I believe we all agree 2020 can fade into the abyss. This year looks to go down in history as one that none of us will forget, and for good reason. However, as our year continues we look to companies like Springfield Armory to shine a bright light on a year that can otherwise suck it. Typically known for producing world-class M1A rifles, 1911s, ARs, and trusted concealed carry companions Springfield Armory launches a bolt-action rifle. Yes, you read that correctly. The Gun Talk crew headed out West with the Model 2020 Waypoint Series rifle. Let me tell you this much, the Model 2020 is far better than the year 2020.
Companies claim every gun is accurate, but with various ammo that story falls apart. The Waypoint we received performed as advertised. It all begins with the action. What’s the first thing we do when we pick up a bolt gun? We run the action, of course. Springfield Armory’s Model 2020 action is precision machined out of the finest materials, perhaps with a dab of unicorn blood infused. The fluted bolt runs incredibly smooth. There’s not one burr or ounce of grittiness.
The Model 2020 action can easily be viewed as a custom action. If you built a custom gun, a solid action that is as smooth and crisp as the Model 2020 could easily run you $1,000. If you don’t believe me? I’ve got one in the gun safe I’ll show you.
Ryan moved to get into place. The antelope was 251 yards and moving from left to right. I’m not sure if it was how the sun was positioned or my fading eyesight, but I never picked up the first shot. I heard the thud of the Hornady ELD-X, but never saw the impact. The antelope lunged forward, and without missing a beat, Ryan effortlessly chambered another round. He’d sent the second one faster than I could get a word out.
The antelope was finished.
I reflect on how a smooth action helps in the field. It’s everything. If we fight to deploy the next round we lose valuable time. I believe we’ve all had guns that felt gritty and chambering another round was difficult. The kind of difficult that an entire bottle of gun lube can’t cure. A clunky action ruins the feel. The last thing you want to be thinking about during a hunt is how poor the action is on your gun.
We were sent to test the 6.5mm Creedmoor with 22-inch carbon fiber barrel. The custom-painted Ridgeline stock is made of carbon fiber as well. The entire package weighed in at 6.12 pounds. If you add in the Leupold VX-3i you’re adding another 13 ounces. To me, a rifle that comes in under eight pounds on any hunt is a valuable asset.
The gun isn’t dainty by any means. We beat the snot out of this gun without any issues. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m hard on gear. I know as a travelling hunter there is no room for error, and lightweight gear means less muscle fatigue during the hunt. My first western big game hunt saw me trekking out with a big, AR10 that I had built. I thought heavy meant accurate and I didn’t know any better. I cussed that gun and my stupidity with every step I took.
My turn came around on the second day of the hunt. I anticipated a long shot, but as hunting goes things didn’t turn out that way. Something wasn’t right, the buck turned around and started to round up his does to head east. My 200 yard shot was about to get much longer. I didn’t mind because I had a solid rest and the Waypoint exceeded the .75 MOA guarantee that Springfield Armory announced.
For reasons I still don’t understand, the antelope stopped, turned around and began running right towards our position. He closed the distance in a matter of seconds. I spent my time adjusting the magnification dial and changing positions as he closed the gap. Before I knew it, the antelope stopped inside of 25 yards. The rest of the story ends in high fives, jaws hitting the floor, and multiple “did that just happen” exclamations.
But, maneuverability was key in the open ground. Before the shot broke, we spent time much of our time adjusting positions. I couldn’t imagine doing this with that old AR10 that I lugged around the hills of Wyoming.
This isn’t a cheap gun, but if you are looking for accuracy and dependability you’ll pay a handsome price. The Waypoint is as close to custom as you’ll get without paying more. I’ll gladly pay the price for a gun that I don’t have to think about failing me in the field, especially on a hunt where I’ve invested time and money. Springfield Armory devoted themselves to producing a gun that pushes their boundaries.
They aren’t known for long guns, but they’ve managed to outdo themselves. This is an absolute hit. Once you put your hands on it, you won’t want to put it down.
Well done Springfield Armory, you’ve given the masses something right in 2020. ~ KJ
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.