J.C. Higgins guns


April 20, 2006, 05:15 PM
i have got 2 shotguns that i would like to know where i can get some history on them from. if anyone has any info i would greatly appreciate it. thx

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April 20, 2006, 05:23 PM
Welcome to THR!

JC Higgins Shotguns, great guns!

If a moderator does not come by shortly, Take the elevator down to here and re-post.

Harley Nolden's Institute For Firearms Research


Mr. Nolden is a great guy.



Robert Hairless
April 21, 2006, 02:22 AM
J.C. Higgins was one of the brand names used by Sears, Roebuck & Co. It was derived in 1908 from the name of a Sears, Roebuck employee, John Higgins. That brand name was displaced in 1961 by the Ted Williams brand at Sears.

There's some information about the J.C. Higgins firearms on the Internet if you search for that name.

April 21, 2006, 09:59 AM
Those JC's were made by just about everybody. Savage, Marlin and High Standard for a big part. Depends on what you've got.

Dave McCracken
April 21, 2006, 03:08 PM
Moved to Harley's forum....

Larry Ashcraft
April 21, 2006, 09:16 PM
If they're pumps, most likely High Standards.

Really nice guns! I learned on one and I have another (appears unfired, made in 1966) that I haven't taken out to test yet.

The action is so slick on the ones I've used, if you hold them upright and depress the slide release, they will rack themselves.

April 22, 2006, 05:12 AM
I have my Grandfather's 12 ga, purchased in the early '50's. I think it's a model 20. Based on the winchester I believe. It has this HUGE comp on the end of it. Nice because the gun really doesn't kick that bad compared to other 12 ga. It's a good gun for trap and skeet. I need to work on it's extractor though, it doesn't always let go of the shell. Pull's a bit short for me too, I need to get a different pad installed. And yes, 60 years or so of use, it's action is dang slick!

April 22, 2006, 10:05 AM
these Higgins that i have are bolt action 16 and 20 gage Sears with 5 digits between model numbers. i would like to get as much info about them as i can. every where that i have been doesnt list the sears models. any more ifo would be greatly appreciated.

Steven Mace
April 22, 2006, 12:44 PM
burksbf, try posting the Sears model numbers here and I'll bet someone can cross-reference the actual manufacturer for you.

Steve Mace

April 22, 2006, 03:41 PM
ok, here they are

J.C. Higgins
Model 583.24
proof tested 16 guage
2-3/4 chamber
bolt action
Sears and Roebuck

J.C. Higgins
Model 583.19
proof tested 20 guage full
2-3/4 chamber
bolt action
Sears and Roebuck

Jim K
April 22, 2006, 07:05 PM
You need to give the whole number, not "xx", as there were several models with the number 583. Most were High Standard or H&R and both made bolt action shotguns.


April 23, 2006, 11:23 AM
sorry about that, but knew to this type of research, i just didnt want someone to steel the serials and sa that i or someone else had stolen them, i do have a bos tho.

16 ga.- 583.24
20 ga.- 583.19

John Stimson, Jr.
April 23, 2006, 01:07 PM
Hello Burksbf,

Those are not serial numbers but rather they are Sears identification numbers which denote the vendor where Sears got the guns and the particular variation of the gun. Your shotguns do not have serial numbers since serial nubers were not required on shotguns under federal law at that time.

583. if the designation that High Standard was the source of the guns and the .19 and .24 designate the specific versions of these Model 10s.

For a listing of the various model 10's see:http://www.histandard.info/models/private/Sears/SearsBolt.html

For copies of the original manuals see: http://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/bashotguns/index.html

Jim K
April 23, 2006, 09:36 PM
Thanks to John Stimson for the info. Had I not known better, I would have sworn from the pictures that those were made by H&R.

Sears and High Standard had a very close working relationship, and HS made many guns for Sears that they never cataloged under their own name, which makes research difficult. Further, existing cross-over lists are confusing, incomplete, and often just plain wrong.

In fact, HS became so dependent on Sears that Sears' decision to stop selling guns was a major cause of the ultimate failure of HS, along with high labor costs.

Those guns were utility hunting guns and, while of good quality, don't bring a high price. On the used gun racks, they rarely bring over $100. Today, bolt action shotguns are not popular and I don't think any are now being made except possibly the Savage slug gun.


