Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle Review

by Ryan Cleckner

January 5, 2021

4 comments

4.3
(81)

Springfield Armory’s 2020 Waypoint rifle is the first bolt-action rifle carrying the Springfield name in over a century and is the first bolt action rifle from this company (Springfield Armory, the current company in IL, is not the same entity as the US Military’s Armory in Springfield, MA).

The 2020 Waypoint rifle is purpose-built for the hunter looking for premium/semi-custom features and a cross-over design.

What do we think about Springfield’s new bolt-action rifle? Read on for our 2020 Waypoint review.

Springfield’s first bolt-action rifle with premium features.

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Springfield 2020 Waypoint Specs

  • Calibers 308 Win, 6.5 CM, 6 CM, 6.5 PRC
  • Price (MSRP) $1,699 – $2,399
  • Barrel Material Fluted Stainless, Carbon Fiber Wrapped
  • Barrel Length 20″ – 24″
  • Weight 6 lbs 9 oz – 8 lbs 2 oz
  • Trigger Pull 2.5-5 lbs
  • Bolt Fluted Stainless
  • Stock Material Carbon Fiber
  • Capacity 5-rd Detachable Mag

Springfield 2020 Waypoint Background

Springfield Armory, long known for making semi-automatic rifles like their M1A (M14) and AR-15 variants, has finally brought back their bolt-action rifle production with a new rifle called the 2020 Waypoint.

Over 100 years ago, Springfield Armory made the 1898 Krag and Springfield 1903 rifles. Since then they haven’t made a bolt action rifle… until now.

The 2020 rifle, which seems to keep the Springfield naming convention of keeping the year in the name, is a really big start for Springfield getting back into the bolt-action game.

When we first heard that Springfield Armory was making a bolt action rifle for hunters, we were expecting to see a MUCH simpler, and budget, option. We were wrong – it looks like Springfield Armory swung for the fences on this one – but did they knock it out of the park? Check out our review of the rifle below.

With “Waypoint” in the name of the 2020 model of this rifle, we’re hoping that it refers to it’s lightweight features and hunting-focus. Why? If we’re right, this means that other 2020 rifles might be available someday with the same action with different purposes – for example, a tactical 2020 and/or a large magnum long range version would be neat to see.

Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint Rifle Features

1 Precision Machined Action

Wire-EDM raceways, fluted bolt, Rem 700-style rail with recoil pins, and dual cocking cams.

2 Trigger Tech Trigger

Trigger Tech triggers are, hands down, our favorite bolt-action rifle triggers.

3 Carbon Fiber Barrel

Available with carbon fiber, wrapped around a fluted stainless barrel.

4 Carbon Fiber Stock w/Adjustable Comb

Carbon fiber stocks, with an adjustable cheek-piece as an option.

5 AICS Pattern Detachable Mag

Detachable magazines for the AICS footprint.

6 Threaded Barrels w/Brake

Factory threaded barrels with included muzzle brake.

Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint Review

The easiest way to explain this rifle is this: the  2020 Waypoint rifle is a factory rifle from a major manufacturer with features normally found only on custom rifles.

Let’s cover the rifle part by part first and then jump in to our experience with some hands-on testing to include bringing the Springfield Waypoint rifle on an elk hunting trip.

Action

Although the barrel is where the accuracy really comes from and the trigger is responsible for much of the shooting experience, the action is the heart of the rifle and we are very happy to see that Springfield is using a premium action design.

To me, a bolt action rifle action needs to be smooth and consistent. Too often manufacturers make an action that looks cool, but has a bolt that binds or isn’t truly set up for accuracy. A binding bolt drives me crazy because it ruins the reloading process and speed (for me), and it shows that the rifle was not designed with the input of a shooter (see the Daniel Defense Delta 5).

The action is wire-cut EDM (this means it is super straight and smooth) and includes an integral recoil lug (more effort and cost for Springfield – more ruggedness and consistency for you), and more features.

