Savage Axis Upgrade

RockinRam96

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Jan 18, 2021
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Clifton Springs, NY
Hey guys. I recently purchased a Savage Axis II XP in 6.5 Creedmoor for whitetail hunting. Mostly bought for my girlfriend and sister to shoot. Honestly, didn't expect much out of it. However, after shooting it, I have fell in love. I would like add some add-ons/ make some modifications. What can I do or purchase for this rifle to improve it?

Chassis System vs upgraded stock?
Barrels?
Trigger?
Bolt/ bolt handle?

Planning on upgrading the scope. It came with a Vortex Crossfire 3-9x40. Which I plan on using for a while and further exploring the BDC reticle. When I do upgrade, whether it be on this rifle or not it will be to a Vortex Viper HST.
 

hereinaz

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Oryx, Boyds with bedding and pillars, and MDT are nice.

Timney or Rifle Basix trigger if you want to upgrade, but it isn't better than the Accutrigger, just different.

NOT the Viper HST. Its a highly problematic design with a very high failure rate. Other newer offerings by Vortex are better, even "lower" levels now have better design and equal glass.

SWFA would be a much better quality and reliable scope.
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Jan 18, 2021
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Clifton Springs, NY
Thanks man.

I have been looking at all of those chassis and stocks, just not 100% sure which rout I’d like to go. They’re all nice looking stocks. Kind of want a light weight gun, but also would like a conventional stock.

As for glass, I’d like to stick with Vortex. I have had great luck with all of their products thus far. But always open to new ideas.


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hereinaz

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Thanks man.

I have been looking at all of those chassis and stocks, just not 100% sure which rout I’d like to go. They’re all nice looking stocks. Kind of want a light weight gun, but also would like a conventional stock.

As for glass, I’d like to stick with Vortex. I have had great luck with all of their products thus far. But always open to new ideas.


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The Pro Varmint is what I buy from Boyds for a stock cause I like vertical palm grip and adjustable cheek. It will be on the lighter end I think.

The MDT LSS with a traditional AR stock will be light for a chassis.

Oryx I think is heaviest.

Just telling you straight up truth on the HST. There are way better options from Vortex with new designs.
 

joushz

Newbie
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
6
If you have not come across this Savage Axis FAQ then I would look in here. Has a list of stocks/chassis, bolt handles, and barrels.

I have an axis II as well that I've been upgrading currently waiting on the CarbonSix barrel and Maven RS.2 scope.

The Oryx chassis on a .308 stainless is about 9.5lbs without scope
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Clifton Springs, NY
The Pro Varmint is what I buy from Boyds for a stock cause I like vertical palm grip and adjustable cheek. It will be on the lighter end I think.

The MDT LSS with a traditional AR stock will be light for a chassis.

Oryx I think is heaviest.

Just telling you straight up truth on the HST. There are way better options from Vortex with new designs.

Appreciate it. Both the points on the socks/ chassis and the scope.

I’ll definitely look into issues with the HST an see what Vortex did to replace it, or a better option.


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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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If you have not come across this Savage Axis FAQ then I would look in here. Has a list of stocks/chassis, bolt handles, and barrels.

I have an axis II as well that I've been upgrading currently waiting on the CarbonSix barrel and Maven RS.2 scope.

The Oryx chassis on a .308 stainless is about 9.5lbs without scope

Appreciate it. Did a quick search and didn’t come up with anything recent or relevant. Maybe I was looking in the wrong spot.

Thanks for the link and the info.


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Desk Jockey

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Apr 5, 2015
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Not to try and dissuade you from a fun project, you may want to do a little math Before you dive in. I am a tikka fan now but I bought a few 700s before I went down the tikka road. If I tallied up what I have put into those 700s, I could have gotten some really sweet guns. +$1000 for the base rifle, timmeny trigger, stock, bedding. It adds up and pretty soon you could have bought a semi custom gun for what you have spent. My point is, you can take a nice budget shooter like an axis or a tikka and put a lot of $$ and time into it when it might have been better to start with a different platform or even a ground up build from a bare action. Just a thought.
 

Pdog06

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Feb 25, 2021
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Kirkwood Pa
in Reality what you do with it will depend on the guns intended use. If it is gonna be a carry gun for deer then weight will be a factor, which will rule out some larger scopes, larger barrel contours, and even some aftermarket stocks.

Something to be aware of: The freedom of being able to swap barrels easily on the Savage platform youself(with the knowledge) can get very fun and very addicting! Knowing you can have a 6.5cm set up for deer in the fall, then swap the barrel in less than an hour to a 22-250 to do some spring/ summer varmint hunting is a very appealing option.
I am a big Savage guy and own a bunch of them and most have been customized. From just stock swaps or trigger swaps, all the way up to fully customizing everything I could. I’ve done $300 budget builds with used parts, and have also done $2500 full custom builds. All of mine have been off the 10-110 platform. I have yet to try an Axis.
So your post kind of reminds me of when I started looking into customizing my first Savage about 15 years ago.... And I’m still playing with them....lol. Just so you know what you could be getting into.
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Clifton Springs, NY
If you fell in love with it why change it. Use it for what it is a good shooting beater rifle you have very little invested in.
I don't disagree with you. Especially for some of the points that have been made above you.