John Stimson, Jr.
April 24, 2006, 06:39 AM
Hello Jim,

The early (mid to late 1940s) Sears Catalogs show photos of the Model 10 with a recoil pad that is not the pad that High Standard used. It appears to be the pad that H&R used on their shotguns There is still some confusion about these early model 10's. The High Standard master parts list does go all the way back to to 583.1

Perhaps Sears owned or controlled the design of a H&R shotgun and assigned it to High Stadnard to produce. Sears co-owned several patents with High Standard on the guns High Standard produced fro Sears.

Sears relationship with High Standard was not unlike the relationshoips with other Sears suppliers. Sears owned major interests in many of their suppliers. Whirlpool apppliances is a well known example. Sears owned 30% of High Standard's common stock and had two members of the eight man board of directors. Plus the president of High Standard came from Whirlpool - perhaps at Sears suggestion. Sears real control was the fact that they bought 65% of High Standards output.

Sears began deleting High Standard guns in the early 1960's and by 1967 only one High Standard model was in the catalogs. The other High Standard models had been replaced by Winchester models. Sears stopped cataloging guns after 1968 but continued to sell guns in the stores for another 10 to 12 years in the stores unlike the other major catalog sellers like Penny and Montgomery Ward who continued both catalog sales and store sales. High Standard filled the Sears sales void with Western Auto, J. C. Penny and some guns to Sears. Plus they made shotguns with special model names and roll marks for about a dozen smaller diatributors after 1968-69. Thus it was not that Sears stopped selling guns that hurt High Standard but the switch to Winchester since Sears continues to sell guns for over a dozen years after they dropped High Standard.

The purchase of High Standard by the Leisure Group about 1967 was a major turning point. The Leisure group made more money at the expense of maintenance of the machinery and buildings much of which was getting pretty old and needing more and more maintenence. The plant was pre WWII as was much of the machinery.

April 24, 2006, 01:13 PM
i would like to thank all of yall for helping me w/ this research. i noticed on one of these web sites that some of the ident. no. where recalled, one of which i own, the 583.19. i would like to know what the reason or reasons where. and again thank you very much.

John Stimson, Jr.
April 24, 2006, 03:47 PM
Hello burksbf,

My website shows the recalled models. There is an address to an online Sears recall listing on that page.

There is also a conflict between the fact that Sears says it is recalling 12 Ga guns and the catalog numbers they give which include other gauges. I marked all the product numbers they listed even though they are not all 12 Ga. If you have further questions I suggest you contact Sears.

The problem was bad metalurgy in the bolt causing the lugs to break off which can cause the bolt to blow back out of the reciever.

April 25, 2006, 06:29 PM
Another source for information on these department store brands, such as J C Higgins, Ted Williams, and others is to go to the web site for Numrich Gun Parts, as well as some other web sites, and they have cross reference information right at the site to help you order parts for your department store brands. For example, Sears marketed a single shot lever action .22 number 340, etc. etc. If you go to Numrich and find that gun listed they will tell you that it is essentially the same gun as the Ithaca Model 49. Very, very useful information. Unfortunately, I have found the references on past models of guns, that is price references such as the STANDARD CATALOG OF FIREARMS, does not give much information on these models and that disappoints me. Those are logical references for those department store chain marketed firearms.

April 26, 2006, 12:36 AM
I've got a JC Higgins Model 11 bolt action 20 ga., that i got in 1962-63. It was my starter shotgun! Still have it, but now it just sits in the safe in a nice condition.

My best friend had a JC Higgins bicycle too!

John Stimson, Jr.
April 26, 2006, 12:17 PM
The model 10 was cataloged from 1946 through the Spring & Summer 1958 catalog. The model 11 was cataloged from the Fall & Winter 1958 Catalog through the 1962 Fall & Winter catalog. The model 14 whic followed the model 11 was cataloged in 1963 and 1964.

The schematics at Gun Parts (Numrich) catalog or on-line include several models under the came heading and claim they are similar. There are far more variations of these guns than many people realize and although they do look alike and do have many common parts, there are some different parts. Some differences were do to appearance issues, some to hellp manufacturing or cost cutting and some to solve problems that showed up after the guns were in the field for some time. If you are curious about which parts are the same and which are different, you can review the Sears and High Standard manuals on my website at:

April 26, 2006, 01:43 PM

Thanks for the clarification on the dates for the model 11. I stated that my model 11 was received in 1962-63; I know that my cousin received it in 1962. I then ended up with it, although I can't remember wether it was 62 or 63 when I got it.

