Bedding a CZ

Ben Unten

My CZ in .22 Mag, warmly referred to as the ‘Sleazy’ (as in the American pronunciation of Z = ‘Zee’) has only ever had average accuracy. I know most CZs have a well-deserved reputation for accuracy way beyond their price tag, but for whatever reason mine has struggled to group consistently.

As part of ‘Project Sleazy’, I’ve done all the usual things ‑ a thorough clean with Sweets 7.62 solvent, checked and retorqued all the screws with my FAT wrench, changed scopes, had the bore inspected and tried virtually every brand of ammo on the market without any significant success.

It will group well for maybe four/five shot groups, then the fifth group has fliers and is frankly horrible. Being a stubborn so-and-so, I resolved to try one more thing ‑ bedding it. I knew enough to realise that bedding is quite an involved process and if things go wrong they can go badly wrong, but I was at the point of no return.

So I did my research, which involved spending many moderately torturous hours watching online videos, that largely consisted of literally watching paint (or in this case bedding compound) dry.

Eventually I felt I had enough knowledge to have a lash and managed to convince a mate of mine, Aaron, to give me a hand. I had decided to use a two-part epoxy Plasti-Bond, which is not a particularly good bedding compound, but was inexpensive and I’ve worked with it before.

We removed the action from the stock and marked with a sharpie the areas we wanted to relieve. I selected the tiny sanding drum attachment for my Dremel and began to remove material. The hard part is knowing how much to remove because once you’ve got rid of your sharpie marks you’ve no way of knowing what the height of the stock was before you started. A trick here is to cut a couple of slots or grooves in the timber at the depth you’d like to finish at, then remove the sections between these grooves. We opted for around 2mm-3mm deep.

Once that was done, I cut another couple of slots to give the compound something to bite into. Finally we chose to remove some material from the fore-end under the stock to increase the clearance. This would be sealed with varnish later to protect it. We taped up the exterior of the timber stock with low-tack masking tape, we taped inside the fore-end with duct tape in case of leakage, and filled the magazine slot with plasticine. We then taped up the underside of the action, including the take down screw as we would be installing and tightening this screw to act as the ‘clamp’ to hold the rifle in the stock.

Finally we liberally coated the action and barrel in boot polish to act as our release agent. We placed the action into the stock and tightened the take down screws. There was a small amount of ‘ooze’ which we cleaned up and left it to harden for 24 hours.

The next day, we had a few tense moments as the stock was reluctant to let go of the action and all the online horror stories relating to actions being permanently fixed into stocks ran through my head. However we were eventually able to wiggle it out. The result was not as smooth and visually pleasing (the red bits are discolouration from the boot polish) as I had hoped for.

We hadn’t used quite enough compound so there were some voids within the filler, but overall it looked sufficient to be able to test the rifle to see if it would make a difference. A few final touch-ups with the Dremel and after cleaning up the action to remove the polish, we reinstated the action and torqued up the screws ready for testing.

I am pleased to say that it did have a positive impact on consistent accuracy. It did not make my CZ the tack-holder that I’d witnessed in some of the online clips, but it did seem to reduce the variation between groups and the spread of fliers. Overall it was a success and I can now put the Sleazy project to rest.

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