The Howa/Axiom rifle exhibited excellent accuracy for a factory gun, with all three brands of ammunition printing five-shot groups averaging less than one m.o.a. Not surprisingly, the best performance was obtained with the match load from Federal, which produced an average of 0.79". We encountered no malfunctions in our test-fire sessions. Feeding from the magazine was smooth, and ejection was strong, with cases thrown several feet out of the ejection port. The Nikko-Stirling scope also performed well, with sufficient clarity and freedom from parallax to promote good groups. We also appreciated that the scope’s eye relief prevented the scope from hitting the eyebrow during the rearward travel of the gun that occurs with the Axiom V/S stock upon firing.
Of course, the ability of the Axiom stock to mitigate recoil was one of the most important aspects of the gun’s performance. Knoxx suggests reduction of perceived recoil up to 70 percent; that level of effectiveness, however, is usually obtained only with heavier kicking magnum calibers. While we cannot accurately validate such a claim, we did judge the rifle’s kick to be quite low for the .308 Win. chambering, even one with a heavy barrel. We also had praise for the stock’s feel and ergonomics.
The raised cheekpiece put the eye in excellent alignment with the scope, and the length-of-pull adjustment made the stock easily adaptable. Also, the flat-bottomed fore-end rode the bags well, yet its rounded edges were comfortable in the hand. Legacy Sports’ Howa/Axiom Varminter Rifle and Scope Package represents a happy marriage of the proven Howa barreled action with Knoxx Industries’ innovative and effective Axiom stock and the Nikko-Stirling 4-16X 44 mm scope. It will be of great interest to anyone seeking an accurate, soft-recoiling, reasonably priced and ready-to-shoot rifle.
Howa/Axiom Varminter Rifle Package Specs
Manfacturer: Howa Machinery, Ltd.
Importer: Legacy Sports Int’l; Legacysports.com
Caliber: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., .308 Win. (tested)
Action Type: bolt-action, repeating center-fire rifle
Receiver: hammer-forged, ordnance steel
Barrel: heavy profile, 20", 24" (tested)
Rifling: four-groove, 1:12" RH twist
Magazine: internal, four-round-capacity steel box
Sights: [rifle only]: none supplied, receiver drilled and tapped for scope mounting; [Varminter Rifle Package]: Nikko-Stirling 4-16X 44 mm Nighteater scope installed
Trigger: single-stage; 4 lbs, 12 ozs. Pull
Stock: Knoxx Axiom: length of pull, 11 1/2" to 15 1/2"; drop at heel, 1 7⁄8"; drop at comb, 12"; drop at heel of comb, 5/8"
Overall Length: 38 1/2" (buttstock collapsed), 42 1/2" (buttstock extended)
Weight: 10 lbs., 2 ozs. (rifle only); 11 lbs, 7 ozs. (with Nikko-Stirling scope installed)
Suggested Retail Price: rifle only with black stock, $850; rifle only with camo stock, $990; rifle with black stock and scope package, $999; rifle with camo stock and scope package, $1,050