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  #1  
Old 01-02-2017, 11:13 AM
56S

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Savage Axis 223 REM mini review



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I've been eyeballing these for some time now mainly due to the price and good reviews online. Savage has been running a $50.00 rebate on and off for a few years now and I thought I'd take some Christmas money and buy a 223 Axis. It's the plain model with the trigger cast in stone. Woodbury Outfitters main store is local to me and they offered me one for $289.99. Walmart has the Axis in other calibers for $20.00 less but no stores near me had the 223 in stock. After rebate the cost will be $239.00.

Initial impressions:

Two piece Weaver scope bases reduce your scope options to long scopes having a straight tube of 5-3/4" or longer. A CP 4-16 x 40 just fit but it's too far away from my eye for benchrest shooting. Doable but not comfortable. Get a one piece mount instead of a two piece to increase mounting options. Ring height is determined more by the occular endbell diameter that the objective end hitting the barrel. The CP scope has a rather large AO ring but it still cleared the barrel using low rings. The bolt was fouled by the eyepiece so a set of medium rings were used. The bolt clears and there is about 1/8" between the lens cap and the barrel. Good enough for who it's for.

The action is long for this caliber. My 527 in 222 Rem looks cute and petite next to the Axis. The action is also very smooth loading rounds from the magazine. So much so you think it missed picking one up.

The four shot magazine holds five. Why I don't know. Push the cartridge straight down instead of pushing them in front to back. Very easy even with heavy gloves. Mag release not so easy with heavy gloves.

The Non-Accutrigger was heavy enough to support the unloaded rifle and heavy CP scope without releasing. As of yet I don't own or have access to a trigger scale. So guessing, right out of the box 8+ lbs. More on that later.

The felt recoil was much less than I thought it would be using old LC brass, 22 gr Accurate 2015 pushing a 55 gr Hornady SP ignited with a CCI 400. It has a very cushy butt pad. The 527 using two grains less 2015 with the same bullet gives a sharper rap to the shoulder. Not that either have a bothersome recoil.

During break in, starting with shot 11, I shot one target at 50 yards and have 5 shots in less than 1/2" CTC. No load workup, no trigger work and only 10 shots, 10 cleanings to give the rifle a chance to get to know me. This is showing promise.

Back to the trigger. After the test target I removed the action cleaning all the lube from the trigger sear interface and replaced it with some metal polish. About 100 rounds later, I removed the polish and replaced it with Honda Moly Paste and took a look at the Box Car coil spring that so many decide to replace or modify. It's an odd looking spring. About 3/4" long with one end having a much smaller OD the the end exposed keeping trigger pressure. Not that I would do this but it looks like slotting one end of a suitable spare hex key with a Dremel cut off wheel would be the perfect tool to remove the stock spring. One could then rummage through their spare compression spring drawer and find a replacement more suited to their liking. But beware, the dual OD diameter spring is that way for a reason. The smaller diameter end screws into a threaded hole in the trigger allowing it to remain fixed in relation to the trigger. The opposite end fits in a machined divot. I suppose one could find a screw of suitable thread, screw it into the trigger, cut off the head with the Dremel and have a way to keep the new spring in place. If one was so inclined to take it upon themselves to possibly void the warranty, I suppose this all could be done. While they were in there they might also want to find some brass sheet stock and make a spacer for each side of the trigger to reduce the sideways slop. My best estimates believe this would give you an acceptable trigger without reducing safety for the prudent shooter.

Concluding, every time I take my Sako L46 22 Hornet or CZ 527 222 REM out to shoot I worry about damaging the stock. I'm getting over run by Coyotes and Coons and strapping one of those family jewels on the 4 wheeler is not going to happen. I was not looking for sub MOA accuracy when I bought this rifle. I wanted something that could maintain 5" at 300 yards and could be used in the rain, laid down on the dirty, muddy ground and not give more that a rat and a half's butt if it got scratched.

So far so good.
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2017, 11:32 AM
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I too had an Axis W/8 lb trigger. I started clipping 1/2 coil at a time till it measured 3 1/2 lb pull. Last 1/2 coil dropped 1 1/2 lb so be careful.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:50 AM
flabbydan
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Where are the pictures???
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flabbydan View Post
Where are the pictures???
How's this?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Axis 223.JPG (119.2 KB, 218 views)
File Type: jpg First 5 shot 50 yard target Axis 223 handloads.JPG (92.3 KB, 215 views)
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:19 PM
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I know what you mean about that long bolt throw and problems mounting a scope. That action is sort of a universal action for either short or long cartridges.

However, you got a pretty darn good deal.

IIRC, that odd-shaped, two-diameter spring can be replaced with a 10-24 screw along with a much weaker straight spring, which is what I did on my Axis and I think is pretty much what you described. There are some online instructions on modifying the Axis trigger. For what you paid, I wouldn't worry about voiding the warranty.

