JC Higgens Model 60 Shotgun Help

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When my dad passed away 5 years ago, he left me a JC Higgens Model 60 semi auto shotgun. It was gifted to my dad back in 1954 by the owner of the business he worked for. This model was only produced between 1953 and 1956. It's in really great condition. No rust. Stock is still in pristine condition. It hasn't been fired in over 45 years. I decided to give it my youngest son so I took it up into the woods to shoot a few rounds through it to make sure everything worked. It shot fine and cycled the rounds as it should. When I got home I was going to give it a good cleaning and then give it to him. I noticed that the finger knob on the action/charging handle was missing. It was certainly there when I chambered the first round earlier.

So, I went back out to where I shot it hoping to find the knob laying on the ground. I had no such luck. I started searching the internet looking for a replacement part. From the way it looked the knob was pressed into the action bar with pins and had some type of adhesive on the bottom where they came into contact. Long story short, I couldn't find just the knob so I decided to try and find an intact factory action bar. Again no luck. Fortunately I found an action bar that was a reproduction of the original so I ordered one. I'm hoping it's a good reproduction so it will work fine once installed.

Here is where I need some help. I've disassembled the shotgun to the point only the mag tube that includes the gas piston and spring is left. The front of the action bar is secured to the mag tube by some type of grooved slide ring. The only way I can see to remove the action bar for replacement is to remove the mag tube. If I try and just pull it off I'm pretty sure it will bend or break. Same with installing the replacement. My problem is I'm not sure if the mag tube is screwed in or pressed in. I've included some pics that I hope will help. Does any one know how this attaches to the receiver?

The gun has a whole lot more sentimental value than monetary value. And it does shoot fine. I don't want to damage it. I have spoken with a reputable local gunsmith but he was pricey. I need to avoid the extra costs if at all possible. I can definitely repair it myself, assuming the replacement action bar is functional. Thanks.
 

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Sierra048

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Thanks for the video. It appears the tube screws in. LIke in the video, it is in there really tight. I'm wondering if there is loctite on the threads like a Mossberg 500 or a Benelli. Those need to be heated up to loosen the loctite. He also mentioned there was a special four-lug tool for the mag tube. No clue where to find one. The guy in the video couldn't loosen it and bent a punch and an Allen wrench trying. I'll give it one more try tomorrow to see if I can unscrew it. If not, I'll try to find someone who can loosen it for me. That, and the fitment of the new action bar, are my only obstacles now. Thanks again.
 
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Thanks for the video. It appears the tube screws in. LIke in the video, it is in there really tight. I'm wondering if there is loctite on the threads like a Mossberg 500 or a Benelli. Those need to be heated up to loosen the loctite. He also mentioned there was a special four-lug tool for the mag tube. No clue where to find one. The guy in the video couldn't loosen it and bent a punch and an Allen wrench trying. I'll give it one more try tomorrow to see if I can unscrew it. If not, I'll try to find someone who can loosen it for me. That, and the fitment of the new action bar, are my only obstacles now. Thanks again.

I probably should have reviewed the video before I posted it but was at work. Had I seen an #^&% use an allen wrench or punch for that I wouldn't have posted it to begin with- sorry for the inadequate instruction.

Relax, done this hundreds of times bluing guns and all tubes basically are the same. Almost all of them are difficult to get out either from seeped rust over the decades or they were "peened" with a prick punch to keep them from backing out. ( some just tightly screwed in)

If memory serves, the barrel should pull straight out (but it could have the retainer on the magazine tube) Either way....

Go to McMaster and get the pin spanner that fits the hole ( That's the "special tool"[OMFG])

Put the receiver in a padded vise and use the spanner and unscrew the tube.

Only do a half a honk and if it still wont budge, get a plumbers propane torch ( fast low heat)

Freeze it solid overnight in the deep freeze ( shrinks it maybe a thou.) Set it back in the vise ( quickly while still hard frozen)

Put gentle but hard tension on the tube with the spanner then hit CENTER MASS of the bottom of the receiver where the tube screws in. (nowhere else). This is not gentle heat per se- lay the dragons tongue on it center mass and let the BTUs flow- quickly

(Its best for that to be a 2 person op- the wrench guy needs to keep tension and be ready to start spinning when it starts to give)

You want to expand it somewhat like an egg to loosen the grip and it will break free.

