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I saw something yesterday that made me sick and this is a good place to start preventing another ruination of a great rifle.

CZ bolt actions are some of the best ever made, but the bolt operates roughly. Side pressure on the bolt makes it 'sticky' and when customers compare them with other rifles tend to dodge them. That is a shame!
It is known that at least one idiot with a buffer tried to fix his customer's rife and ruined it instead.

DON'T BUFF BOLTS!!! Don't 'shoe-shine' bolts!!

CZ appears to grind their bolts with a soft wheel that must be re-trued between very, very few bolts and run flooded with coolant. This can be seen at 10X or so using oblique light. The bolt looks like a cat clawed it in radial stripes running around the bolt. The interior of the 527 actions are also ground. The 550s I've seen were ground but then had a lap run in linearly to knock the high tops off.

Only three things are needed to 'repair' any CZ bolt and it takes about an hour.

1. Polishing stone-- These are 'die polishing' stones. If you can only buy one, make it 320 grit- medium hardness, aluminum oxide, white or gray. 1/4 x 1/2x 6 inches will do for all bolts. If buying two stones, make one 'soft'.

2. Hard backing for polishing paper-- I use Micarta phenolic scraps from knife making, but any hard wood will do. HARD wood, like maple, walnut, or fine-grained exotic. 1/2 x 1 1/4x 6 inches, but leave a 'handle' on it too. A wooden paint stirring stick is soft, but works well in a pinch.

3. 400 and 600 Wet or Dry silicon carbide paper, flexible. One sheet of each will do a dozen bolts. Never throw it away. Used is better than new at times.

The stone is used FLOODED with oil. I use Auto Tranny Fluid and WD-40. Brake Clean will blast the stone clean of swarf and oil. AVOID glazing of the stone but if it happens, brake clean will take it out. Add oil to prevent glazing.

Strip ALL parts off the bolt. DON'T do anything to the bolt face *see note or rear of the lugs.

The stone is used LENGTHWISE the bolt body. It'll be turned at an angle many times, but the stroke is linear to the bolt. Just light strokes keeping the stone flat and bridging the extractor ring cut. CZ bolts are very straight, but you'll see the ripples of the gibbs of the grinder when the stone first cuts the top off the cat scratches. Only stone until the radial 'cat scratches' are dimly seen.

Turn the stone over and using it 90 degrees to the bolt use only one place of the stone out near the end to move up and down the bolt again linearly. The stone is soft enough to take on the radius of the bolt as you polish. Use plenty of oil. The added surface area of the stone in the concave formed by the bolt will widen the polish marks and blend them in.
(Install grease zerks in both elbows about now.)

Once the bolt is polished with the stone, it'll have a frosted appearance and feel slightly rough. Blast it off with Brake Clean and then brush it in kerosene or WD-40 to remove ALL the stone grit. Brush it good. One little 320 grit will ruin your hour.

Using the hardwood backer, cut a strip of 400 WorD and hose it down with WD-40. Wrap it around the stick and carefully polish the bolt again length-wise but with a little 45 degree scrub to it, too. You want to re-round any flats the stone cut that the concave formed stoning didn't get. The paper will show very plainly what needs attention. Work the 400 stage in only one angular direction. (pics will help, coming soon)

DO NOT EVER SHOE-SHINE A RIFLE BOLT!!!! That's what messed it up to begin with.

Carefully polish using new 400 WorD, used wet with WD-40 or other light solvent. Notice the very first stroke of the paper rounded the edges of the extractor collar cut, even with a hard backing. Stay away from sharp edges with polishing paper!! It ruins them. Lighten up on your stroke as you approach an edge.

Polishing a bolt lengthwise is a real test of any one's patience, but please believe me when I say it's very much worth it.

You'll see places where a smaller backing stick is needed for the paper and you'll screw up the sharp, stoned edges of the extractor collar on the first dozen you do, but doing it is learning it.

Once the stone marks are mostly gone (some can be too stubborn to remove) and the bolt is polished with some angularity with 400 Wet or Dry, go back over it lengthways with 400 used wet and then dry. You'll think all polish marks now run length-ways the bolt but they dont.... yet.

Now, polish the bolt with (wet) 600 WorD but reverse the direction of the 45 movements so the polish marks from the 400 and the 600 is different from both directions the 400 was used in.
Ie: The stone and the 400 Wor D has been only used length-ways the bolt and at roughly a 45 degree angle to the bolt from only one direction. Now, we want to polish roughly 90 degrees to the angular 400 marks. They're still there (!!)

