View Full Version : Sears rifle sold under "JC Higgins" moniker - information please

Tall Man
September 8, 2002, 03:57 PM
Here's what I can tell you so far about the rifle in question:

*Bolt-action 22 rifle with tubular magazine.
*Sold by Sears, Robuck and Co. under "JC Higgins" moniker.
*Rifle is actually a Marlin Model 81.
*Only the Sears/JC Higgins nomenclature is present on the barrel.
*Purchased during 1960s, and in as-new condition. Production presumed to have occurred during this period.
*This rifle is functionally equivalent to Marlin's current Model 81TS bolt-action 22 rifle.

I've already sent a letter to Marlin in New Haven, CT, requesting an Owner's Manual and any other documentation about this rifle that may presently be available.

In the interim, I'm hoping that an estimate of the rifle's value may be provided to me.

Tall Man

September 8, 2002, 10:41 PM
Tall man:

We have this rifle in common. I got my Higgins .22 at a pawn shop a couple of weeks ago. There is a site on the internet, which had exactly the information you're looking for. I can't remember the name of the site but it came up when I searched for "higgins rimfire" on yahoo. Mine turned out to be a Marlin 80 which was made in the early 80s for Sears. From what I learned, Savage and Stevens also made these rifle for Sears. Seems to be a pretty good rifle, mine is well made. Anyways, sorry I can't remember the name of that site, but you'll know it when you see it. It has a cross-reference of manufacturers of all the Sears guns. Good luck...

Steven Mace
September 9, 2002, 12:14 AM
You might try looking at the Gun Parts Corporation (http://www.e-gunparts.com/crossref.asp) cross-reference list. Hope this helps!

Steve Mace

Jim Watson
September 9, 2002, 04:06 PM
The Blue Book says the Marlin 81C, made from 1940 to 1970 is worth $60 to $85, depending on condition. I doubt the J.C. Higgins trademark will increase its value unless you run into a serious Sears collector. If there are any.

James K
September 9, 2002, 05:21 PM
Those trade name rifles were never quite the quality of the brand name ones with the actual maker's name. For example, the "quality" rifle might have a walnut stock with a black plastic foreend tip, while the "trade" rifle would have a birch stock with black paint on the end.

So, in general, they bring less than the "brand name" guns. As Jim Watson says, there is little collector interest in "trade" guns and they are sold as shooters.


September 9, 2002, 07:06 PM
Sears sold all kinds of products under the J.C. Higgins trade name. Bicycles and all kinds of other sporting goods as I recall.

Tall Man
September 10, 2002, 07:29 AM
I had personally assigned an estimated valuation of $80.00 to the rifle. My estimate appears rather accurate, based on the feedback provided here.

Now let's see what Marlin can produce, with respect to my request for an Owner's Manual.

Yes, firearms were not the only items to be branded with the "JC Higgins" name. Wouldn't it be surreal to walk into a Sears today and purchase a rifle with 'Craftsman' stamped into the barrel? :D (I'm a Snap-On man myself.)

Thanks again,

Jim Watson
September 10, 2002, 08:06 AM
Doubt you would see a Craftsman rifle, even if Sears' management were so open-minded as to keep selling real sporting goods. Their last house brand of guns and other hunting and fishing gear was "Ted Williams." The famous baseball player was considerable of an outdoorsman in the off season. And he had the advertising advantage of being real. J.C. Higgins is sometimes said to have been Sears' sporting goods manager, sometimes a coined name with no real person behind it.