J.C. Higgins Model 53
The J.C. Higgins Model 53 (also known as the Sears Model 53 and Ted Williams Model 53) is a bolt action rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield (or possibly other cartridges). It is a re-branded Winchester Model 70 (push feed model?), manufactured for Sears, Roebuck and Co. under their "J.C. Higgins" sporting goods brand, as well as "Sears" and "Ted Williams" brands.
The Winchester Model 70 push feed model appears to have been made from 1964 to 1991. This means that the Model 53 was a very late rifle under the J.C. Higgins brand, which ran from 1908 to 1964. However, it seems that Sears, Roebuck and Co. did in fact also sell the Winchester Model 70 under the "Sears" brand, as well as their later "Ted Williams" sporting goods brand, which ran from 1961 to later on, but we need additional verification on end year.
It does appear the rifle was sold as both the "Sears Model 53" as well as "Ted Williams Model 53", for some unknown amount of time. The Ted Williams models were possibly made until 1973 according to this thread, but additional verification is also needed here.
Year & Brand Confusion
Some have claimed, for example in the comments section of (this YouTube video), to have a Model 53 from earlier on (1960). Either some Model 53's were in fact pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 rifles, or perhaps this is a simple misidentification, or something else. In that same comments section, another user claims to have a Model 53 chambered in .308. Perhaps it is possible the rifle was offered in other chamberings, though it seems .30-06 was likely the most common from our research. What is clear, is that the Model 53 was sold under the "Sears" and "Ted Williams" brands at some point in time.
Quick Tip (Maybe): One interesting way, noted by Gary James (at The Free Library), to find out if a Winchester Model 70 is pre or post-1964, "...is to check and see if it has a rotating claw extractor. Also, the stockwork on the post-'64 guns was not as good as on the earlier rifles, and the checkering was pressed rather than cut." Your mileage may vary.
Below is a photo of markings on Model 53 featuring Ted Williams branding:
- Action Type: Bolt-action (Mauser-style)
- Cartridge / Chambering: .30-06 Springfield (possibly others eg .308 Winchester?)
- Capacity: 5-round fixed internal magazine.
- Barrel Length: 22 inches (55.88 cm)
- Overall Length: 42.75 inches (108.59 cm)
- Weight: 8.0625 lbs (3.66 kg) - According to (this listing). Seems to also include scope rings' weight.
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