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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive had this Ranger for some time now. I took it shooting about 25 years ago and my FIL had it for a while and did a bit of dove hunting.

As Im sure you know, information on these is sketchy and confusing.

It's marked "Ranger Over and Under, 20 gauge, Model 103-6".
There are two hash marks after the model number which may indicate that the choke is "improved cylinder". My measurements seem to bear that out.

Obviously I'd like to know what it's worth should I sell it but I'm also curious about the age. the serial number starts with an "L" so assuming that's a Marlin number it would put it at 1954, however I've read that after the war these guns were marked JC Higgins (which this one isn't) which would put it pre-1945, right? I've seen in other forums there is a book that details some of the serial numbers but doesn't mention the "-6" I did find this website (https://gun-data.com/sears_roebuck_guns.html) that his it on a list called "Additional Change Over Numbers for Sears Guns" but I have no idea what that means.

Any additional information anyone can provide is appreciated.
Thanks,
Dave[SUB][SUP]
[/SUP][/SUB]
IMG_2874.jpg
 

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Welcome to MO from Midcoast Maine and thanks for posting your question. I cannot provide any additional information on your gun, however, others here might be able to help. It looks to be in very decent shape from the picture.
 

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Hi Dav3STON3 Greetings and welcome.

I am no means as authority on the Sears rangers but I have done a bit of searching on them since I picked a 12 gauge version 103-1 this past spring.

I can't explain the L in the serial number but as far as I know you are correct in that the Ranger name was used Pre-WWII and JC-Higgins after so the L may not correspond to the standard marlin SN# system. The one that I acquired does not have a letter in the SN# being just 2xxx. I'm not sure what to make of that link that you included since as far as I can tell my model isn't included on that page as far as I can tell so it's incomplete at best. Your shotgun also looks like it has the solid web between barrels which should mean that it was produced before 1950-51 at the latest but could be 1949. I've also read that the trigger was switched to a single trigger design in 1954.

I believe mine to be choked Improve/Mod but from what I have read the chokes could vary depending on the length of the barrels. I don't know if that translates to a 20ga version though and the information for mine was extrapolated from information that I found regarding the Marlin Mod 90 since there I couldn't find a large amount of information on the Sears Rangers directly.

As for value, I paid $500 for mine which I think may have been a little bit high. I would think however that your's being 20ga and having the checkered wood would be worth more. At least in my area a 20ga will almost always sell for more than a 12 sometimes considerably more.

I don't know exactly how they relate but there's a LGS that has a couple of Marlin Mod 90s of about the same age for sale and they're asking $495 for the 12ga, and $795 for the 20ga that they have. Your shotgun looks in better condition than both of those, and it's also worth noting that prices can vary depending on location.

As I've said though I'm no authority on these and someone will probably be along to correct any mistakes I made, but the above is the best that I've been able to find. In any case it looks like you have a fine shotgun there the one below is mine.
 

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Can you take some closeups of all markings to help ID.

Some snippets I found laying around the interwebs. It's difficult to figure out what's what because some people are identifying their Sears/Higgins guns as Marlin 90's. Did Sears and Marlin BOTH use the Ranger name? Maybe with enough info, we can extrapolate from that what you need to ID the gun.

Sears used the trade-name Ranger prior to WWII and JC Higgins after WWII. Sears used 103. to indicate guns made by Marlin and the 1 to 4 numbers to the right of the decimal to identify the particular model. Sears introduced the Ranger Model 90 in 1937, and 103.11 was one of several designations Sears used to identify a 16 ga. Marlin Model 90. I have a 16 ga. JC Higgins 103.360 Model 90.
Sears used a decimal system, Marlin a dash.

The Marlin Model 90 was made from 1937 to 1958. Sears Roebuck asked Marlin to make them an O/U, and they obliged with the Model 90, under the Ranger line before WWII, and under the J.C. Higgins name after the war. Prewar Model 90s all had double triggers, no top rib, and no ribs between the barrels. Some Postwar guns had a single trigger, and all had side ribs between the barrels. Model 90s had soft iron frames, giving the receivers of some a purple hue.
Ranger = Sears?, definitely pre WW2
L prefix = Marlin (1954 DoM)
Single trigger offered after WW2, not all had single triggers.
All Marlins appear to be checkered, but only some Sears/Higgins were checkered.
I am seeing Marlin 90's with white spacers.
Marlin Model 90's sold between 1939 and 1941 had a bird dog scene stamped on the frame.
Ribbed barrels (between barrels or on top) were only available post war.

