The market for bolt action rimfire rifles is by no means scarce, at least now it isn’t. At some point, every firearm brand just decided they needed a version of their own, and I can’t really complain about that. After all, competition spurs quality growth. Companies need to go to greater lengths to win over shooters, and last year, Springfield Armory joined that race. The Model 2020 Rimfire Rifle made quite a few waves at the time of its release. Much of that was attributed to the gorgeous looks of one of the two models. Now that the ripple has settled, I too decided to give both of them a look. Here’s my review of Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire Rifles.
Table of Contents
The series features two models: the streamlined Target and the elegant Classic.
The Target Model is designed with a focus on precision shooting, not pinpoint accuracy, but precision nonetheless. It boasts an extremely comfortable polymer stock modeled after the popular Model 2020 Waypoint and a heavy, threaded barrel. This latter allows for the attachment of suppressors and muzzle devices, which gives you more customization options.
The Classic Model, on the other hand, leans towards tradition both in design and functionality. Unlike the Target Model, it features an absolutely marvelous wood stock – the staple of its classy appeal. It also features a sporter barrel contour which is not threaded. There are four grades of these magnificent Turkish Walnut stocks: Select Satin, Grade A, Grade AA and Grade AAA. The higher the grade, the more detailed the walnut’s figure and grain.
Which ones did I shoot? I got my hands on a Sage Target and Grade AA Classic Model 2020 Rimfire rifles. I can’t describe how much I’m into wooden stocks, and it was an immense pleasure to hold this one. But I got ahead of myself – I mostly shot Sage Target one because I assume not many people will want to pay more for a wooden stock. I definitely would, but that’s me. And this review is for you.
The first thing you touch is the stock unless you grab firearms from a barrel. The word “synthetic” often evokes suspicion or lowers one’s expectations because polymer stocks are, well, not always great. They are often seen as a means to skimp on production costs, but that’s not the case with this rifle at all. The stock of the Model 2020 Rimfire Target takes after the stock of the renowned Waypoint rifle, the brand’s other creation. Truth be told, they chose a good role model. A single grip will reveal the high-quality plastic with a very pleasant texture. The gun feels lightweight, but not in an excessive way.
The butt stock features a slightly raised flat cheek comb. It’s not adjustable, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The countered rubber recoil pad helps the stock feel comfortable against the shoulder.
The hollowed fore-end is broad and flat, reinforced from the inside with five ribs. The fore-end makes it much easier to shoot the rifle off-hand or from one of the regular positions. It also feels like it was destined to be shot with shooting bags: I tried it and it felt like a perfect duo.
The grip on this rifle is almost vertical. That’s no big news – many other rimfire bolt actions feature one (take Savage 12B, for example). If someone feels a bit skeptical, please don’t. Like the Waypoint’s grip, this one also has palms swells and feels pretty comfortable. There is also plenty of space for your trigger hand, which is great for hands of all sizes. The vertical orientation puts your trigger finger at 90 degrees to the trigger, so your other fingers are free to push the grip into your shoulder. On either side of the grip, there is a mild stippling: not aggressive, but comfortable – perfect for such a low-recoil rifle as rimfire.
The Target Rifle Model 2020 Rimfire comes with an impressive 20-inch heavy-contour barrel with a straight taper. Now, one word at a time. Heavy-contoured means the barrel is heavier and thicker than a standard one. It’s good for stability and consistency during rapid fire, and since this model is considered to be “precision-oriented”, such a choice is pretty understandable. The straight taper means that the barrel is consistently thick throughout its length.
This design contributes to the rifle’s overall balance and accuracy. The matte-blued finish adds a touch of sleekness to its appearance while also bolstering its durability. The barrel is threaded 1/2×28, so you can suppress it without any issues. The twist rate is 1:16, which means the bullet will have enough time to make one full twist and start another one before leaving the barrel.
If you are more interested in the downsides of the rifle, you can skip this part -there are none to be found in the action. Apart from being a work of art in its own right, it also happens to be as right as rain. It operates smoothly, and by that I mean it never failed me during the testing, which was quite lengthy. Whether the action just tries to live up to its good looks or such a well-performing action simply can’t look bad, I don’t know. But I know I did not experience a single failure to feed, fire, extract or eject, and with that, I’m quite satisfied.
The bolt is hard-chromed, and while it certainly adds to the aesthetics, the main purpose of this is to increase its resistance to wear and corrosion. I didn’t need to clean the action or anything but rest assured hard chrome will make it a cakewalk even without dedicated tools. The bolt operates with a 60-degree lift, which I appreciate – it feels faster than regular 90 degrees. Since there are as many as two cocking cams, the pull also feels easier, and the truncated cone bolt handle helps with that as well. At the same time, it requires a shorter movement to operate which might require some habituation.
The action of the Model 2020 Rimfire is designed to accept a wide range of aftermarket 700 pattern triggers, and that’s a blessing undisguised. Here’s why.
The Model 2020 Rimfire Target features a single-stage, user-adjustable Remington 700 pattern trigger. Now, the fact that it is a Remington 700-style trigger is great – there are many aftermarket options that are simply stunning. But there’s the rub – to me, the trigger feels too heavy for a rimfire. I see no harm in a 4.5-pound trigger on a centerfire gun, but with rimfire, you’d want as much control over every move as possible.
Sure, the trigger’s adjustable, but you can only make it slightly lighter or even heavier – from the factory set 4.5 pounds to 4 or 5.5 pounds. Of course, there is this potential benefit of increased safety – I bet it would be hard for such a trigger to discharge accidentally. But is it worth it? I’d rather make a one-time investment in a quality Remington 700-style trigger and use it wherever I can. But this one didn’t find any favor with me.
