Savage Axis II XP Bolt Action .223 Remington: Part Two

The Savage Axis line has proven to be the class-leading entry-level bolt action rifle. The basics of this Axis II .233 Remington were covered in Part One: . The Axis II, in a nutshell, improves upon the original Savage Edge / Savage Axis models with the addition of the Accu-Trigger. This “XP” is ready out of the box, with an economical Weaver Kaspa 3-9 x 40mm scope already mounted and bore sighted. With Hornady Superformance 53 grain V-Max rounds, it was on the paper at 100 yards immediately, shooting just under ¾ MOA at 100 yards. The street price on this rifle, complete with bases, rings, and mounted scope is an enticing $425 or so.

The accuracy doesn't appear to be much of a fluke, for the first .223 Savage Edge tested back in 2010 had no problem shooting inside half of an inch with factory ammo: . The “entry level” rifle has been attempted countless times over the years, mostly resulting in remarkably ugly rifles with a variety of mechanical problems. The Savage Axis is a refreshing exception. It isn't a thing of beauty, by any means, but to get the cost out of the gun, it has to come from somewhere. That “somewhere” is the rough, matte finish and the plastic stock. As the saying goes, “he ain't good looking but he sure can play.” By using essentially the same universal receiver and blocking off the magazine to suit the cartridge, the Axis is more manufacturable than most rifles.

Aside from the finish and stock that are clearly price-point driven, the Axis itself is the best in class bolt gun on the market. The bolt itself operates extremely smoothly, the magazine does not rattle, and there are no feeding or ejection issues. By now, the Axis line has over twelve different models, but only the “Axis II XP” has the Accu-Trigger. For that reason, the Axis II XP is the most desirable of the models, even if you eventually decide to upgrade the optics down the road. I have no idea how many hundreds of thousands Edge and Axis rifles have been sold by now, but it has been the most prolific center-fire introduced in the last decade, easily. If you are looking for reliability, functionality, and accuracy for the dollar, the Axis II has no equal in the market today.

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