If you worked the bolt from it's right side with the 400 at a 45 degree angle to the long ways axis, just work the 600 from the left side of the bolt. You'll be able to see the 400 marks plainly and you need to polish with wet 600 and the hard backer until you no longer see 400 marks running at an angle to the bolt. (more grease in the elbow zerks)

NOW, polish lengthways with the 600 WorD, still using new paper with lots of juice, until you see no more angular polish marks.

The bolt now is as 'smooth' as it'll get, but it can be further polished to shine much higher by using worn out Wet or Dry and use it dry. For the final finish, I use a leather-backed stick and worn out, dry 600. It will 'burnish' the steel to a very high luster that's then suitable for jeweling or 'worm track' (done with a Dremel) to hold a little oil.

The interior of the receiver needs very little attention. A piece of dry 400 wrapped around a dowel will 'knock the bark' off a rough action, but 30 seconds of it is nearly too much. Let the action smooth itself now that the bolt is 'right'. Those radial grind marks in the action can hold lubrication for the silky-smooth bolt.

The extractor collar can be smoothed up by putting a dab of 320 valve grinding paste under it when assembling it with the extractor. Put a small amount in the extractor groove just behind the bolt head, too. Now rotate the extractor a dozen or two times by simply opening and closing the stripped bolt but with extractor installed. Remove and disassemble and completely clean by brushing and hard rubbing every trace of grit off of every part. I like a little Lubriplate under the collar and a smear in the groove.
Before assembling the extractor for the last time, give the inside corner of the extractor a stroke or two of the stone. (India stones are much harder and show the high spots better than a polishing stone.) The case rim rides hard on the inner corner of the extractor. You'll see a brass smear there. Make sure its smooth, but don't alter the dimensions.

The extractor should hold a cartridge to the bolt but not be touching it when chambered. CZ seems to have it perfect on some and WAY out on some others.

The cocking cam, extractor cam and bolt advance cam can all be helped with just a dozen cycles of the bolt with a dab of the same 320 grit compound, but be VERY careful with the lugs. I've never seen a CZ with lugs that needed anything but a little lubrication. When somebody says they 'lapped the lugs', I discount the gun by half unless he knew how. (you have to pull the barrel to do it right.)

The top of the magazine follower can use a stroke or two of the stone followed by WorD in some guns as well as places along the feed rails that touch the bolt, but be patient instead of pro-active in smoothing those up. Fifty cycles of the bolt (with ammo on the range) is much more fun and you run less risk of messing something up.

The only other thing I've found in need of correction in the CZ rifles is the crown. Some look to have been crowned with a horse-shoe rasp. Lapping by a simple BRASS, round-head machine screw and the same 320 compound will repair them, but you need a good 20X magnifier and good light to see the corners of the rifling that need attention. Pick a screw that only touches the lands, load it with grit and run the screw, mounted in an electric drill in a wobbling, rotary motion with very light pressure to allow the grit to circulate around the screw head and do the cutting of the steel. You want a polished, sharp corner on the lands and the grooves barely kissed by the abrasive to take the burr off.

The bedding of most CZs is absolutely perfect. I've got three and never even glassed them, but one Hornet changed a little and I re-bedded the fore-arm contact. CZ has always used wood that is mostly as plain as a chair leg, but very well dried and cut Circassian walnut roughly ten times better in quality than has been put on a major factory rifle in this country since 1930! They even semi-sealed it with some kind of gorilla snot finish that works surprisingly well as a sealer but sure hides the wood grain. Refinishing helps that. Under the butt pad is NOT sealed, but the wood is near 6% moisture as it comes out of the box. It won't hurt anything, but seal it when re-finishing.

** Bolt face note-- CZs have exceptionally flat and square bolt faces, not to be found in most factory rifles. A really flat india slip stone can take the radial machine marks and leave it flat, but a Dremel tool might as well be a Guillotine. As long as the bolt face is too smooth to smear off brass, it's good enough. If its taking brass, an Indian stone used in the direction of the smear, wet and lightly, will do a lot to smooth bolt operations. Fat Africans take MUCH more work to make feed correctly. Its tedious work.

Comments, experiences and questions welcome.
 

