Century Arms Rimfire Enigma

So new that the owner’s manual is still being written. Who makes it and what makes it tick?

by Chick Blood

The shipping papers identify it as “Rifle, Zastava CZ99 Precision .22 LR, 22” BBL, Serbia.” The parts list, received separately, tag it “MKP CZ99 Precizion .22 LR.” The mystery began to unfold like a large onion. Now I knew the rifle had been made in the town of Zastava by Serbians. That was good news. Civilian and military firearms produced by Serb workers have a worldwide reputation for quality and have been imported into the United States for decades.

A brief pause for some historical fact about Serbia. It’s where World War I got started. In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian empire’s Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated in Serbia by an act-alone nationalist fanatic. Doubting the man was flying solo, the empire took great umbrage and struck back. The Serbs fought them to a standstill until Bulgaria and the Germans decided to reinforce the Austrians. The Serbians were soon overrun. Much later, during World War II, the Serbs allied themselves with the guerilla forces of Draza Mihailovic and delivered serious hurts to their Nazi occupiers.

My problem was the profile this rifle. I had done an article on the Remington Model 5 several years ago. This rifle from Century Arms looked very much the same. Comparing it to materials in my files convinced me it was not a CZ99 but a freshly manufactured Model 5. Why hadn’t Remington made a clone of their own rifle?

Read more in our June 2013 issue. Back issues are available.

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