Does the lever action gun still have a place for personal protection? In this Mossberg 464 SPX review, I answer that question.
From hunting to protecting the homestead, the lever gun proved its worth in American hands time and time again. In the modern era, lever action rifles like this Mossberg do have a place.
In this review, I will show you how Mossberg equipped the rifle, how it performed and where it might fit for your protection needs.
Let’s not waste any time and dive right in.
Mossberg 464 SPX
Lever action rifles have faithfully served lawmen, soldiers and ranchers alike.
Even so, I’m sorry to say that my first impression of the 464 SPX was that Mossberg jumped the shark with the tactical gear. Since I’ve had time with it, I’ve changed my tune.
Chambered for the classic .30-30 Win cartridge, the gun looks a little out of place with all of the modern furniture. From the A2-style muzzle device to the adjustable buttstock, the gun looks like it has been fitted with gear from my AR-15 spare parts box. For some reason, that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.
Nevertheless, the gun is equipped with these things because they work. Isn’t that what we should be looking for in a “tactical” gun – performance over aesthetics?
The SPX is basically a 464 lever action rifle refitted to make it more suited for tactical purposes.
Mossberg shortened the barrel from 20″ to 16.25″ to make it more maneuverable. While they were at it, the company threaded the barrel. As it ships, the gun is fitted with an A2-style flash hider. However, you can easily replace this with a sound suppressor for safer shooting.
Working back from the muzzle, the synthetic forend is textured with grooves to give it a modern look as well as to improve your ability to grip it. Three short Picatinny-type rails are included on the forend at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. These rails make for perfect mounting points for a flashlight or weaponlight.
The hand grip is fitted with grooves that match those in the forend. Farther back is the adjustable, AR-style stock. My test gun had an ATI stock while the newer production models have a synthetic stock with a QD socket on each side for a sling.
On top of the gun is a set of fiber optic sights. The front sight is red while the rear 2-dot sights are green. They are quite bright in both outdoor and indoor settings. In dark conditions with little ambient light, they are harder to find.
A scope can be added to the receiver through the traditional drill and tap method. If you prefer a scout-style scope, XS Sight Systems makes a sight rail that installs forward of the receiver. This allows for the easy installation of a scope or red dot.
464 SPX Specifications
|fiber optic, 3-dot
|MSRP (at time of review)
Out on the range, I shot at varying distances to 100 yards with the sights. I’ve recorded how the different ammo performed in the gun below.
The gun met my expectations in terms of reliability. I had zero issues with loading, feeding or shooting. The lever action was smooth and had no hitches in the movement.
Recoil was moderate and on par with other .30-30 Win rifles. The ATI stock has a reasonably thick recoil pad that made a full day of shooting relatively comfortable.
The trigger pull was ok. While the break was crisp, there was quite a bit of take up before you got there. I felt almost no overtravel.
During shooting, I discovered that hand position on the rifle is critical. A plunger on the underside of the stock serves as a trigger safety. When you grip the rifle, the lever should depress the plunger and allow you to fire. However, there were several instances in which I failed to depress the lever far enough to disengage the safety.
I suspect that my regular shooting of AR-style rifles created a typical hand positioning that is slightly different than what should be used with the 464 SPX. The safety is designed to prevent accidental discharges, but is a potential failure point for which you have to train.
Like other Mossberg long guns, there is a tang safety. Push it forward to fire and pull it back to put it on safe.
One thing I was surprised by was the weight of the gun. Unloaded, the gun weighs 7 pounds. Yet, it feels lighter when handled. I suspect the gun’s even balancing reduces the heavy feeling that an unbalanced rifle can relay. For homestead defense, it is possible that you may have to keep an intruder at gunpoint for an extended period of time. The balance and relatively light weight will make that easier for you.
I tested the gun with three different loads: one each from Hornady, Remington and Winchester.
|Hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr FTX
|Remington Core Lokt 150 gr SP
|Winchester Super X 150 gr
With the Hornady LeverEvolution, I was able to get the best 5-shot groups at 100 yards. They tended to range from 2.75″-3.25″.
Shooting the Winchester loads, I was able to get very consistent 3.75″-4″ groups. Unfortunately, the Remington Core Lokt load did poorly in this rifle. I shot groups up to 7″ wide with a best of only 5.5″
These are not the tiny groups you might expect with an AR, but keep in mind that I was shooting with the standard sights – no scope. Additionally, groups are 5-shots, not the three used by a lot of reviewers.
While the ballistics of a .30-30 Winchester cartridge suggest lower theoretical accuracy than a .223 Rem or .308 Win, I freely admit that the weak spot in the shooting is me – not the gun. Frankly, my eyes and hands aren’t as young as they used to be.
Does It Make Sense for You?
So, does the Mossberg 464 SPX make sense as a home defense weapon?
That depends on you and your needs.
For me, a rifle makes good sense. While I like shotguns and keep a Beretta 1301 Tactical for self-defense, the fact is there are three other people in my house that may use the rifle for self-defense. While all of them can shoot a shotgun, the reality is I’m the only one who relishes the punishment a 12 gauge can dish out.
The lever action gun in .30-30 Win is a proven manstopper, yet it is easier on the shooter than a shotgun. In fact, the lever action rifle is even easier to run for most folks.
So, for my family, the Mossberg 464 SPX makes a lot of sense.
Does it replace an AR15?
Again, that depends on your needs and desires.
For many people, an affordable AR-15 will be a better choice. AR rifles tend to be a bit lighter in recoil and offer up to 30 rounds in a standard magazine. While I’d rather take a deer with a .30-30 than a .223, the fact is humans are easily stopped by both cartridges.
While this shouldn’t be an issue in the US, the sad truth is you can be perceived in a better light by the criminal justice system by shooting an attacker with a lever gun that with a so-called “assault weapon.” Depending on where you live, this may be an important consideration.
If you’re not sure if a lever action rifle is right for you, you might want to check out Grant Cunningham’s article “I like all rifles, but lever actions have a particular place in my collection. Here’s why.“
The Mossberg 464 SPX is a solid tactical lever action rifle. I do not hesitate in recommending it.
Last Update: October 15, 2022
As with all of my reviews, I fully disclose any potential biases that may sway my opinion.
Mossberg provided the 464 SPX used in this review. It was a loaner gun that was returned after my testing was complete. The company did not offer me money or other consideration to write a review of this rifle. Nor are they an advertiser.
I have no financial interest in Mossberg or any other firearms manufacturer. All of the opinions in this review are my own.
Unlike many (most?) of the gun blogs and forums on the internet, GHG is not owned by a large corporation based in who-knows-where. It’s just me and my family with a few friends that pitch in from time to time.
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Questions about anything? Please ask in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve spent any time with this gun, please share your thoughts. Agree with me or not isn’t relevant. The more folks talking about their hands-on experience with the gun the better.
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