Mossberg 464 SPX Centerfire Lever-Action Rifle Transformation

Mossberg 464 SPX

Mike Searsen writes (in the third person) via ammoland.com: The Mossberg 464 SPX – Centerfire Lever-Action Rifle in .30-30 Win was probably the ugliest rifle we had ever seen. Granted, we could see the utility in the railed forend, the drilled and tapped receiver and especially the threaded barrel. We could not get past . . .

the hideous buttstock. It was the only thing we truly hated about the 464 SPX. For years we would tell anyone at Mossberg we could make contact with how the rifle would be so much better with a conventional stock.

Our pleas fell on deaf ears. We ended up picking one up for a good deal [ED: MSRP $558] and found it pleasing to shoot with the AR-type contraption that passed for a stock. Still, taking it to the range was like taking your sister to the prom.

We decided to make a few changes.

The Furniture

We would not necessarily say that black stocks should be forbidden on lever action rifles. A more traditional looking buttstock in black would have suited us perfectly and we could have lived with the rails. Unfortunately, the forend broke apart while removing it You can read about it on Breach Bang Clear. This made us look for a proper forend and stock.

We turned to Boyd’s Gun Stocks for a matching set. Rather than go laminate or “Zombie Pattern” we took a tip from the history books and decided to go with the look and feel of one of Teddy Roosevelt’s rifles: a Winchester 94 half-magazine rifle he kept at Sagamore Hill with a Maxim Silencer affixed to the barrel.

We decided to go with the look and feel of one of Teddy Roosevelt's rifles: a Winchester 94 half-magazine rifle he kept at Sagamore Hill with a Maxim Silencer affixed to the barrel

Keeping in tradition with Teddy’s rifle, that meant our buttstock and forend would be made of walnut with a Claro finish.

In the past, fitting a buttstock to a lever gun meant an awful lot of hand fitting and then more fitting. Fortunately, Boyd’s stocks are more of a drop in finish and Mossberg really helped with their design in this regard.

They totally skipped the tang attachment used by Winchester, Marlin, Rossi and other assorted imitators and used a stock bolt system similar to what the company uses on its shotguns. This bolt comes out via an internal 1/4″ hex nut, meaning little to no fitting is required. We did have to purchase a longer stock bolt from Mossberg in lieu of the stubby one that came with the SPX Tactical.

Boyd's stock replaced the tactical contraption Mossberg installed at the factory and the forend replaced the one we destroyed.
Boyd’s stock replaced the tactical contraption Mossberg installed at the factory and the forend replaced the one we destroyed.

Boyd’s stock replaced the tactical contraption Mossberg installed at the factory and the forend replaced the one we destroyed. With Boyd’s Walnut furniture installed we were on track to making the SPX look like a real lever action carbine!

The Scope

We have a decent collection of lever action rifles: antiques, curios and even a few commemorative rifles that serve as shooters. However, we never tried one with a scope and as this was not a historically significant rifle, we thought we would change that by adding our trusty old Leupold 4-12X that was actually on the rifle we traded in for this one.

However, the rings would not work so we reached out to Warne Scope Mounts. They sent us a perfect set of rings for use with the Mossberg 464 (for the record, these are the same as those found on the Winchester 94).

Warne's mounting base is so low that you can still use your irons if the scope is not mounted and the Quick Detach rings allow you to remove the scope and reattach it with little to no shift in zero.
Warne’s mounting base is so low that you can still use your irons if the scope is not mounted and the Quick Detach rings allow you to remove the scope and reattach it with little to no shift in zero.

Warne’s mounting base is so low that you can still use your irons if the scope is not mounted and the Quick Detach rings allow you to remove the scope and reattach it with little to no shift in zero. The rings mount through the side instead of through the top, but once you realize how to position the tube correctly, installation becomes second nature. We run these rings on a few of our other rifles so this wasn’t our first rodeo.

At the Range

With the rifle bore-sighted we headed out to the range to see how well our carbine would perform. We do not know if Mossberg truly makes a better lever action than Winchester used to make or if it was using the scope to actually see our target, but at 100 yards we were shooting 3/4″ to 1.2″ groups repeatedly. much better than we ever did with open sights on a 30-30 lever action, which may be changing the way we look at shooting from now on.

Oh yeah, we almost forgot the very reason we wanted this rifle in the first place: that threaded barrel.

Ghost Wind

The factory flash hider came off with no trouble until we found out that none of our direct thread suppressors or 308 or 338 mounts would fit. Mossberg built a .30-caliber rifle, but the barrel was threaded in 1/2 X 28″.

We came to find out that this is not uncommon for hunting rifles, unfortunately, very few manufacturers offer .30 caliber mounts in 1/2 x 28, and for good reason as you do not want someone to accidentally install a 5.56 silencer on your .30 caliber rifle!