Sears Model# 103.370
Marlin
Model 90, 20 Gauge

I am very confused. Wondering if Marlin and Sears parts were mixed and matched at some point in this gun's life.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for your responses.
I found an auction from a few years ago for a Marlin Model 90 with an “L” serial number and it’s definitely a different gun. The most obvious difference is that the Marlin has seperated barrels and mine are connected. This change happened on 1950.
Although the information is spotty what I’m seeing with regularity is that the “Ranger” name was used pre-war so my gun must be 1941-ish.
Looking at it again more closely I don’t think the serial number starts with an “L” I think it’s a “1” that’s slightly faded.
It has the second generation latch on it (no visible screw) so I’m thinking 1941-ish is about right.
What do you all think?
 

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According to Brophy, who devoted 8 pages to the Model 90 in his 700-page book on Marlin Firearms published by Stackpole Books in 1989, Sears owned the original patent and contracted Marlin to make the O/U shotgun that Sears sold under the Ranger and JCHiggens trade names and Marlin sold as the Model 90. I agree that if you look closely at the Ranger with the L-serial number, the “L” is actually a 1.

I was told that prior to WWII, checkering on M90’s was an extra cost option. I’ll need to check all of my 14 Model 90’s to see if all of my post war M90’s are checkered.

Model 90ST’s were introduced in 1954.
 

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Ive had this Ranger for some time now. I took it shooting about 25 years ago and my FIL had it for a while and did a bit of dove hunting.

As Im sure you know, information on these is sketchy and confusing.

It's marked "Ranger Over and Under, 20 gauge, Model 103-6".
There are two hash marks after the model number which may indicate that the choke is "improved cylinder". My measurements seem to bear that out.

Obviously I'd like to know what it's worth should I sell it but I'm also curious about the age. the serial number starts with an "L" so assuming that's a Marlin number it would put it at 1954, however I've read that after the war these guns were marked JC Higgins (which this one isn't) which would put it pre-1945, right? I've seen in other forums there is a book that details some of the serial numbers but doesn't mention the "-6" I did find this website (https://gun-data.com/sears_roebuck_guns.html) that his it on a list called "Additional Change Over Numbers for Sears Guns" but I have no idea what that means.

Any additional information anyone can provide is appreciated.
Thanks,
Dave
View attachment 731979
Dave, see my previous post about Brophy’s book. I think Brophy listed the Ranger 103-6 as a 20 ga. But even Brophy did not list all of the Sears Ranger and JCHiggins Model 90 gauges and barrel combinations, which may be 103-x, 103-xx, 103-xxx and possibly 103-xxxx. I will check it when I get back home on Wednesday. Typically, 26” barrels were choked IC/Mod and 28” were Mod/full. Some preWWII Model 90’s and Rangers have the chokes (IC, M, F) stamped on the left side of the barrels under the forearm. None of my post war Model 90’s have the chokes marked anywhere on the guns.

As to value, it all depends on its condition. No production records exist prior to 1952. Likely Relatively fewer were made in 20 ga and even fewer 20 ga with 26” barrels. According to Brophy, less than 400 20 ga. Model 90 ST’s with 26” barrels (introduced in 1954) were made. In a private sale, and because they don’t come for sale that often, I would not sell any of my 20 ga Model 90’s in good condition for less than $500.
 

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Dave, the following Information is based on Brophy’s book, my notes from posts by other Ranger Marlin 90 owners, and my own Rangers. There is no guarantee that the following is all inclusive.

20 ga Rangers, 103-6, 103.12, 103.370, 103.2237

16 ga Rangers 103.7, 103.10, 103.11, 103.16, 103.360, 103-2236

12 ga Rangers 103.1, 103-5, 103.10, 103.223, 103.350 (I wonder if 103.223 a typo and should be 103.2235)

The obvious anomalies are 103.10 Which is associated with 12 ga , 16 ga. .410 and .22 long rifle and 103-5 which is associated with 12 ga, .410 and .22 long rifle.
 

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FWIW, I have a Ranger 103.6 20 ga (28" bbls) given to my mother to keep when her brother (my uncle) went off to WWII. He didn't want it when he got back so my father got it in 1949 when he married my mother. After my uncle died she wanted me to have it as I was named after him. It had a broken stock which was replaced by a straight stock made by my dad. It is my favorite grouse gun. It has a 4 digit serial number 22XX.

Edited to add photo... My dad liked straight stocks on his shotguns

 

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The last Ranger OU that I was interested in was at auction in N. Ohio. It was a 410/25-20 combo. I got of it at $600 and it went for over
twice that. Seems combos were just out prior to Pearl Harbor and were shut down for war and not brought back out after war.
 

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kinda off the shotgun subject but I have my Dads Sears Ranger 103 .22 Cal. he got for his 16th. birthday back in 1943.
Actually I just did some work on the end of the stock it split many years ago and my Dad kept trying to glue and clamp it it never held so I filed the split out and inlaid a piece of walnut in it.


 
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