Every so often in the business of gun writing you send back a gun that you wish you had bought instead. When I worked at NRA, the Technical Editor used to lament that there was a time when he could buy all the Steyr AUGs he wanted for $200 each but didn’t. My gun that “got away” is Ruger’s Gold Label side-by-side shotgun.
I had the thing in my hands. I even took it hunting a lot and did a review on it for Shooting Times magazine. Then I stupidly sent it back to Ruger because even the used gun price I was offered was more than I was paid for the article, and negative cash flow doesn’t keep a roof over one’s head.
I really loved the Gold Label because it’s as nimble as a wand. “Why don’t they make it in 20-gauge?” was a whine I heard quite often. Well, Ruger didn’t make it in 20 gauge because it was already a 12-gauge that handled like a very lively 20-gauge, so you had the light weight advantage of a 20- with the payload of a 12. It was the svelte round action Ruger crafted for the Gold Label that made it waif, yet so solid.
Unfortunately, Ruger never made many to begin with and discontinued it soon after introduction so I’m going to have to find one on the used gun market–and even those command a premium greater than if I had just bought the review gun I had in my hands. Fortunately for my former boss, Steyr still makes AUGs, but he, too, will have to pay more.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”