You saved money on the rifle itself (savage makes nice guns for the money), so don't cheap out on the optics. Nikon makes REALLY nice scopes for reasonable cash. I recommend any of their Monarch side-focus scopes with the BDC reticule.
They have an app available that calculates bullet drop based on caliber and weight, and the BDC reticule allows one-click adjustment for 100-600 yards.
Of course, the larger your objective is, the more light you'll get through the scope, but anything from 42-50 should fit your rifle. Check out the Nikon web site for model numbers, and then go shopping. (I have three Nikon scopes and they're great.)
Finally, research any accurizing techniques that are applicable to your rifle. Bedding the stock and floating the forearm should be possible.
Found this in a review of the .243 version (and it also appears that the forearm is already floated, and it punches less than 1-inch holes at 100 yards).
"Currently, in addition to the 243 shown here, Savage builds the Axis chambered for the 223 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, 270 Winchester, 308 Winchester, 25-06 Remington , and 30-06 Springfield cartridges."
Just - wow. Chambered in .223 as well, and 22-250 is a good varmint round. I wonder if higher capacity magazines (10-round) are available. That would make it a REALLY nice rifle in the smaller calibers.
".45 ACP - because shooting twice is just silly" - JSOP, 2010 ----- You can never have too much ammo - unless you're swimming, or on fire. - JSOP, 2010 ----- "Why don't you tie a kerosene-soaked rag around your ankles so the ants won't climb up and eat your candy ass." - Dale Earnhardt, 1997
The Bushnell scope it came with isn't bad, but I'll look into the Nikon line, as well. Before I tread down that path, I think I should spend some time with it at the range and see what it can do. There's no point in spending a bunch on fine optics if I'm not a good enough shooter to tell the difference. I haven't seen any high capacity magazines for it, but I haven't spent a lot of time looking yet, either. Discovering - after the purchase - that my favorite Browning BLR in .243 is in fact available, I'm tempted to start saving for that one and resell the bolt action Savage. I really don't like bolt actions, for some reason, and the Browning I used to have was one very sweet shooter!
First off, though, I'm looking to get a rock chucker turret rig and start reloading the .243 and 9 mm calibers. The cost of ammunition is ridiculous, and I can't find the cheap Russian 7.62x39 stuff for my AK-47 and SKS anymore. I may just sell them before they become illegal anyway, since I can't afford to feed them, and I can't re-prime those silly cartridges.
Just watched Carrie, and it's one of the best movies I've seen in a while. That's impressive, considering it was made in 1976. Looks like there will be a new one this year too. Dune also comes to mind (1984) as a fantastic old movie.