The Mossberg 464 SPX Tactical Lever Action raises more questions than answers (VIDEO)

The Mossberg 464 SPX .30-30 is photogenic.  It makes a distinct statement.  And opinion seems to be split.  Some seem inexplicably drawn to the odd aesthetic of the rifle.  Others think it is an abomination.

I’ll admit that I was in the abomination camp when I first saw photos of the 464 SPX.  But I stopped by the Mossberg booth at the SHOT Show and put my hands on the gun.  There, on the massive convention floor, surrounded by thousands of guns, the 464 SPX changed my mind.

The 464 SPX .30-30 WIN

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The 464 is, most basically, a lever action rifle without the wooden furniture.  Rather than go to great lengths to make the polymer look exactly like the wood it is replacing, Mossberg adopted the tools of the tactical trade.  The forend is covered up in rail.  And the stock, which is made by ATI (who makes all kinds of stocks) is actually adjustable.

The 464 holds five in the tube.  Beneath the flash suppressor, the barrel is threaded.  The rail covers the fore-end, but doesn’t extend to the top.  A rail section could be added up top, or there are options for a traditional scope mount.

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The SPX weighs in at 7 pounds, and has a 16-inch barrel.  With the flash suppressor, the rifle is 34-inches long.  The adjustable stock offers lengths of pull that vary from 10 1/2 and up to almost 15 inches.  There are two functional safeties on the rifle, one on the tang and one that’s engaged by squeezing the lever.

But at its core, the 464 SPX is still an antiquated platform.  Or maybe I should say timeless.  The .30-30 has outlived all of us.  And the lever action is still well regarded for its rugged dependability.

That said, I bet your mind is already made up.  That’s the type of gun this is.  The 464 polarizes.

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Mossberg’s not the first to put a futuristic spin on a traditional gun.  One could argue that any 1911 with a rail is doing the exact same thing.  Think of the Springfield Armory TRP.  Or the Rossi Circuit Judge.  Tactical.

I personally think the 464 has more in common with the TRP, which is still the most duty ready 1911 I’ve ever seen.  The dressed up .410s have their place in a pickup truck, but don’t have a single tactical application.

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But I don’t think Mossberg is taking the tactical angle very seriously, honestly.  This is a hunting gun.  The .30-30 is hell on whitetail.  It is perfect for the piggies.  I’ve used one for hunting elk.  If you can close the range to within 100 yards, the .30-30 delivers flat shooting, hard hitting, dependable accuracy.

So think of it as a hunting gun.  I think it is especially well suited for southern hunts.  The polymer won’t expand and contract like wood.  That’s a real problem on some hunting rifles.  You take it from the safe, where the humidity is low, out into the field, where the gun gets wet.  Problems arise.  Or the opposite.  If your safe is too dry for wood, stocks and forends can shrink and crack.

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One of my favorite features on the Mossberg is the sight system.  My old Winchester 94 had some terrific iron sights.  I once popped a skunk at more than 100 yards with that simple black blade.  But it was nearly impossible to see in low light conditions, or against dark targets.

The 464 has two vibrant fiber optic sights.  The rear is a U-shaped green two dot.  The front, a red dot, shines neatly between the green.  For this initial review, we worked only with the irons.  And they worked very well.

Shooting the SPX

Shooting freehand, at 100 yards, we could hammer a 12-inch plate with no effort.  The 6-inch plate required a more steady hand, but was still easily hit.  With the rifle braced in a vice, the groups closed up to right at 3 inches.  That’s reliable accuracy for iron sights.

And it has the potential for doing even better with a decent scope.  This isn’t a target rifle, for sure.  Groups are pointless.  Yes, they measure a rifle’s potential.  Still, I think some shooters place too much emphasis on getting tight groups, and not enough emphasis on being able to hit exactly what they are aiming for.  Once.

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The Mossberg will excel at that.  It is ready to roll right out of the box.

But what would you want to put on it?  I’m intrigued by the rail.  I guess a weapon light could work, if you were going to use this one rifle for hunting and defense.  But what else?  A Magpul Angled Fore Grip could work.  Other ideas?  I’m open to suggestions.  I want to dress this thing up properly and test out that side of things before we send it back.  So shoot me some ideas.

All said and done

The MSRP on this version is $535.  Retail should come in below $500.  More versions (one with ZMB in its monicker) are planned.  So stay tuned.

I like the SPX.  The 464 is a solid rifle at a reasonable price.  Shooting the SPX has made me miss my old 94, which I traded long ago.

I know I’ve asked more questions than I’ve answered in this review, but I really feel like the SPX is a curious beast.  I’ll leave you with this.  Would being seen with a Mossberg 464 be the firearms equivalent of getting spotted riding a Moped?

I think it is.  Still, I’ll be ready when Hollywood comes calling.

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