Springfield 2020: Accuracy Without the Price

I don’t have safes full of guns that I don’t need. I do, however, keep a modest battery of versatile and effective firearms. Just the same, 11 .22 rimfire rifles is a goodly number of firearms (in that certain niche). A H&K 416, CZ 452, Bergara BX, Ruger 10/22, and Henry are in the balance. These are easily the most enjoyable firearms I own.

A new addition is fast becoming a favorite. I cannot say any particular feature is innovative, but the Springfield 2020 is a nice confluence of design making for a useful rifle suitable to many chores. I can only talk about the 2020’s six variants vaguely (I have not fired the others), but I find my example well suited to my needs. There are also Satin Walnut stock versions from A to AAA grade. Prices range from $399 to $1,099.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle with bipod sitting on a rock
With a bipod and proper rifle scope, the Springfield .22 is an accurate combination.

The standard synthetic stock model is selling in most shops for less than $400. It isn’t the least expensive bolt gun — by a long way, but neither is it the most expensive. Compared to rifles in the same price range, I feel the Springfield offers good features and excellent performance.

In the esoteric strata of $1,000 rifles, few will outperform the 2020 by a significant margin — if at all.  The rifle’s price is attractive, but performance overshadows the modest price of the base model. Attention to detail, in design and execution, is evident in the Springfield 2020 rifle.

Springfield 2020 Features

The rifle’s primary feature is absolute reliability. Without that, you have nothing. The rifle digests any type of rimfire .22 caliber ammunition. CB caps, shot, .22 Short, the elusive .22 Long, standard or high-velocity .22 Long Rifle. The magazine is a 10-round rotary-type marked Springfield. It is interchangeable with the Ruger 10/22 magazine.

There is no more proven magazine ever invented and built. This allows shooters to take advantage of the Ruger 10-shot magazines, and also, the super-reliable Ruger X magazines in 15- and 25-round capacity. There were never really any reliable high-capacity 10/22 magazines before the Ruger X models.

View of the magazine inserted in a rimfire rifle
The Springfield magazine proved reliable in operation. Note the extended magazine release.

I also used a Bergara-marked magazine in 10-round flavor and a specialty five-shot Ruger magazine with good results. The magazine catch is modern and ergonomic. At 7.75 pounds, the Springfield 2020 is nicely balanced. Not too heavy, but heavy enough, to be a stable platform for long distance shots.


  • Action: Two-lug bolt
  • Stock: Synthetic (tested)
  • Barrel: 20-inch heavy profile, straight taper contour, 1:16, matte blued, threaded 1/2×28
  • Chambering: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 7 pounds, 12 ounces
  • Trigger: Single-stage, user-adjustable
  • Trigger pull: 4 pounds
  • Length: 38 inches overall

The bolt is nicely fitted. There are two lugs for lockup. Some rimfire rifles don’t even have a single lug… The lugs lock at the rear of a machined receiver. The rifle locks up by utilizing the back of the bolt handle and a smaller lug oppositive this primary locking lug.

For a rimfire rifle to have accuracy potential in league with this one, you must have a nicely snug, bolt lock-up. The Springfield is tight. The action is a short throw mostly because you are dealing with a short stubby cartridge. The 60-degree bolt lift is quick and smooth.

Don’t forget you are dealing with a short action, and you do not have to pull the bolt as far to the rear as with a .308 rifle. A short positive movement to the rear and then to the front with the palm open. One reason for smoothness is that the cocking block isn’t in one spot, but in two surfaces. This sounds like overkill, but it seems Springfield was concerned with producing very smooth bolt travel.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle with the short-throw bolt in the open position, right profile
All who handled the rifle commented on its smooth, short bolt throw and positive operation.

The bolt is hard chromed. It is slick, even very slick, smooth, and any other adjective that fits. Like many .22 Rimfire rifles, the Springfield 2020 features two robust extractors. The design is good, and coupled with the rifle’s rotary magazine, feed reliability is excellent. I don’t go so far as to say this is a controlled-feed action, but it is as close as we will get with a rimfire action.

The rifle also features a steel ejector. This is a robust unit that keeps spent cartridges flying. The rifle is far better suited to emergency use than most .22 rimfire rifles. We don’t always have every note covered, so we play the tune we have.

.22 rimfire rifles have done excellent survival work. A two-position safety is located on the right side of the receiver. The safety is positive in operation. Safe is to the rear, Fire forward. Operation is positive.

Man holding a Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle while hunting in a field
The Springfield 2020 is a fine small game and pest rifle.

