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Mossberg 464 SPX Review – A Tactical Lever Gun that Delivers

Does the lever action gun still have a place for personal protection? In this Mossberg 464 SPX review, I answer that question.

Yes.

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.

Mossberg 464 SPX Review

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.

Mossberg 464 SPX Tactical Rifle Review

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.

Muzzle Device on Mossberg 464 SPX

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.

Weaponlight Mounted on the 464 SPX Lever Action Rifle

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.

Sights on Mossberg 464 SPX Rifle

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

Caliber.30-30 Win
Magazine Capacity6 rounds
Barrel Length16.25″
Weight7.0 lbs
Sightsfiber optic, 3-dot
Finishmatte blued
Stock6-position adjustable
MSRP (at time of review)$574

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.

ATI Stock on Mossberg Lever Action Rifle

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.

Trigger Safety on Mossberg 464 SPX rifle

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.

Ammunition Performance

I tested the gun with three different loads: one each from Hornady, Remington and Winchester.

VelocityEnergyAccuracy
Hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr FTX2,231 fps1,768 ft-lbs2.5″
Remington Core Lokt 150 gr SP2,232 fps1,659 ft-lbs5.5″
Winchester Super X 150 gr2,191 fps1,599 ft-lbs3.5″
Performance measured with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph at an approximate distance of 15′ from the muzzle of the pistol. All measurements are an average of five shots.Accuracy measurements represent the best 5-shot group at 100 yards from a sandbag rest.

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″

Mossberg 464 SPX Accuracy Testing

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.

Shooting the 464 SPX Review

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.

Beautiful Woman Shooting Mossberg Lever Action Rifle

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

Disclosure

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.

GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website.I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.

Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.

The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.

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.

I just ask that you keep things civil and free of profanity. I want this to be a family-friendly site.

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New Reviews Posted Up

The news section of the site has been a bit quiet since I shifted the focus of the site slightly. Instead of trying to pump out the latest news and press release information, I am focusing on providing more reviews of gun related products. As one of the few sites that fully discloses all biases in each review -and- doesn’t have annoying advertising plastered all over, I hope that the product evaluations I write are a help to you.

Ammunition Performance in Revolver

Here are some of the latest reviews I have published:

  • Anker LC90 Flashlight Review – Flashlights are must-have piece of equipment for daily life and self-defense. Although Anker tries to position this as a tactical flashlight, it is better suited for daily use in my opinion. I have a full review of it including runtimes and an examination of its questionable specifications.
  • Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun – Sadly, I wrote this review some time ago and failed to link to it from the rest of the site. So, this one sat unread by most people. While not “new” in the sense that I just wrote it, it is likely “new to most people” because it hasn’t been seen by many people at all.
  • Caldwell Platinum Series G3 Electronic Hearing Protection Review – These earmuffs proved to be a bad deal at any price. Feel free to read the full story, but the short story is hard pass.
  • Defensive Revolver Fundamentals Review – A great book about the use of revolvers in self-defense by recognized expert Grant Cunningham.
  • IWI Tavor X95 Review – The X95 proved to be a great shooting rifle. And while its price tag is larger than the budget of many shooters, it is a top-shelf, compact rifle that was reliable and accurate.
  • Ruger American Compact Pistol Review – Beefy. Generally, this is not a term associated with a compact handgun. Nevertheless, the Ruger American Compact pistol is just that. It works well, though it is not my first choice for concealed carry.
  • SIG SAUER P320 Airgun Review – This might be a fun gun to play with, but its not a training pistol. It has some positive aspects, but don’t expect it to replace your actual P320 for practice or training.
  • SIG SAUER Airgun Accessories – In addition to the P320 above, I looked at a number of airgun accessories from SIG: a Texas star spinner, reflex target and a quad shooting gallery.
  • Smith & Wesson Model 66 Review – I take a look at a pair of the modern manufactured .357 Magnum wheelguns from Smith. Some purists won’t like the two-piece barrel design, but these were good shooting handguns.
  • Taurus Spectrum Review – As much as I want Taurus to succeed, the company can’t seem to make a working gun at launch or fix its customer service woes. I detail both in this review.

I have also updated these reviews to reflect new versions of the books that have been released.

  • Black Man with a Gun – From my brother from another, Kenn Blanchard released a follow up to the original book. I updated the review to include information on the new tome.
  • Cartridges of the World – This is one of my go-to reference books for firearms information. The updated edition has been expanded and includes even more information than before.
  • Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson – Another fantastic resource, this book is a must have for any S&W collector. The current edition is even better than the previous – and I was not sure that would be possible.
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Taurus 856: Return of a Classic Revolver

[Editor’s note: Taurus announced the new Defender 856 at the 2020 SHOT Show. The new guns are +P rated with a 3″ barrel and a front night sight.]

Taurus USA announced the return of the Model 856 revolver.

While the gun is interesting on its own, I find that it is an even more compelling introduction when it is put head-to-head with the Colt Cobra. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s first take a look at what the gun is.

