Waypoint Goes to Precision Rifle School

By Jeremy Tremp
Posted in #Skills
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Waypoint Goes to Precision Rifle School

May 6th, 2021

10:36 runtime

When Springfield Armory unveiled the Model 2020 Waypoint bolt-action rifle, I immediately knew I needed to get my hands on one. My first foray into long-range shooting was taking my M1A Loaded Precision out to 1,000 yards with the guidance of Rob Orgel from ER Tactical. After that day, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to further hone my skills and find a rifle that could be an extension of me on the range or a hunt.

Let’s first talk about aesthetics. Face it, firearms just call to us. The look, the feel, how they make you feel. As silly as it seems, we make a lot of our purchase decisions based on these factors. In my opinion, the Model 2020 Waypoint is a stunning rifle. The carbon fiber stock with hand-painted Evergreen or Ridgeline camo is unique and functional.

Long range precision shooting from prone position
The author takes a long range shot from a prone position with his Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint rifle.

Pairing perfectly with it is the BSF barrel jacketed in a roll-wrapped carbon fiber sleeve. I also think it was a nice touch to Cerakote the action green or beige depending on the stock color chosen. The combination of these along with a fluted bolt really makes the Model 2020 Waypoint stand out from other bolt guns.

Underneath its beautiful exterior is a precision piece of art crafted by Springfield Armory. The heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action, and Springfield spared no expense with it. Top-end features include an integrally machined recoil lug and electrical discharge machining (EDM) of the bolt lug raceways to ensure precision dimensions and butter-smooth cycling of the bolt.

MDT chassis for the Model 2020 Waypoint rifle
For this precision rifle school, the author dropped the Model 2020 Waypoint into an MDT chassis.

Moving forward, the barrel is the definition of precision. The barrel is fluted and wrapped in a carbon fiber sleeve, then loaded under tension. This allows cooling air gaps that promote cold bore to warm bore repeatability. Springfield also includes an adjustable Triggertech trigger, adjustable from 2.5 to 5 lbs. with a patented free-floating roller for a crisp, clean and repeatable pull.

In Practice

My goal was to put this rifle through the paces on my terms. I had a four-day Long Range Precision rifle class coming up with Rob Orgel from ER Tactical, and I knew there was no more perfect partner for it than the Waypoint. Being that the class was based on precision shooting at range, under stress, extreme heat and quick-deploy drills, I wanted to custom tailor the rifle to my needs.

MDT chassis and Springfield Waypoint rifle
Like new clothes for the first day of school, the MDT chassis was a perfect look and fit for the Waypoint.

I decided to install the action into an MDT XRS chassis for a more modular approach. The Waypoint model that I had did not have an adjustable cheek riser, so I opted to bed the action into the MDT XRS chassis for the adjustable length of pull and cheek riser to custom fit the gun to me.

For the optic, I chose my Vortex 3-18X Razor HD Gen 2 with a Spuhr mount. For my bipod, I used my go-to Atlas Bipod from BT Industries. And if you know me, you know I suppress everything I can. For this build, I used my Rex Silentium MG10 suppressor. Not having to wear ear protection during a six- to eight-hour range session is a heavenly day. Finally, I chose Black Hills .308 175-gr. ammo to feed the rifle.

Now that I had my rifle dialed in and feeling good, I was ready for the class. My knowledge and skill prior to this class in bolt-action rifles was pretty minimal, so I was ready to soak up any and all information given like a sponge. On the first day, we were in a classroom setting learning about reticles, mils versus MOA, how to range a target with your reticle, ammunition types, shooting fundamentals, and what to expect on the range.

Model 2020 Waypoint rifle with sound suppressor
A Rex Silentium MG10 suppressor makes the days of rifle shooting safer by reducing the harmful levels of noise the shooter experiences.

The second day was our first day on the 100-yard range. We dialed in our rifles and zeroed our optics. We worked on body position, controlling heart rate and breathing while shooting under stress, and how to streamline our kits. We also tested the tracking on our scopes by shooting low right on the target, dialing up 7 mils, then left 4 mils, then down 7 mils, then right 4 mils and then shooting again. If the scope tracks properly, you should see your shots all aligning on the same vertical and horizontal lines. The Vortex tracked perfectly like a champ.