The rifle features a full length Picatinny rail for mounting RDS or other optics. Interesting enough, the rail narrows around the area of the ejection port — allowing easy access, when needed. The rail may be removed if you prefer another type of base, although I cannot imagine you would.

I was somewhat surprised by the trigger action. It is far superior to what we would expect in a rimfire rifle, but then, we have modern manufacturing methods and attention to detail. The adjustable trigger is a Remington 700 type. There will be no problem in adding an aftermarket trigger if need be.

The original is easily adjusted from a low of four pounds to just over five pounds. On the RCBS, registering trigger compression gauge, my Springfield breaks clean at just over four pounds — perhaps 4.05 pounds average over a half-dozen trigger breaks.

I see no need to fiddle with adjustment. I was not overly fond of the trigger adjustment routine, as it requires removing the stock. Once this is done, the trigger is easily adjusted. I suppose there had to be something to complain about, and it really isn’t a big deal.

I found the issued trigger pull weight fine and have elected not to experiment with it. However, the rifle is designed to accept aftermarket triggers intended for the Remington 700. With the proven Timney option, you may have a trigger that breaks cleanly at 1.5 pounds. I am certain that accuracy potential would be superior with this option.

Range Work

This rifle is a little out of my characteristic orbit. The more I explored the 2020, the more I enjoyed handling the piece. The stock is a modern design with the right geometry for fast handling.

TOp down view of the TruGlo Intercept
The TruGlo Intercept optic features large, easily-adjusted turrets.

The forend is nearly flat and wider than average. This makes for a stable firing platform. The gripping portion of the stock features slight swells and a nearly vertical angle well suited to a rimfire rifle. The trigger finger is in line for a straight-to-the-rear trigger compression. A great deal of thought went into this design.

The comb is raised, but little. The stock is properly roughened in appropriate areas. The rifle features built in swing swivel studs. The length of pull is a comfortable 13.45 inches. The barrel is heavy for a .22 rimfire.

The 2020 features a 20-inch barrel with a ½x28 threaded muzzle. The combination seems penciled in the match notebook for excellent results. The rifle comes with an accuracy guarantee. However, there are caveats included in the guarantee.

The rifle must have good optics, and the shooter must know what he or she is about. I am certain the ammunition involved must be good quality. That said, Springfield is bold enough to guarantee a 1-inch group for three shots at 50 yards. That is a formidable goal for most rifles.

pistol grip stock angle on the Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle
Springfield designed a stock with an angle that aids in maintaining a straight-to-the-rear trigger compression.

Our old stand by the Ruger 10/22 is regarded as good for two inches at 50 yards. You must spend a good bit of money to beat that standard — while the Springfield 2020 is more accurate out of the box. It should be accurate given the solid lock up excellent trigger and heavy barrel.

I did quite a bit of research into a suitable optic. I am not planning on long-range fire in more than a recreational setting. I also felt that the rifle would make an excellent tactical trainer, as an understudy to my lightweight centerfire bolt-action carbines.

Finally, I chose the TruGlo Intercept among optics on hand. I have used this optic on several rifles with good results. As far as quality goes today, a scope costing $200 delivers better performance than an optic at twice the cost a generation ago — and higher end optics are amazing.

I chose the 4x12x44mm version. This rifle and scope combination is useful well past the usual range of a typical 3x9x40 rifle scope. The tube is one inch, and the scope is just short of 14 inches long. Average weight is 19 ounces. There are four models with a duplex or MOA reticle.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle with a TruGlo Intercept rifle scope mounted
The author’s personal rifle is mounted with a TruGlo Intercept.

My illuminated-reticle scope is a joy to use. Windage and elevation adjustments give the shooter .25-MOA at 100 yards. I like the Intercept reticle’s fine center and well defined stadia lines. The reticle doesn’t subtend the target even with a small aiming point. This is important to me and even more important for varmint shooters.

While the scope is affordable, the illuminated reticle still offers 11 brightness settings. The adjustment rings are large and easily manipulated. Even gloved-hand use is a breeze.

To sight the rifle in, firing began at 25 yards. I fired a good mix of loads from Aquila, Federal, Fiocchi, and Remington. Results were good. Once the rifle was sighted in 25-yard groups were tiny. The rifle was easily capable of making what were essentially one-hole groups.

These groups were enlarged by the human factor, not the mechanical factor — as I was painfully aware. Moving to the outdoor range, and a 150-foot distance, I chose several proven loadings. As a reference, accurate loads are usually accurate in all rifles. The top loads may trade places in accuracy rating, and quality firearms definitely prefer one load or the other.

Picatinny mount on the Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle
The rifle’s integral optics mount is rock solid.

