Sunday, January 11, 2009

J.C. Higgins Model 80 .22 autoloader

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The JC Higgins Model 80 is a Sears branded High Standard Duramatic pistol. High Standard had a close relationship with Sears, to the point where the Sears decision to stop selling firearms seriously damaged the High Standard Company and contributed to its demise.

Researching the Higgins Model 80 is best done by researching the High Standard M-101 Duramatic. The Model 80 is a M-101, with the Sears brand stamped in place of the High Standard.

The Duramatic .22 semi-auto pistol was designed as a low cost plinker and informal target shooting pistol. One interesting feature was the easily removable barrel (something High Standard designed into most of their .22 autos). Production began in 1954 as the M-100, with a barrel mounting change in 1957 resulting in the model change to M-101.

The Sears Model 80 is the High Standard M-101, so the earliest it could have been sold in Sears stores was 1957. Sears dropped the JC Higgins name in favor of Ted Williams in 1961, which limits the sale run of Model 80’s to 1957 thru 1961. Given leftover stock, that means a 4-5 year period of retail sales on the JC Higgins Model 80. Not a long run!

The pistol has some interesting features. The barrel can be swapped out without tools, and in fact is normally removed as part of field stripping. There were two barrel lengths available, 4.5” and 6.5”. The original box was cut out to accommodate both barrel lengths. High Standard sold the pistol as a set, with both barrels.

Another feature, or curse, is the unique grip design. The plastic oversized target style grip is held on by one screw through the base.
The grip itself comprises the entire lower part of the pistol, including the magazine housing. Alternative grips were not available.

Sights are usable, but minimal. A target width blade front is combined with a drift adjustable square notch rear. The trigger is actually pretty decent for an inexpensive plinker pistol, with a crisp and relatively light let off. The rear of the firing pin and bolt is visible at the rear of the slide, and acts as a cocking indicator. Another fun-fact... there is a "Silvery" plate inset on the left side of the grip. This is billed as a great place to have the owners initials engraved to personalize the pistol.

I bought this pistol from a local gun shop for my collection. It came as pictured, and I picked it up for a reasonable price that practically guarantees a healthy return on investment should I ever sell it. These bargains are out there, if we look. It takes time, spent stopping in at local gun shops, reading classified ads, and being ready to jump on the bargains as they come into sight. Time also has to be invested in study, to understand both the basics and minutia of this field.

I think it’s time well spent, not only in terms of investment, but in interest, enjoyment, and the ability to hold history in our hands.





(update)

The pistol shoots like a dream. It can hold one inch groups at fifty feet, which is better than I can normally shoot a pistol.
I've decided to sell it..... please allow me to explain.

Judging by serial numbers, it seems that only a few hundred of these JC Higgins (Sears) branded High Standard Duramatics were sold. This one is in the original box, with the original magazine and papers. Frankly, it belongs in the hands of a High Standard collector. Everything I own is a shooter... period. As will this be if I keep it.

I'll sell it for $275 plus shipping, or trade for a Ruger 22/45 or Mk3.

15 comments:

Bunnyman said...

That is one neat little package. I especially like the box with all the distinguishing features indicated!

What year did Sears stop selling firearms?

Anonymous said...

nice little find. My uncles have one not unlike yours that has mainly been used to dispatch hogs. The times I've got to fire it it was more accurate that expected.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to obtain a Dura Matic replacement Slide Spring Part # 3033. Left hand pitch.
Today we would call it a recoil spring.
Would you please measure the length, inside and outside diameters of your spring and provide the wire size of the spring, and the pitch per inch.
I have ordered this spring from several gunsmith supply firms and have never got the correct one, or I get a worn out spring.
I'll post the results when I find a spring supply source.

Thanks
Michael Remington
Remingtons150@msn.com

Carteach0 said...

Why not try Numrich? They list one for under $3.

http://www.e-gunparts.com/

Anonymous said...

That's a very reasonable price for a High-Standard clone. I had one of those in the wild days of my yoot. Wish I still had it along with the Supermatic/Trophy with the three barrel in the case.

lenny said...

My father had a JC Higins Model 50 that I used growing up. I'm very interested in purchasing one myself. Is yours still available?

Carteach0 said...

Lenny,
Sorry... mine became a gift for a young shooter. I'm soft that way.

MEROR@EMBARQMAIL.COM said...

I HAVE A SIMILAR TO MOPDEL 80 BUT MY SAYS MADE IN FRANCE

Ed said...

Colt Cadet looks similar in some ways - safety, mag release and some other design features. I had a Colt Cadet, I didn't like the steep feed ramp - it had more feed problems than other .22's I have had and shot. For the most part I really liked the pistol - but then again I did sell it.

Anonymous said...

I have a model 80 that I bought from a Army buddy in 1960. He bought in a couple years earlier at a Sears store in Pasco, WA. I have both barrels and shoot it occasionally. As stated earlier It is quite accurate and never misfires or jams.

George said...

have a m100 high standard duramatic need left handed grip...will settle for a right if it is the only one available,also a stiker spring :) ..thank you

Anonymous said...

I need a magazine for model 80 JC Higginns 22 Does anyone know where I can get one? rlh

Anonymous said...

I too, am looking to purchase the 9 shot magazine for the JC Higgins model 80, and would like the address of any source you have.
Thank you.
Glenn

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a Model 80 & i find clips on Ebay, some are high priced, but take your time and you can buy them for about $35.00-$40.00. Ihave bought 4 so far, just type in High Standard & your good to go.

Anonymous said...

I QUESTION THE MANUFACTURING DATES, I PURCHASED ONE WHILE I WAS IN THE ARMY FROM A SEARS STORE IN TUCSON ARIZ. AND PAID IT OUR BY THE MONTH,,,ARMY PAY. I THINK I PURCHASED IT IN 1975. I HAVE THE LONG BARRAL AND WOULD LIKE TO BUY A SHORT BARRAL. COULDN'T AFFORD BOTH AT THE TIME. ARMY PAY...