On test: Savage Axis rifle

When we spotted the press release for the Savage Axis combo, we were more than a little intrigued. It seemed too good to be true: �649 for a rifle (threaded), Weaver KASPA 3-12x50 scope plus Weaver top mount rings and a Picatinny rail. “Don’t confuse economical with cheap!” we were told.

Some modern budget rifles have certainly impressed in the past, with the Howa M1500 being something of an office favourite thanks to its low price, sub MOA accuracy and extensive ‘custom’ options.

So, can the Axis live up to expectations? First impressions are very good. It looks modern thanks to the sculpted synthetic stock and practical matt finish to the barrel and action. With the scope fitted it is nicely balanced, and the two lug bolt operates smoothly and has the Savage logo etched rather coolly into it.

The trigger on our test gun is firm but fair, with a release of a little over 4lbs and a nice clean break. The flush fitting box magazine is metal and has a three-shot capacity. We like the placement and quiet operation of the ambidextrous safety catch, but it is plastic rather than metal so has a slightly flimsy feel.

Of course, the aesthetics and haptics don’t matter a jot if the thing won’t shoot straight, but it takes only a few rounds to realise that is not going to be an issue. We tried the popular .243 Winchester version. Using 95 grain Hornady Superformance ballistic tips we were shooting inch groups straight out of the box. I prefer a heavy bullet in .243 and these performed admirably.

Conditions on the range were a bit gusty and we are sure that we could improve even further. Mind you, I have shot rifles priced at several times the Savage’s list price that can’t hold a candle to this rifle in terms of accuracy and consistency.

The fore-end fills the palm nicely when shooting off-hand and there are studs fitted for attaching sling and bipod. Our trio of shooters all found the stock dimensions acceptable and the design channelled recoil well. I find the .243 soft-shooting enough without a mod but the factory threaded barrel (with supplied thread protector) means it is simple to add a moderator of your choice if you require it.

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The Weaver KASPA scope features one-piece construction, is nitrogen purged and has multi-coated lenses. We didn’t try it in twilight conditions but the Dual-X reticle is nice and fine for accurate shot placement at range and the image crisp and clear. It has the usual � MOA click adjustment making zeroing quick and easy. It also has the backup of Weaver’s Limited Lifetime Guarantee.

As a no-nonsense, rugged, accurate rifle, the Savage Axis ticks all the right boxes. The package deal is terrific value for money. And if you want an endorsement of how impressive the Savage was – one of our testers has since bought one for foxing and deer control… and he loves it. For more info, visit www.shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com