New CZ-97B, new member - Pistolsmith

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Old 01-06-2005, 07:30 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
New CZ-97B, new member


I'm picky. Let's get that out of the way up front.

My stocking dealer had a 2002 poly-coat 97B in the case. Now it's in my safe.

I have not had it to the range yet (I've been too sick with a cold). But here are my first impressions:

Fit and finish
This gun is big and heavy. I like that part. The fit seems perfect so far (no firing yet). The finish could be better.
The trigger guard forgrip lines are not perfect - one of them does not continue across the trigger guard 100% of the way.
One of my grip screws was not set all the way. The treads were not stripped - but the shoulder of the screw head was worn a little shinney from some buffing step (possibly for the wood grips after installation?).
Further my gun is an '02 model so the mag pad does not fit flush with the bottom of the grip (I understand this to be fixed on current production runs - a negotating point if your dealer has older stock like mine).

Balance and point
I like the point on this pistol (obviously). It impresses me more then the CZ-75 that I spent some time with last year. I have big-ish hands and this gun fits fine. A little smaller then a PO P14 grip, about the same size as an FN FiveseveN

Design issues
I ordered an aftermarket FLGR. I don't need one, but if I want a plastic gun I'll get one.
Also, (nit here) the back bottom inside corners of the slide (that frame the hammer) are SHARP. Like cut-human-flesh-sharp. Now, I don't know why I would ever get cut by these (only exposed after discharge of last round, before working slide release - or putting fingers under cocked hammer) but they feel dangerous to me. They do not lock-up with anything directly. I think they are the result of the truncation of the curve needed to move the slide off forward over the rails. CZ could spend a few minutes with a shaper before the finish is applied to make this much safer.
Last nit - the rolled pins allow daylight to peek through the gun in various places. I understand the virtures of rolled, hollow pins but I hate them. They do nothing for the appearance of any gun.

What I will change
1. Full length guide rod - on order from Jack A.
2. Magazine break will be straightened - I don't need help keeping track of my mags.
3. Recoil spring - maybe. I have a 16 and an 18 in my shop waiting. I hate to tinker too much before I fire it.
4. Polish feed ramp - because it exists and that is what men in my family do with new automatics.
5. Replace at least one mag pad with CPMI hollow pad to add 2 rounds to capicity. I was hoping to get some of the new slim mag followers from CPMI, but I'm line like everyone else.
6. Stir up some new grips. I don't agree with 100% checkered wood. I'm going to wait for some warmer weather (my shop heater is as old and cranky as I am). I'm thinking something intresting to offset the black like osage orange, black locust, or a white ash (these all grow in my creek bottom and are constantly drying in my kiln for tools and such).
7. Replace all of those hollow rolled pins. I don't like the look of them. I may stick some new sights on it as long as I'm going this far.

About me:
I am not a practicing gunsmith. I apprenticed to my grandfather (repair smith, tool and die maker) gowing up and did a lot of work with (and for) him. What little I do know about gunsmithing is far out of date (anyone blued guns with Howe's methods? - I bet a bunch of folks here have). I do take on at least three project guns a year - I unsually finish at least one. I read a lot and have a decent gunsmith library.

I've learned a lot in a few days lurking around here and I appricate the education greatly. I have dreams of "retiring" into a local trade fixing guns and such as my grandfather did.
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Old 01-07-2005, 12:03 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 229
Well, if you like it here, you need to visit the CZ Forum, too. (WWW.CZFORUM.COM)

Members include several thousand CZ enthusiasts, a couple of gunsmiths, two or three grip makers (none offering checkered grips, but with plenty of pictures to give you ideas), a couple of holster makers (including a particpant here, PCRCCW, proprietor of HBE Leatherworks (, who focuses on CZ-related holsters, and a guy selling full length guide rods.

You'll find that a particular common door hinge pin works perfectly in the 97B, needing to be adjusted for length only.)

Sights may be more of a problem, because of the unique CZ front (lengthwise) dovetail. But folks there have found the vendors.

Springs are also a weak area. You'll want to buy your replacements from Wolff Springs: recoil, extractor, and magazine springs.

There is both a Home Gunsmithing area and a CZ-97B Club. You'll probably find the Home Gunsmithing "club" especially informative.

The 97B is among the most accurate of the reasonably-priced CZs, but no match for the CZ IPSC and Champion lines. The 97Bs seem to have no problems to speak of. (One or two guys have had the barrel bushings crack, but were given a newer design by CZ as a replacement.)

Changing the baseplate is one way of solving the "gap" problem, but one gunsmith on the forum modified the mag catch and got the same result and better mag performance, too. (He's a new father and hasn't been participating as much of late.)

The BLUED 97B is pretty; the polycoated 97B is functional. The polycoat is very durable, but if you just have to have a blued gun, try AUTOMATIVE PAINT REMOVER -- it bubbles right off. (One forum member has a factory-made satin nickel 97B. Pretty gun.)

While The CZ Forum has close ties to CZ-USA's senior management, and CZ-USA marketing folks drop in from time to time, the site is totally independent of CZ and members there tell it like it is -- including complaints as well as praise.
Old 01-07-2005, 02:20 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4

I liked the look of the blue 97. But I knew it would show each and every one of my fat, greasy fingerprints so I got the poly. I may get ambitious and re-finish it one day.

Thanks for the tips, my buddy told me about the CZ boards also. I just did some snooping in the the Home Gunsmithing area and there is a wealth of info there for me to digest in time.

I am looking for a front sight option, as I have some tritum rear sights in my shop that look like they will work. The Wolff springs, I have aplenty also.

I just installed my FLGR and put the plastic one in the case where it belongs.

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