BOTW: Jim’s Higgins Build

    The 24th Installment of Build of the Week was contributed by Jim.  So basically this is the Craftsman Tools of shotguns… Pretty interesting collector’s piece (with a little bit of the history), and even more interesting that Jim modded it (there is always the question of keeping it for the collector’s value or for the utility). I think this is also the first shotgun we have seen in this series! I’m not sure why there is a picture of Walter White on the wall, though…

    We are doing installments 23 and 24 back to back in a shorter time window as we have a huge surprise coming up for SHOT.  Voting for Set 6 will be on the 9th…  Stay tuned and definitely cast your votes.

    Keep the submissions coming in!  We are publishing them in the order in which they were received (with the exception of a single person submitting back to back–those will get spread out).

    You can submit your own build at

    A friend that knew I liked shotguns offered to sell me a 1950s JC Higgins 12 gauge pump gun. Higgins was the Sears house brand in the 1950’s and this model was made by High Standard in Connecticut. The gun was well made design very similar to a Mossberg 500 with a nice walnut stock, but it had 70 years of hard use.

    The original configuration was a 28” field gun with a Pachmayr Power-Pac choke tube system and a 15 inch length of pull. When I mounted. The gun it felt like holding a telephone pole. I decided to tighten it up. I took 3 1/2” out of the stock and 8 1/2 inches out of the barrel. I silver soldered and welded the Power-Pac tube on the barrel as I needed its length to stay longer than 18 inches.

    I replaced all the missing parts and springs (Thank You Numrich) then sand blasted the parts and refinished them with Brownells Gun-Kote. I fitted a steel butt plate to my mahogany stained stock for a 11 1/2 inch length of pull, along with new sights and it’s ready to go.

    The gun is 37” long, light and handles quickly. It reminds you that 2 3/4” 12 Gauge is a powerful round when you pull the trigger. I’m Extremely pleased with the way this project turned out.

    Comment below to ask Jim questions about this build.

    TFB’s BOTW Prize Packs are provided by STRIKE INDUSTRIES

    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT or at