Once it breaks free- unscrew quickly with a purpose ( don't want the temps to equalize or it will all swell uniformly and tighten back up)

If that doesn't work, let me know
 

Sierra048

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I spent a good part of the day yesterday working on this. It was do or die for me. I was either going to get it done myself or bite the bullet and let the gunsmith have a go at it. The very last thing I tried was the ticket for me. I soaked it in penetrating oil and let it sit for a couple of hours. That didn't get it done by itself. Frustrated, I broke out my propane torch and applied some heat. After heating it up good, I put the stock between my feet. took a punch that I could get through the holes on the top end of the tube and put all I had into it. And then it moved about an eight of a turn. The rest is history. Still took a while to get out but it appears that the threads are still in good shape. Something so simple can be a PIA. Lastly, when I reassemble the tube, would a dab of never seize be a bad idea. Your input has been very much appreciated. Thank you.
 
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I spent a good part of the day yesterday working on this. It was do or die for me. I was either going to get it done myself or bite the bullet and let the gunsmith have a go at it. The very last thing I tried was the ticket for me. I soaked it in penetrating oil and let it sit for a couple of hours. That didn't get it done by itself. Frustrated, I broke out my propane torch and applied some heat. After heating it up good, I put the stock between my feet. took a punch that I could get through the holes on the top end of the tube and put all I had into it. And then it moved about an eight of a turn. The rest is history. Still took a while to get out but it appears that the threads are still in good shape. Something so simple can be a PIA. Lastly, when I reassemble the tube, would a dab of never seize be a bad idea. Your input has been very much appreciated. Thank you.

I knew that method would work. Its almost a given they are hard to come out.

"Sometimes" manufacturers ( and back yard gunsmiths) will re-blue with barrels and mag tubes still screwed in and the salts will seep into the threads and chemically weld them ( and sometimes bleed out with little residue)

Anti seize will work but a dab of grease it better- here's why ( has nothing to do with keeping it from binding)

If you ever want it re-blued, that matter in the compound is almost impossible to get 100% out and it can destroy bluing salts. I have never had grease fail. ( copper anti seize will also destroy a hot tank and create poisonous gas)- NEVER put anything with a yellow metal class in a tank

Glad it worked for you
 

Sierra048

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Grease it is then. Any specific grease you recommend?

At my age I'm not sure I'll be around the next time the tube needs to come out. I'll let my son deal with it if he still owns it. And FWIW, I do enjoy your contributions, not just this thread, to Bitog. Thanks again.
 
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Grease it is then. Any specific grease you recommend?

Thank you, any will work-just literally a Q-tip rubbed thinly in the threads

I use a 0 spindle grease ( simply because we rebuild them and I "appropriated" an almost empty container)
 

Sierra048

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Well, my new action bar finally arrived yesterday. Took two weeks to get it. I started reassembling the shotgun only to notice the re-manufactured copy of the original appears to be ever so slightly taller than the original causing it to bind in the track that the action bar rides in. I worked for a while on it just using the gas piston to get a grip I could use, along with the finger knob on the new action bar, to finally be able to move the bar to where I felt comfortable finishing the assembly. Now, with everything back together, it binds to the point I can't use the action bar to chamber a round. Is there any way to take a small sliver off the top of the action bar to help make it ride in the guides without binding? After finding the problem with the new action bar, I reinstalled the old action bar to make sure I had installed the bolt assembly correctly and it cycled fine although I had to use the gas piston manually to work the action (the reason I had to replace the action bar to begin with). Do you think some type of polish with a Dremel felt pad would be aggressive enough to lift just enough off the top to facilitate moving in the guides. Any other suggestions? I've got $92 into it already just for the new action bar. I don't think I want to invest the money for a gunsmith to look at it since that would take my out of pocket to well over what the gun is worth. Again, I know I re-assembled the gun correctly because it cycled smooth with no binding with the old action bar re-installed.
 

ZeeOSix

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Now, with everything back together, it binds to the point I can't use the action bar to chamber a round. Is there any way to take a small sliver off the top of the action bar to help make it ride in the guides without binding?

