By: Warren Gray

Copyright © 2024

“The Springfield 2020 Redline is accurate and at home in the mountains…

It’s a damn fine-shooting gun, especially considering its weight…the complete

package of accuracy, shootability, heat dissipation, and suppressor compatibility…

The best test for any mountain rifle is to bring it to the field…it was time to shoot

a [Dall] sheep with it [in Alaska]. My shot was at 300 yards…a clean, solid shot,

putting an old ram down within a few yards of where he’d stood.”

— Tyler Freel, for Outdoor Life, October 27, 2023

In July 2023, Springfield Armory introduced their brand-new Model 2020 Redline bolt-action mountain rifle in .308 Winchester or 6.5mm Creedmoor, featuring a roll-wrapped, carbon-fiber, barrel sleeve for light weight and heat dissipation, around a 16-inch or 20-inch, threaded, BSF 416R stainless-steel, free-floating barrel, with a factory, radial-port, muzzle brake attached. Its most noticeable component, however, is the factory-camouflaged Grayboe Trekker carbon-fiber, synthetic stock, hollowed out and trimmed down to reduce weight, and tipping the scales at a mere 1.75 pounds, for a rifle with an overall weight of just six pounds, three ounces.

The Model 2020 Redline action is essentially an upgraded Remington 700 (this author’s favorite hunting rifle) design, with a classic, two-lug, nitride-coated bolt that is spiral fluted, tool steel. The bolt lift is light and smooth, and ejects brass crisply. A TriggerTech Field Model 700 fully adjustable trigger is standard equipment, factory set at three pounds, nine ounces, but adjustable from 2.5 pounds to five pounds of pull. The rifle comes with a factory guarantee of .75 MOA accuracy, offering “a three-shot group at 100 yards, with quality, match-grade factory ammunition, in the hands of a skilled shooter,” and actual testing in the field resulted in .701-inch for the best groups, with an overall average of 1.11 inches.

A one-inch, rubber recoil pad helps to tame felt recoil, with quarter-inch spacers for adjusting the length of pull from 13.25 to 14.25 inches, or even out to 16 inches, with additional spacers. The receiver is stainless steel, with a military-green Cerakote H-264 finish. Detachable magazines in either caliber are three-round, flush-fitting, AICS-style, polymer, short-action models, and a rifle case is included with each Redline.

Springfield 2020 Redline rifles use an AICS-pattern, detachable magazine. Photo credit: Springfield Armory

Field and Stream magazine wrote on December 27, 2023, that, “We tested it with the 16-inch barrel…to support the growing trend of suppressed hunting. In fact…if you purchase a new Redline rifle, you can claim a free, $200 tax stamp from Silencer Central, if you also purchase a suppressor from them…a first-of-its-kind offer to come with a hunting rifle.”

The Redline’s short length makes it light and easy to handle, especially for snap-shooting at fleeting targets, and the 16-inch barrel readily accepts a suppressor, for those who like to hunt quietly, without hearing protection. For dedicated hunters deep in the mountains, this special rifle is in a class of its own, with tremendous features. Its greatest assets are its compact size and light weight.

Outdoor Life magazine noted on October 27, 2023, that, “The rifle is a perfect fit for suppressors. These shorter barrels will result in a small velocity loss, but they can be fitted with a lightweight suppressor…The 16- and 20-inch barrel configurations are ideal for an ultralight suppressor like the Silencerco Scythe Ti…Finding the optimal balance of weight, ergonomics, and backcountry functionality is a mountain hunter’s holy grail.” Most suppressors reduce the report of a .308 Redline to 135 decibels, and add only eight to 10 ounces of weight at the muzzle.

In fact, Tyler Freel of Outdoor Life magazine took this nine-year-old Dall ram in Alaska with a Springfield Armory Model 2020 Redline with a 20-inch barrel in 6.5mm Creedmoor at 300 yards, using a Leupold VX2 2-7x33mm scope, so it’s quite capable of harvesting big game in the rugged mountains. A small, bubble level at the rear of the action tang is useful for long-range shooting.

I’m a great fan of compact, powerful hunting rifles like this one, and my own Remington 700 ADL in .30-06 has a professionally shortened barrel of 18.8 inches, just long enough to maintain a slight advantage in range and muzzle velocity over a similar .308 rifle. Veteran hunter Ron Spomer wrote in November 2016, that, “Short barrels bother some hunters. They shouldn’t…Deer, elk, moose, bears…don’t know what hit them…Consider saving some weight and making your rifle easier to maneuver.”

The Redline is offered in either .308 Winchester or 6.5mm Creedmoor (6.5CM), two of the most-popular wild-game hunting cartridges today. In military service, the U.S. Special Operations Command has recently been replacing their .308 (7.62mm) rifles with 6.5mm Creedmoor models, having discovered during extensive testing in October 2017 that the 6.5CM chambering doubled hit probability at 1,000 meters, increased effective range by at least 40 percent, reduced wind drift by 30 to 40 percent, and retained 30 percent more energy, all with significantly less recoil than standard 7.62mm rounds.

Its long, slender projectiles are known for their high sectional density and ballistic coefficients, with the bullets remaining supersonic and highly accurate (sub-half-minute-of-angle) beyond 1,200 yards. Using lighter loads, it can duplicate the muzzle velocity and trajectory of the mighty .300 Winchester Magnum, while generating significantly less recoil. It can take the same game as a .308, do it just as well as a .308 at close ranges, and absolutely dominates the field at longer ranges.

Springfield Armory Model 2020 Redline, with 16-inch barrel and Leupold scope. Photo credit: Springfield Armory

With that being said, the Springfield Armory Model 2020 Redline is certainly a superb mountain rifle, but all of that weight reduction and barrel technology comes at a definite cost. The suggested retail price is a staggering $2,299, well outside of my financial comfort zone, but Outdoor Life magazine concluded that, “The Springfield holds its own. There aren’t many rifles in this price range that can objectively beat the 2020 Redline.”

Field and Stream added that a similar, lightweight mountain rifle might exist somewhere, “But that rifle might not be as light, or shoot as well as the Redline.” It’s the perfect hunting firearm for long treks in rugged terrain, a new, ultra-modern design for a specialized market. The 2020 Redline comes with a hefty price tag, but as the German philosopher and theologian Gabriel Biel wrote in 1490, “You get what you pay for.”

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Warren Gray is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism, and is an NRA member. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and hunter.