I don't have an axis, but from what I've seen from internet chatter and "Gun Test" magazine, there are better entry level rifles. The best gun and the best value appears to be the ruger american (449$), followed by the new remington 783 (451$). If you want to stay with the savage action, then just buy a savage hunter 111XP (525$), or if you don't want to pay that much, then get a stevens (420$), which is a savage without the accu-trigger.
For a few dollars more, there are even better options such as the Howa (570$) or the Tikka T3 lite (655$).
Those are manufacturer's prices, but street prices are generally less, although lately with the crazy run on guns, street prices have not always been that much less.
And by the way, Gun Test magazine is a great magazine (or is it a clip?) for evaluations of all things shooting. They accept no advertising and they point out all the good and the bad about the product.
The firing line is the best of all forums, but you might want to also check out the axis category on the savage forum (savageshooters.com).