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Springfield Armory's 2020 Rimfire: Best New .22LR Rifles?

Springfield Armory's new line of 2020 Rimfire Rifles are feature-packed and offer something for every rimfire enthusiast.

Springfield Armory's 2020 Rimfire: Best New .22LR Rifles?

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Despite their being among the most useful tools in a gun owner’s arsenal, new bolt-action .22s have been more or less absent from the market in recent years. Semiautos are seemingly everywhere, but look around for a mid-price premium rimfire bolt gun, particularly one with a wood stock, and you won’t have much luck. Thankfully, there is a new player in that market: Springfield Armory. Hot on the heels of its entry into the centerfire bolt-action rifle market three years ago, the Geneseo, Illinois-based company just released an entire lineup of high-quality .22 rifles known as the 2020 Rimfire series.

Since I usually hunt with a bolt-action sporter, I often head to the range before the fall season with a .22 bolt gun and a few hundred practice rounds. There is no substitute for live-fire trigger time, and a rimfire allows me to get in those reps with minimal cost and extensive barrel life. The fundamentals of marksmanship remain the same regardless of recoil. Ideally, a rimfire rifle will be identical to a centerfire when it comes to the cycling of the bolt and the manipulation of the safety lever. To that end, Springfield Armory’s 2020 Rimfire is based on the basic lines of the company’s 2020 series of centerfire rifles and is offered in variants that are well-suited for their intended uses.

The Classic is available in different grades of Turkish walnut. This sample is AA Grade. The Classics also come with both Talley ring-mounts shown here as well as a Picatinny rail.

These guns result from a collaboration between Springfield Armory and the Turkish firm of Retay, a company that is known in the U.S. mainly for producing quality shotguns. The 2020 Rimfire is a bolt-action repeater that feeds from a detachable rotary magazine. The rifle is offered in two main product lines: the synthetic-stocked Target model and the walnut-clad Classic. I tested examples of both. Although they share the same basic design, they have some notable differences. The tubular receiver on the 2020 Rimfire is made from chrome-moly steel and measures 1.14 inches in diameter. Being a round action, it is straightforward to manufacture and simple to bed into a stock. The bolt is made from 4140 steel and features a bright chrome body and a matte blue handle. Given the number of .22 LR rounds a typical user will put through a rifle during a given range session, the chrome bolt is a handy feature since a quick wipe of the bolt face usually removes all the burnt powder and bullet lube. The bolt handle on the Target version is a tactical-style, oversize knob while the Classic uses a more traditional rounded knob. The 10-round rotary magazine used on the 2020 Rimfire models is cross-compatible with magazines intended for use in the Ruger 10/22. This ensures that quality magazines are widely available.

The bolt throw on the 2020 Rimfire series is a short 60 degrees. The bolt uses dual extractors, one on either side of the bolt body. A fixed ejector sits inside the receiver, just to the rear of the magazine’s feed lips. There is a receiver mounted bolt stop at the nine o’clock position of the action. The top of the receiver on both versions is drilled and tapped for 8-40 screws. An interrupted Picatinny rail mount is installed at the factory but can be removed if other mounting systems are preferred. My 2020 Rimfire Classic came with a separate set of Talley lightweight rings and bases that allowed for direct-mounting to the receiver, lowering the scope height appreciably. I chose these mounts since they put the scope in line with my field of vision, with the stock appropriately mounted to the shoulder.

The controls on the 2020 Rimfire are simple and straightforward. The wide, serrated single-stage trigger on the Classic broke very cleanly at 4.1 pounds while the Target model broke at 3.5. Interestingly, the 2020 Rimfire is fitted with a Remington 700-pattern trigger, so widely available aftermarket units from firms such as Timney and TriggerTech can be installed as replacements. If I were using this as an “understudy” practice rifle, I would install the identical brand of trigger used in my centerfire, tuned to the same release weight. There is a two-position safety at the right side of the tang, similar in location to nearly all Model 700-style bolt-action rifles. Pushing the lever forward puts the rifle into the Fire position, which will be muscle memory for many users. On the Classic, a flush magazine release sits between the trigger guard and the magazine. Pressing upward on this simple push-button release ejects the magazine. On the Target version, there is an extended paddle release in the same position that is actuated by pressing forward. The Target’s release is a bit faster to use while the Classic’s keeps the lines cleaner.