I got the trigger on mine down to a little less than 3 pounds.
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:26 PM
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These Savages may be a little crued and rough in spots but the Axis ll we have in 22-250 shoots great. My son's bolt cams over hard to cock, how is yours?
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:44 PM
flabbydan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 56S View Post
How's this?
Well done, sir!
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grg View Post
These Savages may be a little crued and rough in spots but the Axis ll we have in 22-250 shoots great. My son's bolt cams over hard to cock, how is yours?
Mine is very smooth. I used some Tri-Flow on the moving parts of the bolt during the initial cleaning but don't really think that would make it much smoother.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:07 PM
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I found Weaver makes a solution for the long spanning rings problem in more ways than one. Part # 402 is a reversible extension mount if used in place of the front mount will bring the scope back what looks like around 1" closer to my eye. Store that sold me the Axis has them in stock. I wish I'd have been offered that option when I bought the gun.
Once that extension base is mounted I'm sighting in the Midway $44 BSA 3-12x44 side focus Mil-Dot. It will fit the Axis using the low 30mm rings.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:09 PM
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I have one of these little gems of a rifle as well. It came from the pawnbroker with a Bushnell 6-18 AO/IR mil-dot scope. I'm not generally a Bushnell fan, but I left it on there for the first range trip. Glad I didn't touch it, because it was already shooting bullseyes with similar groups to yours shown above. The setup will stay as-is.

Nice little rifle you got at a good price!
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:52 PM
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I use this rail on my savage axis II:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:51 PM
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xdm, Thanks! I got an Axis II XP in .223 Rem a year ago: $315 shipped from Sportsman's Outdoor Supersports (after $50 rebate), plus $25 transfer fee at my local FFL. Came with an okay 3-9X40 scope already mounted, which is, honestly, good enough for me. But I love the idea of a Picatinny/Weaver-rail to give me options. The price is good for this rail!

First bolt-action firearm I've bought, and the price was hard to pass up, given the accuracy of Savage - even an "entry-level" one like this. Came with an Accutrigger, which is probably a waste on me but will be appreciated by my nephew when he inherits it.

My only gripe on the Savage Axis is the flimsy synthetic stock which, if one is not careful, will press against the barrel on a rest or a bi-pod. Since my purchase, I now understand that Savage offers the Axis with a wood stock - something I would strongly recommend over the synthetic one.

I chose .223 Rem so that the ammo I shoot out of my Mini-14s (.223 Rem, not 5.56) is compatible. My Minis can handle 5.56, but I prefer .223 Rem for the price (PMC Bronze). I plink out to 100 yards and don't hunt and seldom shoot paper except for sighting in. The Savage is for the ability - should the sad need require - to humanely dispatch a rabid coyote or fox at about 250 yards (max clear shot on my farm). My newer Mini can probably do that, but I got the Savage before it. I have mounted a bi-pod on it to help me out.

Last edited by RJF22553; 01-13-2017 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 01-14-2017, 06:24 AM
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I installed the Weaver 402 on the front and that moved the scope back about 3/4" The BSA 3-12x44 SF was mounted using low rings and the bolt clears if the flip up lens cap is removed. The objective bell just barely clears the front edge of the scope base using the low rings. Although still a little far for my bench shooting, it's a compromise I can live with.

Did anyone get in on the Nov. '16 clearance Midway had on these scopes? I bought the first one at 70something and the second one at $44 delivered. I wish I'd have bought a dozen at that price.

Edit: I did change the spring and that reduced the pull to just over 4lbs according to the bathroom scale. I then removed the sear and using a fine polish with a cloth dremel wheel reduced it even further to around 3.8 lbs. I noticed after polishing the bluing off the sear there is an angle cut at the engagement end to reduce the sear back movement when the trigger is pulled. I also saw this angle was onlt in the middle 75% leaving the ends of the sear to carry the load. As tempting as it was to diamond stone the sear to make it a consistant angle al the way across the engagement face I decided to see if the sear was available before chancing ruining a workable part. I don't belive the spring is adding that much to the trigger pull weight instead the angle of the engagement surface being the culprit. I was hoping to head to the other end of the property and set up some longer range targets but cold rain ain't my thing.

Last edited by 56S; 01-14-2017 at 01:08 PM. Reason: add trigger info
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:42 PM
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For the last few weeks I've been looking at various center fire rifles, basically a starter rifle for my son and I to take to the range and perhaps do some hunting together, it's my birthday next month, so an early gift seems to be in order. After looking at options for buying online or directly from a local dealer, getting one from a nearby sporting goods retailer worked out better, they matched the cheaper price from another store which is about a half hour drive away, so I'm happy with the deal I was able to get. Picked up my new Savage Axis 223 today, next week I'll get some ammo and take it to the range. I will report back later. I'm kind of exited, so is my son.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:37 AM
56S

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Check to see if there is a rebate avialable. I thought I saw where they were offering rebates again on certain Savage models. I just got mine about 2 weeks ago.

An update on my .223 Axis. It does not like to feed HP bullets unless to move the bolt like they do in the movies. If you feed it slowly, the bullet catches just below the chamber. It could be bullet seating depth has a little to do with it but I've tried setting them deeper and it still happens. Setting very deep would surely help but accuracy may suffer. The Speer 52gr HP Varmints have a gaping hole in the front so I tried Nosler Varmintgeddon 40gr HPFB with an itty bitty hole and they have the same problem. Again, if I feed them with a little authority they feed fine. BTW, the Noslers show promise as I'm getting all shots touching at 50 yards. They do good job on 'coons too.
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