August 07, 2023
Springfield Armory expanded its product portfolio in recent years, but the arrival of its Waypoint in late 2020 helped reform the company’s reputation for making M1As, Model 1911s, XD-series pistols, and Saint AR-pattern firearms, all for which the company is best known. With a few years in production already, the Model 2020 bolt-action line is expected to expand. Don’t let the introduction of new boltguns distract us from why Springfield Armory’s platform has been met with success.
What Makes the Model 2020 action Work?
At the heart of the Model 2020 Waypoint is Springfield Armory’s push-feed design. The fluted bolt features dual locking lugs up front while a sturdy extractor rides on the outer lug. A spring-loaded plunger-type ejector is in the face of the bolt, and dual cocking cams come standard. The cylindrical receiver has a large enough ejection port that there are no issues with cases bumping the action on exit, and a shooter can single load the rifle with ease. Each stainless-steel action is heat treated and machined, blueprinted, and the recoil lug is integral to the receiver. The action is available in four calibers: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .308 Winchester, all fed from AICS-pattern magazines.
Model 2020 Waypoint owners can choose between a stainless-steel fluted barrel or a carbon-fiber barrel from BSF. The BSF barrel is unique in that a carbon fiber sleeve is tensioned at the front and rear and rides around the stainless-steel inner barrel. All barrels feature 5⁄8x24 threading at the muzzle and include a radial brake and knurled thread protector.
Barreled actions are mated with an AG Composites carbon fiber stock. Unlike traditional hunting rifle stocks with sling studs screwed in fore and aft, the Model 2020 stock is equipped with quick-detach sling cups on the left and right side, as well as on the bottom portion of the buttstock. There are three M-Lok channels underneath the forearm, as well. The action is pillar bedded to the stock and the rifle can be purchased with either a three-axis adjustable or fixed comb. Two hand-painted camo patterns complete the package, one called “Evergreen” and the other “Ridgeline.” A dense Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad and TriggerTech Field adjustable trigger with two-position safety are standard. There’s even a Picatinny rail with recoil pins mounted to the top of the receiver featuring Remington Model 700-pattern spacing.
Pricing ranges from $2,173 to $2,599 depending on the options. All rifles are U.S. made.
Guns & Ammo tests a lot of new rifles each year, but the Model 2020 impressed us early in 2021, shortly after it was introduced. The attention to detail and fit-and-finish are superb. The action is custom-rifle smooth thanks to precise machining, and the controls were well laid-out.
The junction between the recoil pad and stock is smooth and there are no rough edges anywhere.
This rifle shoots like a custom gun, too! A .75 MOA accuracy promise comes standard when you feed it premium ammo (assuming that the shooter is up to the task). I’ve found that when you dial in a handload or find one that it favors, you can expect to outshoot that guarantee. My best five-shot group with a Model 2020 Waypoint in .308 Win. measured .65 inches. I used Hornady’s 178-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter ammo to get that result. I’ve also produced five-shot groups with Federal’s Berger 168-grain Hybrid Hunter that measured .81 inch from 100 yards. Accuracy such as this is the sum of premium components — including the trigger.
TriggerTech quickly established itself as one of the top trigger manufacturers in just a few short years. In testing the Waypoint, the Field model measured an average of 2.6 pounds on my trigger gauge, which is adjustable. There’s no discernable creep, either. The safety lever clicks securely into position and can be disengaged almost silently.
G&A’s test rifle came with the 20-inch BSF carbon fiber barrel. Metalwork was finished in Mil-Spec Green Cerakote, and the stock wore Evergreen camo. Like most Model 2020 Waypoints, this one came with a polymer five-shot magazine. (The 6.5 PRC option includes a metal AICS mag.) Weight is just 6 pounds, 9 ounces (unloaded), so, adding my Silencer Central Banish 30 suppressor wasn’t cumbersome, and the gun’s overall length wasn’t so long that it felt like I was trying to hike with a boat paddle. With the suppressor in place, the rifle’s report and recoil were very comfortable. In becoming familiar with the Waypoint at the range, I quickly appreciated the steep-angled pistol grip, which made the rifle comfortable to shoot from almost any position. I mounted Leupold’s VX-5HD 4-20x52mm with ZL2 reticle and a CDS dial, which is one of the best optics for serious long-range hunters, in my opinion. Beyond the brand’s known reputation for providing optical clarity, the option to have a custom CDS dial cut is a feature that more owners of these scopes should take advantage of. CDS simplifies long-range shooting while offering the security of Zero Lock.
West to Wyoming
To field test the Model 2020 Waypoint, I went on a pronghorn hunt with Heart Spear Outfitters in Casper, Wyoming. Long plane rides and rough treatment of my luggage didn’t seem to affect the rifle, but coming from 600 feet above sea level to hunting near 6,000 feet of elevation required a bit of re-zeroing. Once the Waypoint was punching holes in a 200-yard bullseye, I switched to hammering steel plates from 300 to 400 yards. I dialed the CDS turret and the results were spot on.
