Long Range Savage Axis v1.1: Budget-Friendly Upgrades for Improved Performance


about six months ago I issued myself a
challenge to see if I could turn a budget deer rifle into a long-range
precision rifle for a budget of about five hundred dollars and adding to the
complexity of the build I could only use new sorts of gear that you could get
from a local sporting goods store or an online retailer I wasn’t going to go out
and try to get good deals on used match gear and this is the result this is
version 1.0 and as you can see in the video here it’s actually pretty
confident I was able to use this in a 600 yard F-class match and I posted a
score of 497 out of a possible total of 600 now it’s not a very high score but
considering that this is a $500 rifle and it was really its first outing I’m
actually pretty happy with it and here’s what we’re going to do we’re going to
work on a version 1.1 we’re going to take a look at the good things on this
rifle and we’re going to evaluate some things that can be improved and we’re
going to continue to work forward so be sure that you subscribe to the social or
aggressive to see what changes we continue to make on this rifle if you’d
like us on Facebook you’ll see some goodies behind the scenes and in this
playlist down here is for all of you who might have missed some of the the past
episodes where we did things like work on the trigger and install the various
parts do vetting jobs and all that to make this into the rifle that it is
today as we wrap up this version 1.0 build let’s take a look at the various
parts what they cost what the total budget was and some of the things that
we can do to improve the rifle the foundation for this whole build is the
savage axis this is not the axis to with it’s nice a cute trigger this has the
original really bad trigger this costs 220 $1.28 and I really have no fault
with the action I did have to do some work on the trigger and that required
some very inexpensive parts it did require some time but the parts
themselves were cheap I bought a three pack of over-travel fasteners for $1.79 and I just had to use some little bits that I had lying around my house
and a little propane and that was a very cheap mod of course if you want to
upgrade your trigger as well you can follow the steps that I use
in the two videos that I put together one deals with the creep and the other
deals with over travel and pull weight I dropped the axis action into a Boyd’s
pro varmint stock that cost 150 $4.99 and if you don’t really recognize the
shape that’s because I did reshape this you might want to check out that video I
did this for some organ ama Crees ins to make this fit my hand better I also did
it just for some aesthetic reasons so that it looked a little better you can
see that underneath that black paint that we originally had that this is a
nice blonde laminate and as for functional mods I also did a pillar
bedding job at the the front and rear on this and a full action betting job so
that’s going to help ensure the precision of the rifle
especially each time I take the rifle apart and put it back together again the
pillars that I used were just steel spacers that you can get at your local
hardware store and a package of those cost a dollar 40 sitting on top of the
rifle is a weaver base this is number 506 this cost $13 and 94 cents and some
weaver rings these are quad lock rings and these cost $11 and 39 cents pretty
amazing prices for some parts that actually quite like I especially like
these rings I’ve used these before on my other rifles and I I do recommend them
they’re very nice finally we have the Simmons 44 mag 6 to 24 by 44 millimeter
mil-dot scope it has that reticle in the second focal plane and this cost $99.99
delivered so the total price on this build is 504 dollars and seventy eight
cents based on the match results I think that we’ve pretty well proven the
concept but now we can take things just a little bit further I think there are
some modifications that we can make to this rifle and this will take a little
bit of extra money but we can turn this into a version 1.1 rifle that’s even
better than what we have right now in my estimation the biggest problem that this
rifle has is the glass this Simmons scope has some things going for it like
the reliability of the turret tracking and it does have a nice reticle but it
have some issues as well primarily there’s the glass this seems to be the
main source of our problem the objective lens it seems to have a really bad a
stigmatism so as I start to use the turrets to kind of click off-center so
that I can take those long shots I’m looking through a really really bad part
of the glass and the image starts to smear vertically now this could account
for some of the variants that I’m seeing when I’m taking shots at long range like
out at 600 yards it could be some velocity differences in the loads that
I’ve worked up and we’re going to address that too we’re going to check
this on a chronograph to make sure that the velocities are all pretty consistent
but I do also suspect that lens instead of just outright replacing the scope for
now we’ll get to that later we’ll try that but I’m going to try something a
little bit less expensive I was going to put on one of these 20 MOA bases anyway
so we’ll just go ahead and see if this fixes the problem if I can get an extra
20 MOA out of this evolution gun works base then we might be able to get in the
sweet spot of the objective and still be able to use this cheap scope to take
these long shots we’ll see how it goes next we have some issues with the
buttstock area and first step let’s take a look at the comb here this does not
come up quite high enough for me to comfortably get my face into the stock
and see directly through the ocular lens and especially since we’re going to be
putting 20 extra MOA and boosting up the back end of this scope I’m going to need
some kind of riser back here so we’ll figure that out one of the biggest
issues however has to do with the butt pad back here and there are two things
that we can fix first off the overall length of pull which is measured from
the back of the buttstock to the front of the trigger face that is 14 inches
which is actually pretty darn good a 14-inch length of pull is very nice from
a stock stock however I do need 14 and a half inches so if I can get just a
little bit of extra space back here that’ll be awfully nice
and we can take out two birds with one stone because one of the biggest issues
with this rifle is the comfort during firing some people were kind of making
fun of me for complaining about seven millimeter Oh 8 recoil and what they
weren’t really taking into account is how thin this butt pad is this has
Boyd’s own logo on it and this is what comes stock with the the stock when you
buy it from the factory and if you’re going to buy a Boyd stock I recommend
you go ahead and upgrade to one of their limb savers or pok Myers because this
thing is terrible especially when you are prone and the rifle is nowhere to go
you’re not going to be moving it’s just gonna be shoving into you and this thing
is it’s a very firm rubber it’s very thin so each time you fire the rifle
it’s like getting a punch if you’re using something like a 22-250 or a
243 or something like that you don’t have to worry about it but for something
in the more 308 range of recoil yeah this is going to hurt quite a bit and
thankfully I have a fix for both of those issues and it is this it’s a
pokémon decelerator and this is going to add that extra depth that I need that
extra half-inch or so and it’s also going to be a lot squishier so when I’m
firing this thing in the prone position it should feel a whole lot better it’s
going to prevent any bruising and it’s going to keep me from developing any
kind of flinch while I’m firing the final issue with this Boyd stock is just
instability this forearm is pretty well rounded on the bottom it is not flat and
if you’re going to be firing a rifle from a rest then you’re going to want a
nice flat area so that this can easily sit and you don’t get any can’t or any
weird wobble when you’re firing or before your firing and that was one of
the issues that I was running into when I was in competition I just really
couldn’t get this solidly planted it was very easy for the rifle to twist and
can’t and kind of come off access so what I’m going to do instead is I
replace the the front QD stud that came on this thing I took this one off but I
left this one on and I will be using a bipod instead I’m just going to
cannibalize one that I have had on my 243 my varmint rifle for a while it’s
not very steady but perhaps at some point we’ll get something steadier on
there like a Harris something that doesn’t include any can’t in it there’s
just one last bit of equipment that I need for this rifle in addition to that
front bipod which is going to help things out I think in the stability
department I am going to come up with some kind of rear bag for this I was
using a regular sandbag back here and I wasn’t able to really get super solid I
need something that’s more like a competition rear bag that’s going to
allow me to easily adjust elevation back here and get a good height when I’m
actually on the bipod upgrades and improved performance are on the way make
sure that you stay connected so you can see what is effective and what is cost
efficient you

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