I'd like to give my first impressions of the Savage Axis in 7mm-08. This is an inexpensive gun (less than $400) so some of you might be interested in it as an option in your future be it as a 2nd (3rd,4th, etc) rifle, or maybe as one for a kid, wife, nephew, etc.
First off, I didn't buy this gun. I won it in a raffle (picked up a .17 hmr that night too, shoulda went to vegas!). 2nd, it's the stainless version and came equiped with a low-end bushnell scope. 7mm-08 is a caliber that I haven't used before, so I was very interested as everything I've heard is good. My side-by-side comparison rifle was my trusty, shoot-any-load-pretty-dang-close-to-moa 1976 Ruger M77 with a timney trigger, .270.
The Axis looks good. I very much liked the flush mount detachable magazine. It holds four rounds, works great, smooth as butter and it seems like an intuative in/out. No thinking, it just works. The forend of the stock seems to be very comfortable in my hand. There are two grooves that my fingertips seem to naturally rest in. I can forsee in an offhand shot or more likely, resting against a tree or fence post it will be an advantage. The bolt is fairly smooth and felt very solid. The bolt handle seemed just about right with gloves or not. A decent recoil-absorbing butt pad rounded out the gun. Oh, did I not mention the trigger or safety??
The two position thumb-tang safety is very low profile, and once the gun is in the mounted position, a bit awkward to find and use especially with gloves. In addition there is a little red "dot" that indicates if the gun is in the fire position. The problem is that if you used your peripheral vision while the gun is mounted, it is easy to see the red dot with the safety in either position. Not ideal.
Trigger...Ugh. The only trigger I've ever used that was as bad came from a late 80's BAR 30-06. I was virtually sweating from squeezing so hard by the time the gun fired. I didn't have a trigger scale, but it must be around 8lbs (tested last night, it breaks at 5lb 13 oz). Fortunately, I've seen a couple easy-fix modifications to the trigger spring via youtube, and since I believe I will keep this gun I will probably try it out (after hearing more feedback from other Axis owners perhaps).
Shooting: A very stiff quarting-to wind reported around 15mph wth gusts over 20 made for a less than ideal setting. I chose Federal Fusion 140gr. for my site-in ammo for two reasons 1. It was on sale 2. I've had outstanding results with it in my .270 on the range and on the past 5 deer. I absolutely can't complain about it. First 2 rounds at 25 yards were touching but the scope needed adjustment. Once that was done, out to 100.
Wind and trigger were absolute factors, wind especially, as my .270 was drifting left by up to 3" and I wasn't able to get tighter than a 2" group with it on the day, and that's not normal. The Axis had a larger overall grouping, around an inconsistant 3" (blame an extra inch on the trigger). But, over the course of five 3-shot groups, on three occasions two of the three rounds were just outside of touching each other. So apparently it has the capability of being accurate in both a Savage AND a 7mm-08 way.
Overall I came away with a good feeling about both the gun and the caliber. It certainly could use a couple refinements, first off having a accutrigger installed (but I've heard that's almost impossible/very expensive to do on the Axis) so trigger work is a must. Other than that, I look forward to shooting it in better conditions, and perhaps with some other types of ammo. Perhaps an update will come in the near future.
Last edited by handles II; 10-30-2012 at 03:40 AM.
After watching a few youtube videos and, reading about it and the results on several other shooting/hunting sites, I decided to trim the trigger spring on the Axis. I figure if it doesn't turn out how I like for $85-100 I can put in a new/better trigger.
1. This was unbelievably simple. Maybe took 5 minutes. Unlike on some videos, keep the box magazine in the gun, it keeps the stock in one part vs. three. Also, no need to remove the bolt, just open it up. Saves one more step.
I first cut 1 1/4 coil off the spring. Put things back together and checked the trigger, it broke at between 4lb 9oz and 5 lb 3oz on four different attempts. Decided to take just shy of another 1/2 coil off. Trigger broke at 3.9-3.6. and decided to stay there for now. Shortening the spring added a bit of creep to the trigger, but at least its an "engaged" feeling. It seems acceptable.
I'll hopefully get a chance to re-sight in this weekend and give another update. Good luck to those hitting the woods this weekend such as MN hunters... be smart, be safe, get back to your families in good shape.
Last edited by handles II; 10-31-2012 at 11:04 AM.
Sorry it's been so long but the wrestling season came into play and coaching took over my time. I got out with the Axis finally over christmas break. It was less than ideal as my bro-in-law asked to have me help sight-in his new muzzleloader, and said he would have everything set up. 1. he forgot sandbags 2. earmuffs 3. his bench. So we ended up resting across the hood of his pickup using my gun case as a rest. It was about 10 degrees so shooting with gloves on, but mostly calm winds.
Long story short...trigger problem is gone. Snipping the trigger spring made a world of difference in trigger feel and overall shootablity of this gun. I really like it. Accuracy was good considering. Under 2 inches@100yd for every 3 shot group, with two shots sticking closer than an inch and a user/conditions error shot to spread things out.
I'm very much liking the simplicity of the streamlined clip, and the gun looks pretty darn good to boot.
I'd certainly recommend this for someone with a low budget...or just wanting something new. Do the trigger work and you will be pretty happy with this rifle. I'm taking it out for my next coyote hunt.
I have the Savage Axis Xp Camo in .223 and simply love it,great shooting Rifle for the money and the scope isn't bad for coming as a Package deal!Now I used a Caldwell Leadsled and got mine sighted in right on the money...and the .223 didn't have much recoil as a 7mm-08!
By the way...I have a Savage Model 111 GCNS in the 7mm-08 with the Accu-trigger and those will put a Deer flat down!