Not to try and dissuade you from a fun project, you may want to do a little math Before you dive in. I am a tikka fan now but I bought a few 700s before I went down the tikka road. If I tallied up what I have put into those 700s, I could have gotten some really sweet guns. +$1000 for the base rifle, timmeny trigger, stock, bedding. It adds up and pretty soon you could have bought a semi custom gun for what you have spent. My point is, you can take a nice budget shooter like an axis or a tikka and put a lot of $$ and time into it when it might have been better to start with a different platform or even a ground up build from a bare action. Just a thought.
I completely agree with you on this. Trouble is, it is in my nature, that if I am building something from the ground up to purchase the best. I am afraid if I build from the ground up, I will end up with something more than I really need. But it certainly has been a consideration.

in Reality what you do with it will depend on the guns intended use. If it is gonna be a carry gun for deer then weight will be a factor, which will rule out some larger scopes, larger barrel contours, and even some aftermarket stocks.

Something to be aware of: The freedom of being able to swap barrels easily on the Savage platform youself(with the knowledge) can get very fun and very addicting! Knowing you can have a 6.5cm set up for deer in the fall, then swap the barrel in less than an hour to a 22-250 to do some spring/ summer varmint hunting is a very appealing option.
I am a big Savage guy and own a bunch of them and most have been customized. From just stock swaps or trigger swaps, all the way up to fully customizing everything I could. I’ve done $300 budget builds with used parts, and have also done $2500 full custom builds. All of mine have been off the 10-110 platform. I have yet to try an Axis.
So your post kind of reminds me of when I started looking into customizing my first Savage about 15 years ago.... And I’m still playing with them....lol. Just so you know what you could be getting into.
Agree with you100%. I am one to tinker with everything I have. I can't leave it alone. Being able to swap barrels quickly, easily and in my own basement is a very attractive thing to me. However, I do wish I started with a 10... I may start searching for a 10 that might need some attention and start a build.

As mentioned above, I have thought about a ground up build. I think I really need to think of what I want and what I want to do with it. I buy my rifles to be lifetime rifles, so that is a given. But I have my eyes on a Model 10 Ultralite that has been on the shelves at the local sporting goods store for some time. For the price they seem almost unbeatable. Unforturnately, it isn't in a caliber I want. But I don't think Savage offers the Ultralite in the caliber I want anyway.
 

robtattoo

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Mar 22, 2014
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Tullahoma, TN
I can tell you from experience, there isn't an aftermarket stock out there that compares to the light weight of the original.
I've only replaced 2, both with Boyds. The first was with a Classic that I chopped & lightened & the gold came in at 8lb 7oz.
My last was with a Spike Camp which I much prefer (although i HAD to round off the forend) Not sure on the weight, but it's significantly lighter than the Classic.

If it's already accurate, don't mess with the barrel. Sure, there are prettier out there, but you'll just be spending money on something that's unlikely to be more accurate.

Classic
20191121_163120.jpg

Spike Camp
20210209_172618.jpg
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Jan 18, 2021
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Clifton Springs, NY
Shot this gun again this weekend. Boy does it shoot nice. Shot 15 rounds at around 1.25". Not great. But were made from some hand loads that I put together, just to do some shooting.

Read some more reviews on the Oryx. Will probably go with this chasis. Seems to be the most "budget" friendly without going to crazy.

This gun doesn't have a muzzle brake on it, should I add one. If I do should I think about swapping out scopes at that time? Going to need to take it off anyway to have it threaded.

Any suggestions on a budget bipod? I have a Caldwell sling stud mounted bipod on it now. I hate it. Don't like the springs and what not. It is to combersome and a pain to use. I also don't care for the way they mount.
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Clifton Springs, NY
Did some upgrading/ improving to my Savage Axis. Replaced the factory stock with a Boyd’s Spike Camp and added a MagPul bipod on a picitanny rail.

I have had sling stuff mounted bipods in the past and haven’t cared for them. To much movement, to bulky and they loosen up over time. This one I drilled two small holes above the sling stud and mounted the pic rail then bolted the bipod to it. Much sturdier and much less play in all of the components. Defiantly an upgrade.

Digging this rifle. It is very comfortable to hold and shoulder.

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mfoster

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Oct 6, 2021
Messages
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I just bought the Cabela's/BPS special. $300 out the door. After watching some Youtube videos of different trigger spring upgrades, I came across this on my own... This may sound sketch, but I used a Pilot G-2 pen spring and got a $.79 10-24, 3/4" set screw from Ace. Bought some Blue Locktite ($10), but if you can find the small packets I'm sure they're cheaper. Installed in minutes and brought the trigger pull from 7.5lb down to 2.7. Total cost $10.79, $10 of which was Locktite.
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Clifton Springs, NY
I just bought the Cabela's/BPS special. $300 out the door. After watching some Youtube videos of different trigger spring upgrades, I came across this on my own... This may sound sketch, but I used a Pilot G-2 pen spring and got a $.79 10-24, 3/4" set screw from Ace. Bought some Blue Locktite ($10), but if you can find the small packets I'm sure they're cheaper. Installed in minutes and brought the trigger pull from 7.5lb down to 2.7. Total cost $10.79, $10 of which was Locktite.

