Review: CZ 557 Eclipse

by
posted on April 27, 2021
eclipse.jpg

Hunting rifles don’t have to be expensive in order to be effective, and CZ’s new 557 Eclipse is a great example of this. The company revamped its esteemed Model 557 by eliminating unnecessary frills to create a no-nonsense tool for the hunter that desires a high-end firearm but who, at the same time, wants to have money left over for taxidermy.

The Eclipse’s receiver starts life as a solid steel billet that is then CNC-machined into shape. This includes two integral 19 mm dovetails atop the rifle that allow CZ-style scope rings to be mounted directly to the receiver. Once finished, the action is mated to a 20.5"-long, cold-hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel barrel.

At launch, the Eclipse is available chambered in three cartridges: 6.5 mm Creedmoor, .308 Win. and .30-'06 Sprg. The muzzles on the .30-cal. guns are cut with a recessed crown, while the Creedmoor comes threaded 5/8x24 TPI for a muzzle device. As the barrel is lapped at the factory there is no need to break it in, saving the user the labor and associated ammunition costs. The barreled action is finished with a deep matte bluing that protects it from the elements and safe rash in-between seasons.

557 Eclipse
Despite CZ’s no-frills approach to the 557 Eclipse’s construction, it offers several thoughtful features—an adjustable trigger (inset), two sling swivel studs on the fore-end and a protected bolt release—that belie the more-than-reasonable suggested retail price.

The rifle employs a rather simplistic push-feed mechanism, and this is a big reason for its overall affordability. The bolt is a two-lug design that offers a 90-degree throw, and it is plenty sturdy for the three chamberings offered. Rounds are fed from an internal five-round magazine that features a hinged floorplate to speed up the unloading process—just don’t forget about the one in the chamber. The floorplate is released via a push button that is unobtrusively located just forward of the trigger guard.

Although this rifle is designed to be economical, CZ did not skimp on the trigger. The Eclipse’s trigger is user-adjustable, and our test rifle had a pull-weight range of between 1 lb., 13 ozs. and 3 lbs., 12 ozs.—with accuracy testing for this review conducted at the lightest setting. In addition, it can be adjusted for pre-travel as well as overtravel. Other features include an American-style black synthetic stock with soft-touch texturing, unique polygonal checkering on the grip and fore-end areas, and an over-size rubber buttpad. As for functionality, the rifle includes a total of three sling studs—two fore and one aft—allowing both a two-point sling and a bipod to be employed simultaneously.

557 Eclipse
The CZ’s two-position safety rocks forward to the fire position, exposing a red dot on the bolt shroud (l.). Its receiver is CNC-machined with integral 19 mm dovetail bases for which a variety of factory and aftermarket rings are available (ctr.). A recessed muzzle crown on .30-cal. models serves to protect the rifling on the 557 Eclipse’s blued, chrome-moly steel barrel. (r.)

Before hitting the range, we mounted a Riton X3 Primal riflescope using a pair of Warne Maxima rings. As the optic offers a 3-15X magnification range we felt it would be a good choice atop a .308 Win.-chambered Eclipse, as 15X is quite appropriate for accuracy testing, while 3X is realistic for many hunting scenarios inside of 200 yds. Ironically, the open upper hemisphere of the scope’s reticle gives it a distinctly European feel, while the European rifle itself feels perfectly American through its stock design and push-to-fire safety. For ammunition we selected loads with bullets weighing 150, 168 and 175 grs.

Our range day mimicked typical hunting conditions of the northeast with its 33° F ambient temperature. As we fired our formal accuracy test, we paid attention to any feeding issues that the gun experienced. The only time we seemed to have a problem was when we failed to seat the rounds as far back in the magazine as possible before pressing them down. Aside from that, the gun was a dream to shoot. The bolt cycled exceedingly smoothly, and recoil was more than manageable, even with the heavier bullets. We fired many near-minute-of-angle groups with all three types of ammunition—as well as one just inside of one m.o.a. with the Winchester USA Ready load. Aside from the rifle’s consistency, we found it to be superbly balanced when fired in the standing position, and it also lent itself well to both seated and prone shooting.

CZ 557 Eclipse shooting results

Disassembly of the CZ 557 Eclipse is about as simple as with any bolt-action, once you find the bolt release. In this case, it is covered by the bolt and can’t be accessed until it is retracted. We found this design to be exceptionally well thought out, as tucking it away protects it from getting snagged on other gear or brush. Once removed, full access to the bore is granted and no further disassembly is needed for a typical cleaning. If the rifle was exposed to excessive moisture the stock can be removed just by loosening the two action screws that hold everything together. Reassembly of the rifle is as simple as reversing these steps and torquing the screws down to 64 in.-lbs., which is slightly less than other 557 models due to this rifle’s plastic “bottom metal.”

We found our time with the CZ Eclipse 557 to be very enjoyable. The company’s goal with this gun was to offer a 557 at a lower price point, and we appreciated that it successfully did so without sacrificing quality or any important features.

CZ 557 Eclipse specs

Latest

Mossberg Maverick 88
Mossberg Maverick 88

Mossberg Maverick 88: Mossberg's Budget-Priced Pump Shotgun

The Maverick 88 is one of Mossberg's best known shotgun models and is currently available in 14 different versions.

The Men And Guns Of D-Day: 82nd Airborne Division

Watch this segment of American Rifleman Television "The Men And Guns Of D-Day" to learn more about the men of the 82nd Airborne Division, their stories and the firearms they used during "The Great Crusade."

MidwayUSA Grants $2.3 Million To Help Youth Shooting Teams

The MidwayUSA Foundation recently announced the payout of more than $2.23 million in cash grants to 612 youth shooting teams.

Review: Bond Arms Roughneck

The Roughneck derringer from Bond Arms is an entry-level option in 9 mm Luger, but don’t let that fool you, as the quality of its materials and craftsmanship rival those of the company’s top-end variants.

Book Review: The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun

Michael Heidler, no stranger to writing about firearm history, has produced a most impressive volume on one of this author’s favorite World War II firearms, the M3 “grease gun.”

Sniping In Korea: 1950-1953

When U.S. forces rushed to stop the North Koreans from overrunning South Korea in 1950, there were almost no American snipers. As the battle lines stabilized, that would change, and the war would become ideal for the employment of well-equipped and well-trained snipers.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.