The rise, fall, and also rebirth that this classic American over-under shotgun

It was the exact same story each time we went to the Olathe total Shop in Kansas. As shortly as he gone into through the former door, mine father would walk towards the over-under shotguns. There, neatly displayed upright, were a selection of stacked barrels. To the upland bird hunter shopping because that a new shotgun, there were plenty to pick from. However, because that my father there was only one the stood out: the Ruger Red Label. This time, his hands would closely grab the shotgun’s forend to admire it one more time prior to taking it home. He had been conserving for months. The time had pertained to purchase his very first over-under.

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It to be the mid-90s and my father had a couple of options once it concerned choosing his an initial “double”. After plenty of years, he would certainly tell me that the Ruger Red brand stood out versus all the others. It to be the lustrous metal receiver the had got his attention. The simple, yet sleek design set the 12-gauge except the others in my father’s eyes.

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The Red label over-under shotgun was produced for over thirty years, from 1978-2011, and again in 2013-2014 for a restricted run. Throughout that time, roughly 150,000 shotguns were produced. Three years is a quite darn great run if you ask me. The Red label is tho a very sought-after shotgun by hunters and collectors alike. My father was immensely proud that the Red Label, together it was unique among over-unders, as it was nearly an anomaly when other bird hunters carried more distinguished and also well-known doubles.

Available models and also specs that the Ruger Red Label

The Ruger Red brand was offered in the complying with specs:

Gauges: 28, 20, and also 12

Stock: English right or pistol grip stock

Barrel Length: 26, 28, and 30 inches

Weight: 6 – 7 lbs 8 oz.

Criticism the the Ruger Red Label and its ultimate demise

No shotgun is ever before without imperfections and the Red brand was no different. The best complaint my father heard to be the over-under’s weight, especially the twelve. At just over seven pounds, mine father’s 12-gauge Red label is heavy for an over-under, and also its heft was and is a sore subject among owners and shooters. The big-bore 12 took the brunt of the criticism. Hauling around that much weight over big expanses can conveniently have adverse effects, bring about owners to re-evaluate the Red Label. I never ever recall my father complaining about the load of the shotgun; it tackled beautifully in the field. It swung easily and also was rapid to shoulder and bring down ringnecks and bobs as the shotgun sounded off its visibility in the Kansas uplands.

Ruger built the 28- and 20-gauge ~ above size-appropriate frames and also with that come a manageable six pounds the wood and metal.

However, the demise of the Ruger Red brand really came down to the price. In ~ its inception, this was probably the most economical over-under at the time. However with climbing labor costs, the shotgun’s hand-fitted stock and action, its two regulated barrels, and a plethora of parts, the Red label price tag steadily started to climb. The shotgun simply became too expensive to produce. By 2011, the cost of a Red Label came in over $2000! The over-under that once might be purchased at under $500 was quickly out that reach because that the usual birdhunter. Though the price to be high because that my father, that did no discourage him to conserve pennies and eventually purchase his beloved “Red.”

Ruger lastly closed its production line in 2011. Together sales plummeted it was no longer the “affordable” over-under it to be touted as.

Rebirth of the Ruger Red Label

Like the phoenix, the Red label was reborn indigenous the ashes in 2013. The designers at Ruger redesigned the shotgun and also developed new ways to do the over-under less expensive. The famous model to be lighter, had lessened recoil, and also featured refined inner workings. The renovations increased the Red Label’s performance and also handling.

The price tag come in $1399.00, well below the almost two grand that the shotgun formerly demanded.

However, in 2015, the Red label was discontinued. The company once again cited revenue issues for halting the manufacturing of the shotgun.

My father determined the Ruger Red Label due to the fact that it appealed to him aesthetically and also it tackled well for him. I remember hearing my father talk about how beautiful the over-under is. That is distinctive looks are what sets it apart from other over-unders. Because that years, my father would certainly not even let me organize “The Red.” the wasn’t till he passed the onto me that ns truly appreciated this shotgun’s virtues, when he provided it come me on Christmas night in 2014. Because then, “The Red” has actually accompanied me throughout the Midwest, chasing ringnecks, coveys of bobs, and also flighty chickens. Its load went unnoticed as I toted it across the sage sea because that Wyoming sage grouse or busted v Missouri brambles and thorns for scores of moving woodcock.

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Are there far better over-under shotguns the end there? that course. Yet if you’re talk about much better American-made over-unders, specifics they just don’t exist. However, recognize an affordable Ruger Red label nowadays is tough. A provided Red label in any gauge will collection a hunter back at the very least $1000 or more, depending on condition and also gauge. However if you’re in search of a distinctive over-under and can take care of the price that comes through owning one, the Ruger Red Label will certainly impress you and offer a lifetime of enjoyment.