• DrThunder88's "Maxis" Build

    Why aren't there any magnum Axis rifles? I had seen this question a few times on the forum, but it was never paired with a sufficiently satisfying answer. Mainly there was speculation about the Axis' flimsy stock and its integral recoil lug or differences in heat treating. A closer look at the rifle led me to uncover the two design philosophies underlying the Edge and Axis design: build a rifle cheaper than the 110 so the 110 will look more like a prestige model, and use a manufacturing method that out-110s the 110. The second point is where the magnum conundrum comes into effect. The Axis is a testament to stripping down production costs. From its closed top receiver that's used for every chambering from .223 Remington to .30-06 to its cheesy stock with interchangeable magwell/trigger guards, the Axis is meant to do as many things as it can with as few new parts as it can get away with.

    This brings us to the bolt head. On factory Axis rifles, the bolt head is an off the shelf, short action, standard chambering bolt. The Axis firing pin is of the fixed variety, which means that, whatever bolt head is used, the distance from the end of the bolt head shank to the bolt face must be the same as a short action standard bolt head. Savage's current magnums use one of two push feed bolt heads: the short action (106190) and the long action (103960). Neither of these parts are short enough to use the Axis' firing pin and thus must be modified. For my build I picked the long action bolt head, but only because it was more plentiful and easier to find.

    Now that we understand the "why not?", it's up to me to answer the "why?" Part of it was that I wanted to do something that had never (so far as I could tell) been done with an Axis. Another part of it was that I had recently gotten the idea of long range shooting stuck in my mind, and after building a long range .243 Winchester, I was looking for the next big thing. I had recently gotten an astonishingly good deal on a stainless Axis at Cabelas, and it seemed like a natural fit.

    The choice of .300 Winchester Magnum was a relatively simple one. Though I'd read many good things about 7mm Remington Magnum for long range shooting, my reloading tubs were stocked with many .308 pills, including some heavies for my .300 Blackout. I hit up Apache Gun Works for a stainless, 1:10, 26" varmint contour with a 5/8-24" muzzle thread, and, as usual, he delivered the goods. The muzzle initially wore a cheap but astonishingly effective muzzle brake I purchased off Amazon, but it now is the home of an AAC 51T brake, making Maxis one of the hosts for my 762-SDN suppressor.

    The action needed little modification. The bolt head modification, the details of which can be found in my YouTube video, was the only unusual step in the process. I traded out the factory trigger for a silver Timney 633, which better matched the overall aesthetics than my usual shim and trim trigger job. While the factory .270 Winchester magazine seemed to work okay with feeding .300 Win Mag cartridges, I was worried that it was prone to failure based on the difference in the rim diameters. With the help of another YouTuber with a magnum 111 Trophy Hunter, I determined the magazine to use with .300 Win Mag was item 109179. I also threaded the factory bolt handle to 5/16-24" and made a phenolic knob for it myself...out of a bigger phenolic knob.

    Until just recently I have been a big fan and proponent of Boyds stocks. All but one of my Axis projects to this point have been built with Boyds stocks, and this one is no exception. Being a long range gun, the Tacticool (now "Pro Varmint") seemed an obvious choice. The reputation of the painted plywood typically used in Boyds Tacticools and Pro Varmints is not the best when it comes to strength, so I opted for pepper laminate, which would compliment the bare stainless metal of the barreled receiver. I had Boyds add the 1" Limbsaver recoil pad because I am a pansy, and it used to be super cheap compared to installing it myself.

    The stock went through the usual Boyds improvement procedure of the day: take the included plastic trigger guard and throw it in the trash where it belongs, install steel (in this case stainless) trigger guard, pillar and glass bed the stock with brass pipe and Devcon, and drill the butt stock for a cheek riser. The Kydex cheek riser is a Karsten clone of my own design and manufacture. I spray painted the stripes on it to make it blend in better with the laminate.

    When I first started the Maxis build the intended scope was a Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP that has now been reallocated to another build. Despite not officially being sold as okay for a magnum rifle it held up fine, I just wanted it on my main rifle. I opted instead to put a SWFA SS Classic 12x42mm mil-quad scope on this rifle. It is held in two Leapers UTG Max Strength low rings on an EGW 20 MOA rail. I also threw on a cheap scope cant indicator I picked up on Amazon and some Butler Creek flip caps. The cant indicator isn't my favorite, as I prefer the bubble level to be off to the side rather than directly in front of the elevation turret.

    The bipod I use is a swiveling Caldwell 6-9". I haven't got much to say on the matter.

    Build Specs:

    Base Rifle:
    Savage Axis (stainless)
    Cartridge: .300 Winchester Magnum
    Barrel: Apache 26" 1-10" Twist Varmint Contour
    Muzzle Device: AAC 51T Muzzle Brake
    Stock: Boyds Pro-Varmint (aka Tacticool) in Pepper Laminate
    w/ 1" Limbsaver Recoil Pad
    Trigger: Timney #633
    Scope Mounts: Leapers UTG Max Strength Rings (low)
    EGW 20MOA Picatinney Rail
    Optics: SWFA SS Classic 12x42mm w/Mil-Quad Reticle
    Optic Accessories: Butler Creek Flip-up Caps
    Amazon Anti-Cant Device
    Bipod: Caldwell Swiveling 6-9"
    Gunsmithing: Glass & Pillar Bedded Stock
    Custom Kydex Cheek Riser
    Custom Phenolic Bolt Knob

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