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Mossberg 464 SPX Review – A Tactical Lever Gun that Delivers

Mossberg 464 SPX Review

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.

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.

The quick take:

The Mossberg 464 SPX rifle performed very well in testing. I had a small ergonomic issue with the lever safety, but the gun ran great. If you like the traditional approach of a lever gun but want one with the flexibility to customize for your needs, it might be right for you.

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.

Specifications

caliber.30-30 Win
magazine capacity6 rounds
barrel length16.25"
weight7.0 pounds
sightsfiber optic 3-dot
finishmatte blued
stock6-postion adjustable
MSRP$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.

 

Velocity

Energy

Accuracy

Hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr FTX

2,231 fps

1,768 ft-lbs

2.5"

Remington Core Lokt 150 gr SP

2,232 fps

1,659 ft-lbs

5.5"

Winchester Super X 150 gr

2,191 fps

1,599 ft-lbs

3.5"

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, 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, a quality AR 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.

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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Return of the Taurus 942

Taurus 942 Revolver

Taurus is expected to bring the 942 line of revolvers back at the 2020 SHOT Show.

The new versions of the classic wheelguns will be offered in models for both .22 LR and .22 WMR cartridges, but no convertible revolvers are expected at this time.

In addition to the caliber choices, shooters will be able to select from a wide range of finishes, frames and barrel lengths.

Here are the options that will be available:

 

942 2" barrel

942 3" barrel

942UL 2" barrel

942UL 3" barrel

942M 2" barrel

942M 3" barrel

942M UL 2" barrel

942M UL 3" barrel

caliber

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 LR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

.22 WMR

capacity

8

8

8

8

8

8

8

8

action

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

DA/SA

barrel length

2"

3"

2"

3"

2"

3"

2"

3"

overall length

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

6.6"

7.6"

height

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

4.64"

weight

23.6 oz

25.0 oz

17.8 oz

18.8 oz

23.6 oz

25.0 oz

17.8 oz

18.8 oz

frame

alloy or stainless steel

alloy or stainless steel

aluminum

aluminum

alloy or stainless steel

alloy or stainless steel

aluminum

aluminum

finish

matte black or stainless

matte black or stainless

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black or stainless

matte black or stainless

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

matte black, stainless or anodized colors

grip

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

rubber

MSRP

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

not available

As you can see in the above table, the company will offer these guns with both steel and aluminum frames. The aluminum has the obvious benefit of decreased weight while the steel frame can offer a longer life for frequent shooters.

As with other guns that have been introduced by Taurus in recent years, the new 942 revolvers will be available in a variety of finishes. On the steel frames, shooters can select either a matte black or stainless finish. Aluminum guns have these choices and expand the palate to include a number of anodized colors.

Exact anodized colors have not been announced, but the company’s 856 line of revolvers is suggestive of the possibilities. That line includes vibrant colors like azure, rouge, bronze and burned orange. Likewise, the Taurus Spectrum .380 ACP pistols have a significant number of color options.

There are many common features in this gun line. For example, all guns have spurred hammers and can be shot in either double-action or single-action modes.

Another common feature is that the front sight is a pinned, black ramp while the rear sight is a plain black, drift adjustable notch.

All of the guns have an 8-shot capacity. The guns are also fitted with the standard Taurus rubber grip with the bull logo at the rounded bottom.

I believe these may be the first new guns to feature the company’s new location on them. In 2019, Taurus began a move from Miami, FL to Bainbridge, GA. I’m sure there are a range of reasons for the move, but I know that labor costs, property costs and local taxes are substantially less in the new location.

I’m hoping the company experiences a significant reduction in overhead costs and can reinvest the money back into its quality control processes. The company offers a lot of interesting designs at very affordable prices. However, it has been my experience that the quality of the guns has been very hit-or-miss. If the company can get its QC issues – be they real or just perceived – it can see huge success in the coming years.

I do not have an official word on the pricing of the new 942 revolvers. However, my sources believe the MSRP will be around $350 or less.

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New Reviews Posted Up

Ammunition Performance in Revolver

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.

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

Taurus 856 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.

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
capacity6 rounds6 rounds
actiondouble action/single actiondouble action/single action
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 style rearfiber optic front, fixed trench style 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.

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.

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Taurus Raging Hunter: .44 Magnum Hunting Revolver

Taurus Raging Hunter

Taurus announced its latest addition to its hunting revolver line: the Raging Hunter. It will be officially unveiled at the 2018 SHOT Show.

This massive .44 Magnum is a 6-shot wheelgun with a traditional double action/single action trigger. However, the gun has a distinctly non-traditional look about it.

To start with, the 8.375″ barrel is a two piece design with a steel sleeve inside of an aluminum housing. The housing has an octagonal shape with a large slab sides. “TAURUS” is spelled out along the side. The barrel housing also has a deep black finish that contrasts the matte stainless frame. An all blued version of the gun is also available.

barrel of the Taurus Raging Hunter

Lest you think the barrel assembly is purely for show, it does have some features that may appeal to you. For example, the aluminum housing helps to lighten the load to provide a better balance to the gun. Also, the top of the barrel housing has a Picatinny rail for the addition of a scope or red dot optic.

Taurus also elected to port the barrel of the Raging Hunter. This should help tame the power of the .44 Magnum so that us older shooters who have begun to develop arthritis don’t feel quite as much of the recoil impulse. The porting should help keep muzzle rise down and improve the ability to get on target.

Also helping to tame recoil is the “red stripe” grip that Taurus uses on its heavy recoiling guns. This grip is made of a soft rubber with a red cushioned insert along the back. I’ve found these grips to be fairly good at lessening the impact into the hand when shooting.

grips on the Raging Hunter

Using an aluminum barrel housing may help reduce weight as compared to an all steel system, but this gun is not a featherweight. Unloaded it weighs 55 ounces. That’s about 3.5 pounds.

Taurus set the suggested retail price at $919 for the handgun. Your dealer may be willing to sell it for less.

caliber.44 Magnum
capacity6 rounds
actiondouble action/single action
barrel length8.375"
overall length15.75"
weight55 ounces
height7.1"
width1.8"
sightspinned front, adjustable rear, Picatinny rail for optic
griprubber with cushioned insert
finishblued and matte stainless or all blued
MSRP$919

The “Raging” moniker is not new for Taurus. Several of the company’s more powerful revolvers have had Raging as part of the name. For example, the Raging Judge Magnum was a wheelgun that expanded the .45 Colt/.410 bore Judge revolver line to include the .454 Casull cartridge.

Probably my favorite Raging revolver was the ill-fated Raging Judge XXVIII. It was a revolver chambered for the 28 gauge shotshell. Alas, it appeared Taurus could not make the design work under the legal constraints of the US government and had to shelf the project. At least I got to see one before it was pulled from public view. I imagine it is stored in the same warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is kept after Indian Jones rescued it from Nazi Germany.