JC Higgins Model 20 12 gauge


February 25, 2012, 12:12 PM
Last week, my 75 year old neighbor gave me a JC Higgins Model 20, 12 gauge pump shot gun with a FULL choke barrel 583.55.

It functioned but was a little rough looking with some minor surface rust and 60% of the bluing gone. I stripped off the old bluing and rust and was pleasantly surprised to find there was minimal pitting. I reblued using Birchwood Casey gun bluing solution and polished all the internal silver parts in the receiver. It looks and functions great. The action is the smoothest I have ever seen and the barrel is free of any pitting inside.

According to some internet research I learned:

1. It was manufactured in Nov 1948
2. These shotguns were considered a common man's, utilitarian, dependable post war shotgun with no fills.:)
3. The barrel is pressed in and cannot be replaced unless sent to a gunsmith :mad:
4. Many of these shotguns were made and its value is less than $200

Curious to know if anyone in the forum has any experience owning one of these shotguns; are there any concerns/design defects I should be aware of, and what are your thoughts in general regarding this make and model shotgun...is it a decent shotgun and something I should be happy to own or is it a junker?

The only thing I need to make the shotgun complete is a recoil pad for the butt stock. The original red recoil pad completely deteriorated. Trying to find one that fits but it is hard to determine what size will fit this shotgun....any suggestions?



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February 25, 2012, 01:06 PM
I've heard of that model but know nothing about them. For the recoil pad make a pattern of the butt end and take it to a gunshop that sells aftermarket recoil pads, or at least pull a few guns off their wall and find a modern gun with a similar size & shape so you can order something that would fit that gun. There are slip on & grind-to-fit universal pads available. You'll figure out what you need once you do a little more research. If you're lucky someone here will know of a source for a replacement, I've been surprised before by what is still available through places like Numrich's.

February 25, 2012, 01:13 PM
Was made by High-Standard for Sears.
It predates the High STandard Model 20 by a few years.

Certainly not a Remington 870 or Model 12 Winchester, but certainly not a junker either.

There was no such thing as a pre-fit recoil pad back then.
You will have to buy an oversize pad and grind it to fit the stock.

If you have no experiance along those lines, I would have a gunsmith do it.


Ron James
February 25, 2012, 01:18 PM
Because of the vast number of guns sold by the retail stores even the most current " Trade Names or Store Brand " crossover lists are incomplete or have errors.. The Model 20 is listed as High Standard 200, first introduced in 1971.

February 25, 2012, 01:38 PM
Yet, the Sears design patent was issued in 1949, and owned half by High Standard, and half by Sears.

That pre-dates the High Standard Model 20, or Model 200 by 10 years or more.

It would be interesting to know if the OP's gun has a serial number on it.
If it doesn't, it was made before 1968.

Here is the Model 20 listed in a late 1940's Sears catalog reprint.
http://www.cornellpubs.com/diva/divaPOP/divaPOPgold_img.htm?i=http://www.cornellpubs.com/Images4/Sears%201948%20cover.jpg&c=&a=Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1948 Catalog (Gun Section)&h=1&n=1&x=&s=15


February 25, 2012, 08:02 PM
MMA, does your JC Higgins have a PowerPac attached?

If so, be aware that Lyman products who acquired Pachmayer does not recommend shooting modern ammunition throught it. They were designed at a time when fiber wads were the norm. There's a possibility that a the plastic wad could get caught between the muzzle and the removable choke.

Make sure that the trigger assembly isnt broken. The trigger assembly is made of pot metal and if your not careful, could break off the "ears" or tabs. Replacement assemblies run $120 through Numrich.

I have three. One I modified into a home defense gun, cut the PowerPac off, another had a modified choke installed and the third, has their version of a poly choke installed. I love 'em all. Steel and walnut, solid and a great buy for the money.

February 25, 2012, 08:35 PM

No Powerpac on this model. Sounds like you like your JC Higgins just fine. Not much info on them on line....

It looks pretty well made all in all...it has a full choke and can only take 2 3/4 inch shells. Can't use it for duck hunting...to much choke for quail and dove....

How do you think it would be for turkey and pheasant?

Thx for the reply.


Black Knight
February 25, 2012, 11:18 PM
I still have the J.C. Higgins model 20 I bought from my grandpa back in 1977. It is a fine shotgun. As others have said they were sold at Sears and is a High Standard model 200. You can check with Numrich Arms for parts. Recoil pads are a bit hard to find, I need a new one for mine as well. I'm considering having my local gunsmith find and install a good one. You picked a good older shotgun and it should give you many years of good service. I know mine has.

February 26, 2012, 10:50 AM
the action is as smooth as my Ithaca guns. I bought it many years ago used for $70. The JC Higgins guns made by High Standard are well made and should give long reliable service. My brother in law has hunted with one for decades. I like them. Snoop

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