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I don't have a CZ any more, but I do have a number of Rugers. Will this technique work equally well on an M77 MkII/Hawkeye?
Previously I've only used the 'slather-on-the-40X*-and-work-the-bolt-one-evening' method. :)

*Remington 40X oil/cleaner. It contains diatomaceous earth.
 

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It would take a LOT of elbow grease to slick anything up with diatomaceous earth. That is calcium based sea shells. UltraBright toothpaste and JB Bore Cleaner both have pumice which is silica so much more aggressive with the same grade grit.

The steps above will work on any bolt. Stone polished gun parts are just plumb beautiful no matter what it is.
 

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My CZ 527 bolt slides easy....

...... But then it does have over 7,000 rounds through it. Point the rifle up or down and the open bolt easily slides to and fro. Probably close to a thousand bolt open/close to when just looking or showing the rifle. I keep the rifle clean, the bolt lugs lubricated as well as the cocker ramp at rear of bolt.
17 Ackley Hornet, the most gun rifle I've ever had. 7K+ rounds??? Montana ground squirrels, of course!
 

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I don't have a CZ any more, but I do have a number of Rugers. Will this technique work equally well on an M77 MkII/Hawkeye?
Previously I've only used the 'slather-on-the-40X*-and-work-the-bolt-one-evening' method. :)

*Remington 40X oil/cleaner. It contains diatomaceous earth.
Basically what I did to my .280 Rem Hawkeye that had a truly disgusting bolt. A week of evenings did it. Jack's process is more refined and that is what I'll do to the next Hawkeye (30-06).
 
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Any bolt that is round is sure to be polished by spinning. That means the factory 'polish' marks are running ninety degrees to the direction of motion. Microscopically, it's like corrugated roofing tin being dragged over each other sideways....bumpity bumpity bump. If you polish the bolt in the direction of motion, it's like turning one piece of tin ninety degrees. MUCH easier to pull or push that way!! The radial marks in the action serves to hold oil and the tops round into micro-bearings for the bolt.

Gunsmithing schools teach the 'easy and fast' way of fixing a problem in order to maybe be able to live on what a 'smith makes. I used to tell my stock making students that it's like making a picnic table from an oak log---You can start with sandpaper and eventually get the job done, but you make money by using a chainsaw, then a plane and rasp, then the sand paper. It's the same with polishing bolts. Mildly abrasive liquids are the 'sandpaper' above.
First you have to determine what finish is now on the bolt? What 'grit' abrasive is the same as what you see? It takes experience to see the differences in metal treatments and finishes and grab the right grit stone the first time. The stones are the secret because it makes the bearing surfaces of the bolt straight.

You can learn a LOT by looking at a late WW-II Mauser bolt. The M98 has a guide rib in the middle of it which means it HAS to be polished linearly (sp?) instead of radially. Late in the war when Germany was in a terrible hurry to get guns to the battlefield, they left the machining marks and didn't polish the bolts so a machinist can figure out how they made such a thing out of one piece of metal.....and why it had to be cheapened so the peasants could afford a rifle!! There is more machine work in a M98 bolt body than an entire Remington M721!

The most obvious of the labor/time savings is to make everything you can ROUND so it can be easily made and polished on a lathe. Hydraulics solved the radial polish marks on a linear moving part problem with chrome plating, otherwise seals wouldn't last long at all. It's up to us to smooth our new bolts so they work like 7000 rounds of shooting makes them work but there is NO wear on the lugs or the two cams so the gun is still new but smooth.
 

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.... There is more machine work in a M98 bolt body than an entire Remington M721!
... It's up to us to smooth our new bolts so they work like 7000 rounds of shooting makes them work but there is NO wear on the lugs or the two cams so the gun is still new but smooth.
That is why I have no fight really with Ruger about the unfinished bolts on the Hawkeyes - they save time and money and that is why the M77 is a good buy at the price, being a good Mauser controlled extraction action. Quite likely the last of the breed to be made in the U.S.

This past hunting season I observed the furious fiddling to clear chambers with some non-Mauser actions and narrow space above the magazine follower.
 
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JBelk I really appreciate this. Would you ever consider making a video on this and maybe include part numbers and where to buy etc....
 

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I'd love to but we don't have video capability. I've got a M527 here that needs slicking up but I'm alone and while polishing both hands are oily, dirty and dripping stuff off both elbows. It's nearly impossible to take good photos and work at the same time.
I can give some reference parts numbers from the Geshwinn catalog but I buy stones by feel and price (especially price!) so can't zero in on exactly what I'm using. I have several plastic containers about half full of stones and ATF sorted by grit. I'll sometimes go through a half dozen looking for the one with the right 'bite' to it and then try to figure out what it is so I can tell somebody else.