Can you post a photo of the action bar and show where the material would have to be removed?
 

Sierra048

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Can you post a photo of the action bar and show where the material would have to be removed?

There appears to be several problem areas with the "factory reproduced" copy. It does look like the original but they didn't take care to make it the same width and height of the original. One problem area is the two end segments that look like teeth in a gear. They definitely would not fit in the track due to being too tall. The second area that causes problems is the area right under the charging finger knob. Barely noticeable but the bar increases in width ever so slightly just before the charging finger knob and reduces back down just on the other side. Assuming this helps solidify the finger knob area. This area has to track through the front end of the receiver and this is the other area that binds up. I decided to go for broke and grabbed my Dremel tool with a small grinding stone. I took just enough off of the two end pieces to enable them to move through the track without binding. The width on this end is not a factor. I'm still working on the area under the charging knob as I only want to take off just enough width to get it to track without binding. I figured I'm doing what a gunsmith would have had to do so why not take a chance and do it myself. Now, assuming I am successful, would it be a simple task to re-blue the action rod when finished? I'm having to remove some of the finish to bare metal and I want to prevent rusting after it's re-installed, hopefully for the last time. Thoughts?

Thanks.
Mike

PXL_20200930_125730148.jpg PXL_20200930_125653973.jpg PXL_20200930_125700970.jpg
 
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I figured I'm doing what a gunsmith would have had to do so why not take a chance and do it myself. Now, assuming I am successful, would it be a simple task to re-blue the action rod when finished? I'm having to remove some of the finish to bare metal and I want to prevent rusting after it's re-installed, hopefully for the last time. Thoughts?

There's a slight difference between "taking a chance" and a calculated risk and then going through the motions of a seasoned parts fitter versus knowing what/when to remove and why. ( just making a very generalized but true statement as I get many "basket cases" for the same reasons)

First, its normal to get parts for guns ( especially older ones back in the day when QA/QC and repeatability is nowhere near what it is today) that are deliberately "oversized' thus requiring fitting. ( also most manufacturers know there will be "wear' on the corresponding parts as well so they often give "meat" to use) That in and of itself is a non issue that it requires "fitting"

I do recommend a file/vise and stone rather than a dremel ( its too easy to hog cut with a dremel and its hard to add metal back)

Assuming the old part still exists and you have precision measuring tools ( best case scenario)

Coat the part with dychem ( or even magic marker) and install

Everywhere you see binding- mic the old part and file accordingly but leave .005" ish for final fitting. You should line up the area to be filed with the vise jaws so its not only the hard stop but ensures good right angles as required and flat cuts that are relatively even.

Reassemble and test

This should get you "functional" but probably with some binding and "feel-able' resistance. ( that's where you want to be)

More ink and now sand paper and "smooth until it works fine ( all this with no oil- oil can mask roughness issues)

That should do the trick. If not, holler
 

ZeeOSix

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Now, assuming I am successful, would it be a simple task to re-blue the action rod when finished? I'm having to remove some of the finish to bare metal and I want to prevent rusting after it's re-installed, hopefully for the last time. Thoughts?

Yes, you can buy some pretty good "cold blueing" products and treat the bare metal to make it looked blued. I've used "Perma Blue" in the past to re-blue small parts and it worked pretty well.

I probably would have used a good flat file and some various levels of sand paper to work the part to the correct dimenisons. Might have takes a lot more time but there's more control when working slowly by hand on something like this.

 

Sierra048

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There's a slight difference between "taking a chance" and a calculated risk and then going through the motions of a seasoned parts fitter versus knowing what/when to remove and why. ( just making a very generalized but true statement as I get many "basket cases" for the same reasons)

First, its normal to get parts for guns ( especially older ones back in the day when QA/QC and repeatability is nowhere near what it is today) that are deliberately "oversized' thus requiring fitting. ( also most manufacturers know there will be "wear' on the corresponding parts as well so they often give "meat" to use) That in and of itself is a non issue that it requires "fitting"

I do recommend a file/vise and stone rather than a dremel ( its too easy to hog cut with a dremel and its hard to add metal back)

Assuming the old part still exists and you have precision measuring tools ( best case scenario)

Coat the part with dychem ( or even magic marker) and install

Everywhere you see binding- mic the old part and file accordingly but leave .005" ish for final fitting. You should line up the area to be filed with the vise jaws so its not only the hard stop but ensures good right angles as required and flat cuts that are relatively even.

