While at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas, stop by the Sturm, Ruger & Co. booth 657 and check out their redesigned 12-gauge Red Label over/under shotgun. While there, also take a look at their new SR-762 AR style rifle in .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO.
The redesigned Red Label went through the paces during a hunt this past fall in South Dakota where it downed limits of pheasants with aplomb. On the busman’s holiday expedition from SCI were Past President Skip Donau, CEO Phil DeLone and the author. The expedition was to the Sargent Ranch Lodge near Pierre. Proprietor Barry Sargent does a good job with the hunts, which are done over flusher Labs.
The hunt had been arranged for some time, and then days before it started, Ruger announced the new Red Label and made one available during the hunt for actual in-the-field use.
“I found the shotgun to be surprisingly light, extremely well balanced, and when mounted to the shoulder, my eye was perfectly situated on the sight,” Donau explained. “Even though the shotgun was significantly lighter than the over/under I had brought to hunt with, the recoil was no different. The ejectors worked very well and although the gun was brand new, it opened and closed with ease. Overall, I was very impressed with the shotgun and would consider it one of the best mass produced over/unders that I have had the pleasure of shooting.”
Based on the original Ruger Red Label, the redesigned Red Label delivers improved comfort, aesthetically pleasing lines and enhanced features for increased shooting performance.
Controls on the redesigned Red Label are the same as the original, so there was nothing to learn there. Barrel selector is a left-right toggle, which also serves fore and aft as a mechanical safety that is engaged automatically when the action is opened. Trigger pull was superb – not too heavy, not a bit gritty and with a noticeably clean break.
This particular gun sported 28-inch barrels, which was perfect for uplanding through the open fields and in the rows of milo. It pointed quickly, swung smoothly and enhanced the shots in that the gun was neither barrel heavy nor barrel light. The new Red Label also is available with 26 and 30-inch barrels.
“The new12 gauge Red Labels have a redistributed center of gravity which enables even greater instinctual swing and pointing,” Ruger reported. “Two-inch extended forcing cones, maximum back bored barrels and a soft Pachmayr® butt pad, enhance the shooting experience with reduced recoil. And Red Label’s familiar, low profile receiver reduces muzzle climb because the centerline of the bore is closer to the center mass of the gun. Together, the new Red Label makes for an extremely comfortable shooting shotgun in the field or on the range.”
“After 32 years of production, we put the Red Label on hiatus in 2011,” said Ruger President & CEO Mike Fifer. “We knew we could employ newer technology, improve the design and deliver a better performing Red Label. We have done that and restored the Red Label shotgun as the best American made Over/Under on the market.”
In addition to the features above, the Red Label features and American walnut stock with a 1 ½-inch drop at comb and a 2 ½-inch drop at heel. Each model features a 14 ½-inch length of pull. Visually, the Red label retains its classic lines and good looks, further enhanced by the new stainless steel top lever.
Each shotgun includes a soft-sided custom case, five Briley® chokes (SK x2, IC, MOD, Full), choke wrench and safety lock. MSRP is $1,399.
For more information on the new Ruger Red Label shotguns, visit Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger Red Label shotguns, visit shopRuger.com. — Steve Comus