Tag Archives: rifle

Mossberg 464 SPX

by Woodsbum

This last weekend I finally got a chance to get out and put some rounds down range with my new Mossberg 464 SPX. For those of you who are not familiar with this rifle, it is most easily described as a “tactical” lever action 30-30. Here is a picture of the rifle from the Mossberg website.

Mossberg 464 SPX

Mossberg 464 SPX

When I first saw this rifle, I really wanted it only as a joke. It is ugly, feels like an over priced novelty, and really made me think that a bunch of engineers were disgruntled when they pushed this out the door. Since I really wasn’t expecting much from this rifle and my reasoning for buying it was to annoy anyone who needed to borrow a deer gun, I let it sit untested in my safe for over 5 months.

Let me first start off this review by reiterating how ridiculous this thing is. The lever feels like it is going to break. The fit and finish is more like a $100 Savage .22 than a $500 30-30. It really is just a rifle that no one should ever own……

Then you fire it……

Holy crap! This is one of my new favorite rifles to shoot. The angle and ATI padded, adjustable stock look hideous, but makes it where you can barely feel any recoil. After the first handful of reloaded rounds I actually began to snicker at how well it performed. Then I went back to the basement and grabbed a whole pocket full of loads. There were cartridges with 110, 150, 170 and even a couple 200 grain bullets and every one seemed to hit the snowballs I was shooting at. After this pocketful was gone, I ran back to the basement for more cartridges. After I had shot up all my father’s reloads (about 70ish) I pulled out a couple factory boxes with 150 grain round nose.

Shooting the SPX

Shooting the SPX

This rifle is an absolute riot. By the time I froze out and needed some time snuggling with the wood burning stove (it was about 25 degrees not accounting for wind chill), I had shot over 100 rounds through this thing. When I got inside and thawed out, I realized that I had done nothing to this rifle but take it out of the box. It was taken from the store to my safe, then from my safe to my father’s (in the back of the truck with my dog) to shoot. There literally was no love given to this rifle before the initial test. Of course I used the “official” rifle testing stance: shooting it one handed, into a hillside, wearing welding gloves, from around a tree, eyes closed, and other hand covering my nether region for protection.

Again, the rifle feels like a WalMart special and looks like it was the unloved child of a rocky, one night stand between an AR 15 and a Winchester 94. It is truly a terrible looking and feeling rifle, until you shoot it. All the looks, fit and finish are immediately out the window once you pull the trigger. My brother, who only likes the “traditional” lever rifles like his Winchester 94 in .32 Winchester Special, was giggling like a little school girl while running around too look for more rounds.

Okay, here are a few of the really good things about this rifle:

  • The stock geometry reduces the recoil to an almost negligible amount. Whatever recoil is left is well absorbed by the ATI stock.
  • The sights are amazing. They are fiber optic 3 dot sights that almost glow even in really low light.
  • Even though the lever feels flimsy and I was concerned about the action, there was never even a scuff on the brass or slightest of issue with cycling. The rounds just glided into the magazine tube, out the tube and into the chamber and then easily expended into my hand to shove back into my pocket. I never dropped a single round of loaded or expended brass in the cold, nastiness in which we shot.
  • The angles are perfect and it is very easy to just toss this rifle up to get a good site picture. There is none of the “head migration” thing that needs to take place until you get a comfortable spot to rest your cheek. It is simply a comfortable rifle to shoot.
  • This thing is also quite lightweight. I could see myself collapsing the stock and strapping it to a backpack.
  • With the matte finish and plastic furniture, the weather does not have that much of an ill affect on this rifle. My brother had to Barrocade the crap out of his .32 before and after shooting to keep rust off of it. I just tossed mine into the back of my truck and dusted it off when I got home.
  • It annoys the hell out of anyone that doesn’t shoot it. This is a huge plus when you shoot around the “Name Brand Elitists” that hate anything that didn’t get all 5 star reviews from AR15.com.

I would have to say that I now highly recommend this rifle. It is very enjoyable to shoot and mine functioned flawlessly considering how poorly I treated it……

Just so everyone knows, I am going to clean it up and give it a spa treatment tonight. It deserves it.

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Blocked Barrel

by Woodsbum

For those that read my site regularly, you know that I am fairly into firearms. I like all types of firearms, archery, knives, and about anything that flies through the air towards a target. Some weeks ago I had a problem with my muzzleloader where a jag got stuck in the barrel and I somehow pulled the tip off the end of my ramrod. These obstructions are now cleared of my barrel and I will be taking it out to shoot sometime soon.