Reassemble and test

This should get you "functional" but probably with some binding and "feel-able' resistance. ( that's where you want to be)

More ink and now sand paper and "smooth until it works fine ( all this with no oil- oil can mask roughness issues)

That should do the trick. If not, holler
I was hoping you would respond. Wasn't aware that they wouldn't come to factory spec. Can't lie I was a little peeved because of it. I don't have a micrometer. Wish I did. Having to eyeball/trial and error it. I've tried to be patient and take just a small amount off and then reinstall and check tolerances. I have noticed a big difference from when I first started. I think I'm close to where it should be. I will take your advice going forward and use a file to finish my corrections. I actually started out with a file but didn't think I was making any progress. Marking with a sharpie is something I will definitely do. Didn't think of that before. And I will holler back at you if I run into anything else. Much appreciated.
 

Sierra048

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Yes, you can buy some pretty good "cold blueing" products and treat the bare metal to make it looked blued. I've used "Perma Blue" in the past to re-blue small parts and it worked pretty well.

I probably would have used a good flat file and some various levels of sand paper to work the part to the correct dimenisons. Might have takes a lot more time but there's more control when working slowly by hand on something like this.


Thanks for the video. I'll pick some up and give it a try. Since it's basically an internal part I'm not looking for perfection. Just want to coat the areas where I had to remove some metal.
 

ZeeOSix

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Thanks for the video. I'll pick some up and give it a try. Since it's basically an internal part I'm not looking for perfection. Just want to coat the areas where I had to remove some metal.

I've used the Perma Blue in paste form for years, and it works pretty well. You might have to apply 3 or 4 times to get it to look dark. The more times you apply, the darker the bluing gets.

 
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I was hoping you would respond. Wasn't aware that they wouldn't come to factory spec.

Very welcome, that is (was) the "factory spec" when these were originally manufactured.

Short and very generalized overview of firearms manufacturing technology progression.....

Back in the day, most guns were pattern pieces and each piece had to be " form fitted" so from a parts perspective every gun was "similar" but "unique". This was when the final step was literally precision gunsmithing where individual sears had to be fitted. Literally a gun maker.

Then comes better industry and machines ( and of course push for cost reductions)- you started seeing more cast, stamped and formed pieces ( very close to what you have). You could call these high end gun smiths. Many parts were close ( some would even fit and work) but still had precision fittings on things like sears and revolver timing.

Now you have modern CNC and current trends- with the exception of some "traditional guns" ( largely taken over by niche manufacturers), there is little part or manufacturing deviation on modern guns.

Where a given model falls in that very gross timeline will often let you know how much "fitting' will have to be done if you can get "new" original parts ( there are lots of various ones out there) of if you have to get an old "used" one to build up and refit. ( that's a different animal altogether)

On the technique, its called "impressioning" and its just a slow process ( minus the roughing but roughing needs to be done with care) but you seem to be making it go well.

On the cold blue, its a different chemical that hot blue and works a bit differently. Wont matter much for your part but to get a much better end product...

Make the surface as smooth as reasonable and "blend" it softly into the overall surface.

It MUST be "chemically" spotless ( some form of no residue evaporating cleaner like brake clean or denatured alcohol with zero oil/solvent/human breath etc.)

Warm it with a heat gun until you can barely hold it. ( not necessary but this expands the pores somewhat allowing for better penetration during the passive coloring/chemical reaction) Usually takes numerous coatings to get a deeper uniform "blue". Used that method on doubles for years before finally using hot water bluing.

Need anything, give me a shout
 

ZeeOSix

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Here's a frame screw from a revolver that I re-blued with Perma Blue paste. I sanded down the whole head and slot to shinny bare metal and cleaned it with 99% IPA before cold bluing. Think I applied Perma Blue 4 or 5 times and left it on for ~5 minutes each time before removing for the next application. It came out pretty dark.

Pistol Frame Screw Re-Blue with Perma Blue Paste.jpg
 
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