen as most efficient as officers and men would likely only purchase equipment vital for survival and would take better care of it. Wages were seen as generous enough to take this approach.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          Actually the two mag plan, whilst true, was never enacted in service; the L-M & L-E were only ever issued with the one mag.

          • kyphe

            The first lees had two mags, the first was chained to the gun for fear that it would get dropped during the change over. Only when the charger system was fully adopted were the lees issued with one mag. The SMLE was only issued with one, well unless you count those fortunate enough to receive a 20rnd trench mag. Every soldier was supposed to get a 20rd reserve assault mag during ww1. They were issued but most never got them. This is due to most of the mags being diverted to a factory experimenting with either an LMG design or a self loader depending on sources, that then set on fire destroying most examples.

    • JT303

      As you rightly point out, the Lee Enfield mags are detachable, but were not designed to be so in the same way as an AR mag. Military practice of the time revolved around the use of charger clips, and mags were only taken out of the rifles for cleaning.

      • Joshua

        nor are the rangers expected to run and gun the same way front line combat troops are, they are predominately scouts observers, they carry rifles predominately for wildlife defense. Not having magazines combat changeable magazines is not a major downside for them. I don’t know why this comment is in the article.

        • JT303

          The rangers have quick change mags for the same reason cars have heated seats; it looks good on paper.

      • kyphe

        You are wrong about the design, that is an historical myth. All current quick change box mags are descended from the Lee system. The Detachable mags on the lee were designed for the Remington lee, which could only be mag fed! you could not even single load it from the top. The long lee was not charger fed and had two mags issued. This was great for short firefights but vs the Boer in long range engagements the charger system proved to give a better rate of fire over time. The brits did not see the merit in paying for both spare mags and charger strips so they only issued one per soldier with the spares going to the armorers. Soldiers would buy (or borrow/steal) spares themselves however as topping up kit was and still is common practice in the UK.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          Do you have any evidence of soldiers using buckshee spare mags? First I’ve heard of it.

    • tiger

      Easily removed? Uh……… hmmmm.

  • johan

    Wasn’t this a limited production run? I don’t believe the “ranger” version of the CZ-557 is in production and it is a pricey collector’s item that was mostly available in Canada for a short time.

    • Kelly Jackson

      I doubt the Ranger is available anymore since the 557 carbine with iron sights that it was based on is no longer offered in .308

  • Well, crap. Gotta have that,

    • Don Ward

      I know, right?

      *Scribbles down on the list of rifles I gotsta have*

      Now if only the processors paid a fair price for salmon.

    • Jeff Smith

      That was my first thought.

  • Arie Heath

    One more to add to the list…

  • Madcap_Magician

    I like it. Looks like the full-bore equivalent of the 527 rifle, which is a gem among rifles.

  • john huscio

    Make a scout/Ranger rifle with 10rd capacity in 7mm08 and I’d be throwing money at them.

    • DrewN

      The 557 WAS available in 6.5×55 though, which if I’d known about before right this minute, would be in my safe right now.

  • Some Rabbit

    Surely the UK has a warehouse full of old MK 5 Jungle Carbines they can upgrade with polymer stocks (/snark).

    • tiger

      Better yet, we could sell them our M-1 Garands.

      • tsubaka

        wait hasn’t the US army had problems with the M1 garand in Korean war?
        i don’t know the difference of temperature between North Korea and canada but it might be a problem

        • tiger

          I think that was due to the lubricants and solvents of the time. In 70 years we have better synthetic oils for cars & guns than in 1950. A 8 shot semi auto 30-06, heavy duty grade rifle seems perfect for the mission to Stop man or Polar Bear.

  • FT_Ward

    The Ranger (think part time coast watchers not 75th Ranger Regt. Their uniform is a red hoody) Rifle replacement program was as fouled up a effort as I can think of.

    The rifles aren’t for combat. They’re for hunting and protection from wildlife. The requirement for a detachable mag was just for show.

    The Department of National Defence claimed new rifles were needed because parts for No. 4s were hard to find. That’s not true but in any event why make a whole new rifle when you can just make the hard to get parts? The media wrote reports that the poor Rangers (most are natives and expanding the Rangers boosted “indigenous participation in the army) ) were defending the north with World War One rifles. Cue the PR machine.

    The “winning” rifle had to made by Colt Canada. It took years to find someone who’d let Colt make their rifle. The royalty paid Sako will be about what the rifle should have cost. The rifles will cost about $ 3000 USD a piece for 6500 guns. With no optic.