Vortex precision long range rifle scope view
When dialed to 18x, the Vortex scope gave the shooter a clear view downrange.

We also tested for hot barrel shift by shooting seven to 10 accurate shots in rapid succession. If the rifle had a hot barrel shift, you would see it during this test. To my utter satisfaction, I found that the Waypoint had zero shift on a hot barrel. All shots were nicely grouped together.

Upping the Ante

Day three of the precision rifle school was on the 300-yard range. Building upon the skills we learned from the prior day, we tested our cold-bore shot. For those not familiar, this is the first shot of the day with a cool barrel. We do this test so you can know if your rifle has a cold-bore shift, meaning you may be high or low on your first shot as compared to follow-up shots. Again, the Waypoint performed to perfection. The group from a cold bore was still sub-MOA with no shift.

Shooting rifle from prone position with cold bore
Taking a cold bore shot at the start of the day will show you what, if any, shift in your point of impact barrel temperature has.

I quickly learned that the third day is where Rob really starts putting you on your toes. If we were moving anywhere, we had to run. Every time we checked targets down at the 300-yard line, there was a 600-yard run. Every time we deployed our kits, we had 30 seconds to get in position. Additionally, we had 30 seconds for packing up. This is where you really see how your body reacts under stress. We also worked on shooter/spotter communication and how to hold or dial depending on range and the time you have to take the shot.

My favorite drill from that day was what I refer to as “the tag test.” Rob hung little 2″x1.5″ price tags from about 4″ of string below the target stand at 100 yards. The wind was about 12 mph that day, so the tags were freely fluttering around. We had three shots and as much time as we needed.

Tag test shooting target
During the author’s tag test, the Waypoint proved it could do the job if the shooter did his.

On my first try, I tried to time the shots with the wind. I only hit one shot. Rob explained that when we try to time the shot, we often manipulate the rifle more than we intend to. As a result, we are less accurate. We gave it a second try of three shots. I steadied myself, focused and cracked off three shots after taking into consideration Rob’s advice. We ran up to the target and to my absolute surprise I had hit all three shots into the tag. At this point, I was beaming with pride from the way the Waypoint had performed. It’s way more accurate than I will ever be. I just have to keep up.

Judgement Day

Day four was the big one. Shooting at 1,000 yards. I was in the game, focused, humbled and ready to perform employing what I had just learned over the last three days in this rifle school. I had the confidence to know that my rifle was a ragged hole-puncher. I just needed to input as little of me into the gun as possible and I would be successful.

Long range shooting gear
The final day of shooting ensured the author used all of the training he received in the previous days.

We began at the 100-yard line, confirming our zero. Good to go. We then moved consecutively to 200, 300, 500, 600, 800, 900 and finally 1,000 yards. Again, keeping with what we had learned, we would begin at our vehicles and deploy to our positions in a sprint, get on target, communicate with our spotter, range our target with mils then dial our elevation to make our shots. How did I do? Frankly, I was pretty happy with the results.

Shooting Results

200 yards1.75″
300 yards2.25″
500 yards4″
600 yards2.8″
800 yards6.5″

The Model 2020 Waypoint guarantees .75 MOA accuracy, and it was absolutely living up to that in my hands under the training of Rob Orgel. My next “wow” moment came from another drill Rob had us do. We stood about 20 yards from our rifles. Rob called the spotters to him, showed them a target through the spotting scope, and then said “Go!”. This was a race between teams.

Shooting rifle at precision rifle training
The Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint was an exemplary performer in the precision rifle school.

As we ran to our rifles our spotters had to communicate the target to us. Richard, my spotter, tells me, “It’s a small white object above the number 4”. Immediately I knew he had missed some critical information. The 1,000-yard range has 10 number 4’s from left to right. So, I begin magnifying up to 18X with my scope and scanning each number 4. I notice a tiny spec above one of them.

I called to Richard and he confirmed that is the one. I am on target. I suspect that the object can’t be a whole lot larger than a human head tall, I measure it in my scope assuming it’s about 10” tall or .27 yards. In my scope, the object measured about .3 mils. I did some math; .27 divided by .3 equals 0.9 x1000 = 900 yards. Rob said earlier when in doubt always assume the target is closer. I decided since I was estimating here that I should dial for about 850 yards. Richard confirmed the same.

