The first time I saw the Mossberg 464 SPX, my reaction was “Now I’ve seen everything.” The 464 SPX is a “tactical” version of your grandfather’s deer rifle. It’s a lever-action .30-30 with high-visibility open sights, an M4-style telescoping stock, Picatinny rails on three sides of the forearm, and the end of the barrel is threaded and sports a flash suppressor. In addition to the exposed hammer, the Mossberg 464 SPX has a tang safety, located exactly where the safety on a long gun should be.

I’m a curious sort, though, and decided I wanted to test one. I’m big on utility. I also favor proven designs, and as a shooting instructor, I recognize the value of a gun that can adjust to the shooter. The lever-action carbine has always held an attraction for me. I shot my first deer with a Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. I still have that rifle today and it’s one of the handiest guns in my safe. It sports a Williams Foolproof receiver sight and it’s as handy to carry as a walking stick. While the .30-30 is sometimes considered passé, it’s a cartridge capable of killing any game animal in North America and it’s also suitable for home defense, should the occasion arise.

The additional tang safety of the Mossberg 464 SPX makes it even more safe than other modern lever guns, because the hammer can be lowered with the safety on, preventing the possibility of an accidental discharge if the hammer slips out from under the shooter’s thumb.

With a barrel length of 16.25 inches and a collapsed stock length just under 34 inches, this is a handy little rifle indeed. The six-position stock accommodates both small and large shooters; the length of pull goes from 11 to 15 inches and the ATI adjustable stock has an adjustable comb. Accuracy was about on-par for a lever-action .30-30, with 50-yard iron sight groups measuring just over an inch. A great option for this little rifle would be a 1-4x scope that would allow enough magnification to utilize the range capability and help in low light situations. I personally would leave it just as it is. It’s capable of reasonable accuracy with the supplied sights, and it’s just so handy to carry as it is.

Okay, so the Mossberg 464 SPX is a “think outside the box” little carbine, but when you think about it, it makes sense. It’s as reliable as an axe and it’s as capable of putting a deer or hog on the ground as any .30-30 ever was. It’s loaded with safety features that are an aid to novice shooters, and it’s adjustable so everyone in the family can shoot it comfortably. It’s a modern-day version of the classic Model 94 Trapper. What’s not to like?

Image by Dick Jones

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