J.C. Higgins model 30 restoration


January 15, 2013, 04:51 AM
Hi All. New to the forum.

I'm restoring my old J.C. Higgins model 30, (583.70).
It's been in the family since my grandfather purchased it new.
I put a few thousand rounds through it when I was a kid.
Just pulled it out of storage.
Shot some rounds and had a few failure to load, a couple failure to eject and failure to fire.
Working on the cartridge lifter for the load issue.
It wobbles on the pin a bit much causing the cartridge to get wedged between the lifter and the magazine throat.
Got a new pin on order (Numrich), no luck finding a new lifter.
Probably going to peen around the hole to tighten it up and possibly widen the area where the lifter contacts the cartridge (weld/file,etc.).
Took the ejector out of the bolt. Cleaned, lubed, etc.
Thoroughly cleaned the inside of the receiver, paying close attention to where the ejector rests. Pulled lot's of gunk out of there.
I think the few failure to fire's were caused by the old Remington ammo I have.

One of the rings on the original scope is broke.
Ordered a new ring from Numrich. Tried calling before purchasing but Obama must have their phone ringing of the hook. I couldn't get through.
We'll see if it's the right one when it get's here.
The tightening screw is also stripped.
It only goes about halfway through the hole. A new screw about 1/4" to 3/8" longer, would probably do the trick.
If anyone knows a source for the ring, give me a holler. It is original and clamp on to the bar. Same for the tightening screw.

Regards, Ken







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January 16, 2013, 04:23 PM
Just posting an update to my thread..

Biggest issue right now is the lifter.

It's pivot hole is worn. It to moves side to side (left to right if the gun is vertical) when a cartridge is loaded. When that happens, the bullet gets wedged between the lifter and the left or right magazine throat.

Originally the cartridge was only getting caught between the lifter and left magazine throat.
So I took the lifter out, placed the pin in it, laid it on a flat surface (lengthwise) and peened the front side of the hole with a spring load center punch (set at its lightest setting) in a couple spots. Then turned it over and peened the rear side.
That cured it from getting caught on the left throat. Now it's getting caught on the right throat.... errrr..
Before I go any further, I'm going to wait til I get the new pin from numrich.
Pretty sure ill need to peen all the way around to take the slop out but I want to do that on the new pin. Custom fit kind of thing.

I'll take some pics when I get back at it to help explain.

Would really like to get another lifter but what I'm finding is that a new one is unobtainable..

Only other option I can think of would be to make a new lifter.


January 16, 2013, 05:13 PM
you might also keep your eye on ebay or gunbroker for parts... I've found some rare bits there on occasion.

January 16, 2013, 05:19 PM
Thanks 1K, I haven't tried gunbroker. Will take a look see.


January 18, 2013, 01:11 PM
Might also see if Numrich has the extractor spring{s} and any other springs available for your rifle's action. Cleaning these areas might help you, new springs might be the answer, good luck!

February 13, 2013, 02:18 AM
Update to my repair.

A month later and I'm so happy to report the rifle is fully operational!

An online forum member helped with obtaining a few parts, a couple were purchased at Numrich, and a the rest were taken care of with handtools and some TLC.

First off, it needed a good cleaning.
Special attention was needed where the ejector engages the receiver. Had a lot of build up in there.
Next, the barrel needed a good cleaning. Some bore cleaner, Hoppe's #9 and quite a few patches pulled out a lot of debris, especially in the chamber area.

The left & right magazine throats (feed lips), cartridge lifter, and lifter pin were replaced. The old parts were really worn. The lifter would wobble on it's pin, and the throat(s) had excessive wear from so many jams.

The disconnector was repaired. It's leaf spring broke off some time ago and was missing. I removed the small piece of remaining spring in the slot with a razor blade. Then I made a new spring out of (you guessed it) a razor blade. It's the best thing I could come up with for a piece of spring steel. It took a few attempts, the steel is very brittle. I used tin snips, my belt sander and a lot of patience to make one. Will post a pic when I get back to my other computer.

Once I repaired the disconnector spring, I saw that the back side of the disconnector wasn't engaging the sear correctly. Removed the sear and slightly modified it with a small file.

You really have to look closely at these pieces to understand how they operate.

The disconnector moves up and down depending where the bolt is positioned.

There is a triangled shape cutout on the bottom of the bolt that the triangled end of the disconnector fits into.
With the bolt in it's forward position, the disconnector is in the "up" position (held up by the piece of spring steel). If you pull the trigger now, it moves the disconnector forward, which pushes the sear forward, and release's the hammer.

The disconnector is in the "down" position anytime the bolt is out of it's forward position (i.e., after firing a shot or when loading a cartridge). If you pull the trigger in this mode (or hold the trigger down after a shot) the disconnector should not engage or move the sear. This prevents "doubling" (two or more shots with one trigger pull).

Pretty sure a combination of "doubling", the faulty magazine throats and lifter were the cause of my jams. I'm guessing when the gun would attempt to "double", bullets were getting jammed before they had a chance to get fully seated down the magazine throat. I think the failures to eject were caused by a dirty chamber and the build up where the ejector seats in the receiver.

I've learned a lot about how this gun operates in the past month. Hope this helps others.

Regards, Ken

February 13, 2013, 02:19 AM
Here are some useful links I've found that might help others..

Model identification (http://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/rfrifles/index.html)

Date of manufacture (http://www.histandard.info/PDF/Sears%20Rifles.pdf)

Model 28 & 30 parts list only (http://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/rfrifles/1092D150R.pdf)
Model 29 manual & parts list (http://stevespages.com/pdf/jchiggins_29.pdf)
Model 30 manual & parts list (http://pdf.textfiles.com/manuals/FIREARMS/jchiggins_30.pdf)
Model 31 manual & parts list (http://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/rfrifles/0439D150R.pdf)
Model 31 parts list only (http://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/rfrifles/0440D150R.pdf)

February 13, 2013, 07:59 AM
Cool stuff, Cr125! Congrats!

March 13, 2016, 08:56 PM
Two years later...

Thanks to many good people online willing to help-out.

I like these so much I bought another when I saw one come up at a local guns store.
Kept gram-pa's gun in original condition and restored the new purchase.
Both work like new. Both extremely accurate.






March 14, 2016, 11:16 AM

boom boom
March 14, 2016, 01:20 PM
Nice figured wood on those stocks.

March 16, 2016, 08:06 AM
I picked one up for $20 before I went to gunsmithing school, fixed it up, and it has become one of my favorite rifles. I say it was tacticool before it was cool; high capacity, scope rail (actually one of the first grooved receivers), left hand charging handle, and tactical retractable sling.

I used mine at a Ruger (before NSSF) Rimfire Challenge, I beat quite a few high dollar 10/22s and got the fastest string time on one of the stages, 2.23 seconds on 6 targets. It swings nicer than any shorty bull barrel rimfire does today and points so nice. Plus, I never had to carry it between stages, there was always a cadre of young boys that wanted to carry it with that sling.

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