View Full Version : J.C. Higgins Sears Model 54

September 24, 2008, 10:36 AM
Ok, looking at picking up a J.C. Higgins Sears Model 54 lever action rifle in 30/30. from the little information on the web I am under the assumption that this is a pre-64 winchester model 94 made for sears.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

The information I am looking for is years that they were made and hopefully the "magic" decipher code to translate the serial number to a manufacture year.



September 24, 2008, 11:35 AM
[I am under the assumption that this is a pre-64 winchester model 94 made for sears.]

The easiest way to tell is to eyeball the shell lifter/carrier from above with the bolt back/lever open.

If it's a casting, it's pre-64, but if it's a thin, stamped-metal part, it's post-64.

I don't believe they were still being made for Sears when Winchester started using a seamed cast lifter, ca.1981.

It may very well be a "pre", however - since IIRC the J.C.Higgins brand name was supposedly in use only from 1946-1962 - but I remember seeing J.C.Higgins firearn F/S in Sears stores as late as the mid 1970's, with the "deluxe's" branded "Ted Williams".


September 24, 2008, 01:27 PM
yes, the pre-64 is not in question, just exactly when it was made (serial number ranges would be great). only info I found was they were using the JC higgins name on the model 94 only in the early to mid 50's, after that all the 94's were switched to Ted Williams naming.

The serial numbering scheme on the Higgins does not correlate to the winchester serial numbering so, I am only stuck with an early to mid 50's ballpark guesstimate.

Jim Watson
September 24, 2008, 05:05 PM
Post '64.

The Sears Model 54 like yours is shown in Gun Digest from 1966 through 1972. In 1973 a Model 100 showed up with the same description. No Sears lever action in the 1974.

Gun Digest 1964 and 1965 show Sears Model 45 which is clearly a Marlin product.

For some reason Gun Digest of that era does not list Sears guns as J.C. Higgins or Ted Williams; although they do so in earlier and later editions.

September 24, 2008, 05:46 PM
And because it has a store brand on it, you can knock off 20 to 25 per cent off the value than if it was marked Winchester only.

September 25, 2008, 12:15 PM
gun is clearly a pre-64 (mid 50's to be exact) based solely on the info from winchester and the parts in the gun. I have already contacted the Buffalo Bill Historical Center/Firearms Museum and they backed up the info on the webfrom other sources about the early to mid 50's sale of the model 94 to sears under the higgins name and it's subsequent switch solely to the ted williams name for the model 94.

What I am looking for (and can not find from winchester or the other sources) is the serial number ranges for the early to mid 50's guns so I can nail down an exact year for this model 94.

many other models were sold under the higgins name well into the 60's and 70's, but from what I found and was told by winchester and the historical center the model 94 made the switch solely to williams in the late 50's.

also, yes I am aware of the decreased value of a "store brand" model 94 over a solely winchester branded gun, but this little sucker is being bought for collecting purposed to fit into my colleciton of model 94's.

October 10, 2010, 06:17 PM
there are house brand model 94 patterns, that are pre-64 patterns

November 13, 2011, 04:14 PM
I bought a sears model 54 30-30 a long time ago and last fall I started having some problems with the firing pin. The gun works fine, but the fire pin doesn't always come out all the way when its cocked, and if I aim it at the floor it just slides back in so when the hammer hits it doesn't always fire. I have never taken it apart, and am not sure if it is just some spring back in there that broke. I would appreciate any advice, thanks.

November 17, 2011, 11:50 AM



Sears contract Model 94's were serial numbered separately from regular Model 94 production, and AFAIK, there are no SN dating records available, since Sears turned their records over to BATF when they stopped selling firearms.