Friday, February 27, 2015

The Ruger Red Label Is No More


The Ruger Red Label was Ruger's entry into the shotgun market. While they had limited runs of a side-by-side and a single barrel trap gun, the over-under Red Label was their shotgun. It was introduced originally in 1977 and was chambered in 12 and 20 gauges. A 28 gauge was introduced in 1994. The original receiver was blued steel which was replaced by a stainless receiver for 12 gauges in 1985. Over the years a number of stock styles, barrel lengths, and choke variations were introduced as well as special models.

The Red Label faded away in 2011 only to be reintroduced last year. I remember speaking with a representative from Ruger - it may have actually been Mike Fifer - about the reintroduction of the Red Label at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. He said it had been reengineered to give it simpler internal workings and to make the cost of production affordable for Ruger. This review in the American Rifleman speaks to those changes as well as the gun's history.



Ruger held its quarterly earnings call with stock analysts yesterday morning. The call was to review both the 4th quarter 2014 results and the full year results. Towards the end of the call in a discussion of products, Brian Gary Rafn of Morgan Dempsey Capital Management, LLC asked if there was any news on the shotgun line.

Mike Fifer responded:

I'm not sure whether we've announced it or not, but we have removed the Red Label from our catalog and website. We relaunched it last year with the hopes and expectations that we could hit a certain cost target, and we were never able to successfully get the manufacturing processes under control. And so we have, in fact, discontinued the Red Label.
Checking the website, Fifer is correct. The Ruger Red Label is gone.

I will admit to being saddened by this for nostalgic reasons. We bought one in 20 gauge for my late wife Rosanne back in 1981 which we later sold to pay some bill or another. A few years after her death I again bought a used 20 gauge. I had intended to do some grouse hunting which I never seem to have gotten around to. Nonetheless, it is a nice little shotgun. Mine is a little rough from wear but it is still a good working shotgun and I intend to keep it for many more years.

9 comments:

  1. I enjoy shooting my Red Label "Woodside". Sorry to hear that Bill Rugers red label is history.

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  2. I enjoy shooting my Red Label "Woodside". Sorry to hear that Bill Rugers red label is history.

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  3. The new Ruger Red Label is still available from several sources on Gunbroker.com and other auction sites. I bought one a couple of months ago and it is a good value for the dollar. I have not had any issues with mine. Get them while they last!

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  4. It took five months to get my new Red Label in 2014 and it was worth every minute of the wait. It is a gorgeous looking firearm, made in America, fits me well , is well balanced and I seem to shoot it like it's been mine for decades. This is my first O/U and I absolutely love it.

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  5. I'm on my second new Red Label model 4192. The 1st one was broken out of the box. Would not fire when barrel selector was set to top and the top ejector would let certain shells past it while loading. Ruger had it for 7 weeks and when it came back it lasted 57 rounds before it started misfiring on the bottom barrel. Also, the top ejector would still let certain shells past it while loading. I sent the gun back to Ruger again and they had it 1 week and called to let me know they were shipping another brand new 4192.

    My current 4192 has the same top ejector issue with some shells and this one closes very hard depending again on the mfg. of the shells and shell model. It lasted 325 rounds before it started misfiring this time. Again. (Sigh!) It's out for repair yet again.

    The shell problem wasn't a huge deal once I learned what it liked. I occasionally shoot sporting clays at a couple of clubs in Rhode Island and I really liked the fit and feel of the 4192. Its a good balanced gun with a nice swing. And of course, for the price and Ruger's reputation, I didn't think it was a bad choice. I shoot less than 2500 rounds of ammunition a year and never made it through one month's shooting with either of the two before they broke. I shoot nothing but factory new rounds and all are target loads 1 oz. 1200 FPS, in case anyone is wondering.

    I would not recommend this model Red Label to anyone. I am not the only one with these issues of these latest Red Label models. Word at the clubs were not favorable of it, as they all seemed to have troubles. I'm not sure what's going on at Ruger, but they have serious issues with the newer redesigned Red Label.

    Don't get any of them while they, last?

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  6. I have bought and traded several Red Labels in the past 20 yrs - always hopeful that the next purchase would be positive. Essentially the Red Label is a very well designed and strong gun that for me balanced well in spite of heavy weight. The problem is in manufacturing - absolutely NO Quality Control and no regard to function along the way and at finish. I would say that out of 10 guns 2 would function well and be okay. The reissued guns were fraught with every problem I ever experienced w Red Labels. I have one used 12 gauge made prior to screw-in chokes and that one is the rare Red Label that actually works. Dan in PA

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  7. do not buy any ruger products if they screw up they just let you eat the loss. used to be a really good company never had any problems till that new idiot ceo showed up. Sturm and Ruger are rolling in there graves. If there is a company that should go broke its them. I have 4 red labels and all of them quit shooting one barrel or the other guess I could be like ruger and sell them to some poor soul, But like most american gun owners we are honest I will eat the loss but will talk down ruger every chance I get.

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  8. This one was really interesting. You people can take help from the MA Gun License to get the guns of your own choice but when it comes to Ruger red label it is actually very difficult to get these days.

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