The Target has a larger tactical-style bolt knob while the Classic’s is more rounded. Both guns have the safety located on the right side of the tang.

Although both the Target and Classic models wear 20-inch matte blue barrels, the profiles are different. The Target is fitted with a heavy, straight-profile barrel that’s threaded 1/2x28. The Classic has more of a sporter-weight barrel with a No. 1 contour. The Classic’s muzzle is not threaded. Both variants use a 1:16 twist. Thanks to the beefier barrel contour on the Target, the rifle weighs a full 20 ounces more than the Classic. Despite the different profiles, both the Target and the Classic models come with a one-inch at 50 yards accuracy guarantee. The most outwardly striking difference between the Target and Classic models is the stock. The Target comes equipped with a modern synthetic stock molded from reinforced polymer. There is a high comb that provides an appropriate cheek weld for rail-mounted optics. The grip is nearly vertical with textured palm swells that fill the hand. The wide, flat fore-end is ideal for resting over a bag or barricade and has textured panels on each side. Two sling swivel studs are included.

Overall, the stock takes many design cues from precision rifles and, with the emergence of precision rimfire matches, the 2020 Rimfire Target might become a popular choice. The Target model is available in two color schemes: sage with black webbing and simple black. Although I enjoyed shooting the Target model, it was the walnut-stocked Classic that got me excited. As the name suggests, the stock is classically styled with a straight comb, a pistol grip and a medium-size, rounded fore-end. Four textured panels are etched into the pistol grip and fore-end. The finish on the Classic is a smooth satin. The Classic comes in four grades of wood and is priced accordingly: Select Satin, $529; Grade A, $690; Grade AA, $839; and Grade AAA, $1,099. My test rifle was stocked in Grade AA Turkish walnut made from an attractive blank with contrasting mineral streaks running the length of the stock.

The synthetic stock on the Target model has a high comb and a vertical pistol grip, taking many design cues from precision-competition rimfire rifles.

Rimfire-appropriate Leupold scopes were mounted to each rifle. Based on their respective comb heights, I chose the Picatinny mount for the Target Model and the Talley mounts for the Classic. Both rifles were tested for accuracy at 50 yards in calm wind conditions. With virtually no recoil, minimal blast, comfortable stock dimensions and good triggers, the rifles were a pleasure to shoot. Both rifles were suitably accurate, easy to operate and 100 percent reliable. With the CCI Standard Velocity 40-grain load, both rifles met the advertised accuracy standard.

These two rifles make a great example of how velocities can vary from barrel to barrel. Though they came out of the same factory and were tested using the same ammunition, the Classic consistently produced higher muzzle velocities than its synthetic-stocked counterpart. That reality is one of the reasons rifles are so interesting to me: Like their owners, they are all a little bit different. I was excited when I first heard these rifles were being launched and I wasn’t disappointed. Whether you are looking for a rimfire to complement your centerfire Springfield Armory 2020 or just want a well-made .22, the 2020 Rimfire is an attractive choice. Springfield is one company that is always on the move, pushing into new and interesting product categories. I am pleased that it chose to enter the bolt-action rimfire market and believe the 2020 Rimfire is a series of rifles befitting of the storied company name.

Both models use aluminum bottom metal and feed from magazines compatible with the Ruger 10/22. The Classic has a flush mag-release button while the Target’s is an extended paddle.

Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire Specs

  • Type: Bolt-action rimfire
  • Caliber: .22 LR 
  • Barrel: 20 in., 1:16-in. twist sporter chrome-moly steel
  • Overall Length: 38.25 in. 
  • Weight: 6 lbs., 3 oz. 
  • Finish: Matte blue
  • Stock: American sporter-style Grade AA Turkish walnut (tested)
  • Sights: None: drilled and tapped 8-40 for scope mounts; comes with Picatinny rail and Talley lightweight ring mounts
  • Safety: Receiver-mounted two-position
  • Trigger: Single-stage, 4.15 lbs. (measured) 
  • MSRP: $839 (tested)
  • Manufacturer: Springfield Armory

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