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CZ M550 American Safari Magnum Review

by Steve Gash   |  February 13th, 2013 1

Afield with the Safari Magnum: OK, so it’s not Africa, but the author has taken whitetail with a .375 H&H, and any game shot with one generally stays shot.

Let’s get something straight right up front: In the realm of safari rifles, the .375 H&H Magnum really has no peers, period. From short ranges to long, and from small game to large, it’s just simply the best all-around cartridge ever invented. And while different actions have been wrapped around the wonderful .375, a classic bolt action somehow seems the only proper platform for it.

And that is exactly what we have in a new version of an old favorite: the CZ M550 American Safari Magnum rifle. CZ-USA has pretty much kept the genetic thread of the old classic European Mauser alive with its extensive line of bolt guns from the Czech Republic. From the diminutive M527 for varmints, the M550 for all manner of big game, the M550 Safari and the Safari Classic Express Rifles from the CZ Custom Shop for the big bruisers, CZ has it covered.

A recent addition to the M550 line is a version specifically tailored to American tastes called the American Safari Magnum. It’s sure to stir the hearts of those who worship at the altar of the rifled tube. The American Safari is available in .458 Winchester, .458 Lott, .416 Rigby and, of course, .375 H&H.

Everybody needs a quality .375, and when I first saw the test gun, it was lust at first sight. I immediately sold the .375 of another make I owned at the time and purchased this one. Every detail of this rifle exudes restrained elegance and evokes images of the best-quality English bolt guns of old. The stock is of Turkish walnut. The color is so dark it’s almost black, and jet-black swirls course through the wood.

The metal finish is midway between gloss and matte. Whatever you call it, it perfectly complements the stock to complete the look. The buttstock is finished with a nice, functional solid recoil pad, and the excellent cut checkering is in a point pattern on both sides of the pistol grip and wraps all the way around the fore-end.

There is no grip cap or fore-end tip to distract from the classic elegance of the stock. Sling swivels are provided, and the only slight faux pas that I could find is that the front swivel stud is in the stock, instead of on a barrelband.

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