We have been fortunate enough to have had our hands on a Model 2020 Waypoint since late 2020. Since we have had it here at GunSpot, we’ve put this gun through the wringer in a variety of different applications.
First of all, we took it on a Missouri Whitetail Hunt with Pro Outfitters. Secondly, we took it to the first ever NRL Hunter Match. This match was a one of a kind that was meant to be shot with factory hunting rifles, so this event was practically calling the name of the Waypoint. Third, we have taken it out for some long-distance days on the range.
This Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint is marketed as a precision hunting rifle, even coming with a .75 MOA accuracy guarantee. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just a precision rifle. So, what’s the difference? While a “precision rifle” would have even better accuracy (although we’ve found the Waypoint can easily best that .75 MOA guarantee), one thing that would be wildly different is weight.
The Waypoint sports an optional lightweight carbon fiber-wrapped barrel, and all models come with a lightweight carbon fiber stock. A precision model would more than likely be equipped with something more like a bull barrel. Also, the weight of the rifle stock would probably be heavier as well. With a heavier gun, precision rifle shooters can spot shot tracing through their scope, and they can also get more consistent accuracy from their barrels even as they get hotter.
Regarding that .75 MOA accuracy guarantee, we found it to be around the ½ MOA mark, and even below that. This means that with the right stability and steady trigger pull you can shoot groups at 100 yards that look like one ragged hole. The Waypoint has crazy accuracy, but the rifle weighs virtually nothing — both of which make it one heck of a hunting rifle.
We had an Atlas bipod, Badger Ordnance scope rings and the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II scope on our gun, and it weighed just a bit over 10 lbs. Having a rifle this light makes backpacking around in elk country something that won’t break your back. Likewise, climbing in a deer stand with a rifle this light will be a joy — instead of lugging up a nearly 20-lb. rifle.
After shooting the Waypoint on the range, it has become clear to us that this gun is designed for first-round accuracy, which is important. The Waypoint barrel shoots great cold. This is great for hunting since that first round impact is crucial; having a well-placed and accurate first round will ethically put down the game animal in your scope.
Now, as the carbon fiber-wrapped barrel on our rifle warms up, we did notice that the group opens up more than when the barrel is cooler. This is no big deal for a hunting rifle since you shouldn’t be slinging 15 rounds downrange as quickly as possible at an animal. On our range day we simply took a break, set the gun in the shade and let it cool off. We also had some warm spring weather for our long range day where we were shooting in near 80 degree temperatures, so it was warmer than most hunting seasons.
You may be wondering how well this rifle shot at distance. Well, in short, the Model 2020 Waypoint crushed it. We had virtually no DOPE on this gun other than what a ballistic computer said, which will only get you close. We also had under 200 rounds through it, which means with every other round the barrel is speeding up since it hasn’t been properly broken in. This potentially creates an issue as your muzzle velocity is a constantly changing variable. So, we brought a Magnetospeed with us to measure our velocity.
To get started, we shot steel targets at 405 yards, 617 yards, 760 yards, 1,082 yards and finally, 1,225 yards. While the Waypoint doesn’t have the weight of a PRS rifle, it does sure perform like one. With a good spotter, shooting out to those distances served no challenge.
The Model 2020 Waypoint is a sweet rifle, but I’m still a consumer who gladly geeks out over guns; so here is what I’m crossing my fingers for and hoping Springfield Armory will do. I’m really hoping we see the Model 2020 in more traditional hunting rounds like .300 Win. Mag., .270 Win. Mag., .25-06, .30-06 .22-250, etc. I think there are a lot of hunters out there who say things like “I only shoot deer with my trusty .30-06, it’s the best round there is.” Trust me, there are people who are unwilling to change and they will want to use their old school hunting round they have been using for 20+ years.
Secondly, and more importantly, I really hope that we will see a Model 2020 that might be a PRS- or law enforcement-style rifle. I have to admit as I type that this I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities!
The Waypoint is a great gun, and I hope Springfield Armory will expand on the platform as they have done with the M1A. Only time will tell, and I’m excited to see what Springfield Armory will come up with!
Editor’s Note: 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!