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Old January 17, 2020, 01:34 PM   #1
stagpanther
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Axis 2 in 350 [in it's own mind] Legend review

Some of you may have followed my trials and tribulations with a recent build I did in 350L in an AR--and that I was less than impressed with the suitability of the cartridge for an auto-loader; at least in it's present SAAMI spec incarnation and the different flavors of "mystery meat" that might be floating out there for purchase by the shooting public. Let the buyer beware remains my opinion. Not wanting to waste the investment in a thousand cases, as many bullets and dies I decided to spend $360 on a savage axis 2 in 350L. Another reason I did this is that when I received my "freshly cut" headspace gauges from ptg I had a strong suspicion there was a good reason they cut their no-go to 1.714 (as opposed to being close to the original Winchester-submitted 1.72 max SAAMI spec). In a nutshell, these dimensions keep the cartridge in an ideal seal to the chamber configuration and also will keep the the case head supported of all the different brass that I've seen so far. Just my experience and opinion, I'm sure lots of folks think I'm full of it. Won't be the first time.

This rifle conforms to ptg's tolerances.



With the new axis 2 Savage has finally done away with their notorious "Tupperware" stock which seemed to bend just by looking at it. It's basic, but gets the job done. No points for beauty--but who cares. The 18" barrel gave me pause for thought, that's giving away some potential velocity and might not live up to the "better than 30 30 and 243 win hype" that winchester continues to push. I have no idea why Savage really chose to go this route--but I have my own opinion having just returned from putting the first two magazines of cartridges through it. At the end of the day, this cartridge is not going to be a high plains 350 yd elk-dropper IMO, but in a lightweight carbine-like quick and handy configuration like this it makes a very dandy short to short/intermediate (say 50 to maybe 200 yds) heavy woods to mixed woods fields rifle suitable up to medium weight game with the right cartridge. Wild guess, but that probably captures about 75% of the non bird/varmint/big game market right there. Well played Savage.

The rifle comes with their great accutrigger and I chose to put a one-piece DNZ game reaper mount on it, which I'm quite pleased with so far. True to tradition (or maybe just laziness in standardizing on one size fits all) Savage allows for generous cartridge "oversize" in their magazine, a feature that has always endeared them to me as a hand-loader (and the fact their barrels tend to always be great shooters, no matter what the price point of the rifle is). Yes, I'm an unabashed Savage fanboy.



Unfortunately it was so cold and windy outside today (windchill not much above zero and strong gusts at my 2:00 whistling down the treeline like a wind tunnel) I only wanted to get on paper and zeroed with the scope, shooting off the hood of my truck with heavy gloves was less than ideal but I still got a group of around 2" at 110 yds--not bad considering conditions were very similar to the worst I've experienced on a winter hunt and I was using factory ammo.



About the only very minor nit I would pick is that it might be nice to have the option to put a muzzle device of some sort on--not because felt recoil is a factor--but because there is a bit of a tendency for muzzle-flip if you shoot free-recoil. You can certainly overcome that with a good grip on the fore-end.
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Old January 17, 2020, 02:07 PM   #2
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People can say what they want but I enjoy seeing these AR cartridges in bolt guns. It’s different and different can be a good thing
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Old January 17, 2020, 02:19 PM   #3
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People can say what they want but I enjoy seeing these AR cartridges in bolt guns. It’s different and different can be a good thing
IMO the 350 L is much closer to an elongated pistol cartridge with the rebated rim added as an after-thought to haul in extra revenue from the significant AR market.
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Old January 17, 2020, 04:01 PM   #4
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Aahhh, the re-birth of the 351 WSL! Seems like you had a good time, all things considered.
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Old January 17, 2020, 05:08 PM   #5
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Aahhh, the re-birth of the 351 WSL! Seems like you had a good time, all things considered.
^^^^^ I now know I have a good base for starting to find some good hand-loads without worrying about basic functionality issues.
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Old January 17, 2020, 06:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Some of you may have followed my trials and tribulations with a recent build I did in 350L in an AR--and that I was less than impressed with the suitability of the cartridge for an auto-loader; at least in it's present SAAMI spec incarnation and the different flavors of "mystery meat" that might be floating out there for purchase by the shooting public. Let the buyer beware remains my opinion. Not wanting to waste the investment in a thousand cases, as many bullets and dies I decided to spend $360 on a savage axis 2 in 350L. Another reason I did this is that when I received my "freshly cut" headspace gauges from ptg I had a strong suspicion there was a good reason they cut their no-go to 1.714 (as opposed to being close to the original Winchester-submitted 1.72 max SAAMI spec). In a nutshell, these dimensions keep the cartridge in an ideal seal to the chamber configuration and also will keep the the case head supported of all the different brass that I've seen so far. Just my experience and opinion, I'm sure lots of folks think I'm full of it. Won't be the first time.

