November 28, 2022
Chassis rifles are all the rage among competitive precision shooters and have even seen some crossover application into the hunting world. Unfortunately, those same chassis systems are notoriously expensive, leaving budget-conscious folks in the dark. But there’s also a well-known secret among long-range weekend warriors that Savage Arms manufactures some of the most affordable, highly accurate rifles on the market. In fact, if you attend a local long-range match, chances are you’ll find a good number of sub-$1,000 Savage bolt guns on the line.
One of the newest and most popular of Savage’s budget-friendly bolt guns is the Axis II Precision, which comes in at $999 and sports an aluminum chassis and 22-inch heavy contour barrel. Despite its lower price point, the Axis II is loaded with features and components that punch way above their weight class. At just a hair under 10 pounds, it’s not the lightest rifle you could employ in the field, but the weight is worth it if you’re serious about stretching the distance on your maximum effective range.
Built for the Range
The Axis II Precision is built on a black aluminum chassis that features an OD green injection molded skin around the receiver and buttstock. Whether you’re taking a long poke at critters or banging steel at a local match, the Axis II is the perfect blend of aesthetic appeal and ergonomic construction. The barrel is free floated to deliver premium accuracy. The forend has M-LOK attachment points at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions where you can easily add accessories like a bipod or sling mounts.
The 22-inch barrel features a heavy contour and thread protector, which I removed to attach a Gunwerks 6IX suppressor that takes the already mild 6.5 Creedmoor and tames it down even more. Without all that noise pollution and a significant reduction in recoil, the fairly beefy Axis II is an all-day joy to shoot. This is a great advantage when you’re working up loads and figuring out your dope at 100-yard intervals to 1,000.
The rifle also comes with a pretty wide range of adjustability for fit thanks to Savage’s buttstock spacer system and adjustable comb. An Allen key allows you to raise or lower the cheekpiece, while five spacers allow you to change the length of pull from 13.5 to 14.5 inches. An MDT recoil pad helps soften the blow for those with tender shoulders, while the MDT pistol grip — bulging in the middle, tapered at the top — delivers premium comfort for establishing a consistent grip and trigger press.
Speaking of triggers, no Savage rifle would be complete without the AccuTrigger, which is used here and adjusts from 2.5 to 6 pounds. I didn’t adjust mine, and it measured 2 pounds, 12 ounces on my Wheeler gauge. As always, the AccuTrigger is consistent and breaks crisply, helping deliver repeatable accuracy. There’s a reason it has been copied time and again. The triggerguard has an extended midsection with an ambidextrous mag release lever just in front of it. The rifle accepts AICS-style magazines, and in the case of the 6.5 Creedmoor, that means a 7.62x51 polymer magazine.
The rifle is topped with a 20-MOA rail for optics mounting, which in this case was Leupold’s VX-6HD 3-18x44mm with CDS elevation turret and ZL2 reticle. Featuring illumination, this particular model is setup with varmint and predator hunting in mind but works in a number of other applications as well. The VX-6HD does a tremendous job dealing with midday mirage and low light thanks to crystal clear glass and premium coatings. It’s also fully capable of handling long-range adjustments, which is a must for a setup like this.
In terms of other controls, the rifle features a two-position tang safety, and the bolt removes via a lever on the righthand side of the bolt which, when the trigger is depressed, releases the bolt for removal.
All those features and components would mean nothing unless they delivered at the range, which the Axis II Precision definitely does. Data was collected from five five-shot groups at 100 yards, each of which produced average groups around an inch. An oldie but goodie, Hornady’s Zombie Max loaded with a 140-grain BTHP produced a best group of .81 inches, while both match loads from Norma and Hornady performed admirably, with best groups of .93 and .98 inches, respectively.
I also took the Axis II to the long range to slap steel, and it was consistent from 100 to 1,187 yards. I did initially have some trouble getting the scope to track changes for windage, but a few taps and dialing in both directions on the windage turret, then returning to zero, corrected that issue and it never resurfaced again. When pushed to 1,187 yards, the rifle continued to deliver consistent strikes in center mass of the steel, proving its capability as a long-range workhorse.
With an MSRP of $999 and a street price well below that, the Axis II Precision is a bonafide precision rifle with impressive components that deliver premium accuracy. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a phenomenal long-range pairing for the rifle, which easily breaks the 1,000-yard barrier. It’s got a great trigger, solid build, and Leupold’s VX-6HD does not disappoint. Whether you’re looking to sign up for a local long-range match or extend the range on your wild game pursuits, Savage’s Axis II Precision will get the job done.
Savage AXIS II Precision Rifle Specs
- Type: Bolt-action, repeater
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 5 rds.
- Magazine: Detachable box, AICS
- Barrel: 22 in., 1:9.25-in. twist
- Overall Length: 42.5-43.5 in.
- Weight: 9.89 lbs.
- Chassis: Aluminum, OD greed/black
- Finish: Matte
- Trigger: Adjustable, 2.5-6 lbs.
- MSRP: $999
- Manufacturer: Savage Arms