The 2020 Waypoint action looks like custom actions found on premium rifles and we have high hopes.

Barrel 

The 2020 Waypoint comes with two barrel options: a stainless fluted barrel and a carbon wrapped barrel with a fluted stainless barrel underneath.

We’re excited about the carbon barrel because of its unique design. Our favorite carbon fiber barrels are from Proof Research, however, Springfield is using a unique design wherein the carbon is not wrapped around the steel, but is floating around the steel inner barrel, with a gap of air in between the two. This allows Springfield to tension the barrel and also provide some temperature insulation.

Both barrel options are threaded and come with a factory muzzle brake installed.

Currently, the Waypoint version of the 2020 (we’re hoping for other versions of the 2020) comes in 4 calibers options: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 308 Win., and 6.5mm PRC.

Trigger

There’s only one trigger I recommend for precision bolt-guns: Trigger Tech. We are so happy to see Springfield choose these triggers (as just about every premium rifle manufacturer now uses).

Stock

Springfield Worked with AG Composites to build the cross-over style stocks.

AG Composites makes excellent stocks and are the secret behind the now discontinued Forbes Rifles and Fieldcraft Rifles.

The cross-over style blends some of the best features of a lightweight and slim stock for hunting but also with features that make for easy accurate shooting from tactical/target style stocks. Also, there are 5 QD swivel points available.

If the rifle will strictly be for hunting for you, I recommend picking the option without the adjustable cheekpiece as this just adds weight and is a failure point. However, for target shooting, the adjustable cheekpiece is a nice option.

The bottom of the stock has bottom-metal for AICS pattern detachable magazines meaning it is easy to reload the rifle (and unload the rifle when you’re done with your hunt).

Also, as a plus, the stock looks gorgeous!

Our Take on the Springfield Waypoint Rifle

Ok, we’ve covered the specs/features/design of the 2020 Waypoint…. now let’s get into our hands-on experience with the rifle.

Springfield Armory first sent us a 2020 Waypoint rifle with a carbon fiber barrel in 6.5 PRC to borrow for this review.

We were impressed with the fit and finish of the rifle – it was well balanced and it is a really cool hybrid of target rifle features but light enough for hunting use.

However, after our first range trip with it, it had to be sent back.

We zeroed the rifle and started to work out to some distance with it when we started noticing some pressure signs at 12-15 rounds of factory Hornady ELD Match 6.5 PRC ammo in to our range session – the bolt was requiring a bit more effort to lift after firing and we were noticing some ejector “kisses” on the fired brass.

We were shooting the rifle with a silencer and thought that perhaps fouling was building up in the chamber, causing some slightly higher pressure, and decided to keep shooting.

On round #16, something felt “different” and the bolt was difficult to lift. Definite pressure sign.

Like fools, we kept shooting.

Round #17 was fine and then on round #18 we felt something “different” again.  The bolt was difficult to open, and the round extracted back with the bolt, but it didn’t eject. Upon inspection, the ejector had been shoved back into the bolt and was stuck in the bolt face.

We stopped shooting out of safety concerns. We didn’t know if it was the rifle or the ammo causing the issue.

We’re not sure if the chamber was a bit tight on the 2020 Waypoint we had, if there was an issue with that lot of ammo, or if high pressure issues are just a problem with 6.5 PRC. All we knew was that we didn’t want to shoot it again, and this is confirmation of my dislike for 6.5 PRC as a cartridge – I love the 300 PRC, I just don’t understand the benefit of the 6.5 PRC over other options.

The rifle was promptly returned to Springfield and a replacement loaner rifle was sent to us, this time in 6.5 Creedmoor.

I took the new rifle on a couple range trips and noticed some interesting results…

First, the Springfield 2020 Waypoint is capable of very impressive accuracy.

The interesting part? Typically, Federal Gold Medal Match has been the “go-to standard” for accurate factory ammunition. So much so that if a rifle is having accuracy issues, one of the first questions I’ll ask is how does it shoot with Federal Gold Medal Match? However, with the 2020 Waypoint, Federal Gold Medal match shoots with the worst accuracy of any ammo we tested.

