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The rugged Ruger Red Label over/under shotgun is an American legend that’s been around in various incarnations. In fact, this Made in USA piece was only the second American over/under shotgun when it debuted in 1977. The Red Label was affordable thanks to Ruger’s investment in expensive tooling that permitted European level-quality without requiring European hand-made craftsmanship. The last major upgrade was in 2013 when Ruger relaunched the gun after having putting it on hiatus in 2011.

The improved 2013 gun was 12-gauge only and available with 26", 28" or 30" barrels. It was good looking with American walnut for the forend and butt. Ruger redesigned the receiver the lower its center of gravity and profile, decrease felt recoil and improve comfort and the entire user experience. The inner mechanisms were tweaked too.

The revised Red Label also had a soft Pachmayr buttpad that Ruger uses on other guns. It also had longer European-style forcing cones and complimentary maximum back-bored barrels. The gun shipped standard with five Briley chokes (two skeet chokes, one full choke, one modified choke and an improved cylinder choke) and a choke tube wrench. The gun shipped new with a molded, semi-soft case that was perfect for transport or storage.

Though Ruger had a better gun and lowered MSRP by $500 compared versus 2011 models, it had to bowing to cheaper overseas competition. Ruger finally ended Red Label production a few years later, ending a run stretching about four decades. This also closed the chapter on Ruger’s shotgun production.

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