Mike Klos of American Manufacturing had recently sent us a Ghost Wind Suppressor to test. We told him of our dilemma and he rushed out .30-caliber brake with a 1/2 x 28″ mount so we could mount it on our Mossberg SPX. The mount is a thread over muzzle brake design, meaning that you install the muzzle brake on your barrel’s threads and the brake offers a coarser threaded platform to allow you to run the suppressor on any rifle with a similar muzzle device. with allowing an easy “return to zero” reducing a shift in point of impact when you reattach the suppressor.

Ghost Wind Suppressor from American Manufacturing (courtesy ammoland.com)
Now we could really let the fun begin!

Shooting a suppressed lever action has a set of advantages over a semi-auto. As it is a closed action, it makes for quieter shooting. No gas escapes and more important, you get no mechanical noise from the action.

The Ghost Wind features a fully welded core of high-performance baffles pressed into the tube and sealed by welding. This construction method makes for a stronger and lighter unit.

Noise level was comparable to a suppressed mild 300 Blackout supersonic round. With any centerfire rifle that is not subsonic, you are going to hear that tell-tale supersonic crack. Still, at just about 129 dB this is one of the quieter platforms we have ever fired with a silencer. Much quieter than a suppressed bolt action 308 Winchester!

Still at just about 129 dB this is one of the quieter platforms we have ever fired with a silencer. Much quieter than a suppressed bolt action 308 Winchester!
Still, at just about 129 dB this is one of the quieter platforms we have ever fired with a silencer. Much quieter than a suppressed bolt action 308 Winchester!
In Conclusion

We had asked Mossberg since they debuted the 464 SPX if they would offer it with a more traditional stock and they never really took us seriously. so we did the next best thing and built it ourselves. We have done this in the past with other firearms and when folks complain that “company X” should make “Gun Y” in “Z Configuration” or in “this caliber” with “that barrel length”; our advice is to build it yourself.

We have done this in the past with other firearms and when folks complain that "company X" should make "Gun Y" in "Z Configuration" or in "this caliber" with "that barrel length"; our advice is to build it yourself.
We have done this in the past with other firearms and when folks complain that “company X” should make “Gun Y” in “Z Configuration” or in “this caliber” with “that barrel length”; our advice is to build it yourself.

We thought Mossberg made some remarkable innovations with their lever rifles but simply felt that this particular design needed a little help.

Our deconstructed tactical rifle is now a practical hunting and shooting-iron rifle; with the help of a world-class stock maker, cutting-edge scope mount manufacturer and a true genius in the NFA world.


About Mike Searson:Mike Searson

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    I’ve always liked the .30-30. I believe the Marlin is a ‘better’ gun than the Winchester. It’s got a stronger frame, simpler bolt and fewer fiddly bits. Accuracy? With iron sights I can’t tell any practical difference between them. I don’t scope a lever gun in .30-30. They are one of the easiest carrying rifles in stock form that scoping them takes away from their handling qualities.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      One oft overlooked advantage of Marlin’s microgroove rifling is higher velocities. I’ve seen a couple chrono tests and they usually beat the factory specs even though the specs are for a ba rrel 4 or 6 inches longer.

      I may find be finding out what a scoped 336 ca n do. I’m thinking of getting a Henry Big Boy carb ine in .357 and then putting probably a 2-7x on the Marl in. Without a sco pe I usually put 20 rounds out and find a 6 or 7 inch group at 100 yards. I’d expect those to tighten up considerably.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Gov – Are you deliberately ‘munging’ words to prevent those obnoxious links from popping up?

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Y ep.

        2. avatar Shotgun Sam says:

          You need a Silencerco Omega or similar. It will thread to anything.

          That said, I stay away from tube fed center fire rifles. Sticking a bullet against a primer has never been a good idea.

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        our pal johnathan might give you a helluva deal on one of those enri’s. maybe trade for a new rascal battery.
        seriously, “can” prompts a link?
        gonna find out right now.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘seriously, “can” prompts a link?’

          Yep.

        2. avatar Snatchums says:

          Ha! Not that time. Maybe the quotation marks?

          Can

          “Can”

        3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          i’m starting to see french girl petticoats.

  2. avatar That Guy says:

    We = First person, plural

    #ThatGuy

  3. avatar Ed says:

    That was a fun article to read. I love it when someone goes off the conventional path and comes up with a realky nice looking build that makes sense. And you have done this with the Marlin 30-30. Y’all made a very nice looking lever action. If you care to share your exact parts list along with pricing I am sure some other shooters(like myself) would love to build the exact rifle. The wood furniture is beautiful. Thanks for the great article. God Bless

  4. avatar Randy says:

    The rifle with the wood stock you added is absolutely beautiful, and I’m perplexed that Mossberg can’t see that. I congratulate you for turning out a rifle that will stand the test of time and something that most would be proud to have in their collection!

    Is it that this ‘younger’ generation only sees beauty in black clones that resemble Star Wars droids????????

  5. avatar JDC says:

    Was this a Marlin?