Federal has changed the bullets in this ammo recently – instead of the very forgiving, but not the most aerodynamically efficient, Sierra HPBT bullet, Federal is now using Berger Hybrid bullets. Berger Hybrid bullets are also the go-to standard for accuracy, but maybe something about the combination of this new bullet and the 2020 Waypoint chamber makes the bullet suffer from free-bore jump?

The first trip with the new rifle saw great groups with all but Federal GMM and I blamed myself for the issue.

First, a miss or bad group is almost always the shooter’s fault first. Either for making a bad shot or for not using the right elevation or windage hold, etc.

In this case, I saw the poor results with the Federal ammo after I had just shot a few 5 round groups with other brands and the barrel was noticeably warm/hot. This was interesting to note – the carbon fiber barrel that Springfield is using (we believe it is BSF) gets noticeably hotter and faster than Proof Research barrels.

I wanted to test it more, so I shot more groups – again, shooting the Federal ammo after the barrel was hot (not very scientific of me).

On this trip, I shot two 5-round groups with Hornady Black 140 gr ammo that measured 0.79 minutes of angle (moa) and 0.85 moa.  The Federal GMM? Two groups of 5 rounds each, measuring 2.10 moa and 1.43 moa.

I came home from the range trip assuming that the barrel heats up quickly and accuracy then suffers.

Springfield 2020 Waypoint Accuracy Trip 1
SpecGroup 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
Distance100 yds100 yds100 yds100 yds
PositionBenchBenchBenchBench
Rifle2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint
AmmoHornady BlackHornady BlackFederal Gold Medal MatchFederal Gold Medal Match
Bullet Weight140 gr140 gr140 gr140 gr
Shots Fired5555
Group Size (In.)0.83"0.89"1.48"2.20"
Group Size (MOA)0.790.851.422.10

A week later, I went to the range again and decided that I was going to only shoot four groups (not shoot all day and just take the best groups) of 5 rounds each of different ammo and let the rifle cool completely between each group.

I shot the first group with Hornady Black 140 gr 6.5 Creedmoor ammo and achieved a 0.48 minute of angle 5 round group. Not bad for me or the first group after getting out of my truck.

I let the rifle cool completely and then shot an abysmal 1.71 moa group with 5 rounds of Federal Gold Medal Match ammo. Huh? Again? Maybe it really is the ammo, or the combination of that ammo in this rifle.

I let the rifle cool again and then, just for fun as a bit of a “control” group, I shot 5 rounds of Sellier & Bellot 140 gr FMJ ammo. This ammo is clearly budget ammo and I was blown away to see a 0.66 moa 5-shot group. Yes, the Springfield Waypoint 2020 is capable of GREAT  accuracy, even with budget ammo.

With the poor results from the Federal ammo and great results from the Hornady and S&B ammo, I wanted to give Federal another chance to see if I just shot a bad group (it happens).

After the rifle cooled completely, I shot another 5 round group with the Federal Gold Medal Match. It was so bad (a bit over 2 MOA), I didn’t even measure it precisely.

So, for accuracy, the 2020 Waypoint is capable if phenomenal accuracy, with certain ammo. I’m not sure if this is a sensitivity of the rifle or if it’s an issue with new Federal GMM ammo.

Springfield 2020 Waypoint Accuracy Trip 2
SpecGroup 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
Distance100 yds100 yds100 yds100 yds
PositionBenchBenchBenchBench
Rifle2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint2020 Waypoint
AmmoHornady BlackFederal Gold Medal MatchSellier & BellotFederal Gold Medal Match
Bullet Weight140 gr140 gr140 gr140 gr
Shots Fired5555
Group Size (In.)0.50"1.80"0.69"2.00+"
Group Size (MOA)0.481.710.662.00+

Once I knew it shot well, it was time to take it onmy elk hunt in Northern New Mexico.

