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.