This rifle conforms to ptg's tolerances.



With the new axis 2 Savage has finally done away with their notorious "Tupperware" stock which seemed to bend just by looking at it. It's basic, but gets the job done. No points for beauty--but who cares. The 18" barrel gave me pause for thought, that's giving away some potential velocity and might not live up to the "better than 30 30 and 243 win hype" that winchester continues to push. I have no idea why Savage really chose to go this route--but I have my own opinion having just returned from putting the first two magazines of cartridges through it. At the end of the day, this cartridge is not going to be a high plains 350 yd elk-dropper IMO, but in a lightweight carbine-like quick and handy configuration like this it makes a very dandy short to short/intermediate (say 50 to maybe 200 yds) heavy woods to mixed woods fields rifle suitable up to medium weight game with the right cartridge. Wild guess, but that probably captures about 75% of the non bird/varmint/big game market right there. Well played Savage.

The rifle comes with their great accutrigger and I chose to put a one-piece DNZ game reaper mount on it, which I'm quite pleased with so far. True to tradition (or maybe just laziness in standardizing on one size fits all) Savage allows for generous cartridge "oversize" in their magazine, a feature that has always endeared them to me as a hand-loader (and the fact their barrels tend to always be great shooters, no matter what the price point of the rifle is). Yes, I'm an unabashed Savage fanboy.



Unfortunately it was so cold and windy outside today (windchill not much above zero and strong gusts at my 2:00 whistling down the treeline like a wind tunnel) I only wanted to get on paper and zeroed with the scope, shooting off the hood of my truck with heavy gloves was less than ideal but I still got a group of around 2" at 110 yds--not bad considering conditions were very similar to the worst I've experienced on a winter hunt and I was using factory ammo.



About the only very minor nit I would pick is that it might be nice to have the option to put a muzzle device of some sort on--not because felt recoil is a factor--but because there is a bit of a tendency for muzzle-flip if you shoot free-recoil. You can certainly overcome that with a good grip on the fore-end.
Who shoots a hunting rifle free recoil? Free recoil is benchrest. Zero a rifle free recoil, it will be off when held.
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Old January 17, 2020, 08:50 PM   #7
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Who shoots a hunting rifle free recoil?
I do--when I shoot on rests.
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Old January 17, 2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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Interesting . When I built my bolt rifle over 2 years ago in the round that became the 350 L I used a Savage axis rifle . Mine started out life as a .223 before I rebarreled it . I had to remake the mag to feed . Now I can just buy a ready made spare .
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Old January 17, 2020, 09:23 PM   #9
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Interesting . When I built my bolt rifle over 2 years ago in the round that became the 350 L I used a Savage axis rifle . Mine started out life as a .223 before I rebarreled it . I had to remake the mag to feed . Now I can just buy a ready made spare .
Did you make something similar to a 357 AR/Max?
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Old January 17, 2020, 09:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
I do--when I shoot on rests.
I shoot free recoil in competition, but why would you want to shoot a hunting rifle in free recoil? You cant even remotely simulate free recoil in most hunting conditions. As far as that goes, I would love to be a fly on the wall when someone shot a 9 lb 300 win mag free coil, or a 7 Rem mag, or a 26 Nosler or....
Are we talking about the same thing? Free recoil, the only thing you are in contact with is the trigger. Shoulder is not touching stock. Cheek has about 1/4 oz or less of pressure on stock.
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Old January 17, 2020, 09:43 PM   #11
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Are we talking about the same thing? Free recoil, the only thing you are in contact with is the trigger. Shoulder is not touching stock. Cheek has about 1/4 oz or less of pressure on stock.
True--I maybe used the wrong terminolog, I do make a cheek weld and have my shoulder behind the buttpad--but typically don't hold the rifle unless it otherwise has a tendency for barrel flex/flip. Most of my rifles do have muzzle devices--except my hunting-only sporter barreled or lever guns. The barrel on this axis resembles more of an Hbar barrel to me.

