The Czech Vz58 is often overshadowed by the dominant Kalashnikov rifles of the Soviet Union. But the Vz58/Sa58/Cz858 rifles actually share no parts with the AK family, and have earned their place as a unique alternative.
This cold war era design has been updated to an effective modern fighting rifle that's seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the past ten years. A huge part of bringing the platform up to speed is the addition modern optic systems. Iron sights are always a good back-up, but the modern era belongs to optical scopes and sights
We will look at the strengths and weaknesses of 3 different optic mounting solutions that both sport-shooters and professional forces have used to enhance their rifles.
Hand Guard Mount:
Weight: 12 oz (340g)
Length of pic-rail: 6.75 in (171mm)
There are a variety of rail systems for the Vz58, but for mounting optics an aluminum hand-guard will hold zero much better than a polymer one. These hand-guard replacements can mount much more than just optics: they're the best method to put grips, lights and lasers onto a Vz rifle. The top rail can be a convenient space for red-dot sights. Here you don't have to deal with ejection or eye relief, so this is one of the easiest ways to get an optic up and running. Of course the draw back is that only an unmagnified red-dot with infinite eye-relief will work in an extreme forward position like this.
Dust Cover Mount:
Weight: 8 oz (226g)
Length of pic-rail: 4.75 in (120mm)
The dust cover mount is the lightest, and lowest profile mount out there. By replacing the rifle's factory dust cover, you get almost 5 inches of picatinny rail that's right in front of your eye. This mount is one of the best options for compact, short eye-relief options like ACOG or Elcan optics and will work reasonably well with the factory stock, depending of course on what optic you choose. While variable power scopes can be mounted with this system, you will want to remain conscious of your ejection path. A scope that hangs too low over the ejection port could get dinged by brass, or worse: cause a mis-feed if brass bounced off the scope and back into the chamber. Another drawback to this system is that locking down the dust cover adds an extra step to disassembly and cleaning.
Side Receiver Mount:
Weight: 12.5 oz (354g)
Length of pic-rail: 3.75 in (95mm)
The side receiver mount is an updated version of the traditional Kalashnikov-type scope mount. In this system, a side rail is installed onto the receiver, and the arching optic mount uses a quick-detach throw lever. This makes removing optics fast and easy without losing zero. Most CSA rifle recievers are already drilled and tapped to accept a side mounting rail, but any Cz858 or Czh2003 can be drilled and tapped by a gunsmith. Traditionally these mounts sat quite high above the receiver, but the new generation of low profile mounts brings the rail down so it sits right over top of the dust cover. The only disadvantage of this system is that involves more overall mass than the other two systems, and older rifles might need updating in order to use it. Depending on the height and eye-relief of your optics, an adjustable stock can also be an advantage to make sure you get the best sight picture possible.
Between these three options, you can now add red-dots or magnified optics onto any Vz58 pattern rifle!
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