With all the needed components on hand to get this rifle project started, it was just a matter of aligning a few schedules and getting it into the machine shop to get this build going.
I started one evening by stripping down the CZ down as far as I could with my hand tools. It didn’t take long for me to start to question my decision to do this myself. I have worked on the basic Mauser for decades, its reliability and simplicity is what makes it such a popular action for gunsmiths today. To say the engineers from CZ have “re-engineered” this old action would be an understatement! The set trigger alone contained enough pieces that I had serious doubts as to whether or not I would even be able to get it back together and functional on my own. I was preparing myself to get assistance or try to track down schematics on how to re-assemble this action. As much as this distressed me, I was somewhat thankful that I had encountered this here in the workshop and not out in the field. I have on a few occasions stripped a rifle right down in the field to correct a function or lack thereof. After this I know never to strip one of these down around the campfire!
With the action stripped of all parts other than the barrel, it was time to remove the barrel. We clamped the barrel to what we thought was tight in the barrel vise and used an action wrench the try and twist the barrel out of the action. Easier said than done, with the rear sight island milled right into the barrel, it quickly became apparent that when originally manufactured, the rear island wasn’t quite at the 12 o’clock mark, so they just torqued it a little tighter and a little further till it was at the 12 o’clock mark. This may have sped up the original production time and reduced tedious indexing of the barrel but it was clear that it was now going to cause us issues in getting it off. We quickly machined new barrel shims for the vise, needed a better than average contact, and with cheater bars to torque the vice nuts tight as possible and a cheater bar or two on the action wrench, we managed to coax the action to turn ever so slightly on the barrels threads. Once we got the first bit of movement the rest came easily, or at least easier.
With the barrel removed we had the action down to its core, a single piece. We then spent time verifying the “trueness” of the action and making sure we didn’t “twist” in the process of removing the barrel. With small tedious tasks of polishing/filing small areas and parts we were now ready to get to the heart of the project, re-barreling of the action, which I will cover in a future blog.