Knight 50 KP1 Review

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In the last 20 years or so there have been a lot of changes in muzzleloading rifles. They took the cap and ball types and put the primer inside the barrel, as opposed to the conventional nipple on the outside. One obvious advantage is protection against bad weather which often occurs during hunting season. When I started shooting the front loader you could use any powder as long as it said black. There was no Pyrodex or any of the substitutes. I owned and shot a variety of 45 and 50 caliber rifles and had very little trouble as long as I did my part. My favorite is a 50 caliber Hawken from TC which I have owned for about 25 years. It still shoots well with a 370 grain maxi ball. I thought that it was as accurate and effective as a muzzleloader can get until I started using inlines. That's like going from the model T to a Thunderbird. They shoot more streamlined projectiles at higher velocities and are accurate at longer ranges. It takes the muzzleloader from a hundred yard gun to a 300 yarder. They are usually easier to clean and a scope can be mounted and it will shoot almost like a modern rifle. The only drawback that I can think of is, some states regulate them or don't allow them during muzzleloading season so you might want to check that out to avoid a costly fine. With that thought in mind I was sent a Knight KP1 and some Hornady bullets in 250 and 350 grain weights.


Knight 50 KP1 inline muzzleloader


Knight 50 caliber muzzleloader

I received a Knight 50 caliber inline along with a 45-50 barrel to test from Mike Mattly the marketing manager at Knight. A starter kit came with it, which includes various bullets, cleaning equipment, lubes and tools. There is everything you need to get started. It has a set of Williams high definition sights, which are easy to use, and see. It also comes drilled and tapped for a scope and in fact mounts are provided. I had no trouble shooting groups with the open sights.


Top view of Knight 50 showing holes for mounting a scope

The KP1 model has extra barrels ranging from the 223 up to the 300 Win mag. They also have shotgun barrels in 20 and 12 gauges. The rifle weights 8 pounds, which is about right. Some of the heavier loads produce frisky recoil but the butt pad helps a little as it absorbs some of the kick. They also have a ton of accessories for your rifle including various bullets and sabots.


Barnes 250 grain 50 caliber provided in Knight kit


250 grain HP provided in Knight kit

After shooting the gun quite a few times, I have some observations. First of all it is accurate with just about anything I have shot and the trigger is excellent. They recommend that you don't fool around with the trigger pull, and with the excellent factory setting I can go along with that.


Trigger of the Knight 50

The fit and finish are up to par and I have had no malfunctions. It is a no nonsense hunting rifle and it fills the bill. The only criticism I have is that the rod doesn't screw into anything but is held by a couple of bands. And the bullet starter isn't very effective. Both are minor faults that can be corrected. My sample has a stainless barrel with a composite stock. The 24" barrel has a 1 in 28" twist that is fast enough to stabilize the new slugs. It also has a 45-70 stainless steel barrel that can be changed very easily. There is a safety located on the hammer that moves back for fire and forward for the safety. When the safety is on, the hammer will drop but the gun won't fire.

To shoot it I started with the 250 grain Barnes that was provided with the kit. To get an idea of the power I can expect I did quite a bit of chronographing with various powders and bullets. I have a lot of Clean Shot on hand so I started with that. One thing I found right off is you have to dry brush the bore after every shot or the next bullet is very difficult to seat. I use a dry shotgun brush and get out all of the residue, that makes it much easier to load. I have used a lot of this powder in cartridge and muzzleloading guns and while it's noncorrosive it does leave a lot of residue to clean up. It is also very coarse making it difficult to use in a powder measure. Anyway I started with 100 grains and went to 125 to see the difference if any. Accuracy was good with the loads used. While no big deal at the range the necessary cleaning between shots would preclude me from using it hunting in case a second shot may be needed. Here are some loads I used with FFG Clean Shot.

LOAD BULLET VELOCITY COMMENT
100 X FFG CS 250 grain Barnes 1560 consistent
125 X FFG CS 250 grain Barnes 1699 accurate
100 X FFG 300 grain Lightfield 1404 ok
125 X FFG 300 grain Lightfield 1556 consistent

WARNING The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor BigGameHunt.net assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data.

Steve Johnson from Hornady was kind enough to send me some 250 and 350 grain bullets that they make. Like the Barnes they have the tip made of plastic and are pointed for long range shooting. I imagine it's the same tip they use for their Leverevolution ammo. The 350 grainers are new that have no plastic sabot, just a copper bullet that you push down the bore. I was a little apprehensive because I thought that it might be hard to start but that wasn't the case. Once you get it started it goes right down the bore. It also has a hollow base. In fact it is going to be very accurate out to 100 yards or beyond. With a scope, an elk can be in trouble at 250 yards especially with the 350 grain slug. The 350 grain bullet sports a ballistic coefficient of .285 which is very respectable for a front loading projectile. Hornady has quite a few types of bullets for the inline as well as the conventional muzzleloader rifles.


