Return of the Red Label

Ruger recently announced the return of its Red Label shotgun, and Sheriff Jim Wilson was one of the first people to have the opportunity for a hands-on evaluation.

Ruger's Red Label shotgun is back in style. Taken off the market in 2011, the Red Label is back with some modern internal design features and a lower suggested retail price.

On the original shotgun the receiver was cast in two pieces that were then carefully fitted together. The new Red Label features a one-piece receiver, a new balance point and a very nice recoil pad. The good news is that it shoots just as well as ever and the new MSRP is only $1,399. Ruger found a way to save on the cost and is passing it along to the consumer.

Last week, I joined Ken Jorgensen (Ruger's Director of Media Relations) and a number of other folks for a North Dakota pheasant hunt to put the Red Label through its paces. We hunted with the Cannonball Company outfitters out of Regent, N.D. Due to some bad weather conditions, many thought that the pheasant season would not be nearly as successful as in years past. Well, it may have been a little off, but there were still lots of birds. You just had to know where to find them.

Fortunately for us, Randy Hansen, our Cannonball guide, knew just where to find the roosters. You see, due to the previous bad weather, farmers had not been able to get into the fields and harvest the corn. And those huge cornfields were where the birds were. With eight hunters, Hansen marshaled his troops, established perimeters and put the wild pheasants in a bind. We had plenty of shooting opportunities and collected quite a few birds.

Currently, the Red Label is being shipped in the various 12-gauge offerings. However, I hunted with a 30-inch barreled 20-gauge. Hunters can expect the 20-gauge to be out soon. While I hunted, it absolutely did not seem like I had 30-inch tubes on my gun—which, to me, confirms the new balance point. It was comfortable, handled nicely, and took down pheasants...when I did my part, that is.

Sometimes, “new technology” simply means that a company has cheapened its product. I am pleased to report that this is not the case with the new Ruger Red Label. It is still the great shotgun that we have all enjoyed in the past, and with great wood, too. You get a lot of gun for the money when you hunt with the Ruger Red Label.

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