Hmm… interesting. My rifle came with the accutrigger so no need for a trigger upgrade. I can adjust it way under 2.5 lbs. but I honestly haven’t messed with it yet.


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LeftyWilbury

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Oct 6, 2014
Messages
45
Location
Western Montana
my savage axis youth model in 7-08 shot horribly due to all the flex in the tupperware stock and a million pound trigger. $150 for a new stock from boyds and less than $10 for an ace hardware spring and screw to upgrade the trigger and it's now <1 MOA vs the >2 MOA it started off as. since yours has the accutrigger you just need a new stock. and eventually a decent scope. doing anything else to an axis just takes away funds from buying another gun.
 
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RockinRam96

RockinRam96

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Jan 18, 2021
Messages
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Clifton Springs, NY
my savage axis youth model in 7-08 shot horribly due to all the flex in the tupperware stock and a million pound trigger. $150 for a new stock from boyds and less than $10 for an ace hardware spring and screw to upgrade the trigger and it's now 2 MOA it started off as. since yours has the accutrigger you just need a new stock. and eventually a decent scope. doing anything else to an axis just takes away funds from buying another gun.

My gun came with a Vortex Crossfire II with a BDC reticle and I added a Boyd’s Hardwood stock. Shooting my own hand loads I shoot about 1.5 MOA on my bench. Which is good enough for me. Especially when I can hit a 6” steel at 100 yards, 8” steel at 200 yards, 10” steel at 300 yards and a 12”x18” steel silhouette at 400 yards. Repeatedly.


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Magnus777

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Oct 14, 2021
Messages
12
Have an Axis in .308. Tried several different factory loads, and it made little difference...printed 10" groups at 100. That's not a typo...10 INCHES! Thought I had a bad barrel!
Then, having little to lose, the action and full barrel were bedded. Took up some of the space in the cavernous fore end with lengths of stiff fiberglass tent poles, so as to cut down on the amount of epoxy needed.
Next, $1 trigger job, and some careful stone work. My thought was, why pay half as much as the rifle for a new trigger? The payoff for my effort was a crisp, smooth trigger that breaks under 3lbs.
Lastly, handloads! Finding a load that my rifle actually likes didn't take long, either, after I discovered how long the throat was in the factory barrel! It was something like .100" longer than the SAAMI OAL cartridge spec! Wow! So, started seating the bullets WAY out...just shy of the lands still fits in the magazine.
And the result of a little effort and not much money? See for yourselves:
 

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Zappaman

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Mar 9, 2021
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I've bought about a dozen Axis II rifles since they came out-- have to have the accu-trigger. Some for myself (I customized most of them), but a 1/2 dozen for guys wanting me to "tweak" a rifle for them.

My go to rifle (build three years back) has a $400 custom stock (maple) from Boyds when they did that (maybe they still do- one was enough!)- SUPER lightweight! I added a custom barrel to get a 25" stainless rilfe in a sporter barrel. It is a lightweight 260ai at about 8 lbs scoped (using a 243 Axis II stainless to build from). I used a good lightweight scope (Weaver Grand Slam at about 13 oz) to keep weight down. Same 243 magazine it came with works great.

Last week I shot a group of five (cold bore) into a 1 1/2" group at 300 yards- on a RARE Kansas morning with ZERO wind. A few days later, I shot a nice buck in the neck (lasered at 365 yards). Last year it was a head shot at 200 on late doe season. The custom barrel helps some there, but still, EVERY stock savage barrel from the Axis II line has shot 1" groups at 200 easy out of the box with my reloads (on a lead sled- so I KNOW what they can do without "user error").

I've owned several 70s, 700s, Rugers, and a few Savage 10/110 guns in the past and I now shoot Savage exclusively. I actually prefere the Axis II actions to the older 10/110s. I bought the barrel vise and wrench and no more waiting for a gunsmith for the more simple things I can do on my own... freezer is full again this year- two deer bagged and ready to eat (as of today with deer #2 fighting for space with my hogs from Texas last March... need to eat more pig!).

Can't get better accuracy until you go $1000+ (and more weight). My other "truck gun" is my Axis 6.5 stainless Creedmoor that wears the LIGHTWEIGHT factory stock and another Grand Slam. I mounted a short rail up on the fore-stock (on the side, right up front) where its now wears a 1000 yard (no BS here-- it's super SMALL light I designed with some dudes over in China- it's less then 2" at the bell (front) of the light and I've gifted/sold about 10 of these lights to coyote hunters here in Kansas this last year). At 400 yards, that gun LIGHTS up the field and smokes coyotes off shooting sticks with an older Hornady 100g Amax load with IMR 6064.

My last 700 7mmRM was sold for a Weatherby Vanguard 7mm RM last year. Another kick-butt "budget" rifle that is impressing me as much as the Axis II's have.
 
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