Rifle No. 1 in this test: the compact CZ 600 Ergo. How does the bestseller in the 600 series perform in practice? What are its strengths?
If hunting rifles are sold out or the waiting time for delivery is longer than originally thought, the customer is often "to blame". What sounds so striking is also meant that way, because in the case of the CZ 600 Ergo, many of 10 available calibers are often sold out. When we introduced the CZ 600 series a couple of years ago, we had all models (Trail, Alpha, Lux, Ergo and Range) in focus. However, even we didn't have in mind that the CZ 600 Ergo would turn out to be the best-seller. "Maybe it's the design of the gun after all?" I kept hearing my inner editor ask. At first glance, the Ergo looks a little diminutive. One even gets the feeling that it has not been thought through to the end. But on the second handling and at the latest when stalking, you will no longer want to miss the advantages of the gun."This thing is just great, you just have to own it". How often did I catch myself thinking that after the gun was handed over to me by Gert Mürmann for this long-term test during the Düben Hunting Days. The CZ 600 Ergo is ultra-lightweight and, in addition to its inherently very good accuracy, a real bargain, which is currently available in Germany for only 1,299 euros. The rifle should not only be on the shortlist as a first rifle for young hunters, because we know that it now stands in the gun cabinet next to significantly more expensive calibers: old hands appreciate the "Ergo" principle too.
Of interest to the reader: the CZ 600 Ergo will continue to be put under the microscope by the editorial team for an ongoing long-term test. Among other things, it will be used in Africa and for driven hunts. One more reason to subscribe to our all4hunters.com YouTube channel.
Rifle No. 2: the "workhorse" from CZ – The 600 Alpha
The workhorse, on the other hand, is the CZ 600 Alpha: we had already been using it since the winter. On the driven hunt, the CZ Alpha was in a different league. The advantages of the model we tested lay in its short design with a 51-centimeter semi-heavy barrel. The Alpha also accompanied us on night hunting. This model is also interesting for the young hunter because of the price, subce at currently around 1,400 euros the Alpha will certainly come into focus just like its sister model, the Ergo 600. Both models have in common that with the BobOX surface treatment the rifles are particularly rugged and resistant. As always when we talk about finishings, the same applies to the models from CZ's 600 series: every gun needs a minimum of care! However, the basic prerequisites for a long partnership are very good from the outset. And if there is still an argument missing for the first look at the gunsmith, just ask about the guaranteed precision at 100 meters. CZ claims a factory-tested accuracy of less than 1 MOA at 100 meters (3 shots with match-grade factory ammo).
An evergreen among thermal imagers: the lowest-priced Hikmicro TH35PC clip-on is always worth considering
What is an evergreen? We looked it up in the dictionary, which speaks of "something that retains its freshness, interest, or popularity". And this definition hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Hikmicro TH35PC. This device is an evergreen, and that in a market where new devices are introduced every few months and shine with new highlights. It is then often difficult for models from the previous month to score a few points on the game board. However, things look a bit different for the Hikmicro TH35PC at the moment, because when even established retailers buy used devices from Hikmicro on Facebook again, then you can assume that the retailer knows his/her trade and would not"buy" if the potential of a "good resale" was not there. Now does this matter to the user, the reader and hunter? We think so, because in the run-up to a purchase you think a lot about whether an "expensive" investment is really worth it. Let's be honest: wouldn't everyone try to get as much "thermal imaging equipment" as possible for their hard-earned money? The fact remains: the TH35PC offers enough performance with its futures at an "almost" unbeatable price-performance ratio. With a price of around 1,800 euros, it simply plays in a different league and who knows what price you would get at the dealer who buys the devices back on Facebook?
The optics in the test: GPO driven hunting scope (Spectra 1-6x24) and Noblex universal riflescope (NZ6 Inception 2-12x50)
For our winter combo, we used GPO's driven hunt optic, the Spectra 1-6x24. The rifle and optic were used for driven and night hunting in combination with the Hikmicro Thunder TH35PC. Thanks to the short design consisting of scope and clip-on, the setup fit very well with the short, easy-to-handle CZ 600 Alpha. Only the mount had to be replaced at the beginning because the original mount was too low and we couldn't mount the TH35PC in the first step because due to the adapter from EP-Arms, the scope was touching the barrel. After that was done, we went night hunting and it was supposed to work "almost" fine the first time. However, we had to let a strong boar go, which caught wind of us and won the game that night. Maybe our friend also knew that two people on the high seat are simply louder and that's why it left the stage. Two nights later the same boar probably played a trick on us again, when it kept our hunter on his toes for two hours, repeatedly showing up briefly and then always pulling away when the reticle moved onto the vital organs. Well, that's hunting, too, and it's also part of a long-term test that you come home empty-handed.
