Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint 706397939533 6.5 Creedmoor


The 6.5mm is a popular caliber for both hunting and long-range shooting, and two of the most popular chamberings in this diameter are the 6.5 Creedmoor and the 6.5 PRC. We have most recently covered 6.5 PRCs in the June 2023 issue, looking at the Bergara Premier MgLite, the Christensen Arms MPR, and the Springfield Armory Waypoint 2020 BAW92465PRCCFGA. Most recently, we covered rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor in the August 2023 issue, namely the Savage Impulse Elite Precision 57888, Tikka T3X CTR, and the SIG Sauer Cross 65-18B-FLC.

But if you’re on the fence about which chambering might be better, we explored the variances in accuracy, ballistics, and recoil between these two chamberings when shot shoulder to shoulder, plus we wanted to see if there were any differences in barrel materials. So this time, we pitted two carbon-fiber barrels from Proof Research and BSF against each other and used a stainless-steel sporter-contour barrel to give you a familiar touchpoint in a rifle you might already own.

Here, a Savage Model 100 Ultralite uses a Proof Research barrel, and a Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint sports a BSF barrel, and a Browning X-Bolt Speed LR employs a steel barrel. The Savage and Browning were chambered in 6.5 PRC and the Springfield in 6.5 Creedmoor. You can read our earlier coverage on these rounds free as part of your subscription, so for more, check the Gun Tests Master Index at Gun-Tests.com and search for “Creedmoor” or “PRC” to see all of the archived material on those rounds. 

Cartridges are a lot like personalities; all are a bit different, and some characteristics can endear you or rub you the wrong way. The 6.5 Creedmoor (6.5 CM) was developed in 2007 and grew in popularity almost instantly due to its accuracy, flat trajectory, excellent terminal ballistics, and low recoil. It is an easy cartridge to shoot well, and we have used the round in a variety of rifle tests.

The 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) was developed in 2013, and it has gained a loyal and growing following. It has all the attributes of the 6.5 Creedmoor as well as more juice for longer distances, making a 1,000 yards seem like a chip shot. The 6.5 PRC has more than 250 fps more velocity pushing the same weight bullet as the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 PRC uses a larger-diameter case than the 6.5 Creedmoor. The fatty 6.5 PRC cartridge is about 30 percent larger than the 6.5 Creedmoor, so it can fit more powder. A downside is rifles chambered in the 6.5 PRC will have a lower magazine capacity due to the chubby cartridges. Both calibers fire long, skinny bullets that have high ballistic coefficients, so they slice through the air easier than other cartridges, and trajectories are flat. The high sectional density, or the bullet’s weight compared to its cross-sectional area, is high, so the bullet penetrates deeply, which makes them very effective for hunting. The overall length of the each cartridge is very similar, 2.9 inches for the 6.5 PRC and 2.8 inches for the 6.5 Creedmoor, each loaded with a 140-grain bullet. Both can be used in short actions, so your rifle can be trimmer and lighter, which is an asset in a hunting rifle.

Most hunters may (ideally) shoot only one round at an animal during the season, so lightweight hunting rifles are usually outfitted with skinny sporter- or featherweight-contour barrels to reduce weight. However, barrel taper also affects heat response, so a hunter with a skinny barrel on his rifle who needs to shoot more than five shots at time may experience stringing, wherein shot impacts change unexpectedly, growing group sizes. So a skinny barrel saves weight, but it heats up faster, and accuracy can degrade.

Also, the stiffer or more rigid a barrel, the more accurate it usually will be. That’s why target rifles have large-diameter barrels that look like a water pipes. Barrels whip when a bullet is fired through them, causing vibration. The stiffer the barrel, the less vibration and, in theory, the better the accuracy. All barrels vibrate and can shoot great groups as well as bad groups. 

All carbon-fiber barrels are built with a steel internal barrel, called a liner, that is wrapped by carbon fiber. The carbon fiber reduces weight and is touted to dissipate heat. Depending on the barrel maker, that carbon fiber is wrapped and bonded using different methods, which we’ll get into later on.

We all want to be like James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo and need only one shot to slay a deer or elk. Which of these rifles are best able to accomplish that? 

