[ This guest post was written by Jon. ]
First off, I’m somewhat of a newbie to the realm of firearms and shooting so please don’t hold any naivety against me 😛
The JC Higgins brand, for those who may not be familiar with the name, is a line of guns sold by Sears Roebuck & Co. in what I can only imagine were “the good old days,” when Sears and other retailers still sold firearms (If Sears still sells firearms where you’re reading this from, don’t think ill of me. I live in California and NOBODY sells guns anymore.) Anyways, this gun sports a barrel-length of 23 ¼” and an overall length of 41 3/4,“ weighing in at a good 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Now like I said, I’m no expert in firearms so I can’t comment on the specifications in too much detail, but I DO know that the gun feels great in the hand and is always a joy to take down to the range for some stress-relief! And though it may not have much in the way of ‘tactical’ features, or a plethora of aftermarket parts like a 10/22 might have, just one look at this fine piece of history and you know it is a “Grandpa’s gun.”
A few years back, around Christmas time, I started looking into buying “my first gun” because I’ve always loved BB guns, Airsoft guns, etc, and being 16 or so I figured it was a good time to “upgrade” to the real deal, my very own .22 rifle. And to be honest, I was leaning towards a new Ruger 10/22 or something from the Marlin/Savage lines, something relatively cheap yet reliable for the price and if at all possible, Made in America. In talking to my dad, though, it turned out that my grandpa Bob had this .22 rifle just sitting in his gun cabinet, collecting dust ever since he decided hunting and shooting was for us ‘younger’ types. So I got what I was looking for in a good starting-out rifle (cheap because it was my Christmas gift that year, and my favorite one at that!) and the added bonus of a little bit of family history in the gun. According to my dad, this is the very same rifle he used when he was a boy and my grandpa took him and his brother (My uncle Jon) out hunting. I don’t think my dad so much as ever killed a squirrel with it, but just knowing that it was carried in such a great father-son bonding experience brings me a little bit of joy. The rifle shoot straighter than I can (which isn’t saying much) and just has a classic look and feel to it that makes it a special part of family history and the greater history of American firearms.
The only visible blemish that I can see in the rifle is a single fairly minor scratch in the stock. I have no idea how that got there, and my dad is equally clueless how it got there. I like to think (and my imagination is just running wild here) that this blemish on theBlack Walnut stock came from the time when my grandpa was pulling a drowning puppy out of a river and was ambushed by a Wild Rampaging Grizzly Bear. Armed with only this .22 rifle, instead of shooting my grandfather clubbed that bear in the face; the scratch in the wood is from that bear’s teeth. That’ll show them darn bears who’s boss!
In conclusion I think this will always be at the top of my list of “favorite guns I own” even though I’m sure, through the years, I will amass quite a collection of other firearms of various accuracy, reliability, and tactical appeal. It’s a bit if a family heirloom and it was my first ever real firearm. Perhaps in reading this, you too might remember back to the first gun you ever owned or a treasured family firearm?
Any other questions about this gun in particular, I’d be happy to try and answer!