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 Post subject: J.C. Higgins Model 20 - 583.60...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:25 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:27 am
Posts: 3
Hello. I'm new here. I just wanted some advice from pros, or experience DIY'ers. earlier this week I bought the:

J.C. Higgins Model 20-12 gauge pump action
Sears & Roebuck
583.60

I then found https://www.vintagegunleather.com/gun-manuals/I-J.html where you can download whatever Sears catalog number applies to your J.C. Higgins model.

For the model 20 catalog printed in April of 1949, it lists the Model 20 with 2 numbers:
583.55 & 583.56. So if both of these numbers apply to their current offerings in 1949, what year would apply to the model 20-583.60?

With normal operation, the Model 20 is capable of slam firing. When I shot the gun at my range, I noticed that as soon as the trigger was depressed, the forend slide came back almost simultaneously, as if pulling the trigger and the slide coming back were one simultaneous function. It was odd. I ended up having to pull the pistol grip into my shoulder with my right hand, while pushing the forend towards the muzzle with my left hand to avoid this. I didn't know this about the gun when I purchased it. I wish the trigger being pulled, and the slide coming back were 2 different operations.

Questions if anyone can help:

1) I got more than a few stovepipes, but I took the bolt apart, and detailed the entire thing, springs, firing pin, channel, pins, ejector and extractor — everything.

— Are there newer current production extractors/ejectors that will fit into the channels of the Model 20's bolt?

2) The barrel on my model 20 was cut at some point — professionally. Is the barrel thickness adequate to have a gunsmith tap and thread the muzzle for modern chokes? — Or should I just leave it as is?

3) I absolutely LOVE the color and finish on this gun. The wood is in decent shape, minus a deep scratch on the rear left side of the buttstock. — Does anyone know what J.C. Higgins would have finished the forend and stock with in the 1950'S?

I don't want to change the color, but I would like to strip everything off, fix the deep scratch, and fill the grain with wood sealer - the sanding/slurry grain filling method, like in the Larry Potterfield video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET2scbQvAj8

Then replicate the finish color as close as possible to the original. I'd just like to know what they would have used back then, and how did they get the color? Is it an oil stain they would have used to get that color?

Here are some pictures of my Model 20:

JC Higgins Model 20-Full Size:
https://i.postimg.cc/yBvRnwQN/JC-Higgin ... l-Size.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Daylight:
https://i.postimg.cc/nFnsGkq7/JC-Higgin ... ylight.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Right Side Stock 2:
https://i.postimg.cc/tp8YMyh9/JC-Higgin ... tock-2.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Left Side Stock:
https://i.postimg.cc/4xB3LC69/JC-Higgin ... -Stock.jpg

J.C. Higgins Forend 2:
https://i.postimg.cc/TGR7Kv52/J-C-Higgins-Forend-2.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Underside Forend:
https://i.postimg.cc/SkH4cf9K/JC-Higgin ... Forend.jpg

J.C. Higgins Receiver-Right: https://i.postimg.cc/65VN9Dp1/J-C-Higgi ... -Right.jpg

—Thanks for any help you can lend—




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 Post subject: Re: J.C. Higgins Model 20 - 583.60...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:54 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:45 am
Posts: 1988
This model 20 has nothing but a clear finish. I had tubes installed.

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 Post subject: Re: J.C. Higgins Model 20 - 583.60...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:03 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:27 am
Posts: 3
Diamond, you had the barrel cut, and choke tubes installed?

What thread (choke vendor) will your 20 accept?

And, if it was a stock clear finish, what finished would they have used in those years?
Tung Oil
Varnish etc?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: J.C. Higgins Model 20 - 583.60...
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:09 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:10 pm
Posts: 172
Cool Shotgun, Congrats!

Comments to questions/statements in red below.

jc20 wrote:
Hello. I'm new here. I just wanted some advice from pros, or experience DIY'ers. earlier this week I bought the:

J.C. Higgins Model 20-12 gauge pump action
Sears & Roebuck
583.60

I then found https://www.vintagegunleather.com/gun-manuals/I-J.html where you can download whatever Sears catalog number applies to your J.C. Higgins model.

For the model 20 catalog printed in April of 1949, it lists the Model 20 with 2 numbers:
583.55 & 583.56. So if both of these numbers apply to their current offerings in 1949, what year would apply to the model 20-583.60?

From my readings, it would seem the 583.60 was made between 1953 and 1956. If you REALLY want to know, join RimfireCentral dot com, go to the High Standards section and look for SGVictor's comments. Then PM him and ask if he could help you find the date. He is a bit crusty, but has the most extensive knowledge of anyone I know. The website below that hosts the manuals is his. He used to have a forum where you could ask, but he ended that as he got tired of that part.

With normal operation, the Model 20 is capable of slam firing.
Is it REALLY slam firing? I mean, have you done this with live rounds and gotten it to slam fire? The Win Model 12 and Ithaca 37 from the 40s and 50s were designed to slam fire, so that was normal at that time in life. However, by the early 1950s the JC Higgins advertisements pointed out their safety feature claiming you cannot slam fire it. Instead, when you pump and hold the trigger the hammer will follow the bolt, but it won't touch the firing pin until the bolt is locked up, at which point it doesn't have enough pressure to fire the round.

