When discussing the Savage Axis rifle, there are two main shortcomings that come up time and time again. The first is the flexibility of the stock and the second is the heavy, gritty factory trigger. The former has been discussed ad inauseum in numerous posts and is not the subject of this article.
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.)