The Axis II Precision was designed for the shooter who wants to try precision shooting competitions or hunting at longer distances without breaking the bank. It’s a very handy rifle that exceeds all expectations.
Savage Arms collaborated with Modular Driven Technologies (MDT), one of the better-known chassis manufacturers for competition rifles, to build a chassis exclusively for the Axis II. The chassis has many of the features top competitors require for matches but are also great to have for recreational shooting and hunting.
The chassis is made primarily of aluminum and has injection molded polymer skins, providing solid bedding for the action and barrel. Upon hearing that initial description, it reminded me of an Accuracy International (AI) rifle I owned and how solid a design that was.
Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), 23 Rem, 243 Win, 308 Win, 30-06, 270 Win
Barrel 22 inch heavy, button rifled, 1-8 twist
Stock Adjustable, black anodized aluminum Axis Precision Chassis, olive drab skins
Magazine 10 round AICS pattern
Length ~43 inches (adjustable)
Weight 9.8 lbs
The Axis II Precision has an adjustable length of pull that is set by adding or removing the spacers at the rear of the stock. This system is simple, rugged, and reliable. The soft rubber recoil pad provided a non-slip anchor point for the rifle and did a good job of soaking up the recoil of the Federal 6.5 Creedmoor rounds.
The comb height is also adjustable allowing a tailored cheek weld to ensure proper eye relief to the rifle’s optic. I tested the rifle with a Leupold 3.6-18x MARK HD mounted on the Axis’s 20 MOA sloped base. The scope has mil-based turrets and a reticle that was perfect for reaching out to the longer distances available at the lodge.
The ergonomic grip on the Axis II Precision provided a comfortable and relatively vertical grip for the firing hand. That position promotes a straight, smooth, rearward trigger press. The trigger guard is enlarged for easy access to the AccuTrigger, even if you happen to be wearing gloves. The Axis’s AccuTrigger is user adjustable from 2.5-6 lbs., but required no adjustment in this case as it was breaking cleanly at about 3.5 lbs.
The MLOK forearm on the Axis is very slender and rigid. It is also a bit shorter than what is used on full blown competition rifles but it’s more than what is needed for mounting a bipod and providing a solid shooting platform. Its slimness and light weight helped keep the balance of the rifle around the receiver rather than being muzzle heavy.
Regardless of all the features and advantages of the Axis MDT chassis, the heart and soul of any great rifle is still the barrel and action. Savage Arms definitely has this figured out since the Axis and 110 rifles were shooting sub-moa.
The forearm cradles the Axis II’s heavyweight 22” free-floated, button-rifled barrel. The barrel is threaded to accept a muzzle brake or a suppressor. A threaded cap is provided to protect the muzzle and threads when no accessory is installed.
I fired the Axis II Precision with and without a muzzle brake and it was comfortable to fire either way, but the muzzle device made it easy to stay on target with the scope and see impacts on the steel targets or the splash of misses in the dusty Utah soil.
Castle Valley Outdoors is all about shooting and hunting, and they are set up to make it easy and enjoyable. They have shooting benches and clay throwers just off the back porch of the lodge and steel targets of various sizes and shapes from 100 to 1470 yards.
The first stop was checking zero on paper at 100 yards, where the Axis II quickly shot less than a one-inch group with the first of the three Federal 6.5 CM loads I would be shooting.
Then using an experienced-based guess, I got the instant gratification of the sound of the bullet hitting steel at 300, then 500 yards. Yep, out of a good rifle the 6.5 CM is a very consistent, predictable, and accurate cartridge.
The steel targets spaced out across the acreage just behind the lodge go out to 600 yards, then the fun starts. Up on the ridgeline to the left of the lodge they have steel targets in the shape of various game animals spaced all down the lower ridges and on the tops of small hills ranging from 675 to 1470 yards.
Plugging the stated velocity off of the ammo box into the ballistic app on my phone I started working down the ridge. After a few corrections due to bad wind calls the Axis was ringing the steel deer and antelope targets like an old landline telephone.
The farthest targets couldn’t be seen with the naked eye but showed up clearly in the Leupold scope and spotters. I was able to get reliable hits on the targets, all the way out to the moose at 1470 yards.
To me, the most impressive target I was able to hit and keep hitting was the coyote silhouette that was on a crest at 1025 yards. It was much smaller than the elk, bear, and moose targets that were further out, but for the target size and distance, it was the biggest challenge.
The Axis II Precision shot extremely well. (Part of that credit has to go to the Federal ammunition that I was feeding it). I shot three different loads and was able to score hits on the distance targets with all three. I never went back and shot groups at 100 or 300 to see which the rifle preferred as the long range performance was not showing any weakness.
The loads I shot ranged from 130 gr. Berger AR Hybrid OTM to 140 gr. Tipped Match Kings. That’s something I really admire about Federal ammunition, they load a variety of manufacturers’ bullets in their ammunition to give shooters the best options possible, Berger’s, Sierra’s, whatever it takes to get the best performance and meet shooters’ needs.
The Axis II Precision isn’t a heavyweight tactical competition rig. It weighs in closer to most hunting rifles than it does to the full tactical competition rigs, and the Leupold MARK 5HD is also one of the lightest scopes in its class.
The rifle and scope combo tip the scales at about 11 ½ lbs., which is pretty light for a rifle capable of consistent hits at 1470 yards. With its 22” barrel and manageable weight it would be handy in the shooting house looking for a trophy buck as well as on the open range.
Savage Arms knocked it out of the park with the Axis II Precision. The MDT chassis collaboration, accurate barrel, crisp trigger, AICS mag compatibility, threaded muzzle, adjustable stock, and 20 moa base, I don’t know what else you could ask for.
One of the best things about the Axis II Precision is something I haven’t even mentioned yet — the price. The MSRP is only $949, with a street price currently around $840, if you can find one. These rifles are selling like hot cakes, especially in the more popular calibers, and I understand why.
After shooting the Axis II Precision for several days and a couple of hundred rounds, I have to say it’s impressive and shoots fantastic. It delivers features and performance well above its weight class and price. It handles as good as it looks and will hit targets far beyond most shooter’s expectations; give one a try.