Designed by Bill Ruger and company in the 1970s to compete with foreign shotguns, the Ruger Red Label has long been a staple of American made scatterguns. Now, after a two-year hiatus, it has returned with some improvements including a better price.
The old Red Label
When Browning introduced their Superposed shotgun in 1928, the American public started to fall in love with the concept of a well-made, good shooting, and utterly reliable stacked barrel shotgun. Unlike side-by-side double barrel shotguns that had issues with aimpoints (neither barrel fired at the same target the same way) and recoil, a shotgun with two barrels stacked one on top and the other underneath just made brilliant sense. This led to the first popular commercial Over/Under (O/U) shotgun.
Fast forward to the 1970s and the Belgian-made Browning Superposed cost as much as a good used car and there were no US-made O/U shotguns that didn\'t cost even more. This is when Bill Ruger introduced their Red Label double barrel shotgun, to this date the only shotgun made by Sturm, Ruger. It proved a hit with the public for its affordability, reliability, and handling. It remained a staple of the company\'s catalog for three decades. However by 2010 it suffered from the same problem that killed the Superposed-- it had gotten just really too expensive for the average shooter to even consider and sales dropped. With that, the gun was put out to pasture.
The New Red Label
Well it was just announced that Sturm, Ruger has sent the old Red Label out for a vacation, spa treatment, and a makeover. The new gun has all of the goodies of the old one, but has added some new features like a stainless trigger and chamber release; two-inch back bored forcing cones, and a slightly improved center of gravity to allow for better pointability.
This isn\'t that new of a concept. Ruger tends to improve its line every generation or so. This is seen in the fact that the 30-year old Mini-14 is on its third distinct evolution, each made with improvements found out from a decade of lessons learned in warranty repairs to the factory. The new guns, unlike the old Red Labels which came in 12/20/28, are just being released in 12-gauge at this time.
Stock: American Walnut
Receiver Finish: Finely Polished
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish: Blued
Rear Sight: None
Front Sight: Bead
Barrel Length: 26.00\" (28 and 30 offered on other models)
Overall Length: 43.00\" (longer on models with longer barrels)
Weight: 7.50 lbs. (slightly more on models with longer barrels)
Length of Pull: 14.50\"
Drop at Comb: 1.50\"
Drop at Heel: 2.50\"
- Automatic, two-position tang safety/barrel selector provides instant visibility and accessibility.
- Finely polished, stainless steel receiver is corrosion-resistant and has no exposed pins or screws.
- Reliable, single mechanical trigger that allows for firing the second barrel without recocking.
- Sleek, compact locking system is considered to be among the strongest ever built for over-and-under shotguns.
- Precision matched, blued alloy steel, cold hammer-forged barrels made of high-strength chrome-molybdenum steel feature 2\" forcing cones and maximum back boring for superior recoil reduction and more uniform patterns.
- 1/4\" dovetailed, free-floating, ventilated rib with brass bead front sight is stress relieved, contour-grounded, precisely fitted and silver-brazed (not soft-soldered) to the finished monoblock.
- Beautifully crafted, cut-checkered American Walnut stock features a traditional pistol grip, tapered, slim forend and a stainless steel latch release. A soft Pachmayr buttpad is mounted on the 14.5\" length of pull stock, which features a 1.5\" drop at the comb and a 2.5\" drop at the heel.
- Five steel-shot compatible, screw-in Briley chokes and wrench included, featuring two skeet chokes and one full, one modified and one improved cylinder choke, plus a premium-quality Briley choke tube wrench.
- Also includes: custom molded, semi-soft case; safety lock.
The MSRP of these guns? $1399, which is a few hundred less than the old Red Label. Of course, once the guns start shipping the \'street price\' could drop as much as another 10-20% lower than that.
Bring on progress!