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Springfield Model 2020 Rimfire Classic Delivers Timeless Appeal

Springfield Armory has added a rimfire line to their bolt-action 2020 rifle series that will appeal to adult fans of the venerable plinking and small-game cartridge. There are six models available. All have a three-shot, 50-yard, 1-inch group accuracy guarantee (more on that later). All have a steel receiver, soft rubber buttplate, rigid anodized aluminum triggergaurd/magazine housing, and a receiver-mounted Picatinny rail neatly relieved around the ejection port. If you saw them on the rack at your local gun shop, their obvious high build quality and finish might make you brace yourself before asking the price. But I’m glad to report you are likely to pleasantly surprised.

Springfield Armory Model 2020 Rimfire Classic

I checked current online prices and found the heavy barrel, polymer stock, threaded muzzle, target models selling at $391. Approximately a pound lighter, the traditionally styled Classic Sporter models tested came elegantly stocked in four grades of Turkish walnut with sling swivel studs, laser checkering on the pistol grip and forend, and a weather-resistant, satin polyurethane protective finish. I found the standard walnut model priced at $466, the A grade at $581, and the AA grade at $731. 

Springfield Armory utilized a Remington 700-type sealed trigger on this rifle series which permits easy customization. Out of the box, I found the trigger pull excellent for field use. The trigger itself is broad (.380 inches), flat and grooved on the face, providing a lot of positive contact for your fingertip. The pull is a single-stage with a crisp break, measuring 4 pounds. It’s a simple matter to adjust the pull weight upwards to a maximum of 5.5 pounds. The adjustment operation requires an Allen wrench (included with the rifle); but you must first remove the action from the stock for which you’ll need to get a 4mm Allen wrench to remove screws fore and aft of the magazine opening. If you want a lighter trigger pull for target shooting, the Remington 700 pattern allows for simple user installation of a number of aftermarket trigger packs.

60-Degree Bolt Throw

The cock-on opening bolt requires only 60 degrees of throw to unlock the action. It is a delightfully smooth and quick little action that you can operate with your fingertips. While a youngster would have no trouble manipulating the bolt, this sleek rifle still has an adult sized 13.45-inch length of pull. It’s for grown-ups, and I’d argue it’s much too nice a gun to waste on children. That’s coming from a guy who really loves his children.

The blued steel bolt handle is a separate piece that slips over the rear of the bolt body and positively locks into a slot cut through the right side of the receiver. In addition, it has a safety lug that engages a mating cut in the left side of the receiver. If excessive headspace were to ever become an issue, this design permits adjustment by changing bolt handles rather than the whole bolt. This rifle is clearly built to last, so this is one of those design features your yet unborn adult grandkids may appreciate when the rifle finally gets passed down to them.

The bolt body is bright hard chrome plated for smooth operation and easy cleaning. It has a thick hood above the face to direct gas from a ruptured cartridge (a rare occurrence these days) downward into the magazine well. The bolt appears initially to have dual extractors, however the left “extractor” is actually intended to maintain a sideways pressure of the rim of the cartridge to keep it aligned in the bolt face for efficient chambering and ejection. 

The bolt release lever is on the left rear of the receiver. The trigger doesn’t need to be pulled to release the bolt.

Bolt & Barrel

I offer one word of caution regarding the bolt design. The gas shield on the rear of the bolt anchors in place with two tiny screws. Due to their limited thread engagement, they are subject to loosening and dragging on the inside of the receiver. If overtightened they are easily stripped against the harder 4140 steel of the bolt body. A tiny dab of blue thread locker is a practical solution here.

The 20-inch, free-floated, sporting, tapered barrel has a recessed crown to protect the rifling. Like the heavy barrel target model, the slimmer, lighter (6.7 pounds empty), Classic Sporter is guaranteed to shoot 1-inch, three-shot groups at 50 yards with suitable ammunition and the prerequisite marksmanship skill. Naturally, high-quality match ammo with a smaller extreme velocity spread and a smaller standard deviation would be expected to have a leg up on cheaper stuff made to looser tolerances.

Data

My limited testing data suggested ammo with a velocity just above the speed of sound shot tighter groups than the high-velocity ammo. I cannot confirm this without chronograph data, but I suspect the two different match-grade rounds tested had already dropped to subsonic speed before they left the barrel, which would have made them more stable in flight than a high-velocity round that has to make the turbulent transition from supersonic to subsonic in flight. If you want accuracy more than speed, I’d suggest experimenting with ammo advertised at 1,125 fps or less. 

The rifle functioned perfectly, with both the Springfield Armory magazine and a Ruger 10/22 magazine. With the ammo tested, firing three-shot groups, with the aid of 5X scope, from the bench using a heavy Caldwell Shooting Supplies “The Rock” forend rest and a sandbag for the buttstock, the rifle delivered as promised with all three types averaging spreads under 1 inch at 50 yards. At this point I want to reveal that this rifle is actually made in Turkey, by Retay Arms Ltd. to Springfield Armory’s design specifications. The level of sophistication and precision in certain sectors of Turkish sporting arms manufacturing industry has advanced tremendously in the last decade to appeal to the demanding American consumer market, and this rifle is a great example of their capabilities. Fortunately for us, labor costs are much lower in Turkey than they are here so the American consumer wins.

For more info, visit springfield-armory.com.

You’ll have a hard time finding a more elegant and well made .22LR bolt action sporting rifle. All the Model 2020 Rimfire Classic Sporters have Turkish walnut stocks, and the beauty of the wood grain determines the price. This is stocked in AA Grade showing pronounced horizontal and vertical stripping.

Specification: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Rimfire Classic Sporter 

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Operation: Bolt-Action
  • Barrel: Free-Floated, 20-inch, 1:16 twist
  • Overall Length: 38.25 inches 
  • Weight Empty: 6.73 pounds empty
  • Magazine Capacity:  Removable 10-round rotary magazine (Ruger type)
  • Controls: Right-hand safety and bolt operation, ambidextrous magazine release
  • Trigger: Single-stage, adjustable 4-5.5 pound pull
  • Stock: Grade AA Turkish walnut 
  • Accessories: Receiver-mounted Picatinny rail section, QD sling swivel studs on butt and forend, Springfield Armory logo embroidered padded nylon carrying case
  • MSRP: $839
To protect the rifling, the crown is cut slightly concave.

Performance: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Rimfire Classic Sporter

Load Best Group
Lapua CenterX 40-grain LRN 0.54
SK Rifle Match 40-grain LRN 0.65
Winchester 555 36-grain Copper Plated Hollow Point 0.99
Performance was tested with a series of three-shot groups fired at 50 yards from bench. Bullet weight is in grains. Best group is in inches. Factory published velocities were: Lapua CenterX – 1,067 fps from a 26-inch barrel; SK Rifle Match – 1,069 FPS from a 26-inch barrel; Winchester 5551,285 FPS from a 24-inch barrel.

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