Just the Facts

At its most basic, the Taurus 856 is a 6-shot, compact revolver with a steel frame. It comes in at less than 1.5 pounds unloaded and is chambered for the venerable .38 Special cartridge.

Taurus 856 revolver

The gun has sights typical to concealed carry revolvers of this size: a fixed front ramp with a trench-style rear that is integral to the frame and top strap.

Taurus uses a set of its own rubber stocks on the gun. I’ve not had a chance to shoot a gun with these grips yet, but they look to be an improvement over some of the grips the company used in the past. The profile looks similar to Pachmayr Compac grips I’ve used occasionally on my Smith & Wesson J-frames.

(Update: Taurus will introduce new frame colors for the 856 at the 2019 SHOT Show.)

Six Shots or Only Five?

When Dirty Harry asked that question, he was talking about the rounds in his 6-shot .44 Magnum. But a lot of cops were asking themselves the same question when that movie was released. Should their backup gun hold six shots, or only five?

While many compact wheel guns use a 5-shot cylinder to decrease the gun’s width, there are a lot of people who are hesitant to give up that extra round of ammunition in their defensive handgun.

Guns like the Colt Cobra battled the 5-shot J-frames from Smith & Wesson for position in the ankle holsters of cops in the 60s and 70s. That single extra round of ammo made the decision easy for a lot of lawmen. A little extra width and weight were a cheap price for 20% more firepower.

With the renewed interest in the compact revolver, companies have expanded their wheelgun offerings in recent years. This includes Colt, that rolled out its updated Cobra in 2017.

Bull vs. Snake

The new Taurus 856 is a direct competitor to the new Cobra. Both are compact, steel-frame revolvers with 6-shot cylinders.

There are differences, of course. Here’s a look at some of their specs:

Taurus 856Colt Cobra
Caliber.38 Special.38 Special
Capacity66
ActionDA/SADA/SA
Barrel Length2″2″
Overall Length6.55″7.2″
Unloaded Weight22.1 oz25.0 oz
Frame Materialcarbon steel or stainless steelstainless steel
Height4.8″4.9″
Width1.41″1.40″
Sightsserrated front ramp, fixed trench rearfiber optic front, fixed trench rear
GripTaurus branded rubberHogue Overmolded
Finishmatte blue or matte stainlessmatte finish
MSRP$329$699

While I would prefer the Colt’s fiber optic sight to the Taurus’s serrated ramp, the specs seem to heavily favor the Model 856 when you factor in the final comparison: the price.

The Colt Cobra is more than twice the price of the Taurus 856.

I would never buy a self-defense handgun on price alone. However, the huge price difference is likely to sway many people standing at a gun counter.

For me, the key differences are the ones not listed in the spec chart above. What kind of reliability can I expect out of each gun? How smooth is the trigger? Does the gun feel good in my hand?

Those are things that I can only determine through testing of the guns.

Final Thoughts

Taurus USA and its parent company have been through some rough years. I don’t know if the bad times are truly behind them, but I do like the guns I’ve seen announced at the SHOT Show this year. The guns expand on the company’s best lines and are interesting enough to bring in new buyers.

Taurus 856 Custom
Since this article was written, Taurus introduced multiple versions of the 856 revolver including this model with special VZ Grips.

The Model 856 seems to be introduced with the same reasoning. It is a known winner and is competing in a popular niche with relatively little direct competition: compact, 6-shot revolvers. With such an inexpensive MSRP, I suspect these guns will be good sellers.

If Taurus quality control can keep these guns in the hands of its customers and out of the repair center, I think this gun can go a long way in restoring trust to the Taurus brand.

Last Update: October 17, 2022

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Taurus 692 Multi-Caliber Revolver: .38, .357 and 9mm

Taurus 692

Rumors of a multi-caliber revolver being introduced at the SHOT Show are true. Say hello to the Taurus 692.

The Model 692 is a revolver that is chambered in .357 Magnum. As most shooters know, you can shoot .38 Special loads from a .357 Magnum wheelgun. The twist, however, is that you can also shoot common 9mm rounds through this gun with the use of a conversion cylinder.

Taurus already offers a 9mm revolver, though it cannot shoot other cartridges from the gun. (Read more on the Taurus 905.) The 692 is designed to give your greater cartridge flexibility with a single gun purchase.

Swapping a revolver’s cylinder is easy and takes just a minute with a screwdriver. One of the things I like about the cylinders on this gun is that they are unfluted. Generally, I like a fluted cylinder, but the unfluted version looks good on this gun.

Taurus 692 revolver

Taurus offers the 692 in two different barrel lengths: a 3″ model for concealed carry and a longer 6.5″ model for target shooting and fun at the range. Interestingly, Taurus elected to port the barrels on this model. The porting should help reduce muzzle rise and felt recoil, though it is possible this could increase the visible flash in low light.

