Skip to main content

Review: Savage Axis Stainless XP

Review: Savage Axis Stainless XP
A true lightweight, the Savage Axis weighs just 6.5 pounds (bare) but won't be heavy on your wallet at $485 with scope.

Lightweight rifles are popular with hunters. Problem is, they tend to be expensive. With this in mind, Savage came up with a better mousetrap. Called the Axis (formerly the Edge), it comes out of the box at a weight-saving 6½ pounds, is chambered for seven different cartridges from.223 Remington up to .30-06 Springfield and is available in six full-size and two youth models. The line includes stainless and blued guns, as well as those sold as a package with scope aboard, which is what I received for testing. In this guise it is the Savage Axis Stainless XP.

To save weight Savage started with a synthetic stock with a radical design that may give some veteran hunters pause. From the muzzle end there is a graceful taper toward the magazine with a "checkering" pattern that includes textured boxes. A finger groove runs the length of the fore-end for a comfortable hold.


The pistol grip has a natural sweep to it and has the same checkering pattern as the fore-end. There is a pistol grip cap of sorts emblazoned with the Savage Indian logo.


Savage has enlarged the two-position tang safety for ease of operation. The four-round magazine is detachable and is secured inside the stock via an integral latch.

The stock of the Savage Axis Stainless XP has a longer-than-usual 14-inch length of pull. It's capped with a contoured, soft rubber recoil pad with fairly large holes on each side. Years ago, this so-called "ventilated" pad style was in fashion, but hunters soon discovered that dirt and debris could easily work into the recesses, making it not only unsightly but reducing the effectiveness of the pad.

Savage uses the trusted "fat bolt" design, which requires less machining. It measures 0.7 inch, is finished in the white and features the Savage logo. Operation of the bolt is very smooth, thanks to its final finishing and the fact that it does not ride on the follower or the lip of the magazine.


Up front, the twin locking lugs contain a recessed bolt face and, combined with a floating bolt head, allow precise engagement with the lugs inside the breech. There is a plunger-type ejector within the bolt face and a spring-loaded extractor for flawless ejection.

The bolt handle on the Savage Axis Stainless XP is cast, and to save weight it has been hollowed out in two places; the oval-shaped bolt knob is uncheckered. To remove the bolt from the gun, check to be sure the gun is unloaded, place the safety on Fire and push down on the bolt release located on the right side of the receiver while at the same time pulling back on the trigger. Over the years, that large sear extension/bolt release has been a point of contention, and Savage has addressed concerns by making it less obtrusive.

The receiver contains a gas relief hole that works with the rear bolt baffles to prevent gases from reaching the shooter in event of a case rupture. On the left side of the receiver, an area has been relieved to reduce weight and mirrors the contours of the ejection port.


The Savage Axis Stainless XP uses the old-style, grooved barrel nut and not the smooth one now found on the firm's higher-end guns. The barrel is free floated and 22 inches in length; youth models have 20-inch barrels.

As I mentioned, my test sample was a package gun and came equipped with a 3-9X Bushnell scope complete with Weaver type bases and rings. On my sample the scope was neither tightened down or sighted in, so if you buy one of these package guns, be sure to check the mounting system and bore-sight the scope before firing that first shot.

It's hard to find fault with a gun that sells for less than $500, but I did have a few other criticisms. First is the trigger pull, which is not adjustable. From the bench it broke at seven pounds with a little takeup before the sear let go. I also found the magazine hard to load. It could've been the way I was loading the magazine, but I had a hard time getting that first cartridge into the top of the lips. After that, the rest seemed to slide in a little better, but not much.

When it came to accuracy, the gun proved its mettle. With Hornady's 35-grain NTX my average was around one inch. the mean went to around 1¼ inches with the heavier Hornady Varmint Express and Remington's Power Lokt hollowpoint rounds.

Criticisms aside, I wouldn't have a problem taking the .223 Axis to the field, especially when the weather turned against me. The gun looks like it can take the punishment, and if chambered for the larger 7mm and .30 caliber rounds it might just be the rifle to partner with in your pickup for larger game.

Fast Specs

  • Type: bolt-action centerfire
  • Caliber: .223 Rem. (tested), .22-250, .25-06, 7mm-08, .308 Win., .30-06
  • Capacity: 4
  • Barrel length: 22 in.
  • Overall length: 44 in.
  • Weight: 6.5 lb.
  • Stock: black (tested), camo synthetic
  • Finish: stainless (tested), blue
  • Trigger: non-adjustable; 7 lb. pull as tested
  • Sights: none; drilled and tapped; available as package with Bushnell 3-9X scope (tested)
  • Price: $485 (as tested)
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms

Accuracy Results

  • Smallest avg. group: 35 gr. Hornady Super Varmint1.00 in.
  • Largest avg. group (tie): 55 gr. Hornady Varmint Express, 55 gr. Remington Power Lok 1.25 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested (3 types) 1.17 in.
  • Notes: Accuracy results are averages of three three-shot groups at 100 yards from a sandbag rest.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Ruger's Matt WIlson kick off SHOT Show 2018 by taking a look at the Ruger Predator.

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Scott O'Brien from Steyr Arms sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to take a look at Steyr's new tactical heavy barrel sniper rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You're only as good as your weakest link; heed these to tips to make sure your shooting skills don't hinder your rifle's accuracy potentialHow to Shoot Your Best from a Benchrest Shooting Tips

How to Shoot Your Best from a Benchrest

Keith Wood - August 05, 2014

You're only as good as your weakest link; heed these to tips to make sure your shooting skills...

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle.Ruger Precision Rifle Now Chambered in .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC Bolt-Action

Ruger Precision Rifle Now Chambered in .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC

Rifleshooter Digital Staff - April 27, 2019

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle.

With the introduction of the .22LR chambering option, the Blaser R8 rifle is more versatile than ever. Blaser R8 .22LR Conversion Review Reviews

Blaser R8 .22LR Conversion Review

Layne Simpson - July 30, 2020

With the introduction of the .22LR chambering option, the Blaser R8 rifle is more versatile...

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved..22 Memory Lane Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved.

See More Trending Articles

More Bolt-Action

A .22LR rimfire rifle is a must-own for any gun owner, and these six bolt-action rimfire rifles give shooters a variety of offerings to choose from.6 Great Rimfire Bolt-Action Rifles Rimfire

6 Great Rimfire Bolt-Action Rifles

Jeff John - July 22, 2020

A .22LR rimfire rifle is a must-own for any gun owner, and these six bolt-action rimfire...

Sears' J.C. Higgins Model 50 may be the best bolt-action sporter you never heard of.J.C. Higgins Model 50 Bolt-Action Rifle Bolt-Action

J.C. Higgins Model 50 Bolt-Action Rifle

Payton Miller - June 10, 2020

Sears' J.C. Higgins Model 50 may be the best bolt-action sporter you never heard of.

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak performer.Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review Reviews

Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 14, 2020

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak...

Production of the second-generation Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan began in July 2019, and the rifle is nearly identical to the earlier rifle of the same name.Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan Bolt-Action Rifle Review Reviews

Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Layne Simpson - June 23, 2020

Production of the second-generation Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan began in July 2019, and the rifle is...

See More Bolt-Action

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Rifle Shooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now