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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Savage Axis Floating/Pivoting Trigger "Pad" Explanation?

Savage Axis Floating/Pivoting Trigger "Pad" Explanation?

17 Jan 2022
@ 08:08 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

After reading Nathan's "Bolt Action Rifle Accurizing & Maintenance" book and studying his online blogs and howtos, I think understand the function and cost motivation behind the Axis recoil lug design and its implications to bedding. However, I've also searched high and low on the Internet and I still can't find an explanation of the function of the pivoting trigger "shoe" or "pad" assembly.

I'd sure appreciate any explanations or even plausible theories about what motivated this Savage design and how it works, physically and mechanically.

Looking a the fit of my two Axis actions in their original Savage plastic stocks (I use Boyds stocks on them), I see that the orignal stock has bedding points and surfaces that mate with the round surfaces of the receiver. These points include support points on both sides of the magzine box area.

As anyone who has scratched their head while staring at an Axis action knows, the rear action screw passes though a slip fit hole in the floating trigger housing pad and, as the screw is tightened, the gap between the receiver and pad (top side of the pad) is reduced. The gap between the pad and the stock (bottom side of the pad) is taken up by spring pressure so it does not make hard contact with the stock until (unless) the the gap between receiver and the pad is fully taken-up.

So why this design? Why not have a fixed pad or no pad at all? Was it semi-floated (in the vertical dimension) because the designers did not intend for hard contact to be made in the area surrounding the rear takedown screw, such that hard contact would only occur in the bedding points molded into the stock that contact the round receiver higher up the sides?

If it is the case, there must remain at least some tiny gap between the receiver and the top of the floating pad, else the bottom of the receiver will make hard contact and the receiver will bed down against the pad at the takedown hole, perhaps even precluding good receiver contact at the bedding points molded into the stock.

If the designers intended to avoid hard contact at the rear takedown screw point, then why implement the pad at all? Perhaps it is there to only provide side to side support while floating vertically.

I think we all know that it's a very strange design. I like to understand it before I start mucking around with bedding again.


17 Jan 2022
@ 08:46 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Savage Axis Floating/Pivoting Trigger "Pad" Explanation?
I once gave a talk at Riley's school with regards to the subject of "what my dad does for a living". The kids seemed to enjoy it, picked up the basics but could not of course grasp anything technical at that stage.

More recently, I have had several opportunities to speak to or consult with various gun and ammo companies. Please see the above paragraph for an explanation of my findings.

I cannot fathom why Savage would do this. They already had a cheap innovative receiver deign in the 110. Rather than look to ways to improve or enhance features, they chose to make an even cheaper rifle.

Before I started into this game, people used to write letters to NZ gun writer Graham Henry, asking him if he thought X new cheap gun design would be suitable for their purposes. Henry would write back, stating that rather than looking to a cheap rifle, they should wait and save more. He was very big on the subject of short vs long term reward. His final article before he retired really slammed this home. I agree, we should seek to lift ourselves and our expectations of others rather than circle the drain looking for cheap and easy options. The gun industry does us no favors with this junk, nor do we do anything to help raise our own esteem when we indulge them. I am certainly not going to waste my time trying to work out why they chose this assembly.

As you can see, you can bed the pad but you will have to place the pad under tension which may stress the stock. An easier / better option is to fit a pillar at the rear and bed the front only, the rear under tension against its pillar. But again, stock stress must be avoided. Simple is often the best way with this sort of thing. Its good that you have the laminate stocks.

17 Jan 2022
@ 10:47 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: Savage Axis Floating/Pivoting Trigger "Pad" Explanation?
Thanks, as always, for your reply, Nathan. That's a great story and philosophical message!

I too don't see how this particular aspect of the Axis design saved much cost for the already low-cost Savage. However, the owner of McGowan Precision barrels once told me that Savage rifles have the best production rifle accuracy out of the box and all Savage models shoot the same. I don't know if that's true but my Axis 270 Win shoots as well as my very fine shooting J.C. Higgins 270 and about as well as the best of my other rifles. They are duplicates so I'm still planning to install my 358 Norma barrel onto the Savage.

I took more Axis measurements and here's what I've concluded. There is no mechanical magic to this "floating" trigger design. (The non-tang "tang" is, really, an independent design feature and it's intended to float.) The channel in the plastic OEM stock is 0.020" or more wider than the pad so there is no side to side or fore/aft support there, plus there's enough play in the pivot pin to be loose as a goose in these directions too!

When the action screws are torqued down, the pad is under full compression between the stock and the receiver. It only serves as a simple spacer.

I now think that Savage needed a simple method to attach the trigger assembly to the receiver and they chose a simple pin. Then they could have molded the stock to fit the round receiver bottom but they chose to attach a flat bottom spacer (the "pad") to the trigger assembly instead and simply extend the trigger attachment mechanism forward to include the necessary spacer. The assembly is very simple and modular. The parts all stay together when removing the trigger assembly and, to that end, I think they added the spring above the pad only to place the pivot pin under enough tension that it doesn't fall out when the action is removed from the stock.

I know you have better things to contemplate and I think I'm done contemplating it too now. There's no magic in it and I don't think there's much cost savings in it either, but I haven't "counted the beans" either!

It's time to bed!

I already bedded the top of the spacer to the receiver (release compound on receiver bottom). They now make contact along the entire round surface of the receiver. I didn't expect an accuracy improvement from just this step and accuracy was unaffected (good 30-06 accuracy in the Boyds laminate stock but looking for better).

My inclination is now to install front and rear pillars and bed full length, following your book and online instructions (including the temporary bonding of the recoil lug to the action). I could go with the simpler, and perhaps safer, method you advised above but, with the laminate and pillars, I think the situation will be pretty conventional, except for the recoil lug and protecting around the trigger assembly housing of course.

Once I finish my Axis 30-06 with its Prairie Hunter stock and check the result, I'll bed my "Maxis" with the Shaw 358 Norma barrel. That project has been on the backburner for too long now but I need to open up the barrel channel on the Boyds Pro Varmint stock that I bought for it. I purchased the straighter line and beefier Boyds Pro Varmint stock with the hope that it will be more suitable than the other Boyds stocks for the 358 Norma.

If your bedding kits are available from your U.S. vendor, I'll use your kit. Last I read here somewhere you aren't shipping to the U.S., ATM and then I'll have to try to find a suitable quality plasticine here. After your tutelage, I'm done using cheap modelling clay.

Best regards,




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