    There’s more on the Canadian military small arms scene. The C-6 (M-240) “upgrade” by Colt is budgeted at ~ $ 42,000 USD per gun. The program to replace the Browning P-35 requires another maker to let Colt make their guns. It’s gone nowhere after about a decade.

    • Brett baker

      You mean someone has a worse procurement system than the U.S.? And I saw the bolts were for the handist right majority:(.

      • FT_Ward

        Yes far, far worse. If I recall correctly the C7 (~ M16A2) cost about $ 3000 each by the time they finished- each had two uppers. They’ve since be upgraded. The just “discovered” their new frigates will cost 234% more than advertised.They paid more for the design of a new patrol ship than it cost the Norwegians to build the ship. I’d be surprised if they don’t pay 300% retail if they ever get a new pistol.

        That said their army’s Tim Horton’s was nice.

        • Brett baker

          I read we were going to change the M16’s twist rate from 1-7 to 1-9 before mk262 got issued. It was going to cost more to do the testing than buying and installing all the new barrels.

        • tiger

          They still buying crap subs?

          • Croak

            Timmy’s subs aren’t bad, but you really should stick to the donuts and coffee, and avoid the wraps too.

          • tiger

            In Philly, a hoagie is the sandwich & a sub still sinks ships.

        • Tim

          Do you think they can “donate” a Tim Horton’s some place in western Indiana?

          It’s seriously a reason I volunteered for a temp assignment in Quebec City.

      • FT_Ward

        Sad but funny story. The Canadian Army decided girls needed sports bras and that they should be an issue item. But don’t girls come in a large variety of sizes? Shut up you. We’re having a program! They put a male infantry captain in charge of brasseries with the expected results. After several years they decided maybe they should just give the girls an allowance for lingerie.

        • tiger

          lol….. Oh, lordy lordy.

    • 2805662

      Any more information on the Colt (Canada?) C6/M240 upgrade?

      • FT_Ward

        Not much. I don’t believe it’s actually an upgrade. Closer to new guns but calling it an upgrade avoids having to have a competition.

        They did the same thing with Leopard 1 MBTs in the 90’s. One year they upgraded the chassis and a couple years later the turrets. Voila. New tanks! They’re trying the same thing dishonest stuff now with fighters. They don’t want F-35s for political reasons but are worried it might win a competition so they’re pretending to buy Super Hornets as “interim fighters” to cover a just discovered “capability gap”.

  • adverse4

    Now that is a rifle. 10 rd mag to start.

  • Tassiebush

    It looks like it’s available in Australia and there’s also a .243 chambering.

  • Shaun Connery Oliver II

    Man. I ALWAYS look at CZ’s handguns, but overlook their rifles. Not any more, I am off to buy one.

  • Jeff Smith

    Is there any reason for the continued use of wood stocks? I love the look, but I’m from an extremely humid climate where wood stocks can affect accuracy due to swelling. But I have no clue if it’s better in the cold.

    Is wood superior in any way to synthetic stocks?

    • Tassiebush

      Synthetic probably wins on most counts other than just feel and look. It’s more durable and low maintenance. With wood I my understanding is that a good bedding job on a free floated barrel and making sure there’s enough oil rubbed into the stock or that it’s sealed overcomes the moisture issue. I do notice that some synthetic stocks seem to have flex issues on the forestock and may not fully clear the barrel. Wood doesn’t seem to have that flex issue assuming the measures to stop swelling are done. On the other hand the forend flex on some synthetics can be fixed with additional epoxy and some sanding. Someone else will have more experience in this than me though.
      I’ve just recently weighed this up as I bought a Sauer 100 with the timber stock because I felt the stock is a bit more rigid and has nicer feel and the bedding system seems absolutely fine going on the reviews of them. I’ll find out from experience whether I picked right.

      • gunsandrockets

        Isn’t plastic more vulnerable to very cold conditions and UV degradation than wood?

        • Tassiebush

          I wonder the same thing. I think UV stabilized plastics probably address the UV bit and I have no idea about the extreme cold.

          • ostiariusalpha

            A good laminate wood stock is best for cold weather, and that is indeed what the Tikka CTR uses. They’re heavier than either the polymer or standard wood stocks though.

