J.C. Higgins Restoration

Sometimes we take on jobs that aren’t very pretty, but we still do them. Here’s how I did a total restoration of an old, damaged J.C. Higgins bolt action shotgun.

by Norman E. Johnson

When asked if I would have a look at an old shotgun with thoughts of repairing it, I agreed to see it. The man was soon in my shop with a 1949 Model 585.22 J.C. Higgins, bolt action in 20 gauge. The sight of that old shotgun was shocking. The rusted barreled action was taped into the badly broken stock. A large wedge-like splinter of wood was broken out and missing from the right side of the stock at mid pistol grip area six inches diagonally upward and forward. A huge piece, an inch wide, extended along the bottom of the stock, including the area of the recoil lug mortice. This was all loosely taped in place. The entire recoil lug support was missing and a child could have pulled the gunstock into two halves.

Upon examination of the gun, I discouraged any attempt to repair it. We talked awhile and he left with the gun… but it wasn’t over. The next time I saw him, he said the old gun had sentimental attachment and he would really like to present it to his grandson on his birthday. I weakened and somehow the gun found its way back into my shop. The old shotgun leaned against my shop bench as I walked by it for at least six weeks. Those who came by couldn’t believe I would one day take on the daunting task of attempting to repair it.

The Plan Of Attack

Read more in the February 2017 issue.

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