In today’s article, Wayne van Zwoll examines the wood-stocked Springfield Model 2020 Classic Rimfire rifle. The gun was provided to the author for review by Springfield Armory.
Soon after Springfield Armory announced its Model 2020 Waypoint, I snared one for range trials. It was — and is — an impressive rifle! Three other Waypoints have joined me at the bench and in the field, and now a walnut-stocked Model 2020 Rimfire Classic (they also offer polymer-stocked Target models) has joined the group.
It’s no secret the .22 Long Rifle is the best-selling cartridge in North America. So, the Springfield 2020 Rimfire shouldn’t surprise anyone. On the other hand, the mechanism of a .22 has little in common with centerfire actions. You can’t make a .22 simply by fitting another magazine and barrel to a .308, as you might to produce a .243. Nor are rimfire rifles cheap to design. While the .22 LR’s modest breech pressures do trim manufacturing costs, those savings can be meager. Many fine .22s have vanished since the 1950s, victims of rising tabs for labor and materials.
Of course, every .22 rifle carries design elements proven successful in others. Good grief, the LR cartridge dates to 1887 — 30 years after Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson developed what became the .22 Short! Re-inventing a wheel after more than a century and a half of development hardly makes sense!
Details on the Classic Wood Stock .22
Springfield’s turn-bolt 2020 Rimfire Classic (the Classic is the variant with wooden stocks offered in a range of grades) has a tubular chrome-moly receiver, 1.14 inches in diameter. An interrupted Picatinny rail secured with 8-40 screws extends from the rear of the bridge to 3/8 inch forward of the receiver ring.
The bolt body, chromed, with a bright finish, has a well-proportioned handle comfortably angled to the side and, Mauser-like, perpendicular to the line of bore. Its round knob falls slightly in front of the trigger, where it naturally catches the crook of my trigger finger as I lift it to cycle. Dual cocking cams make bolt lift easy.
Dual extractors, offset to enhance feeding and direct empties at a convenient angle, grip case rims firmly. A mechanical ejector kicks cases smartly clear of rifle, scope and trigger hand. The bolt release is a spring-loaded rocker on the left side of the bridge, “centerfire-style.”
The Remington 700-pattern trigger came from the box with a 3 ½-pound pull. Take-up was short. I felt no need to tinker with this trigger. Mercifully, the trigger’s finger-piece is not gold-plated. Its smooth face and thoughtful curve complement the rifle’s conservative profile and detailing. The two-position side safety is easy to reach but not obtrusive. It can be thumbed quietly, but the detents are positive. It does not lock the bolt.
Lightweight bottom metal is nicely inletted. A near-flush latch in front of the guard releases a 10-shot rotary box that’s familiar to anyone who’s fired a Ruger 10/22. In fact, it’s interchangeable with that magazine. Only the logo differs. While a boxed spool can make a rifle thick at this point, Springfield kept bulk to a minimum, artfully tapering the stock in depth and breadth so your eye glides, without prompt, from grip and guard along the trim forend.
Grip and forend have simple panels of machine checkering, 20 lines per inch. Properly slender and open, the grip should make this rifle feel as agile and controllable in small hands as it does in my big mitts. The comb nose is set far enough back that it doesn’t fight with the heel of my hand. Straight, and with a comfortable radius on top, the comb naturally brings my sight-line just over the Pic rail.
A slight lift of the chin puts me on target through the middle of an optic in medium rings. Low rings — or, better, the one-piece, direct-to-receiver alloy rings Talley lists for this rifle — would center my eye on the scope’s axis.
I’m grateful Springfield spared us a Monte Carlo hummock and a plastic butt-plate. The textured black quarter-inch rubber butt-pad on the 2020 Rimfire Classic is handsome and practical.
The rifle’s 20-inch, chrome-moly, sporter-weight barrel on the Classic has no sights. It floats in its channel; but the gaps to either side are even and modest. Rifling pitch is 1 turn in 16 inches, standard for .22 LR bores.