      • RocketScientist

        A laminar wood stock (multiple layers of wood bonded together, ideally with different grain orientations) is extremely robust and durable, and can be more rigid than many synthetic stocks when material thickness is narrow. Additionally, it performs a lot better in extreme cold (better dimensional stability, and better mechanical properties, ie plastic gets brittle). It can be fairly heavy (compared to an equivalent synthetic stock) but a handy bolt-action with moderate ammo capacity is not exactly a heavy-weight rifle to begin with. The ranger rifle uses this style (laminar wood) stock.

    • Brett baker

      It doesn’t look “military” is probably it.

    • RBR

      I have seen video of Fiberglas handles of hatchets shattering in extreme cold. A laminated wood stock is close to being “unbreakable”.

  • tiger

    Did they ever consider going lever action instead? Say a Browning BLR built for cold weather use? Or say a Marlin SBL?

  • kyphe

    The Lee Enfield has a quick change box mag, it was designed as a quick change box mag for the Remington lee(mag feed only), that is how the rangers use it as can be seen on their training vids. The whole bullspiel about the Lee system not being a true detachable box system is just parroted nonsense. It was and is a fully functional quick change detachable system. The long lee was first issued with two mags and had no charger bridge. The brits decision to opt for a charger loading system on top of the detachable box and only issue one mag as standard does not alter the basic function of the box mag, only the manual of arms.

  • Kelly Jackson

    CZ offered 10 round .308 magazines for the 557 series with both the Varmint and the Urban Counter Sniper.

    The bigger issue is the CZ discontinued to the 557 carbine in .308 with iron sights back in 2016. You can only get that combo in 30-06, .270 and 6.5mm now.

  • FT_Ward

    Q. Why would you go to such lengths to put iron rights on a modern hunting rifle? And why the need for a detachable 10 round mag?

    A. Competitions. The competitions Rangers can enter have shoots based on Lee Enfield qualifications. The C7 qualification still has drills which are copied from the Lee Enfield period- shoot 10 reload and shoot five. They’re shot with iron sights at ranges well beyond what would be required for hunting or survival so the normal poor quality sights intended as back up to an optic found on most hunting rifles won’t do.

    The answer isn’t “combat” as the Rangers have no combat training. They are supposed to be available to help conventional forces from the south survive and navigate in their areas. They started as coast watchers in the 1940’s but in the age of satellites, NORAD and continuous overhead passenger airline traffic that role is a bit obsolete.

    Their real function is PR. The Rangers allow politicians positive photo ops with (mainly) indigenous Canadians. It funnels federal cash into remote villages. It increases indigenous participation in the military (there are quotas for natives, women in the combat arms and visible minorities that the military is trying and failing to meet).

    • Alan

      What lubricant is used to ensure functionality in these harsh conditions-like I’d ever need something that “flowable” in South Georgia?

      • FT_Ward

        Powdered graphite seems to work.

      • Christopher Wallace

        gullah gullah island sourced cat buttah

  • iksnilol

    CZ push feed?

    Y’all are killing me.

    • Kelly Jackson

      The 557 is push feed, it was introduced to be a cheaper alternative to the 550 but from what I’ve seen there’s usually only a $60 difference in price.

      • iksnilol

        That’s sad.

  • Richard Lutz

    The CZ is much lighter than the ludicrously heavy Tikka. All it needs is a rustproof finish.

  • Clinton Matthews

    Great news, like when AU home made Lithgow 303’s 😉 and lots of them for war

  • RBR

    Am I the only one who thinks that the winning Tikka submission is groteskly overpriced?

  • Clinton Matthews

    The stock/wood is pure nice

  • FT_Ward

    No ammo in sight. “Load” in the the Canadian Army means put a magazine on the rifle. “Ready” means to chamber a round.

    But it is a good question as to how does the .303 come- in boxes or in stripper clips. I don’t know.

  • Billca

    I’d be interesting to pit the CZ 557 against a Mossberg MVP .308 just to see if there are significant differences in performance.

    • L Thomas Spinner

      Something that would definitely be interesting to see reviewed

      • Cannoneer No. 4

        Let’s see a TFB post covering the small arms used by all the Arctic troops of the Northern Hemisphere. AFAIK the AKARNG uses standard U. S. infantry weapons.
        Are there any Antarctic troops in the Southern Hemisphere?

  • alberthead

    “The Canadian Rangers, our official presence in the Northern”? I do wish people would do their homework. Over two-thirds of the 5000 Canadian Rangers are actually below the 60th parallel, so nowhere near the “Arctic”.