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Review: Mossberg 464 SPX Lever-Action Rifle

Mossberg 464 SPX lever-action rifle

When folks see a lever-action rifle they think hunting, probably deer hunting, maybe hog hunting. Just the same, the lever-action rifle has been the go-to rifle for personal defense in many camps for well over 100 years. I kept a Winchester ’94 in the cruiser for years. The LAPD and Washington State Patrol issued these rifles well into the 1980s.

During World War II, the famous Canada Rangers were armed with the .30-30 rifle, patrolling territory not far from Japanese incursions.

The Mossberg SPX is a modern rifle that may look quite different and specialized. It seems that it’s a survival rifle intended for personal defense.

It is, but it also takes the place of a youth model lever-action or a light, handy carbine for hunting. It does a lot of things well, and for the most part, better than most rifles.

muzzle break and fiber-optic sight on mossberg 464 SPX
A red fiber fiber-optic front sight and threaded muzzle brake are among the Mossberg 464 SPX advantages.

Mossberg 464 SPX Features

The Mossberg 464 SPX features an AR-type rifle stock with six adjustments. It will fit shooters of all sizes and can also be adjusted for different levels of clothing depending on the season. The three-railed forend will accommodate lights and lasers. Unlike many lever-action rifles, the Mossberg 464 easily accommodates a scope mount.

This isn’t a cowboy lever-action rifle, but anyone who has used a lever-action rifle could pick up the Mossberg and fire it — as long as he or she understands the new style of manual safety.

The Mossberg is available in traditional models, if you prefer that style. The rifles look a lot like the Winchester 1894.

The bolt locks up tightly and operates smoothly. The lever-action is best handled by quickly moving the lever forward, not down, and the return is smooth. The feed mechanism is a little modified and may be superior to the original 1894 design.

lever-action rifle bolt throw
The Mossberg 464 rifles use a round bolt.

The Mossberg is drilled and tapped for easy scope mounting. The bolt is round, rather than the 94’s square bolt. This means the bolt may be more like a bolt-action rifle bolt, and the bolt ejects cartridges smartly to the right, as an angle-eject Winchester will.

Ammunition for the Mossberg 464 SPX

The rifle feeds handloads smoothly. The same rules apply to any tubular-magazine rifle. Do not use pointed spitzer-type bullets, as they will butt into the primer of the cartridge ahead. The result could be the ignition of a cartridge in the magazine, bad news for all. Use round-nose factory-type bullets, such as the Winchester Power Point.

For a pure hunting assignment, I have used spitzer bullets, but only one in the chamber and one in the magazine. Considering the ranges at which the .30-30 is used, Spitzer bullets are not needed. The old round-nose bullets are designed to expand at .30-30 velocity and do a good job on game at 50 to 100 yards.

Manual Safety

The rifle features a tang safety that is easily operated before firing. Another safety prevents the rifle from firing unless the lever is closed. A lot of folks don’t even notice the second safety.

mossberg 464 SPX lever-action rifle lever and safety
Just behind the trigger, there is a button that must be properly depressed before the rifle will fire — a kind of drop safety.

SPX Lever-Action Accuracy

The rifle features excellent sights. The front is red fiber-optic and the rear is a green fiber-optic. This is an excellent combination for most uses. The rifle holds six rounds in the magazine, enough for practically any emergency.

The forend was tested with a number of combat lights, including TruGlo, with good results. Firing the rifle was pleasant. The rifle weighs just at six pounds. Recoil isn’t unpleasant, but more noticeable than a full-size rifle. On the other hand, the recoil pad keeps things bearable.

Firing quickly at man- and boar-sized targets at 10 to 25 yards, the rifle proved to be an excellent close-quarter rifle.

I adjusted the stock several times, giving the rifle an overall length of 33 to 37 inches or so, and it proved to be easy to adjust. Most of us prefer the full-length adjustment for accuracy and handling. A youth would use the shorter adjustment. For storage, the rifles short overall length is handy.

After firing a couple of boxes of handloads, I elected to use the Winchester 150-grain RN loading in accuracy testing. I settled down in a solid firing position at the 50-yard line.

Firing five rounds carefully gave me a 2.35-inch group, with the tightest three in 1.9 inches. That is accurate enough for iron sights and for an emergency.

If you are accustomed to the lever-action or if you are a new shooter, the Mossberg 464 SPX offers a great deal of security for a modest price.

What do you think of the Mossberg 464 SPX lever-action rifle? Let us know in the comments section!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  1. I have this rifle and it has been small problem after small problem. I was adjusting the weaver bases when putting a scope on it. I wanted to see if the scope felt better when the bases were rotated one way or the other. The base behind the receiver popped off the screws had metal wrapped around them. Mossberg basically told me I was crazy. And denied that anything was wrong after I sent it in. They confirmed that the rifle was good to have a new base put on behind the receiver. They don’t have a torque spec and told me to refer to the manufacturer, which I did. Firt shot after mounting my scope the back base came off and the taped holes in the back are completely stripped out. I sent it back and they didn’t even address the issue, no word as to what happened at all. One of the worst customers service experience I have ever had.

  2. IF you’re going for the Browning BLR,go for the 358Winchester or 7mm08-either can be made from 308/7.62×51 NATO brass

  3. To me, the only lever action capable of extreme accuracy and capable of game performance is the Browning BLR 81 in either 308 or 300 WSM.

  4. like that tang safety for us southpaws,need 14.5″l.o.p. for my re-attached retina.Try the Hornady Leverevolution spitzer ammo.I’d put a Williams WGRS receiver sight with ghost ring aperture on it or a 1-4x coarse/heavy cross hair scope.What was the heaviest[projectile weight]that you handloaded?

  5. I like the layout of Mossberg’s more traditional 30-30 carbine, but I can’t say I find the action as smooth or solid feeling as my pre-64 Winchester Model 94 or even older Marlin 336. None of them are as slick as my Browning 92, but chambering the shorter 44 Magnum, this should come as no surprise. The best one of all is my Uberti 73 in 44 Special. It runs like greased lightning. If it weren’t for the weak cartridge and immaculate beauty of this carbine, it would be my go-to lever gun.

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