I just bought a RRL Sporting Clays engraved. Before you tell me I'm on crack and they don't make such a thing, call Ruger.
It was a limited time, special something or another. Basically it's just the engraved receiver version with the 30" sporting clays barrel set, a combination which normally isn't offered.
My first impression of it and IMHO the gun splits the difference between what one might describe as the Mossberg 500's of the O/U world and the more expensive snob-appeal guns.
That is what I expected for the price and is by all appearances what I received.
It is worth noting that at the published retail price the gun would be overpriced, but at typical www or shipped-to-your-favorite-FFL-from-a-warehouse-outfit prices, it seems to fit well in the market at that price point.
That is to say it's about what I expected at the price point it is realistically and universally available for.
My first impression of the gun is that it is uncharacteristically thin, both horizontally (across the receiver) and vertically.
That, with the nice (but not snob price/class) gold+engraving, the long barrels, the relatively low-volume (in my estimation) stock and forearm, and the separate barrels the gun has an overall lean and (to my eyes) attractive lines.
The gun fits me better than most guns do out of the crate, which is Ok but not great. But I'm also not an experienced enough clays shooter to know exactly what a great fit is, and at 6'1" and 270, built like an offensive lineman and with longish arms, most guns simply don't fit me well right out of the box anyway. I can't fault the gun for the fit, and in fact it does fit me better than most guns (even the snob-class guns) do.
My initial impressions are that the controls/break were a little stiff right out of the box, but with some gun oil and manipulation they are starting to loosen up. The stock and forearm appear to have not been hand-fitted to the metal before being removed and finished, but again in this price range I wasn't expecting that. And although (and obviously) not hand-fit, the fit is nonetheless better than the current offerings of field/hunting grade guns I've been exposed to. And certainly the wood, checkering, fit, and finish are better than the Spartans/Baikals/Khans/Mossberg SR's/etc that I've handled and looked over.
I am concerned about the reported issues, most of which appear to be the same rumors being reported over and over ad nauseum along the lines of "Well, I know someone who knows someone who saw a post on a board in Europe about some guy who's sister shoots with a guy whose friend's cousin saw one at some shoots..."
That's not to dismiss or diminish the real experiences of some as posted herein and elsewhere. But balanced against the number of guns sold and the positive estimations, I decided it was worth taking the chance...
Is this thing hand-milled with toothpicks out of a single block of ancient super-high-grade mystical off-shore steel that was slowly heat-treated for over two centuries by remaining in the always-burning dung stove of Tibetian monks who prayed over it every day, later to be cooled during new-moon ceremonies in milk taken only from virgin yaks, then hand-carried to Belgium/Japan/Italy by 13 yo blind monk acolytes in bags made only from the skins of albino yetis born under full moons on the slopes of Annapurna, complete with signed affadavits testifying to all those facts (with appropriate notorized translations and a sample of the dung thrown in for authenticity)?
But by all appearances, according to Ruger's reputation, and according to my rather thorough all night exam last night, it appears to be very well and solidly made + fitted and of appropriate high-grade alloys.
Were the parts hand-milled (see above), hand-finished, and then polished so highly that I can see my own rugged, dashing, "I've killed a continent's worth of critters and shot over a bazillion rounds of super-duper-they-only-sell-it-to-good-ole-boys-who-know-the-secret-handshake-and-wear-only-$10,000-handmade-Belgium-shooters-vests-special-target-loads" mug in it?
Again, no. And my mug isn't dashing or rugged anyway.
Does it come anywhere close to the fit-n-finish of a Beretta or Citori or... ____________ (fill in the blank with the name of your favorite snob-class-only-the-best-can-afford-it-handcarved-inlayed-engraved-handlapped-barreled-Briley-choked-ancient-old-growth-stocked-handrubbed-forever-my-butt-plate-alone-costs-more-than-your-car) gun??
But I also paid no where close to what that type of gun costs, and again I wasn't expecting that.
What the heck then was I thinking and what do I expect, you might ask?
Well, first off I can't afford a Beretta or Citori, at least right now (I'm recovering from a divorce and some career nonsense.) To get much more gun, either in terms of fit/finish/etc and in terms of actual functionality or quality or what not, I'd have had to spend roughly twice the price (and on up from there.)
Do I expect the gun to last FOREVER and NEVER need maintenance or repairs or replacement parts or what not?
Then again, I have a half-dozen friends whom all bought USED Berettas or Citoris, who paid two or more times what I did, and one by one they've each had problems with their own guns.
They've not had big problems (firing pin or misfire issues, that sort of thing), and perhaps only very infrequently but problems nonetheless.
So, in my own estimation paying two to three times as much for a gun that is alledged to never ever EVER EVER FOREVER have ANY problems at all, when I know from personal experience (perhaps anecdotal, but personal and real nonetheless) that such thoughts are not true anyway, just didn't make sense.
How does the gun shoot? I don't know, it'll be this weekend before I can put a box or two through it. And frankly I've never owned an o/u before. I've put some rounds through Beretta's, Citoris, and Baikals, and on rare occasion was allowed to shoot a full round of trap with a sampling of each. But I've never owned one.
I'll come back here and post my experiences and thoughts as time goes by. The one thing I am disappointed in already is that I have to send the gun back to have the safety converted from field configuration to target configuration, but in fairness I knew that going in and can't fault either the gun or Ruger for that.