J.C. Higgins Bolt Action Shotgun Recall- PICTURE
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
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Default J.C. Higgins Bolt Action Shotgun Recall- PICTURE

We have discussed this before- Sears had a recall of their bolt action 12 g shotguns- and the defect was described as:

"The retailer said it is recalling the J.C. Higgins bolt action 12-gauge shotguns due to a potential problem with the bolt latch assembly. A spokeswoman for Sears said if the assembly failed, the bolt latch could dislodge and strike the operator in the face."

When being cycled, the bolt was retained in the gun by a set screw on the left side of the action. A number of folks have described the problem as a missing set screw, and that the bolt had been pulled from the gun when cycling it.

HOWEVER- other information indicates that the failure was much more serious- the bolt is latched in battery by a shoulder of the receiver that butts against the base of the bolt handle. Due to the design, when material is milled away for the 12 g (only!) there is not enough left to reliably withstand the force exerted on firing. The metal is sheared off, bolt blown back, shearing off the set screw, and whacking shooter in the face.

Here is what one looks like when it fails- You can see where the metal has sheared away.

sears-shotgun-recall.jpg


Before it fails.
shotgun-sears-2.jpg


Some folks will feel it is still OK to shoot these. I don't.

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Old 10-28-2013, 06:26 PM   #2
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Should have spent more time in the proof house!

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Old 10-28-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
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I got whacked by a bolt from a JC Higgins shotgun when I was a kid. I borrowed the shotgun from a neighbor. I was not harmed in any way. I was lucky my grandfather was with me when it happened. The neighbor claimed I shot the gun with the barrel full of mud. My grandfather quickly told him I had checked the barrel for obstructions. I did indeed check the barrel for obstructions. The neighbor and my grandfather agreed the gun was broken before I shot it. The fact that I wasn't harmed by this event does not mean these guns are safe to shoot.

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:31 PM   #4
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C-3

Of course it is smarter to err on the side of caution than to take chances, however I differ with you on this one. Here is a link to a discussion on another forum. The "Gunsmith's" comments are what I have been told by others as well: http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=183969

The bolt retaining screw is certainly not going to safe-stop a catastrophic failure of the receiver, and was never meant to. Although I know that any receiver can fail, I just don't believe that the receiver failure was the cause of the recall.

My personal experience with three of these guns is positive. Of course, it the bolt had gone through my face, I wouldn't be posting this. I will buy any of these guns that I find, in very good condition, or better, for market value, which seems to be $50-$75.00.

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Old 10-28-2013, 10:52 PM   #5
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The Mossbergs didn't fail, but I still think I have never seen a bolt action shotgun that wasn't a pig in the handling department. I purely don't understand the fascination with them some people have, but to each their own. And yes, I did own one. My first shotgun. My last bolt action.

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Old 10-29-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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I have a Marlin goose gun. I have won a bunch of stuff at charity shooting matches with it. My neighbor won half a cow all butchered and wrapped with it. Bolt action shotguns have a few niches. The savage bolt action slug guns shoot pretty good. It's debatable if the savage bolt action shoots better than a pump. But if the savage bolt action gets people in the woods it does it's job.

Hunters in NC need to kill a lot more than 300,000 deer to control the deer herd. Right now people are controlling the deer herd by hitting 1.3 million NC deer with their cars.

Back to the topic, companies don't issue recalls because the gun has a minor issue. They issue recalls because the guns have had catastrophic failures in controlled tests.

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Old 10-30-2013, 06:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginian View Post
The Mossbergs didn't fail, but I still think I have never seen a bolt action shotgun that wasn't a pig in the handling department. I purely don't understand the fascination with them some people have, but to each their own. And yes, I did own one. My first shotgun. My last bolt action.
I inherited a savage 410 bolt, it handles like a dream, and has been used to take everything from squirrel to deer including birds (all legally of course).
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:18 PM   #8
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Chainfire- thank you for the link. I know this has been kicked around a lot.

I do have problems believing Sears would have dumped well over a million $$$ in this recall if the problem was a loose screw.

In reading the comments in the link, afraid I have to discount some as low quality of information- like the one talking about those shotguns as having "double locking lugs". They had NO locking lugs. Base of the bolt handle locked against a shoulder of the receiver. If that shoulder fails, bolt opens.

For the folks that simply say "I never saw one fail like that", yeah, I believe them. Does not mean it happened that often, but it DID happen.

I can get a decent 12 g pump for under $200. To me, just not worth the risk- and that bolt action shotgun would make a heck of a floor lamp for the man cave.

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Old 10-30-2013, 06:46 PM   #9
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You are saying this is only a problem with the 12 gauge? I have a 16 that came down from my grandfather, I very seldom take it out anymore.

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Old 10-30-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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The recall was only for the 12 g, which is why I give more credence to the design flaw, and not the set screw. In the 12 g, more material is milled away than in the 16, 20 or .410.

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