How We Tested

To gather accuracy data, we fired a trio of three-shot groups at 100 yards and allowed the barrels to cool between groups. The next step was to fire three sets of three-shot groups — nine shots in total — in succession, without allowing the barrel to cool. This allowed us to see if accuracy degrades as the barrel heats up. The firing procedure was the same for all rifles. We used a bipod attached to the front sling swivel stud and a toe bag. A CVLife 6- to 9-inch bipod with an M-Lok adapter ($28; Amazon.com) was new to us. The bipod attached to the sling swivel stud on the Savage and Browning. We needed the adapter for the M-Lok rail on the Springfield. The bipod is made of fiberglass. The legs can be independently adjusted from 6 to 9 inches, it weighed only 8 ouches, has no-slip rubber feet, and the legs fold up. For the price, this is good bipod option. We liked how easy it was to adjust and deploy. Attaching the bipod to the stud was tedious and easier when using the M-Lok adapter. 

For optics, we attached a Burris Signature HD 5-25x50mm scope ($650; OpticsPlanet.com) and a Primary Arms GLx 4-16x50mm FFP scope ($750; PrimaryArms.com) with an illuminated ACSS-Apollo-6.5CR/.224V reticle.

The Burris scope has a 30mm tube with an FFP illuminated Ballistic E3 reticle. It has six brightness settings and has crosshairs calibrated to popular cartridges. The PA scope has a ACSS APOLLO 6.5CM/.224V reticle that looks like high-school-geometry homework, and at first glance seems complicated. It offered a large field of view with clarity to the outer edge of the lens. The large uncapped turrets have a low profile; clicks are crisp, tactile, and audible. The turrets are also locking and zero resettable. The ACSS Apollo reticle features built-in target ranging and range-adjusted wind holds from 5 to 20 mph. If we owned any of these rifles, we’d create a cheat sheet and tape it to the stock for specific loads. There are horizontal hash marks for compensating for wind, too. Each click is 1⁄4 minute of angle (MOA), and there is a total of 65 MOA for elevation and windage. The exposed turrets are low profile and have a push/pull locking feature. The Burris Signature has a side parallax knob that also contains the battery and allows for brightness adjustment. The clarity of the glass was crisp all the way to the edge. This scope acted like it cost a lot more. The weight of the scope is only 24 ounces, so it won’t bog you down when hunting. 

That’s how we started out. Continue reading to find out where we ended up.

Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint 706397939533 6.5 Creedmoor


Gun Tests grade: A

Offers an excellent stock with vertical grip, smooth-cycling action, is lightweight, and is accurate. Recoil was mild. Accuracy was less affected as the barrel heated up. A hybrid tactical/hunting rifle.

Action Type Bolt, 2 lugs, 90-degree lift
Overall Length 43.5 in.
Barrel 22.0 in. long, carbon fiber/stainless, threaded 5⁄8x24, 1:8 in. twist
Barrel Muzzle Device SA Radial muzzle brake
Sights None, Picatinny mount, Rem 700 SA Pattern, 6-48 Screws
Overall Height w/o Scope 5.8 in.
Weight Unloaded 7.5 lbs.
Weight Loaded 7.8 lbs.
Capacity 5, AICS Short Action magazine
Stock Carbon fiber, adj. comb
Stock Length of Pull 13.7 in.
Stock Drop at Comb Adj.
Stock Drop at Heel 0.0 in.
Stock Buttplate Pachmayr Decelerator pad
Stock Bedding Pillar
Action Finish Green Cerakote
Barrel Finish Carbon fiber
Trigger Pull Weight 2.2 lbs., TriggerTech Adj.
Safety 2-position
Accuracy Guarantee 0.75 MOA
Warranty Limited lifetime for original owner
Telephone (800) 680-6868
Website Springfield-Armory.com
Made In U.S.

As its name suggests, the Waypoint was introduced in 2020 and offers a near-custom rifle at a fraction of the cost of a true custom rifle. Still, it is expensive, but you get a three-quarters-of-an-inch (0.75) accuracy guarantee. 