BTW--I just found that the axis 2 XP package deal (I never buy them cause the scopes are generally junk) does in fact come with a threaded barrel--I didn't know that until just now.
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Old January 17, 2020, 10:51 PM   #12
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It'll be interesting to see what the future brings for the Legend, The cartridge has a number of short comings that leave the door wide open for others to improve upon. Wish Winchester would have taken a bit more time or put a pinch more thought into this round. For some the .350 Legend will be perfect and for others not so much, In my mind the trick is to make a new cartridge a reloader's dream and at the same time keep the guy that buys his ammo at the store also happy.
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Old January 17, 2020, 11:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
True--I maybe used the wrong terminolog, I do make a cheek weld and have my shoulder behind the buttpad--but typically don't hold the rifle unless it otherwise has a tendency for barrel flex/flip. Most of my rifles do have muzzle devices--except my hunting-only sporter barreled or lever guns. The barrel on this axis resembles more of an Hbar barrel to me.

BTW--I just found that the axis 2 XP package deal (I never buy them cause the scopes are generally junk) does in fact come with a threaded barrel--I didn't know that until just now.
Thats interesting about the threaded barrel. I might get one if it does. Where you find out it has threaded muzzle? Savage website shows no threading.
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Old January 18, 2020, 01:38 AM   #14
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Thats interesting about the threaded barrel. I might get one if it does. Where you find out it has threaded muzzle? Savage website shows no threading.
Except for the scope and threaded muzzle, it's the same rifle. https://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperst...-12x40mm-scope Every XP package I've ever bought that came with a Bushnell or Weaver budget scope the scope fell apart, so I refuse to buy XP packages unless they come with a Nikon bare minimum.
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Last edited by stagpanther; January 18, 2020 at 02:25 AM.
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Old January 18, 2020, 01:52 AM   #15
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The cartridge has a number of short comings that leave the door wide open for others to improve upon.
I and many others agree. Chief among them, get over making it a slower-twist 9mm Luger bullet compatible platform and make it a true .357 cartridge that can handle .358 bullets. KAK has already started making barrels to accomplish this (though they never never seem to be in stock). https://www.kakindustry.com/ar-15-pa...tainless-steel
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Old January 18, 2020, 02:39 AM   #16
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I also really like the DNZ game reaper one piece mount system--light weight and precision fit which is also reversible between right and left hand actions. I'm interested in how it holds up over the long haul.