I have a 1957 Model 20 and the hammer will follow, but it won't slam fire.

BTW, the Ithaca and Winchester shotguns actually have two 'sears'. One holds the hammer back normally and, when you pull the trigger it slides off the hammer, letting it fire. The other catches the hammer and holds it back when cycling the bolt [while holding trigger down/back], and then releases the hammer once the bolt is in lockup. The second one bypasses the 'normal' sear, but still doesn't let the firearm fire until in lockup.

So- have you tested it with live rounds and gotten it to slam fire? Or was it a dry fire exercise that proved the hammer followed the bolt?


When I shot the gun at my range, I noticed that as soon as the trigger was depressed, the forend slide came back almost simultaneously, as if pulling the trigger and the slide coming back were one simultaneous function. It was odd. I ended up having to pull the pistol grip into my shoulder with my right hand, while pushing the forend towards the muzzle with my left hand to avoid this. I didn't know this about the gun when I purchased it. I wish the trigger being pulled, and the slide coming back were 2 different operations.

This was an advertised advantage, as it allowed you to pump and fire faster than other makes. I think they claimed you could fire all of the rounds in 3.5 seconds. Think pass shooting of a flock. Faster pumps means more opportunities for meat on the table.

Design wise, as soon as it fired it was starting to cycle the next shot. The Ithaca 37 seems to do this also. But, that is understandable, as the Model 20 seems to be the best features of the Win Model 12 and the Remington 17 [which inspired the Ithaca 37]. The Mossberg 500 that was released in 1961 was also very similar. However, Mossberg went to double action bars around 1972.

The JC Higgins Model 20 is actually a High Standard shotgun design that Sears had a monopoly on selling until Sears dropped High Standard and went to Winchester for shotguns around 1961. [Sears had controlling interest in High Standard for most of the 50s.]

A High Standard Flite King Model 10 [key is flite king, there is a bullpup model 10 also] is the closest to the JC Higgins Model 20. The HS Model 200 is more like the JC Higgins 583.2004, but is still a little different.

Here is a link to original manuals of Sears Shotguns by High Standard:
https://www.histandard.info/manuals/sears/pashotguns/index.html.


Questions if anyone can help:

1) I got more than a few stovepipes, but I took the bolt apart, and detailed the entire thing, springs, firing pin, channel, pins, ejector and extractor — everything.

— Are there newer current production extractors/ejectors that will fit into the channels of the Model 20's bolt?

I don't believe anyone has anything new. However, you can find parts on ebay and gunbroker at times. Also, you can find parts at Numrich gun parts. Watch for Either JC Higgins or High Standard, but be aware that the later high standards used an Exjector, instead of a screw in ejector

2) The barrel on my model 20 was cut at some point — professionally. Is the barrel thickness adequate to have a gunsmith tap and thread the muzzle for modern chokes? — Or should I just leave it as is?

It depends on the dimensions, as in ID vs OD. If there is at least .030" difference, then someone can probably thread it with thin wall chokes at least. I believe OD needs to be over .827 for thin wall, with .840 for Invector/Win/Moss, and something like .850 for RemChoke. But, that is off the cuff from documents I read long ago.

3) I absolutely LOVE the color and finish on this gun. The wood is in decent shape, minus a deep scratch on the rear left side of the buttstock. — Does anyone know what J.C. Higgins would have finished the forend and stock with in the 1950'S?

No Clue, but I used Herter's French Red filler, sold via Brownells, and then finished with TruOil and I like the look.

I don't want to change the color, but I would like to strip everything off, fix the deep scratch, and fill the grain with wood sealer - the sanding/slurry grain filling method, like in the Larry Potterfield video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET2scbQvAj8

Then replicate the finish color as close as possible to the original. I'd just like to know what they would have used back then, and how did they get the color? Is it an oil stain they would have used to get that color?

Here are some pictures of my Model 20:

JC Higgins Model 20-Full Size:
https://i.postimg.cc/yBvRnwQN/JC-Higgin ... l-Size.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Daylight:
https://i.postimg.cc/nFnsGkq7/JC-Higgin ... ylight.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Right Side Stock 2:
https://i.postimg.cc/tp8YMyh9/JC-Higgin ... tock-2.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Left Side Stock:
https://i.postimg.cc/4xB3LC69/JC-Higgin ... -Stock.jpg

J.C. Higgins Forend 2:
https://i.postimg.cc/TGR7Kv52/J-C-Higgins-Forend-2.jpg

JC Higgins Model 20-Underside Forend:
https://i.postimg.cc/SkH4cf9K/JC-Higgin ... Forend.jpg

J.C. Higgins Receiver-Right: https://i.postimg.cc/65VN9Dp1/J-C-Higgi ... -Right.jpg

—Thanks for any help you can lend—


Enjoy! These are nice old shotguns. Just be careful when removing the trigger guard as the front two 'ears/tabs' that slide into the receiver have a habit of breaking, as the trigger guard is not the best metal.

With care it is all fine, but take time to look up how to dismantle the JC Higgins and/or High Standard Flite King before you do a lot to it.

I've detail stripped both of mine and had to replace the trigger guard on the Model 20 as someone had broken those ears, and I didn't know it.

I got lucky and found a stripped guard for about $40 on ebay.

_________________
A handgun guy who is growing up?


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