The 2020 action is fairly slick and has a 90-degree bolt lift, with a spiraled bolt for added cool factor and weight reduction. The metal wore an OD green Cerakote finish. The receiver top has a Picatinny rail, so mounting a scope is hassle free. The Trigger Tech adjustable trigger is nice and was set at a crisp 2.2 pounds. We didn’t adjust it.

The safety is located on the right side of the receiver like a Remington Model 700 safety. The magazine release is inside the trigger guard, which we found easy to operate. The AICS polymer box magazine holds five rounds, and unfortunately it is located in the spot where you carry the rifle. The extended magazine makes carrying the 7.8-pound loaded rifle less comfortable. In our opinion, this is more of a hybrid rifle to be used for long-range shooting and hunting, but Springfield bills it as a hunting rifle.

The Waypoint’s cheekpiece comb requires a hex wrench to loosen one screw to adjust the height.

The carbon-fiber stock is very comfortable to use, especially because of the near-vertical pistol grip. Our sample had the adjustable cheek combo, which required a hex wrench to adjust. The buttpad was angular with edges that we snagged at times when we shouldered the rifle quickly. The fore end is flat and makes for a steady hold and features M-Lok slots. QD sling sockets are located on the front and rear sides of the rifle. It had an evergreen camo finish.

The BSF carbon-fiber barrel (BSFBarrels.com) is topped off with a Springfield Radial muzzle brake that worked well to keep the barrel down during recoil. BSF produces their barrels by placing a carbon-fiber barrel tube or sleeve over a stainless-steel liner and load it under tension. The carbon fiber does not touch the liner and creates a space around the barrel so it can cool faster.

The Springfield’s Radial muzzle brake did a great job of keeping the barrel flat during recoil of the 6.5 CM.

Getting behind the Waypoint, we found the rifle easy to shoot well. This rifle was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, and in an instant we could tell the difference in felt recoil. Accuracy more or less lived up to the guarantee. Hornady Match with a 140-grain ELD Match bullet produced a best group that measured 0.66 inch, Prime Ammunition’s 130-grain hollow-point boat-tail bullet measured a best of 0.70 inch, and Hornady Precision Hunter with a 143-grain ELD-X bullet gave a best of 0.60 inch. The SIG Sauer with a 140-grain OTM (open-tip match) Match bullet had a best group that measured 0.80 inch. Hey, 0.05 inches is 0.05 inches. With the Hornady and Prime ammo choices, average groups were 0.65 to 0.75 inch and met the stated accuracy guarantee.

We thought the action could have been smoother for such an expensive rifle. We liked that we could load single rounds on top of the magazine and crank them into the chamber. It was the heaviest of the rifles tested, even with the carbon-fiber stock and barrel.

As the rifle barrel started to heat up in the second phase of shooting, we noticed a very slight increase in group sizes. Accuracy increased to about 1 minute of angle, then stayed there. The heat had less effect on this barrel.

Our Team Said: The Waypoint is a semi-custom rifle in that area between a tactical rifle and hunting rifle. We liked this rifle a lot and thought it was well thought out for a newish bolt-action design. We thought the BSF barrel offered the best performance of the three barrels. If you want a hybrid tactical/hunting rifle, this is a good choice. 

Hornady Match 140-grain ELD-Match Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint
Average Velocity 2590 fps
Muzzle Energy 2086 ft.-lbs
Smallest Group 0.66 in.
Average Group 0.68 in.
Prime Ammunition 130-grain HPBT Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint
Average Velocity 2819 fps
Muzzle Energy 2294 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group 0.70 in.
Average Group 0.75 in.
SIG Sauer 140-grain OTM Match Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint
Average Velocity 2438 fps
Muzzle Energy 1848 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group 0.80 in.
Average Group 0.85 in.
Hornady Precision Hunter 143-grain ELD-X Springfield Armory 2020 Waypoint
Average Velocity 2590 fps
Muzzle Energy 2130 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group 0.60 in.
Average Group 0.65 in.

How we tested: To collect accuracy data, we fired three-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 100 yards. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.


Written and photographed by Robert Sadowski, using evaluations from Gun Tests Team members. GT


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