Ruger Red Label Problems You Should Know

Ruger dropped the Red Label from its product line in January 2015, quoting an inability to reach revenue expectations. As a result, Ruger no longer manufactures a shotgun in its production model but Ruger still sells accessories and choke tubes for the Ruger Red Label shotgun in 2022.

The Red Label is criticized for its weight, poor balance when swinging the gun onto a flying target, poor fit of the metal to wood, and loose (rattling) sighting ribs. Many shooters despised automatic safety also.

The Ruger Red Label is still recognized as iconic even though it is no longer produced, and it is not without issues either.

Features and Specifications of Ruger Red Label:

Weapon typeShotgun
Caliber12 gauge, 20 gauge
ActionBreak action
Length (inches)43in (1.09m),45in (1.14m),47in (1.19m)
Barrel length (inches)26in (0.066m), 28in (0.71m), 30in (0.76m)
Weight7.5lb (3.4kg), 7.9lb (3.6kg)
Feed systemTwo
Ruger Red Label Problems You Should Know
Ruger Red Label Problems

Common Ruger Red Label Problems and Solutions: 

Trigger problem Clean the gun thoroughly before reassembling it and try it again.
Light strikes on the primerRemove the stock, and shorten the rod with a Dremel.
Misfiring issueDisassemble the gun and clean it thoroughly.
Accidental dischargeMaintain a safe muzzle point at all times, and a little shimming or fitting around the forearm lock.
Jammed firing shellsMake contact with a gunsmith or Ruger customer service to resolve the problem.
The upper barrel does not fire after the lower barrel has firedTo be refurbished, ship it to Ruger.

1. Trigger Problem: 

Trigger-oriented issues are one of Ruger Red Label’s most prevalent concerns. Red Label users commonly encounter trigger issues when they attempt the second shot.

On the second shot, the client experienced that roughly once every 25 shells when they pulled the trigger and nothing happened.

Sometimes the target is struck in time, and other times it is not. The second shot on doubles doesn’t appear to be possible because the trigger isn’t resetting quickly enough. 

The Fix:

First, clean the gun well to ensure that there is no dirt (manufacturing grit or stock wood chip) causing the issue.

Re-lubricate with light oil, reassemble, and try again. Recoil should not be required to reset the trigger for the second shot with the Red Label. Both barrels should be able to dry fire. Now press the trigger.

If the problem persists, contact customer care and return it. Before the second barrel will fire, the trigger must be completely depressed.

2. Light Strikes on the Primer

According to the user, there are numerous instances of the light primer striking the lower barrel.

Ruger Red Label occasionally malfunctions with a light primer strike during double-action firing which causes failure to fire (FTF). The hammer springs create friction in the wood channel for the stock’s springs

The Fix

To address this issue, it’s necessary to remove the stock from the gun. Following that, open the channel slightly using a 1/4-inch dowel wrapped in sandpaper to shorten the rod.

Now reinstall the stock and try again. The problem should be resolved. If the situation persists, try getting in touch with Ruger. Eventually, the problem will be fixed.   

3. Misfiring Issue:

The Ruger Red Label’s firing pin issue has led to several misfires and made it challenging to cock both hammers. According to some user reviews, the lower firing pin was worn, and the bottom barrel regularly failed to fire. Without firing a cartridge, the bottom firing pin might occasionally dent the primer also.

The Fix

Take off the stock, forearm, and barrel. Then use a spray can of carb cleaning to force cleaner through the cocking shafts and firing pin holes.

After that, softly lubricate it. Spray the cleaner into the push rod and fire pin holes after removing the stock and barrel. It would work flawlessly if you wiped it completely down and used Q tips to clean out the crevasses.

4. Accidental Discharge

The Ruger Red Label sometimes inadvertently explodes, endangering the operator and the circumstances. In general, there are two ways to characterize a gun going off when it is not “intended to.”

(1) A negligent discharge occurs when a person directly causes the gun to discharge by putting his finger on the trigger when they should not and applying pressure to produce the firing. Poor safety practices, improper gun handling in general, a lack of instruction, and so on.

(2) A mechanical failure of the firearm, resulting in a discharge. Damaged firearms, faulty parts, poor design, and other factors can all cause a firearm to discharge while the trigger is not pressed by the handler.

The Fix

The most prevalent occurs when the person using the firearm disregards standard safety procedures. It can also happen when a user is not experienced with how to handle a particular handgun.

So be careful to adhere to safety procedures. If technical issues emerge, such as the fore-end of the gun becoming loose after shooting and failing to correctly latch, then trying a little shim or adjustment around the forearm lock can assist fix the issue.

However, If the problem persists, contact Ruger to have it resolved.

5. Jammed Firing Shells

When hunting, the user encounters an unexpected situation if the shells jam the barrel. Some red-label buyers have claimed that the shells occasionally fall beneath the ejector on the bottom barrel and that they slide past the ejector with the slightest tap or push.

The fired shells are lodged in the barrel and will not pop out. They Take the gun out again and experiment with different ammo. Even after thoroughly cleaning the weapon, it still happens.

The Fix

This is a big concern for anyone shooting in a trap competition since the gun will not close, causing panic.

Additionally, it will stop ejecting the spent shell entirely. This type of difficulty can be brought on by mechanical problems, such as an ejector error, broken weapons, and other things.

So, the easiest approach to resolve this issue is to contact Ruger customer support and they can assist in doing so.

User Feedback on Ruger Red Label

There seem to be different viewpoints about Ruger Red Label. Ruger Red Label is a fantastic gun for upland game hunting and sports clays, skeet, and trap shooting.

Ruger is a smartly run company that prioritizes the bottom line and shareholder value; thus, it made more sense to direct its resources on developing more profitable items. It could be argued that Red Labels cost more than the service the offers. This is the view of a user on rugerforum.

But you will also find plenty of people in gundogforum who think their gun justifies the price tag. Some of them even claim to use the rifle for years without much of a hiccup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Ruger still make Red Label?

Ruger stopped manufacturing the Red Label in 2011.

How much does a Ruger Red Label 20 gauge weight?

It weighs 7.2 lbs when empty.

What chokes come with Ruger Red Label?

All current models come with “screw-in” choke tubes of various degrees of choke.

Are Ruger Red Labels good?

Ruger’s original Red label was a great deal in the market, but Ruger has updated and put even more into this extremely finely furnished over-under shotgun


Almost any firearm model from any manufacturer can malfunction on occasion. Even if the concerns mentioned above are limited to a few components. However, you should not take the risk that it will not operate as a self-defense tool when you need it.

To ensure that the gun functions properly, adhere to all maintenance schedules and go to the range as often as feasible.

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