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Old January 18, 2020, 03:30 AM   #17
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Looking forward to future updates, based on better shooting conditions.
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Old January 18, 2020, 08:49 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Except for the scope and threaded muzzle, it's the same rifle. https://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperst...-12x40mm-scope Every XP package I've ever bought that came with a Bushnell or Weaver budget scope the scope fell apart, so I refuse to buy XP packages unless they come with a Nikon bare minimum.
Thats weird. Wonder if its a special run for sportsmans? Savage website does not show that item number. They show that combo, but with no threading. I want to find one now because I want one with a brake for my son
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Old January 18, 2020, 08:49 AM   #19
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It is good to see that Savage did some improving on the Axis II stocks. I really like Savage accuracy, but the flimsy stocks were pitiful. I really like that scope mount too...going to have to check into them.
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:09 AM   #20
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Looking forward to future updates, based on better shooting conditions.
Could be a while for "better conditions"--it was actually well below zero wind chill (I thought it was a bit nippy) when I shot this. If there's a calm day I might be lured out, no matter how cold it is.
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:14 AM   #21
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I just used the .223 necked up to a straight walled .357 as the cases were free . I did a couple of bolt rifles and AR-15's . Mt best bullet was the .357 180 XTP .I went that route as the bullets were cheap and the sub sonic performance was much better than the 300 BO . For longer range the H .358 200 plastic tipped bullet work great . I did have to reinforce the stock . My friends and I have shot many pigs and a few deer with my rifles with good performance out to 200 yards .
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:19 AM   #22
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They show that combo, but with no threading. I want to find one now because I want one with a brake for my son
The felt recoil is pretty negligible, even without a brake doesn't feel more than a 5.56 AR IMO. However it is a bit "snappy" in muzzle flip IMO, again, no problem with a good fore-end hold, but that introduces "complexity" when I try to test for accuracy in hand-loads.
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:55 AM   #23
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8 to ten inches more snow tonight and might be dropping below zero ambient temps after the storm, but the proverbial calm before the storm, light winds this morning till the storm starts in earnest. Even though temps are barely above single-digits, I could be talked into it.
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Old January 18, 2020, 11:42 AM   #24
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I am sure the 350 Legend will do very well as a deer cartridge.

I have several friends who use Marlin M94s in 357 magnum and I set them up years ago when I was the 2nd CEO of Cast Performance (before the sale of the business to the new owners in Oregon) with our LBT 187 grain Gas Check Wide Flat Nose bullets. The typical loads from the 18.5" Marlins chronograph at about 1865 to 1925 FPS. My friend Randy (so far) has killed about 45 game animals with his, and I have been next to him for 32 of them. The effects of the 357 bullet are WAY better than some may believe.

Veral Smith, the owner of LBT Molds in Moyie Springs Idaho used to cut all our cavities for us at Cast Performance in those days. Veral has killed 7 elk with his Marlin M94 and the same bullet with the same powder charge and 100% have dropped inside of 20 yards and ALL have had exits.

The new 350 is going to be quite similar to the 357 magnum from carbine barrels and if you load a good bullet in it, the results will be the same. The Marlins I set up for Randy and John and Mike are scoped and shoot about 2 MOA. Randy has made the longest kill so far of the 3 of them. I was there next to him when he killed an antelope about 4 miles from my house. The shot was lasered at 307 yards and the antelope dropped after taking one step.

I am waiting for someone out there to try the heavy cast bullet in a 350L. The wide flat nose may or may not feed, so I am curious as to how well they will function in various rifles. But as to how they will work on game there is NO question to answer at this point.

I used the same bullet myself in 357 magnum handguns to kill 14 head of game so far, and out of my 6" barrels the bullet "only" go about 1265 FPS yet every single deer and antelope I have shot has dropped within about 3 seconds and most have dropped faster. All have been one shot kills.

Shooting the same bullet faster can't make it less of a killer, and cast hard, it doesn't break up on flesh or bone until the impacts get over 2350 FPS (tested from a 358 Winchester) That level velocity is not available from a 357 magnum, a 357 maximum or a 350 Legend.

So if anyone out there has a Legend and would test the bullets for function I would be grateful for feedback.

If you find the load to shoot well and work through the rifle you have I can recommend Veral's molds VERY highly. Shooting the LBT hard cast bullets is something you have to try to appreciate. Most folks I know who use them never go back to anything else. Veral can make them in any weight you'd like, but 175 to 190 seems to be in the "magic zone" for killing bigger game.
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Old January 18, 2020, 12:57 PM   #25
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The problem isn't the cartridge itself--but the confusion caused by the SAAMI specs submitted by winchester in my opinion. Between the range of specs for bullet diameter, headspace and case length I believe it's possible to get into trouble even when staying within those specs depending how all the tolerances stack up in whatever the gun it is you are using. Again, just my personal opinion, but a 9mm bore was not meant to have larger diameter bullets routinely fired in them. I could see the possibility where lead cast would be less consequential when engraving to the grooves than a jacketed or monolithic bullet. If the larger bullets were not an issue--my guess is the ammo manufacturers would be using them in their factory ammo. The only true 1.71 case I've found so far is made by Hornady.
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