Kody Glause and his wife Jordan own Heart Spear Outfitters. They operate in some of Wyoming’s best hunting lands. We traveled to a ranch in the windswept foothills of the Laramie Mountains where the weather is notoriously shifty. A blanket of week-old snow whitened the mountain tops, but it was unseasonably warm in the valleys below. One thing predictable about hunting in Wyoming, though, is wind. Steady winds of 15 miles per hour with 25-mph gusts were the norm. It didn’t bother the pronghorn, though. From our vantage point on a rocky bump scattered with cacti, Kody and I could see two bands, each with dozens of antelope. In this open prairie, spotting antelope isn’t always the challenge; the problem is selecting the best buck and closing the distance for a shot without being detected.
A coyote trotting along a cottonwood draw 300 yards away interrupted the plan. As many know, the sudden appearance of a coyote can prompt an aside from hunting other game, and since the landowner wanted as many coyotes removed as possible, the pronghorn hunt was paused.
I crept up to a ledge overlooking a pasture. The coyote was moving in and out of grass, appearing for a moment and then vanishing before materializing 30 or 40 yards farther down a creek. I attached a bipod to the forend’s M-Lok for just this situation. With the front end supported, I dialed the scope to 16X and centered the rifle on the patch of prairie where the dog had disappeared.
“There it is,” Kody said. “It turned around. Fifty yards to the left.”
I lifted my face into the breeze and spotted the coyote standing in the open. It was facing us.
“It’s at 306 yards,” said Kody.
When I touched the trigger, the whop of the suppressed .308 echoed through the pasture. The coyote fell over backward. Having done our part for predator control, we refocused the effort for antelope.
There was no problem finding the herds, but judging pronghorn can be challenging. As with bear, all pronghorn bucks look big to someone who hasn’t seen one of these animals in a while. Choosing a mature buck requires checking for horn height, mass, hooks, and long cutters. Sometimes the difference is only a few inches, so the key is not to pull the trigger too soon. On more than one occasion I told Kody, “That looks like a big one.” With a shrug, he’d reply, “It’s not bad, but just kind of average.”
We spent downtime glassing the prairie, and the next day’s antelope hunt was very much the same as the first. There was no shortage of pronghorn, but we also saw elk, mule deer, whitetails and many more coyotes. The big antelope buck we were looking for still evaded us. “Let’s try another place,” Kody said.
When we reached the high country, we didn’t find the antelope right away. The next morning promised high winds, but that didn’t materialize. We made our way to the pastures and sage flats, but we managed to spot the “better-than-average buck” we’d been searching for. He was with a band of does and smaller bucks, which were moving away from our position. By chance, the antelope were circling around a low hill that would provide us with approach cover and a position for an easy shot. I held the Waypoint low across my chest and followed Kody to a hilltop. The first does were rounding the base of it.
At 200 yards, it was a rather easy shot for an antelope hunt. The buck followed the line of females and stopped in the open. By the time he was in position, so was I. The crosshairs settled just behind the shoulder, and everything was picture perfect. I pressed the trigger and the rifle shifted in recoil, but there was a problem; both Kody and I recognized it immediately. A clearly audible buzz accompanied the shot. The antelope milled in confusion as I worked the bolt. Then they were gone, running as only an antelope can run on the open plains. They placed a half-mile between us, but another shot seemed necessary.
“That didn’t sound right,” Kody said.
Indeed, it wasn’t. In my haste to make the shot, I hadn’t edged up far enough over the rise, so a clump of sage that I hadn’t seen through the scope sent my bullet off course. As I watched the antelope disappear beyond the rise, I realized that I had made an easy hunt much more difficult.
Kody propped up my morale as we set out. The antelope made a 90-degree turn, which positioned them just beyond another hill. It was about a half-mile away if we could get there in time. Slinging our gear on our backs and shuffling through the sage, we moved toward the next position.
They couldn’t smell us, but they knew something was amiss. In a moment they were gone. “Not again,” I said under my breath. The band scattered across the plain.
Surprisingly, the buck and two does cut a path to an outcropping 400 yards away. Kody gave me the distance, and I dialed the Leupold.
“Think you can stop him?” I asked.
Kody let out a howl that made me jump, but it worked. The buck stopped and turned.
“Four-o-six,” Kody said. I adjusted the CDS dial and pressed the trigger. The supersonic crack sounded just as it should and the buck dropped. “Nice shot,” Kody added.
Trust is Earned
There are plenty of bolt-action options on the market, but my favorite hunting guns are those I have complete confidence in. I knew that I could make the shot on pronghorn, and I left Wyoming trusting the Model 2020. Even with its list of features, trust is the highest praise I can give a rifle. You must believe that you can place a bullet where you want, when you want, at any reasonable range.
- Type: Bolt action
- Cartridge: .308 (tested), 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC
- Capacity: 5 rds.
- Barrel: 20-in. BSF Carbon Fiber 1:10, threaded 5⁄8x24
- Overall Length: 41.5 in.
- Weight: 6 lbs., 9 oz.
- Stock: AG Composites
- Finish: Cerakote, Mil-Spec Green
- Safety: Two-position lever
- Sights: None
- Trigger: TriggerTech Field, adjustable, single stage; 2 lbs., 10 oz. (tested)
- MSRP: $2,599
- Manufacturer: Springfield Armory, 800-680-6866, springfield-armory.com
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