Night hunting for sows: our hunting success with the Hikmicro TH35PC
It went all the better a few weeks later when we inaugurated the sister model of the CZ 600 Alpha, the CZ 600 Ergo with a fresh NZ 6 Inception 2-12x50 from Noblex at the shooting range. Accuracy at 100 meters matched.
Since the sows showed up there again for several days, the Hikmicro Thunder TH35PC was sighted in with the CZ 600 Ergo at the Oppin shooting range. Then it went directly to the high seat. A buck came in the last light. The author, however, had the sows of Saxony on his mind and since there were still about 35 minutes of driving ahead of him in hunting area number 2, he let the buck go and wasted his thoughts on the photos that had been sent to him beforehand via WhatsApp. And so it happened that I went to Renneritz and, when I arrived at the edge of the field, the next picture from my hunting companion Gero Wiese trickled in via WhatsApp. "Matze, the sows are already there". You can imagine that now the pulse was immediately at full speed. Got out of the car, I was faced with a 600 meter game drive along the edge of the field. Again and again, the hand-held device scanned the surroundings for heat sources. This time it should work. But what was that? Was there a deer standing right next to the high seat? A brief consultation with Gero, then the redeeming words: "No, that's just stones" that were somehow able to store the residual heat of the day. Now it was time for the high seat. "Very, very quietly, up the steps to the hide", on about 3 meters above the ground. Indeed, two sows stood there, scarcely 100 meters away. They made no effort to leave the scene. I left the backpack on the ground beforehand, because I didn't want to carry unnecessary ballast with me. A short time later I regretted that. I raised the CZ 600 Ergo, the rest fitted, and I turned on the attachment and read the implacable message, "Please change the battery soon." So, there happened to me what I always preach elsewhere, in my tests and articles. Man, that was embarrassing. But there was no time for swearing. I took a breath and thought. "Yes! The new batteries are in the backpack." Now I remembered what I wanted to do earlier in the car. The sows, however, were not interested in that. The wind was ideal and so I ventured to the backpack, got the new batteries and a short time later I let the Sellier & Bellot Cutting Edge fly. A sharp-edged bullet that killed the smaller sow on the spot and made this night stalk a hunting success. "Phew, that was typical of me again" I thought, put the sow in the cooler and went to bed blissfully.
Our first experiences with the ERATAC SOB3 silencer from Recknagel – a great accessory
For a final verdict on the Recknagel silencer, it is certainly too early after just a few weeks, which is why we recommend the interested reader to subscribe to our all4hunters/all4shooters.com channels and to the newsletter so that you can stay up to date with the Recknagel silencer and the CZ 600 Ergo. My first impression of the SOB3 silencer is already very good. I particularly liked the quick release adapter. A good damping performance of over 30 dB, a design that looks good on any gun and a great balance, because with only 10.5 centimeters of extension, the overbarrel silencer from Recknagel also does well on short barrels. As always when it comes to short barrels, here again remember that a silencer on a short barrel is exposed to greater loads and accordingly always needs to be well maintained.
Our combos from this test: models and prices
Let's do the math: our winter combination was just under 4,000 euros when this article was written. The price for the summer equipment was around 4,800 euros. We have left out assemblies, small parts and the gunsmith's time from the calculation. These prices are only an orientation for the reader and are non-binding, because they can change quickly due to the dynamics in the market. The sources for these prices was the organic search on Google without location activation. So "pure and raw", if you will:
Our test combo #1: the winter setup consisting of
- CZ 600 Alpha rifle: 1,400 euro approx.
- Driven hunting GPO Spectra 1-6x24 scope: 600 euro approx.
- TH35PC clip-on: 1,800 euro approx.
- Adapter from EP-Arms: 200 euro approx.
Total price: 4,000 euro approx.
Our test combo #2: The summer setup consisting of
- CZ 600 Ergo rifle: 1,300 approx.
- Noblex NZ6 Inception 2-12x50 universal riflescope: 900 euro approx.
- TH35PC clip-on: 1,800 euro approx.
- Adapter from EP-Arms: 200 euro approx.
- SOB3 Silencer ERATAC: 600 euro approx.
Total price: 4,800 euro approx.
At this point we would like to thank Frankonia, Hikmicro, CZ, Recknagel - ERA Silencer, Noblex, GPO and Gert Mürmann from Waffen-Mürmann in Wittenberg for allowing us to realize this long-term test. Many thanks in the name of the whole team. Clicking on the link will take you to the respective brand's pages for more information.