The Model 2020 Rimfire Target uses Ruger 10/22 pattern rotary magazines, which I think is another great decision. Rotary mags and bolt-action make for a great match in my opinion. Truth be told, I didn’t try the rifle with any other mag – saw no reason to. I’m not the kind to mess with a gun just for the sake of it, and the magazine performed quite well. But I watched other reviews before writing this one and will warn everyone who wants to try a different Ruger 10/22 mag. This is a 10-round rifle with a 10-round magazine. It won’t take rotary magazines of greater capacities despite them being Ruger 10/22. If you want greater capacity, go with a regular box magazine.
Springfield Armory claims its rifles shoot three-shot groups under 1” at 50 yards. I don’t know what came over them, I wouldn’t say it’s something worth bragging about. 50 yards is not that much, honestly, so it’s more like a standard rather than an exceptional feature. Was I able to meet that standard? Yes, more or less.
At the range, it was not as much about hitting the bullseye eye, but rather getting consistent grouping, preferably below 1”. I tried CCI Standard Velocity, the go-to round, I tried Federal Champion and Remington Thunderbolt.
I will say that I managed to get groups that didn’t go above the one-inch margin, but it took me some time. Which is fine in my opinion – rimfire rounds are pretty inconsistent when it comes to performance on different rifles. Rimfire guns are known to have almost tastes of their own, working fine with some rounds and throwing flyers around with the others.
Then, there is the acclimation that you need to do when changing the style of rounds. I saw some reviewers jump to conclusions right away after changing the ammo for a different brand and seeing their performance deteriorating. We don’t do this with centerfire rifles as a rule, but rimfire guns need to be acclimated. Doing so is as easy as one two three – just shoot 15 or 20 rounds. That’s it, you don’t need to be precise or anything, just let your rifle get used to the specifications of that particular type of ammo.
My worst group was “2 which was pretty sad since it was only 50 yards and one flier spoiled that. That was with Federal. My best group was about 0.6” with CCI left me quite happy. Most of the groups were within the 0.8-1.2-inch bracket, so technically speaking, Springfield Armory didn’t lie about their rifle’s precision capabilities. It’s not pinpoint accuracy for sure, but, c’mon, it’s a rimfire, most of us don’t get them to do competitive shooting. I would say it’s more than enough for plinking, and there is even some room for precise-ish shooting competitions with friends. But if you need something that can deliver pinpoint accuracy, I would recommend spending a tiny bit more on a Ruger Precision Rimfire. If you are a fan of wood stocks like me, then CZ 457 Lux would be an even better option.
This review wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning my experience with the Classic variant of the Springfield Armory Model 2020 Rimfire rifle. My range friend lent me his Grade AA rifle and, man, it’s nothing short of a tactile rapture.
Starting with the star of the show, the Classic model boasts a traditional Turkey Walnut stock that lends it an undeniable touch of elegance and nostalgia. Grade AA is second to first, so the quality is spectacular. The Classic model also stays true to tradition with a more conventional grip style and has a round bolt handle.
In terms of barrel profile, the Classic model is equipped with a sporter contour barrel, known for its balance of weight and accuracy. However, it’s not threaded, so attaching muzzle devices wasn’t an option.
I must say I had a more enjoyable time shooting this rifle on my feet rather than the Target model. The latter is simply meant to be resting on a shooting bag, while the Classic model feels great in a standing stance.
There’s also a noticeable difference in weight between the two models. The Classic model tips the scales at 6 lbs., 3 ozs., making it lighter and more maneuverable. The Target model, with its reinforced stock and heavier barrel, weighs in at 7 lbs.12 oz.
In terms of accuracy, the Classic model was comparable to the Target one, though I had to try a bit harder to match the result. I guess the heavy-contour barrel does contribute to accuracy. The ammo was the same, I wasn’t able to get a 0.6-inch group, but it’s nothing I would be too worried about. Only wish I had more time to find the ammo it would like – that range friend of mine doesn’t shoot the rifle that much.
What’s the verdict on the Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire Rifles? They are worth a shot. Most people will probably opt for the Target version – it’s cheaper and seems to be more precise than the Classic one, so there is no actual reason not to do that. Unless you are a sucker for a wooden stock like me. What I would change about both versions is the trigger – it just doesn’t do it for me. Rimfires need something lighter, I bet it would have been easier to land tighter groups with a different trigger. Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket trigger options, so should you be willing, you can get both in our sports store.
Check out other reviews by GritrSports team and our contributors:
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What are the two models of the Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire?
The two models of the Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire Rifles are the Target and the Classic.
How does the Target model of Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire differ from the Classic model?
The Target model features a polymer stock and a heavy and threaded barrel suitable for precision shooting. The Classic model, on the other hand, has a wood stock and a sporter barrel contour, leaning towards traditional design and functionality.
Can I attach suppressors and muzzle devices to the Target model?
Yes, the Target model has a threaded barrel that allows for the attachment of suppressors and muzzle devices.
Are there stock variations available for the Classic model?
Yes, the Classic model offers four grades of Turkish Walnut stocks: Select Satin, Grade A, Grade AA, and Grade AAA. The higher the grade, the more detailed the figure and grain of the walnut.
What is the length and contour of the Target model’s barrel?
The Target model is fitted with a 20-inch heavy-contour barrel with a straight taper.
What type of trigger does the Model 2020 Rimfire Target have?
The Model 2020 Rimfire Target is equipped with a single-stage, adjustable Remington 700 pattern trigger with a trigger pull weight between 4 and 5.5 pounds.
What kind of magazines does the Model 2020 Rimfire Target use?
The Model 2020 Rimfire Target uses Ruger 10/22 pattern rotary magazines with a magazine capacity of no more than 10 rounds. You can also attach box magazines with higher capacity.