Until relatively recently, I was only aware of two types of solutions for the trigger issue.
The first solution consists of polishing all the contact surfaces to reduce friction, shimming the trigger on the pivot pins to reduce side to side wiggle, and perhaps working on the spring to reduce the trigger weight. There are several threads discussing these procedures. This end result of this is a much smoother trigger with a somewhat lighter pull weight and significantly less grittiness as the trigger is pulled. On my Axis, I did this series of modifications and the result was a smooth-acting trigger that was perfectly adequate as a hunting trigger with a pull weight of slightly less than three pounds.
The second solution to the rough factory trigger involves replacing it with an aftermarket trigger. There are a presently two companies (Rifle Basix and Timney) manufacturing aftermarket triggers for the Axis and they have both received positive reviews.
Recently I heard of a third possibility: Installing a Savage Accutrigger in place of the stock trigger. Now I am a tinkerer and I like to fix things, so when I heard about installing an Accutrigger in an Axis rifle (and I happened to have an extra Accutrigger lying around), I decided to give it a shot.
I like the Accutrigger. I don't shoot benchrest so I don't need the best trigger in the world. In my opinion, the Accutrigger is a very good trigger - certainly good enough for the hunting and casual target shooting in which I participate. I don't own any Savage rifle aftermarket triggers, so I will not attempt that comparison.
In this article I will simply explain how I safely installed the Accutrigger in my Axis rifle. I am not the first person to do this type of trigger modification, but I believe I am the first to fully document the procedures. By my use of the word "safely" I do not mean to imply that others are doing the same thing in an unsafe manner, but rather that I made sure the Accutrigger works as it would in a factory installation, and the rifle's factory safety retained its full functionality after the installation.
First of all, the original idea behind this modification is not mine. Thanks go to former forum member Gary MacDonald for discussing this. It was his discussion of this modification that made me do it.
Background: The Accutrigger is shaped almost exactly the same as the stock trigger used in the Axis. That makes this a relatively easy modification. The results are impressive, especially when compared with a typical unmodified, stock Savage Axis trigger.
I am presuming that the person performing this modification already has a general knowledge of machine tools and firearms and is able to use both in a safe manner.
Ok, here's how to do it.
Do this at your own risk. What works or worked for me might not work for you. It is up to you to determine whether or not your rifle is safe at all times. As always - make sure your rifle is unloaded and safe to work on.
1. Remove stock
2. Remove trigger by removing the "E" clip and trigger pivot pin (See third photo) Be careful not to lose any parts, although there is nothing that will go "sproinggggg!" when you take the trigger off.
3. (This is the hardest part) Obtain an Accutrigger.
4. The Accutrigger has some wide spots that need to be ground down with a sander, a dremel or a grinding wheel so that it will fit into the Axis trigger bracket. The red oval in the photo below shows what needs to be ground down on the left side of the accutrigger. (Try not to be as sloppy as I was. A moment of inattention at the grinder and you see my results.)
7. The red circle in the below photo shows what needs to be ground down on the right side of the Accutrigger.
8. If you wish, you can stop there and install the Accutrigger into your Axis by replacing the trigger pivot pin and the "E" clip (shown in the red circle).
9. HOWEVER....if you would like to further reduce the trigger weight, here is one way to do it without cutting any springs. First, remove the Accutrigger from the Axis rifle.
10. Now grind down the rear of the Accutrigger as shown in the photo below. Make sure you grind the side of the trigger closest to the rifle (the top as it would look if you were holding the rifle in firing position). I ground it down about 1/2 way.
11. That's it. Now, to make it look a little prettier, I used a bunch of cold blue on the modified Accutrigger. Now it looks like the photo below.
12. Next: Re-install the trigger as shown in the photo below. Notice the red circles/ovals. From left to right they are:
Left: Trigger pivot pin and "E" clip.
Middle: Accutrigger Blade spring. You can use the original one, or find or make one that is lighter. It does not have to be a very strong spring, but it has to hold the Accutrigger center blade in position to block the sear.
Right: This is the original Accutrigger spring. Notice that due to the cutout in the trigger, it can be adjusted much lighter than was possible before. You don't even need to modify the spring.
13. Now adjust the safety screw so that the safety functions as it should. Use Purple (light duty) threadlocker or something similar on the safety screw and trigger spring to keep them from vibrating loose.
14. Put the rifle back into the stock, and check that it functions properly and does not accidentally let the firing pin fall when bumped or dropped. Make sure the trigger will not release when the safety is engaged. (If the Accutrigger is set too light, the sear will release when cocking the rifle, but will be stopped by the Accutrigger center blade. In this case, increase the trigger weight until it functions properly.)
15. If you previously shimmed the trigger, use those same shims with your Accutrigger as its width is the same as the stock Axis trigger. Be sure to polish the sides of the shim(s) and the sides of the trigger where it rubs against the shims as that will also help smooth out your trigger pull.
After completing this modification I have a very smooth, clean, light trigger that inspires confidence in my equipment and makes me proud because "I did it myself." I am not sure I could ask for much more. Thanks again to the others who came up with this great idea. I simply was able to take photos and put the process down in writing.