Both versions of the revolver are available in either a matte black or matte stainless finish.

Although many people still refer to revolvers as six shooters, the Taurus 692 is not. It is a seven shooter. In both the 9mm and the .38/.357 cylinders, you have seven rounds. For the 9mm shooter, Taurus includes its stellar clips so the rounds are easily loaded and the empty cases can be extracted without any problems.

Taurus model 692

Up front, Taurus uses a pinned ramp sight. An adjustable rear sight is standard.

The Taurus 692 is a double-action gun that can be cocked for single-action shooting. The spurred hammer is fully exposed.

The suggested retail price on this gun is $659. Your dealer sets the final price, so I imagine you could get out the door with a Model 692 for less than $600.

Caliber.38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm
Capacity7 rounds
ActionDA/SA
Barrel Length3″, 6.5″
Weight35 oz (3″), 46 oz (6.5″)
Sightspinned ramp front, adjustable rear
GripTaurus rubber grip
Finishmatte black or matte stainless
MSRP (at launch)$659

Update from the SHOT Show

Taurus 692 at SHOT Show

The 692 was on display at the 2018 SHOT Show. The gun was pretty much as described, porting and all. The one thing I didn’t like was the huger “TRACKER” logo down the left side of the barrel assembly. Otherwise, the gun looked good. Early indications show a lot of interest in this revolver, so I am expecting to see Taurus sell a good number of them.

Update

Yes, the Model 692 made it into production and can be purchased now. I know that the company has failed to deliver some announced guns in the past (28 gauge Judge cough, cough,) but this one is real.

Last Update: October 17, 2022

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Rumors of New Taurus Revolvers for 2018

If rumors are to be believed, Taurus has a number of new revolvers coming out in 2018. These have not yet been announced by the company, but I have had a number of sources provide details that make them appear credible. So, with a sizable grain of salt, here is what I am hearing:

Raging Hunter

(Update: This rumor has been confirmed, though with a few detail changes.)

Taurus has never been afraid to build a large framed revolver. The Raging Hunter appears to be designed in the same spirit as the Raging Judge Magnum (in .454 Casull, .45 Colt and .410 bore) and the ill-fated Raging Judge XXVIII (a 28-gauge revolver.) Only the Taurus Raging Hunter is a milder cartridge: the .44 Magnum.

From what I am hearing, the new revolver will have a Picatinny rail on the top of the barrel for adding a scope.The barrel is 6.5″ long with an octagonal shape. It is ported. The gun will ship with sights including an adjustable rear.

I am also hearing that the Raging Hunter will be available in both two-tone and black finishes. It will have the company’s recoil reducing grips with the red stripe down the back.

The Taurus Raging Hunter sounds like a revamped version of the older Model 444 Raging Bull. This was a .44 Magnum revolver that was offered about seven years ago. With the exception of the barrel, the gun was nearly identical to what has been described to me as the Raging Hunter. The older revolver’s barrel did not have a Picatinny rail but was vented instead.

Model 856

Taurus 856 Revolver

(Update: This rumor has been confirmed, though with a few detail changes. See the details on the Taurus 856 revolver here.)

The new 856 revolver is a six-shot, .38 Special handgun with a steel frame. It has a 2″ barrel and a weight of about 22 ounces. This makes it a direct competitor to the recently reintroduced Colt Cobra – another 2″ wheelgun that holds 6 rounds in the cylinder.

This gun appears to be a reintroduction of the prior steel framed model 856 revolvers. Those were also 2″ steel framed guns that held 6 rounds and weighed 22.2 ounces. The original 856 revolvers appear to have been discontinued in later 2012. The guns appeared in the Taurus 2012 catalog, but not in the 2013.

The above photo is of the original Taurus 856 from 2012.

Older 856 revolvers also had an option for a magnesium frame that dropped the weight to less than a pound. The new guns do not appear to have this option.

Model 692

(Update: This rumor has been confirmed, though with a few detail changes. See the details on the Taurus 692 here.)

While the two rumored revolvers previously mentioned have older versions of them, this is one that may be a new entity entirely.

The Taurus 692 is supposed to be a .357 Magnum revolver that comes with a 9mm conversion cylinder. This means that you could shoot .38 Special, 9mm and .357 Magnum from the same gun. I know that Taurus offers a 9mm revolver and convertible rimfire revolvers, but I don’t recall ever seeing a centerfire convertible revolver from them previously. (Feel free to comment below and let me know what I’m forgetting.)

The gun is said to be available with a 3″ or 6″ barrel and have a steel frame.

Final Thoughts

While these new guns are just rumors at this point, all of them make sense to me. Taurus has not had a lot of new product introductions in the recent years and could do with an injection of some fresh models. As some of these seem to be reboots of older guns that were popular in their time, I see them as quick wins. With a new CEO dealing with legacy quality control issues and a class action lawsuit, grabbing some of the low hanging fruit is a smart – and safe – move.

Last Update: October 17, 2022