At just over 6 ¼ pounds, with an overall length of 38 ¼ inches, this walnut-stocked .22 is quick to shoulder. The QD swivel studs are properly placed for sling use — on the carry and to steady the crosswire for the shot.
To ready it for the range, I fitted the new Springfield with a 12×42 Sightron scope. Its adjustable objective seems to me a requisite for accuracy trials with .22 rifles. An AO nixes parallax and sharpens focus at any distance you choose. Most scopes without AO are focused and “zeroed out” for parallax at 150 yards. Target focus is then acceptably sharp from around 75 yards to infinity. Hunters aiming at big game over normal ranges, at low and middle power settings on variable scopes, don’t complain.
But high magnification begs the versatility of an AO, whether targets are steel plates at four-figure distance or tiny X-rings at 50 yards. Inside 100 yards, no fixed-focus high-power scope yields the crisp images needed for precise aim. The .22 LR is a short-range cartridge. While turret-side parallax/focus dials have upstaged the less convenient objective sleeve of earlier AO scopes, the sleeve on my 12x works just fine.
A smaller optic might better have suited this rifle’s profile. A few classy “hunting style” scopes are made specifically for .22 rifles, with sharp target focus at 75 yards. But the Springfield bore my 12×42 gracefully. A comely pair, to my eye. Over sandbags, the tiny dot on the Sightron’s thin crosswire permits aim fine enough to swat barn flies.
The Rimfire Classic is “guaranteed to shoot [three bullets into] 1 inch … at 50 yards with quality ammunition in the hands of a qualified shooter.” The ammo variable showed up immediately in my trials. Of four loads labeled “Match,” groups with the Classic ranged from 1 inch to 2 ½! Predictably, Eley “black box” Match that shot board-topping scores in competition from my prone rifle beat all comers in the Springfield. After a few groups, I sent 10 bullets into a 1-inch group. The next day, after dismissing two warm-ups from a clean bore, I managed to keep 10 consecutive shots in a knot less than 7/8 inch between centers.
With good ammunition, I’m hardly surprised this 2020 Rimfire Classic outshoots its guarantee!
The rifle functioned perfectly, cycling many, many more rounds than I’d care to fire with a .243, let alone a .30 magnum!
Any .22 is fun. Ear plugs are enough to mute the snap outdoors, and there’s essentially no recoil. You can fire a .22 where centerfire rifles would annoy neighbors. A backstop still matters, because LR bullets ricochet more readily than expanding bullets from centerfires.
While .22 match ammo has become expensive, and cheap loads are no longer “a penny and a half a shot,” you needn’t cash in your 401K for a weekend of shooting. LR hollowpoints are effective hunting bullets. Some of the most pleasant mornings I’ve spent afield have been in Midwest woodlots peering up into ceilings of beeches and oaks tinged gold by early sun. Rasps of distant crows would come first, then the chirrs of fox squirrels and rustlings high overhead. I’d ease the .22 to cheek, toward the flicker of a bough….
Later hunts abroad, with powerful rifles for bigger game, wouldn’t hammer my pulse any harder!
Springfield offers its Model 2020 Rimfire Classic Rifle at four price-points. The metal is the same across this quartet. Wood figure in the Turkish walnut dictates MSRPs:
- Select Satin walnut: $529
- Grade A walnut: $690
- Grade AA walnut: $839
- Grade AAA walnut: $1,099
In addition, Springfield Armory lists two Model 2020 Rimfire Target Rifles on the same action. Their heavier 20-inch barrels, threaded 1/2×28 at the muzzle, boost rifle weight to 7 ½ pounds. Stocks on these rifles are of reinforced polymer. They’re shaped like those of Model 2020 centerfire rifles — steep grips, high combs and straight, substantial forends. The Rimfire Target Rifle with a black stock retails for $434. The price for its sibling in a sage-hued stock with black webbing is $499.
All six versions of Springfield’s new .22 come with a top-quality, heavy-duty soft case capacious enough for the scope of your choice.
You already have one good .22? Then you don’t yet have too many. Or, arguably, enough.
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!
Join the Discussion
Featured in this article
Model 2020 Rimfire Series
Read the full article here