The Springfield 2020 Waypoint rifle performed great on my hunt.

It was light, easy to carry and handle, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do: put down my elk.

The rifle was exposed to some very cold nights and mornings (I left it outside overnight in 5 degree weather), it bounced around a bit in a truck, and I drug it through brush and up and around the hills.

The Waypoint was a pleasure to carry due to its weight and balance, it held up well, and it was completely reliable. It was also at-home shooting off of a tripod – this really is a hybrid of a tactical/target rifle and a hunting rifle.

After trudging through the woods on an elk hunt, I shot it for accuracy again – it still shoots great!

One final note: I have mixed feelings about adjustable cheekpieces (especially those which are held in place with a tension screw).

I’m a strong believer that you you should mount your scope on your rifle so that it fits you properly and an adjustable cheek piece is excellent for this purpose. However, in my experience, adjustable cheekpieces all eventually slip and fall down right when you least want them to. Be careful here and check the tension of the adjustment screw.

A good thing that Springfield did with their adjustable cheekpiece is they put reference marks that make it easy for you to note the correct setting for you and return the cheekpiece to this setting if needed.

Unfortunately, as with many adjustable cheek pieces on bolt action rifles, the cheekpiece needs to be removed to take out the bolt for cleaning. Springfield could have solved this by making a small notch in the front of the cheekpiece as other manufacturers have – let’s hope they do.

Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint Pros and Cons

  • Capabale of excellent accuracy
  • Very lightweight and handy
  • Reliable and functions well (2nd rifle)
  • Excellent trigger
  • Gorgeous rifle
  • Smooth Action
  • Good Ergonomics/Fits Well
  • Pressure signs/problems with first rifle
  • Barrel heats up quickly

Report Card

Reliability

Mixed results. The second rifle was very reliable, the first rifle’s ejector got stuck but it may not have been the rifle’s fault.

B-
Accuracy

Very good. Some amazing groups were shot, even with budget ammo, but it doesn’t like Federal GMM.

A
Shootability

What’s not to love? A smooth bolt, a great trigger, and reliable feeding from detachable Magpul magazines.

A+
Ergonomics

Excellent ergonomics of a target rifle make it easy to shoot, and it’s light enough to hunt with.

A+
Value

Tough call. I think there’s a TON of value with this rifle because to build something similar would cost twice as much (at least), however the price point might be too high for many.

A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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Springfield Armory Waypoint 2020 Starter Pack 

So, you’ve decided to pick up a Springfield Armory Waypoint….It’s a solid rifle that’s super shootable, and you’ll definitely get some great use out of it. However, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to pick up in order to maximize its potential and your safety.

  • Magazines: AICS Magazines at EuroOptic. Just be sure you grab the proper caliber for your rifle. Oh, and as a reminder, these are not the same as AR-10 mags. They need to be AICS.
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
  • Shooting Glasses: All it takes it one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
  • Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and deterimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.

2020 Waypoint Rifle Deals

If you are interested in picking up the Springfield Waypoint 2020, there are a few places that you should look into first. With the current market, these prices are extremely subject to change. The one featured here reflect the price at time of writing.

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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4 COMMENTS

      1. Don’t listen to him. Springfield Armory, the commerical company that builds this bolt-action rifle was created in 1974. They are based in IL. They have never made a bolt action rifle. They make 1911s, polymer XD pistols, M1a’s, etc.

        The US military Springfield Armory was located in MA and has nothing to do with the commerical company that makes this rifle.

        The only thing Springfield Armory has in common with he US Military armory is the name!

    1. Springfield Armory, Inc., is an American commercial firearms manufacturer and importer based in Geneseo, Illinois. Founded in 1974 by Bob Reese, the company produces rifles such as the M1A and handguns such as the XD series and Hellcat. The company is unrelated to the like-named former manufacturer of US military firearms in Massachusetts, Springfield Armory.

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