May 31, 2006, 04:04 PM
I've got a higgins 20 made around 1952. The term overbuilt springs quickly to mind. This thing is built like a tank & would make a formidable weapon whether it was loaded or not. Of coarse the upside of all that extra weight is that percieved recoil is low even with the rock hard 54 yr. old recoil pad. Smoothest cycling pump ever. Even more so than my 3 Ithaca 37s. My question being did high standard market their pump shotgun only through sears in the 40s, & 50s? I'm unable to find any mention of them marketing it under their own name prior to around 1960. Also the design of the ones built in the 60s appears changed somewhat, with a 20ga version added that seems to be a significantly different design.

John Stimson, Jr.
May 31, 2006, 04:53 PM
High Standard only sold the shotguns through Sears before ooffering them with their own name in 1960. There is an export price list from the mid 1950's but I have no other data about that.

Sears had 12ga, 16 ga, 20 ga and .410 bore pumps. High Standard offered those same guns plus a 28 ga.

The 20 Ga and smaller were a different design. You can see the arts lists for most of these shotguns on my website at www.histandard.info

There were several evolutionary design changes over the 25 plus years that High Standard made shotguns.

June 1, 2006, 11:25 PM

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) today announced a voluntary recall of J.C. Higgins Bolt Action 12-Gauge shotguns, a product manufactured for and sold by the company during the 1950s.

The shotguns are being voluntary recalled due to a potential problem with the bolt latch assembly, which could cause the assembly to fail allowing it to dislodge and strike the operator in the face. Sears is offering a $160 finders' fee for the return of the bolt, making the shotgun inoperable. The shotguns were sold in Sears stores and through its catalog as the "J.C. Higgins Bolt Action 12-Gauge Model 10 Shotgun" during the 1950s. It was carried under a number of product numbers: 583.13, 583.14, 583.15, 583.16, 583.17, 583.18, 583.19, 583.20, 583.21 and 583.22. The product model number is engraved on the barrel of the shotgun.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the shotgun. Call
800-817-9165 for identification verification and instructions on return

Sears, Roebuck and Co. discontinued the sale of all firearms and
ammunition in the early 1980s. Through its network of more than 830 full-line stores and 2,500 off-the-mall stores, Sears is a leading retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, serving more than 50 million households.

SOURCE Sears, Roebuck and Co.

March 21, 2008, 12:14 PM
My father has given my a JC Higgins model 33 pump action .22 rifle, the first gun I ever shot- way back in the early '70s. I hoped someone could help date this rifle based on its serial #, or someone could turn me in the right direction to find that information.

Serial # 255XXXX

This rifle has a long and interesting history in our family, so I'm sure its sentimentality is worth more than the rifle.....



March 21, 2008, 02:13 PM
I think you really should have started a new thread with this question but maybe I am wrong. Anyway, I am busy right now getting ready for company this weekend but I have done a quick cross-reference inquiry and have not found the manufacturer of Model 33 J. C. Higgins yet but hope to. Now be aware that the Numrich Gun Parts Co web site has a very extensive cross-reference but they are not 100% complete and do not list the J. C. Higgins 33. So, we need to look further. Now, here is what I will do when you find out what company made this gun for Sears. Usually, the Sears or other store brand gun is simply a clone of the main stream manufacturer model made at the same time. So, you/we need to find who made the gun what manufacturer name brand model is the equivalent. Then I will go to my almost complete collection of Gun Digests and see what years the name brand model was made and that should give you an idea of what years your gun could have been made. For example, Winchester made a Model 94 clone for Sears I think. So, they would not have made that unless they were already tooled to make their own name-brand model of a lever action deer rifle. That is my theory. I notice some of the old Gun Digests list just a very few store brands but usually not. So, put a posting on here for me to see when/if you find out the manufacturer. Others out there...help us out if you can.

March 21, 2008, 02:30 PM
I'll do some more research and start a new thread with that. Have a great weekend!


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