Ruger Red Label
Ruger Red Label
Country of origin

United States


Sturm, Ruger & Co.


William B. Ruger[1]

Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended

2011 (Re-catalogued 2013)[4]

Weapon type



12 gauge[4]
20 gauge[2]


Break action[4]

Overall length

43in (1.09m)
45in (1.14m)
47in (1.19m)

Barrel length

26in (0.66m)
28in (0.71m)
30in (0.76m)


7.5lb (3.4kg) - 7.9lb (3.6kg)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity


The Ruger Red Label is an award winning double-barreled shotgun produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co.. The Red Label was first designed in the 1970s (entering production in 1978) and remained in production for over 32 years.[4] Ruger then decided to reintroduce the Red Label in 2013, taking advantage of newer materials and manufacturing techniques to update the design.[4]


In the 1970s, with Ruger dominating various markets in the firearm industry, the founder, William Ruger, decided that the world needed an over/under shotgun designed and built in America[5] The result was the Red Label, which went on sale in 1978, fulfilling the role which Ruger intended.[3]

The Red Label proved popular in its original 20 gauge format, leading to Ruger beginning production of a 12 gauge five years later.[2] The highlight of the Red Label's production came in 1992, where it was recognised with an award from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.[5] Yet, after 32 years of production, Ruger took the decision to end production in 2010.[4]

In 2013, however, with new manufacturing techniques and materials available, Ruger reintroduced the Red Label.[4] A redesigned stock, new barrel lengths and other modifications were added to the Red Label to make it appear to a wider market.[4] The Red Label was most popular in the clay pigeon shooting market.[5]

Design DetailsEdit

The Red Label has been built around the stainless steel receiver which has been slightly modified from Bill Ruger's original design.[4] The advantage of this is that it means the receiver is corrosion resistant and, with modern manufacturing techniques, can be made lighter and fit better within the frame. Mounted upon the receiver is the normal Ruger Tang-Safety with two positions, which is also capable of switching between barrels.[4]

The Red Label also features a single trigger which can operate either barrel without the need to re-cock the gun.[4] This mechanism can be seen when the shotgun is 'broken' along with a newly redesigned lock mechanism which, Ruger claim, is one of the "strongest ever built for over-and-under shotguns."[4] The stock is manufactured from a single piece of American walnut and is highly polished, with a Pachmayr buttpad.[4]

The barrels of the Red Label are hammer forged in pairs, so that each barrel should perform equally.[4] Each is finished blued steel, and are made from a chrome-molybdenum steel. Above the upper barrel sits a free floating (tolerance of 0.25in) rib, designed to draw heat away from the top barrel to prevent it (and the lower barrel) from overheating.[4]


The Red Label has been produced in two different shotgun shells. The first Red Labels were released almost exclusively in 20 gauge, before being produced in 12 gauge as well.[2] In the mid-1980s a 28 gauge version was introduced.[1] However the 2013 model of the Red Label has, so far, only been produced to fire 12 gauge shells.[4]


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  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wood, J., The Gun Digest Book of Firearms Assembly/Disassembly Part V - Shotguns, (Krause Publications: 2002), pp.326-337
  3. 3.0 3.1 McNab, Chris, Sporting Guns: A Guide to the World's Rifles and Shotguns, (Macmillan, New York: 2007), p.57
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Wilson, R.L., Brown, G. Allen, Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company and Their Firearms, (Book Sales Inc., New York: 2008)

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