Improvised long range target
Range estimation is critical to hitting real-world targets at unknown distances.

I used my data and dialed 8.3 mils. I steadied myself, put my reticle dead center on the object, took a deep breath, and at the bottom of the exhale I pressed. Crack. A moment later the object flipped over in the dirt. Hit. That was the first time I really got to put together everything I had learned in the last three days, and I made success on the first shot. Later as we found out, it was a 12”x12” white piece of wood lying on the berm past the targets. My range estimation was perfect.

Men standing with rifles while being instructed at precision rifle school
Learning took place at every turn in this precision rifle class. No time was wasted and students were always pushed to excel.

After flying high from that shot, we moved to the 1,000-yard line. This is where the wind makes a real difference on your shots. We took some time studying the wind and trying to communicate with each other, alternating between shooter and spotter. I tell you even at 18X, with the temperature reaching 85 degrees, the mirage makes it very difficult to see hits and communicate wind calls. Luckily, after floundering some, Rob gave the students a chance by being our spotter. The man is superhuman at understanding ballistics, wind and any other aspect of long-range precision shooting.

One by one Rob let us shoot and called our wind. Three shots each, and then we went down range to check our hits. As we headed downrange, I could only hope I had hits on paper. We approached the targets from the pit, and pulled them down into view, I counted one, two and three. I measured the group. It was 8″! Yes, you read that right. It was .8 MOA at 1,000 yards. Talk about excitement! Just a couple of weeks ago I considered myself a novice at long-range precision rifle shooting. Now, I can shoot sub-MOA from 100 all the way out to 1,000 yards with the Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint.

At the end of the fourth day during the debrief as Rob was handing out our certificates, he handed me a silver plaque that read, “Top Shot!”. I couldn’t believe it! I had earned the top shooter of the class award. I was both humbled and surprised at the accomplishment. I’ve got to give a ton of credit to the amazing rifle and the gear I chose to outfit it with as well as Rob’s training program. I came in with very little experience and an attitude to learn as much as I could, and I came away with more than I could have hoped in skill and experience.

The Gear

And I want to make sure that I also give credit where credit is due regarding my gear. The Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint performed flawlessly. There were multiple times I had hits inside of hits on paper. The bolt was extremely smooth for fast follow-up shots, but not too smooth to where you can’t feel an empty mag.

MDT rifle stock
The MDT chassis allows for precision adjustments to maximize shooter comfort and accuracy.

The MDT Chassis was a perfect fit for my length of pull and cheekweld. It’s lightweight yet rugged, providing you with an accurate reliable way to interact with the rifle. The Atlas Bipod is, as always, indestructible and easy to adjust, making it a breeze to get the rifle on target quickly from prone. Saving me from a pressure headache, the Rex Silentium MG 10 suppressor was pinpoint accurate and very comfortable to my ears without hearing protection.

Virtex scope mounted on Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint rifle in a MDT chassis
The Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-18×50 scope made the grade during four days of precision rifle shooting.

The Vortex 3-18X was a fantastic companion to this rifle. The EBR-7C reticle is intuitive and easy to use, and the range on this scope in my opinion is perfect for 50 to 1,000-yd. engagements. Last but not least, the Black Hills .308 175-gr. ammo was consistent and dependable even in the wind, exactly as I have come to expect from Black Hills Ammunition.

Rifle school instruction
You may think you are a good shooter, but a precision rifle class will make you into an excellent student of long range shooting.

Conclusion

After four days of soaking up information, putting it to use and gaining data, I feel confident and comfortable taking this rifle on any hunts or precision ranges and making my hits with the knowledge and skills I have gained. I feel like I have created a bond with this rifle and that it will stick with me for many years to come. I look forward to more precision rifle classes, range trips or hunts with the Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint rifle.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp is a filmmaker/photographer who turned his passion for the firearms industry into a dream job. Having identified a need in the 2A space, he and some like-minded friends started Offensive Marketing Group to help bring their unique skillsets to an industry in dire need of "outside of the box" marketing approaches. One of the perks is getting access to some of the best gear and training in the industry. In his spare time, he loves to be at the range testing gear and learning to be a better shooter, firearms advocate and content creator.

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