Thursday, February 19, 2015

Featured Gun: Ranger 101.2 Shotgun

I started doing these gun stories last year, basically telling the history behind guns that I either owned or came into contact with and found their history interesting.

here is a recap of the other featured guns:
The Story of the Colt Lightning Rifle 
Ruger's 1st Double Action Revolvers
The Ruger Bearcat
The Dan Wesson Revolver 
The H&R Sportsman 999 Revolver 
The Ruger Vaquerito


The Ranger name was used by Sears and Roebuck for a long time as their trademark, "value" priced shotguns and rifles. In later years Winchester used the name as well.

This bolt action 20 gauge shotgun is a Sears Ranger model 101.2 (sounds like the name of a country music station....."listen to Ranger 101.2 FM this afternoon for your chance to win a tickets to see Toby Keith......")

Virtually all of the Sears brand labeled guns, were made by another manufacturers. This one was made by Savage/Stevens (same as the Savage model 238).

The specs:
  • Sears Ranger 101.2/Savage 238
  • 20 Gauge
  • Blued finish
  • Bolt action
  • 26" full choke barrel, brass bead sight
  • Box magazine, 2-round
  • Bolt mounted safety
 I believe the wood stock is something other than walnut.The length of pull is currently 13 1/4", which is about average, my cheek hits the comb right where my sight plane is along the top of the barrel.
These guns were made by Savage from 1936 through 1945, although I bet few if any were actually made from 1942-1945 due to resources being diverted for the war effort. My sources tell me some 40,000 of these guns were produced, I don't know how many of those were brand labeled for Sears or if those production numbers were tallied separately.

Most likely this gun was made prior to World War II, and the steel parts (trigger guard, butt plate) support that theory.

Like many shotguns and rimfire rifles of the era this gun was not serialized, which makes the determination the actual date of manufacture difficult, if not impossible.
Here is a Sears ad from 1938 showing the Ranger bolt action shotguns

These are very good handling and very stout guns, but unfortunately they are not very popular and their value reflects that. Searching the online auction houses showed several of the guns selling for under $100. 
This gun came along with 4 others in an estate type sale, we estimated its value at $50, due to its condition and the fact that it was missing the magazine.
 
We were lucky in that Numrich Arms (Gun Parts Corp.) makes (or at least sells) a very good quality reproduction 2 round magazine. We placed our order and were very happy with the price and quality of the piece.

Here are pictures of the gun when we got it. Note the steel butt plate and trigger guard







The Safety works by pulling out and then turning it.