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Old September 22, 2006, 02:58 PM   #1
CliffH
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J.C. Higgins model 20

I'm hoping ya'll can help ID this shotgun. Bought it a couple of decades ago, didn't get a manual or any background with it - guess the gun shop didn't have anything on it. I've only shot it once, way back when, maybe 1 box of rounds. Since then, it's been kept loaded with 2 rounds and cleaned occassionaly.

The only markings I can find on it are:

J.C. Higgins Model 20 Sears.Roebuck and Co. 583.56 Proof Tested 12ga 2 3/4 Chamber

I couldn't find a serial number on it.

I did some research on it myself, what I came up with was that it's probably a High Standard model 200, manufactured in the late '40's or early '50's; but I'm not sure what I found actually applies to this shotgun.

If it is that old, is it safe to fire modern rounds in it? And, should I limit the rounds to anything specific - such as no slugs, etc? I realize it can only fire 2 3/4" rounds.

I'd also like to find a copy of the instruction manual for it.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
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Old September 22, 2006, 06:34 PM   #2
kozak6
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The JC Higgens 20 is definitely a High Standard 200.

If there are no obvious defects (like a bulged barrel, cracks, severe rust and pitting) then it's probably safe to fire with modern ammunition. If you aren't sure, you could have a gunsmith check it out.

As for slugs, look on the left side of the barrel for stars. If there is 3 stars, it will probably be ok. This means it has an improved cylinder choke. If it only has 1 or two stars, I would recommend avoiding the use of slugs, as those mean it has a full or modified choke, respectively.

All loads with steel shot should be avoided.

Does this manual seem to be appropriate?
http://www.histandard.info/manuals/h.../1126D150R.pdf
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Old September 22, 2006, 06:52 PM   #3
CliffH
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Quote:
...there are no obvious defects (like a bulged barrel, cracks, severe rust and pitting)...
It all looks good to me.

There's no choke on this one, the barrel's been cut down to ~ 18" - darn it!

Your suggestion of having a gunsmith check it out is probably the best bet, I just didn't want to spend much on it. Guess I'll be calling Vang Comp next week to see if they can/will take a look at it.

That manual looks like the correct one.

Thanks
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Old September 22, 2006, 07:02 PM   #4
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No problem, I'm glad to help .
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Old September 23, 2006, 12:22 PM   #5
Earnhardtjr3829
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I also own this particular shotgun, and am very pleased with it for its price. It was made by High Standard, and is closely related to the Ted Williams model.
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Old September 24, 2006, 01:12 PM   #6
CliffH
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My searches lead to this site: http://www.e-gunparts.com/ They've got parts for this shotgun in stock. unfortunately the barrel isn't one of them. It may just be available somewhere else - not sure if I'll replace it or not, but it's nice knowing that parts are still available.

Earnhardtjr3829; thanks for the input. It's good to know others use and like it.
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Old September 27, 2006, 03:20 PM   #7
caonfive
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First shotgun

My Pa bought one of these J. C. Higgins pumpguns for me in 1947 when I was 11. No rib on it, but did come with a recoil pad and a Pachmayr POWR-PAK with three choke sleeves similar to those of a Cutts Compensator.
I killed geese with this near Crab Orchard refuge in Southern Illinois when I was 12 - 14 and many pheasants in Central Illinois when I was in high school. A bit of a clunker for purists, but smooth and reliable- always - for me.
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Old September 27, 2006, 09:21 PM   #8
hodaka
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One of my favorite pumps. The only one I've ever owned that when held upright and the pump released, would slide down and release a shell from the magazine. Very smooth. Only a 2 3/4 chamber but a neat, reliable old shotgun. You can see them in the $100-200 range at gunshows.
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:38 AM   #9
CliffH
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I finally got around to calling Vang Comp - real nice folks there. They did a great trigger job on my S&W 642.

They said that if there're no obvious defects (just like kozak6 said), they saw no reason to take my money looking at it, just go shoot it. I'll have to shoot a few rounds to find what the pattern looks like, they're figuring it for a 20 yard gun - with the 18" barrel it'll be best suited for home defense.

It is a very smooth operating gun. There's no binding/scaping etc. when working the action and it ejects the rounds without a hitch.

My wife's already said no to another shotgun for hunting, but I'll keep working on it

I've got to get to the range soon! She did let me buy a new Marlin 336 almost 3 weeks ago and haven't had a chance to take it out yet!! And now I've got to test the shotgun!!!
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Old August 14, 2010, 03:04 PM   #10
longnkrnch
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reviving the thread

I have a JC Higgins model 20 that I got from a guy in the early 70s that owed me a few bucks. It had a broken slide bar and split forestock at the time. I brazed the slide bar back together and epoxied the forstock and hunted with it for a couple of years as it was all I had at the time other than a Sears model 25 that I got for christmas in 1963 (yea, i'm an old guy). I killed a few deer and coyotes with it using slugs. It had a full choke barrel and would shoot slugs to point of aim at 50yds every time. Since that time, I ran across a cannabilized one at a gun show and replaced the broken parts, reblued the gun and generally cleaned it up. I haven't shot it in years but it holds a place in my gun cabinet. I think its a great gun.
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Old August 14, 2010, 08:01 PM   #11
NeroBrandt
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I have a JC Higgins 16 gauge bolt action shotgun. I believe it was made in 1951. It still shoots just fine. A great gun, well, I like it anyway.
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Old August 14, 2010, 08:15 PM   #12
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My grandfather used a bolt-action J.C. Higgins 12-gauge on his farm in West Virginia.

A city feller came by one day and told my mom (who was about 6 or 7 at the time) that if she got in his fancy car with him he'd give her candy.

Her sister, who is a little older, kept my mother out of the car, and went and told their daddy. Grandpa didn't say a word, he just put the 12 gauge in the passenger seat and took off.

No one ever saw the city slicker after that.

True story.

Also true that even though my mom's mother died when mom was 9 years old, and granddad had five girls to raise during the Great Depression, not one of those girls ever "got in a family way." The local boys simply knew better.
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Old August 14, 2010, 10:13 PM   #13
CliffH
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Since my last post I've reblued & refinished it; looks real purty now!

It's loaded with slugs & 00, alternating. It's also the first gun in the rack.

I'm almost ashamed to say that I haven't patterned it yet - but since it's not going outside the house again that's not a big deal. Well, it might go outside - all depends on how fast they run
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Old December 18, 2010, 05:58 PM   #14
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I have a Model 20 J C Higgins I bought new in 1962. Did a lot of huntin with it and even shot it a lot at trap. Fine shooting gun. Think I will have to take it out to the club and shoot a round or wo with it.
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