A good load is seldom a dog in one gun, and a poor performer doesn’t rise to the occasional. I settled down and properly zeroed the rifle with high-velocity 40-grain loads at 50 yards. These would be the rifle’s primary diet. Remington Thunderbolt was used, and next I confirmed zero with Fiocchi’s copper-plated hollow point.

I had the rifle dialed in quickly. I carefully fired several three-shot groups. There was no discernible recoil, but just the same, the concentration needed and the fatigue in holding steady builds up. I fired using the MTM Case Gard K-Zone firing rest.

Remington Thunderbolt and Fiocchi RN loads were capable of three-shot groups of just under two inches to just over two inches. The Fiocchi hollow point load consistently averaged 1.6 inches. The hot CCI Stinger is a good pest popper/varmint eradicator that I always keep on hand. Accuracy is usually good at shorter range, and this was no exception with the 32-grain Stinger running into 1.75 inches — adequate for most chores.

Next came the CCI Mini Mag. I like this loading for many uses. I held zero and my breathing just right, and registered a 1.2-inch group. CCI Velocitor was much the same. The new CCI Clean .22 proved adequately accurate, if not a relative tack driver, with a 1.25-inch group. Not a tack driver? Not compared to the coming results.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle atop the soft carrying case
The Springfield 2020 is delivered with a nicely-made range bag.

I had on hand a limited quantity of CCI Green Tag standard velocity and sacrificed some of my dwindling supply. Three shots went into .8 inch at 50 yards. Next came Federal’s Hunter Match. I really like this loading.

I’ve dusted off a few rodents and find it reliable and accurate in most any rifle. I fired three groups with the average group .8 inch. I packed up the kit and kaboodle, returned home, and did not clean the barrel.

I was curious and returned to the range in a few days with a good mix of rimfire ammunition. I had found my accuracy load, so why did I keep at it? That is what gun cranks do, I suppose.

The PMC Zapper is affordable. In this case, it gave decent results with 50-yard 2.25-inch groups. CCI’s Blazer is often the most affordable loading on the shelf. I could not get below 1.8 inches, but did not stray much over that either. Aquila high speed was disappointing at 2.65 inches. This is the only load I suffered misfires with — about every fifth bullet — which also occurred with a CZ 452 on hand.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle with the short-throw bolt in the open position
Bolt throw is short and very smooth.

Winchester’s M22 is designed for a clean burn in AR-type .22s. It is also more accurate than you would expect from a bulk load with a 1.95 inches average for three shots. Winchester’s 36-grain Super X hollow point tagged the target with a three-shot 1.35-inch average. I think we are seeing that several loads are well suited to small game, and target use well past 25 yards, while a few deliver truly excellent results.

I fired the Remington Golden Bullet 40-grain loading. Sometimes, coated bullets are not as accurate as lead bullets in the .22. The Golden Bullet enjoys an excellent reputation for feed and cycle reliability, and has for decades. In this case, it surprised and pleased the rifleman with a .9-inch 50-yard group. The rifle definitely meets its accuracy guarantee.

What this all means is that you may sight the rifle with the most accurate loading and use it for hunting or shooting contests. And use just about any old ammo that is cheap for practice.

Final Thoughts

Absolute accuracy isn’t everything. I am not going to sell you on a tactical application for the .22. Although old Hoyt, a well-known revenue agent and eventually professor, kept a .22 in his government car for shooting out tires. Bootleggers like to run.

Quite a few special teams use a .22 for animal control and taking out lights. I run a course with the centerfire bolt gun I refer to as geometric tactics. A segmented line runs point to point. I attempt to take cover and make use of the shortest distance between the points, where I would be in enfilade fire and heading to cover.

Springfield 2020 bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle, with bipod attached
The Springfield 2020 .22 rimfire is a well-designed piece that is well worth its price.

In my minds eye, a threat (not yet identified) has run a parallel line and arrived at my center. I must take him out. I base my training on incidents I can study. If something happens — against the odds — once, then the odds of it happening again are exactly the same, not less. Training should be difficult but flexible.

I ran the Springfield as hard as possible and found it to be a capable rifle. Results were good. This little rimfire is smooth, very smooth, and offers real speed and easy accuracy. It is very good for practice as an understudy for centerfire emergency rifles. Most of what I practice is gun handling and rapid target acquisition.

The Springfield 2020 gets high marks on every point. In the end, the rifle has advantages over other popular rifles. Accuracy is outstanding. Perhaps, it would be even better with Eley or other ammunition choices. Reliability is flawless. The Springfield 2020 is well worth its price.

What do you think of the Springfield 2020? How does it compare to your favorite bolt-action? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

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