MSC (Manhatten Supply Company) has been my source for 40 years but my last order was in 1991 when I was polishing the integrally-made express rifle barrel on the #9 Guild Gun. In fact, I still have a bunch of that order that are still new. I'll try to get some numbers and post them.
 

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Just ordered two stones from msc. 320 and 400 grit. Should be working on this by the weekend and will let you know how it goes. Thanks again for all your time JBELK.
 

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Sorry for the delay. Thought I would (finally) respond. I used the a bit of marvel mystery oil and worked the 320 stone in the rails. Wasn't sure it helped or was just wishful thinking- so , more was needed .I felt around and found some rough edge at the top rearmost of the receiver. I liken it to a scope ring in need of lapping so I went at that a bit.

Looking closely it seems the most binding occurred at about when the bolt contacts the follower. So I worked the stone over the follower a good bit and timidly started on the bolt itself looking at JBelks recommendations. After a bit I just smeared Flitz all over (not on the lug faces) and worked the heck out of it. Was annoying because being a bit rough it bound up a lot so cycling was hurkey jerky and cumbersome. I did a few five or ten minute sessions of this and cleaned all with braked fluid. I made sure to get the chamber as best I could.

I lightly lubed the bolt and cycled it again. I can say there is definite improvement in the action. Still not buttery smooth but perhaps 50% there. I will report back again after another one or two Flitz sessions. Glad I decided to finally give it a try as hundreds of rounds of firing had not helped a bit.
 

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I noted the same issue with my CZ527 Hornet. However after simply just using it, the bolt "lapped" itself to the receiver. After thousands of rounds it's butter smooth, but Hornets lends themselves to high volume shooting.

Similarly I ordered a new Ruger in .257 that it was rough as a cob. It was off season so I disassembled the rifle down to the barreled action and bare bolt and left it on the garage work table. Every time I went into the garage to do anything I made it a point to cycle the bolt a number times, cleaning and re-oiling occasionally. By stripping it down I could grasp the barrel and work the bolt much faster than when assembled and avoided having a functioning firearm unlocked on the garage work bench for an extended period. After a couple of weeks it became butter smooth. Although I didn't count, I suspect that I cycled the bolt over a thousand times. It would have taken me a few years to shoot that much ammo to range lap the rifle although oily powder fouling grit speeds up the process.
 

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Interesting thread...even if I am a couple years late! :) Does this apply to the CZ Rimfires? I had a CZ 452, and its bolt was "sticky". I tried polishing....I used the forbidden and deadly "shoeshine" :eek: motion, which despite opinions on Rimfire Central, did absolutely no good! I sent the rifle to CZ, and was informed I "didn't know how properly use a bolt action rifle" (?) No defense, except I never had the problem with my Ruger 77-22. I WANTED to love that rifle! It was a retirement preset from my wife.
Now, I have a CZ 455, which has not yet been broken in, is properly torqued, but, the bolt is a bit rough. I have one fine white carborundum stone...and 1000 and 1200 WorD, and will pad the backer with soft leather, so should the "draw filing" motion work here, too, or should I just let well enough alone, shoot it and enjoy?
Thanx! :)
 

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I would shoot it a lot and enjoy it a lot and it'll get better just like you will. :)
 

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On your CZ rifles........if it ain't broke.....leave it alone. Don't muck with a CZ...they know way more than you do.
 

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What CZ knows about building guns is NOT reflected in how they now make them.. They can be improved considerably.
 

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On the four CZ's I own one the 452 Lux has a bolt that is hard to operate so I pulled the 452 bolt and it operates great in the Lux or just like it does in my American. Not sure but I think it just needs to be operated more. I might set down and run it 200 times to see if that smooths up the action before I do anything else.
 

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I used to have a Brno Model 5 before someone decided they needed it more than me back in 82, but I think the overall finish on it was of a higher standard than the CZ452 I’ve had for about a year. It shoots very well though, Eley club is its most favourite ammo that I’ve found so far, I suppose it should shoot well as it weighs about half as much again as the Model 5.
I haven’t found the action operation to be annoying enough to want to polish anything including the bolt, the bolt now has horizontal scuffy patches in a couple of places that I don’t remember the Brno ever exhibiting but maybe it did and I’ve just forgotten.
 
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