It’s a safe bet most gun cranks, especially NRA members, know all about Springfield Armory. The company has for years advertised its firearms in NRA Official Journals. Included in that list is the M1A, the SOCOM 16, the XD series of handguns and, lately, the Saint—all fine firearms. Now, hunters can take heart Springfield has introduced something explicitly for them: the Model 2020 bolt-action hunting rifle.
The Model 2020 Waypoint is offered in two stock configurations, two finishes and the customer’s choice of carbon fiber or stainless steel barrels in four popular hunting calibers—and it’s a doozy.
The heart of the rifle is a proprietary, Model 700-style round, stainless steel receiver made in Geneseo, Ill., by Springfield. It is a dual-lug design including dual cocking cams; an integrally machined recoil lug; a low-profile bolt stop; a fluted, nitride-coated bolt with a throw of 90 degrees; an oversized, removable bolt handle; and a factory-installed Picatinny rail including two recoil pins ready to accept a riflescope. I fired five different loads through the rifle: two from Barnes and one each from Berger, Federal Premium and Remington. It liked the Berger loads best; the smallest group measured a scant .375 inch and the largest spanned 1 inch. The Federal Premium load was second-best—not surprising since it featured the same Berger Hybrid Target match bullet as the Berger Match Grade load.
Springfield boasts its receiver-and-trigger design delivers a lock time 45 percent faster than competitive models—a factor that should deliver less deviation from point of aim due to movement during the shot. It also guarantees the Waypoint will shoot .75-MOA groups with match-grade factory ammunition. Our tests confirmed this boast with one of two match loads. Other loads would do the same if the barrel was allowed plenty of time to cool between groups.
A TriggerTech trigger features a no-snag, two-position safety along the tang and Springfield’s Frictionless Release Technology. It is adjustable from 2.5 to 5 pounds’ pull weight with a patented, free-floating roller for a crisp, repeatable squeeze.
An AICS-pattern, single-stack, removable magazine feeds the rifle. The trigger guard is made of aluminum.
The unit we tested was fitted with a carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, produced by BSF Barrels in Wisconsin. Its steel bore is jacketed in a roll-wrapped carbon fiber sleeve loaded under tension. This construction method means 95 percent of the carbon-fiber sleeve never contacts the steel barrel, providing cooling air gaps to promote warm-bore to cool-bore repeatability during rapid fire. Additionally, fluting beneath the sleeve reduces weight and provides even more surface area to speed cooling. An SA Radial muzzle brake is removable; the muzzle is threaded ⅝x24 for use with a standard-thread suppressor.
Customers who prefer a traditional barrel may choose a Waypoint with one made of fluted, stainless steel. In fact, I would. The carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel I fired at the range heated too quickly for my taste, and groups opened quickly because of it. The first three shots, fired through a cold barrel—they’re money. But after that … well, 20 minutes between groups to allow the gun to cool completely might do the trick. Bottom line: With its carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, the rifle is not built best to place a dozen rapid-fire rounds within an inch-plus. A standard steel barrel would do this better. It would take longer to cool, but it would hold zero better as it heated. Either way, every Waypoint barrel is free-floated. Barrel lengths measure 20, 22 or 24 inches depending on chambering.
Two stock configurations are made by AG Composites. Either stock is made of hand-laid carbon fiber and is pillar-bedded. Either includes reinforced, integral M-Lok sections to allow for direct attachment of accessories like bipods and slings—but you won’t find many better options for sling attachments than those already present, including five flush-cup, quick-detach points to produce a variety of right- and left-hand carry options.
The non-adjustable stock weighs just 1 pound, 15 ounces. The adjustable stock, which includes a cheekpiece that may be moved up or down and right or left, weighs just 2 pounds, 11 ounces. Either is clad in Springfield’s custom-painted Evergreen or Ridgeline camo patterns. With the stock’s 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad, the rifle’s length of pull is 13¾ inches.
Overall weight of the Waypoint ranges from 6 pounds, 12 ounces to 7 pounds, 14 ounces depending on configuration. The rifle is chambered in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and .308 Winchester. In 6mm and .308, barrel length is 20 inches. In 6.5 Creedmoor, barrel length is 22 inches. And in 6.5 PRC, barrel length is 24 inches.
The overall look of this rifle clearly is a nod toward recent trends—that is, precision shooters should like it. Note the one-piece Picatinny rail, the fat bolt handle. Heck, just look at the stock. Its deep pistol grip screams “control.” It and the adjustable cheekpiece and the cartridges the rifle chambers all encourage long sessions on the range.
On the other hand, the magazine extends beneath the belly of the rifle, and the one-piece rail extends across the ejection port. Both factors prevent me from carrying it “suitcase-style,” with my hand wrapped beneath the belly, my thumb riding along the right side of the action or wrapped over the bolt/beneath the scope. The rifle cradles decently in my left arm, and I like it in the high-ready or low-ready position. The deep pistol grip adds another angle. I don’t think this gun will slide best in and out of a tight scabbard. I also wish length of pull was a quarter-inch shorter. A gun chambered in mild cartridges like the Model 2020 would handle a bit better, in my hands at least, with an LOP of 13.5 inches.
But that’s quibbling. I like the lines of this rifle, and I certainly like its performance on the range. We’ll see how it does in the field. But I’m confident Springfield has built a heckuva nice addition to the ranks of hunting rifles, and it’s all made in America.