    I bought my wife the 464 in Davidson’s Brush Gun variation. Nice little rifle.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    From ugly duckling to beautiful swan.
    That photo on the truck tailgate is beautiful.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I wish .30-30 Winchester had a little more oomph to it. Launching a 150 grain bullet at 2390 fps is little better than 7.62 x 39mm — which is underwhelming to say the least.

    I would prefer a muzzle velocity of something like 2650 fps.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      The Hornady LeverEvolution FTX .30-30 load pushes a 160 grain bullet at about 2400 FPS. It’s plenty for deer inside 200 yards, and can be pushed to 300 yards plus. I haven’t chrono’d it, but the terminal effect on deer is great. It also runs around 1.5 MOA.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      .303 British. 150gr. bullet @ 2690fps. But the recoil’s much closer to .308 Win.

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Also, as I mentioned above, Marlin’s micro-groove rifling nets better velocities. Joe over at RealGuns tested a 336 and got 2513fps out of Federal’s Fusion 150gr. load ( https://www.realguns.com/articles/651.htm/ ). That’s 2100ft/lbs.

      Most any .30-30 gun/load combo is just fine for deer and hogs out to 200 yards. I like the rou nd for self defense over the a .44 mag. Lose a little in capacity, but the .30-30 has much better downrange performance. Federal makes a 125gr. hollow point that looks like it would be devastating.

    4. avatar DrewN says:

      LOL, there’s quite a few million dead deer out there who say 30-30 has plenty of oomph.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Really, the humble .30-30 has taken more deer than chronic wasting disease.

  8. avatar Rimfire says:

    Quite a transformation! It looks like it “belongs” now, the SPX configuration is one I wouldn’t even take to a public range, I would be ashamed. You made it beautiful, it’s hard to beat the traditional look of a fine lever gun. Sometimes walnut and blued steel is best, as lever guns prove. Not every ones cup of tea maybe, but in the WI. woods it is all we usually need. (Exception being the western counties along the Mississippi)

    Nothing carries as fine as the lever gun. You make it into a beauty!

  9. avatar AFGus says:

    Mossberg already makes two versions of the 464 with walnut stocks, as well as a version with a Grey colored woodgrain laminate stock with Marine Coat finish. Why go through the hassle of getting the ugly SPX and changing out everything to walnut, when you can already buy the 464 configured with walnut furniture?

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Because then he’d have to take it to a gunsmith to thread the barrel.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      Threaded Barrel.

      To the best of my knowledge, the only 30-30 with a factory threaded barrel is the spx 464

      Also b’cause Merica!

      1. avatar AFGus says:

        I’m pretty sure that he’d of spent less getting the barrel threaded on a 464 that already comes with walnut furniture, than he spent basically redoing everything on the SPX….but hey….to each his own.

        1. avatar dph says:

          The reason for the spx was chosen, short barrel, drilled and tapped and threads. You’d have to shorten the barrel, the thread it on the wooden version. Then the mag tube would be hanging out there.

    3. avatar Rimfire says:

      Aren’t those wood stocks just hardwood, birch not walnut on the factory Mossbergs?

  10. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    not a .30-30 fan.
    i always thought the spx looked pretty cool in a prosthetic leg sort of way.

  11. avatar Swarf says:

    Looks great and all, but damn that was a long and expensive path to travel just to save an hour’s worth of time in a Bridgeport.

  12. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    This looks like an heirloom setup with some modern amenities. I can appreciate the blend. I think if HPA or some incarnation passes we could see threaded barrels become a lot more common on “wood grain” guns as well as the tactical stuff.

    In terms of loading I’ll say that there is a Trailboss load that would likely be awesome with the can. I’d love to crank a few out and see what happened.

  13. avatar Michael Brodine says:

    I never got past the looks of ole Mossberg 464. I like all the 30/30’s and the idea of a tactical, lever, carbine, 30/30 is a good one. I used a model 94 as a home defense gun for near 30 years and I brag on this little carbine with punch. Yes the 94 was a little slow in the house but never undergunned even facing pistol mags. Also if you had to catch the bad guy across the yard, he is good as dead or scared to hell. I’d like to see a few more hone defense applications. Texas lawmen used the 30/30 up to AR and M-16 days, is rural counties you still see a few. I like the 30/30 I just hats tube magazines, good working feature a pain to download which I always did outside.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      if i’d had that much action in one house i wouldn’t have stayed there for thirty years.
      but if you’re related to marshall, then you already know, “it’s easy, once you know the secret.”

  14. avatar John in Fayettenam says:

    Still waiting for a 458 SOCOM lever gun…

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Why would anyone bother making 458 SOCOM lever gun when 45-70 is already common?

  15. avatar Stab says:

    In some countries (like Australia) the SPX is beloved as the closest thing to a tactical AR-type firearm we can get. What you call ugly – is all we are allowed to own!

  16. avatar Libertarian says:

    Twin-Tube would nice

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email