It is not an easy task to clear something from a muzzleloader barrel. In most muzzleloaders the breech plug is not something that is easily removed. Instead, you have to pull out the nipple and cleaning plug to pack in some black powder to shoot the obstruction out. Only do this if you know that the obstruction is not double load. You do not want to discharge a double load of black powder. This may cause injury to yourself and/or your firearm.

To clear the stuck jag in my rifle, I ended up having to use 50 gr of Triple 7 powder. This is almost a full charge. At lower charges the jag wouldn’t move at all so we had to increase powder loads until it came loose. There really was little other choice, but luckily it came out without issue.

Just remember that you do have a cleaning screw that increases the flash hole size to pour the powder into. That screw has to come out to load it. If you don’t do that it is possible to have the nipple bust loose due to back pressure. Once filled, you will need to put that screw back into place along with the nipple.

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Muzzleloading Bug Has Hit

by Woodsbum

Lately, I have discovered that I spend WAY too much money on guns and ammunition just so I can go and shoot on the weekends. To make it even worse, I find that most of the time I supply all the equipment to include guns and ammunition in addition to being the only one to clean up afterwards. The entire thing become a huge chore and hit to my bank account. To cut overall investment without cutting the fun I decided that I needed to start taking the muzzleloader. This created a whole new set of problems because cleaning my Knight is anything but fun.

In yet another attempt to spend money to save money I went on a search. It became clear that the only solution that I could live with was to go and find a traditional muzzleloader rifle that was easy to clean, would be fun, and other people would find fun enough to ignore the lack of modern rifles I was taking out. The first thing I realized was that muzzleloaders are not the cheap rifles I was used to seeing when I was younger. Lyman and TC Hawken models ran between $450 and $700 on average. Now, I began to kick myself for not grabbing a $100 kit that I remember back in high school.

Whenever price becomes an issue I find that doing some serious online research will help to find me a cheaper solution. In this case I was not let down. I discovered that there were only a few companies that manufactured production muzzleloader rifles and they were resold under other names. This is no different than the American Arms .44 mag pistol I purchased some years ago. The .44 mag is actually manufactured by Uberti. Muzzleloaders are really no different. Lyman and Cabela’s rifles are actually made by Investarm out of Italy. TC makes their own. The third big manufacturer is Traditions. CVA does make some as well. Some other brands seem to be a bit murky as to who really makes them, so I took some literary license and just ignored those.

After I was armed with this information, I stepped up my search and went looking for used rifles that I might find at a bargain. Lo and behold I came across reference to an unused, never shot Hawken style rifle earmarked as a KBI/Kassnar brand. It had been advertised for almost a month without anyone even asking about it. I did some research on KBI/Kassnar and discovered that this company imported firearms until they closed up shop in 1989. They did business with gun manufacturers in England, Spain and Italy. Considering that Investarm is out of Italy, it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out who probably made this rifle. Not only that, but the wood grain was incredible and it had brass accents to include a patch box in the stock.

Sure enough, when I met up with the guy, the rifle was actually an Investarm model 120b, had never been shot, and was in 100% perfect condition (except the brass is a bit tarnished from sitting in a box). There were other “goodies” as well that were also still in their unopened and brand new state. Interestingly enough, the guy I met with was selling the items for a 75 year old man who bought everything in 1987 for a trip that got cancelled.

Now if you are in the market for a muzzleloader or have ever thought about getting into “smoke sticks” it isn’t nearly as expensive as you would think, if you are patient and look around. The majority of shooters and gun buyers completely ignore muzzleloaders and have no idea about them. This will allow you the opportunity to pick up an almost new or completely new rifle at 10-20 year ago prices. Another selling point is that the design of most muzzleloaders is not that different from the originals of yesteryear. Even better is that you don’t necessarily have to stay with the same manufacturer when looking for replacement parts. I have seen TC barrels on Traditions stocks with old, unknown manufacturer trigger assemblies. That is a great selling point as well.

If you are more into the modern muzzleloading products like the inline models, a lot of this information goes RIGHT out the window. My Knight Wolverine 209 for instance is deadly accurate and I can hit pie plates with open sights out to 200 yards. The problem is that most of the parts I might need for replacements would have to be purchased directly from Knight. It is also a royal pain in the gluteal section to clean. The barrel doesn’t just come off with the removal of a single pin. It requires disassembly of the rifle, pulling the breech plug and nipple, scrubbing and a good portion of your evening. For those of you who were wondering why I would want a traditional muzzleloader when I already had an incredible inline model, there you go. Cleaning it sucks out loud…….

Some of my best memories as a kid or with my kids have involved the outdoors and shooting. Being able to increase my options, cut the cost of shooting, and decrease the time spent cleaning really makes buying a new toy worth it. Now I need to get into casting my own bullets.

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