300 grain non-skirted Hornady


Bullet starter for the Knight 50

Chris Hodgdon from Hodgdon powder sent me some Triple Seven and White Hots made by IMR powder. The IMR powder line was bought by Hodgdon powder a few years ago. They come in pellets made especially for 50 caliber inline muzzleloader rifles. While Triple Seven has been around the White Hots are pretty new and look as white as snow. The Sevens are in a box resembling an ammo box while the Whites are in tubes. I did quite a bit of chronographing with both, and like the Clean Shot they produce a lot of smoke. That makes it necessary to stand about 20 feet from the start screen to prevent the smoke from obscuring the screens. Something else to look for is occasionally a skirt will separate from the bullet and if both go through the screens separated, it will give you a weird reading usually very low, so you will know that something is up. The skirts usually travel from about 20 to 30 feet from the gun depending on which brand you are shooting. Here are a few loads that were chronographed in the Knight rifle. With the size of the slugs you can get by with 2 pellets in a situation where long shots aren't going to be taken. Recoil is noticeably milder with two pellets as opposed to three.

LOAD BULLET VELOCITY COMMENT
2 White Hots 350 grain Hornady 1569 very consistent
3 White Hots 350 grain Hornady 1885 potent
3 Triple Sevens 350 grain Hornady 1894 consistent
3 White Hots 250 grain HP 2072 nice deer load
3 Triple Sevens 250 grain HP 2116 consistent
2 White Hots 300 grain Lightfield 1558 mild
3 White Hots 300 grain Lightfield 1877 consistent
2 Triple Sevens 300 grain Lightfield 1566 accurate
3 Triple Sevens 300 grain Lightfield 1877 potent

WARNING The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor BigGameHunt.net assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data.

I use 209 M primers for all of my shooting. You might note that the Triple Sevens are just a few feet per second faster then the White Hots, though it is a miniscule amount. I wouldn't draw any conclusions as only one rifle was used and another might be just the opposite. I would use either in a hunting situation as they both burn clean and produce accurate and consistent loads.

The Lightfield slug takes a different approach then most of the other offerings on the market. It does have a skirt but the bullet is pure lead with a small hollow point and boat tail. I have talked to a rep for the company and he stated that they feel that it will expand very well without coming apart, giving good penetration.


Lightfield 300 grain pure lead slugs

They are capable of good accuracy as well. On their web site they say that if you recover the skirt and it is clean looking that means that the load was heavy enough to properly engage the rifling and if it looks sooty then increase your load. The sooty load shows that the skirt didn't properly engage the rifling allowing some blow by. I imagine that would be true with most other skirted bullets. I picked up some of the skirts and they were all clean indicating a proper load.


From left Lightfield, Knight and Barnes skirts fired, note the rifling marks

When you pick your slug, choose what seems to work best for you. I doubt that there are any bad slugs out there, if so they won't be around very long. For deer hunting I would go with a 250 grain or similar weight while the 300s and 350s would be for elk or bear size game. Depending on how much power you want you can use either 2 or 3 pellets. Both White Hots and Triple Seven burn clean and I didn't have to brush out the bore after each shot. That is an important consideration when hunting and you might need a follow up shot. The pellets are also easy to load and that's what I will use when hunting. I don't recommend using any more then 3 of either type. It will produce excessive recoil and possibly pressure. As a note Knight neither uses nor recommends any smokeless powders and you would do good to follow that advice.

Cleaning the rifle is easy. You just remove the breech plug with the tool provided and you can easily clean and inspect the barrel. I shot at least a hundred rounds and the only cleaning was brushing out the barrel when using Clean Shot. I shot about 60 rounds with White Hots and Triple Seven and never had to brush out the barrel. I then took out the breech plug and the barrel had some fine residue, but it wasn't excessive. The breech plug had some junk on it but the hole was still open and I could have shot it a lot more before cleaning it. I cleaned the whole thing in about 10 minutes. You should clean the breech plug thoroughly and especially the flash hole. It looks tiny but has a large enough hole to allow plenty of flash to ignite the powder. They have all sizes of brushes in the accessory kit to clean any part of the gun. The rifle is well thought out and simple to use. I would recommend it to anyone who can legally use it for big game hunting.


Close up of breech on the Knight 50 KP1


Close up of breech plug flash hole

In March of 2009 Knight announced that they were closing the doors because of lack of business. That was a sad day for me as they make a quality product at a reasonable price. I felt then that someone would pick it up because it's just too good a product to let die. So on 3/15/10 PI Inc announced that they have acquired all of the assets of Knight and will resume production of the muzzleloading line. They will produce essentially the same products according to Jeff Beene, president of PI Inc. That is a happy day for shooters who like them and they will be able to get service and parts as needed.

For more information on their fine products visit www.knightrifles.com. Visit Hornady at www.hornady.com and for Hodgdon powder at www.hodgdon.com. For information on the Lightfield slug visit www.lightfieldslugs.com.


Bob Shell has been around guns all of his life and enjoys handloading and hunting especially with obsolete guns. Life member of the NRA & NAHC, he also belongs to POMA & OWAA which are outdoor writer associations. Bob has written for various publications, as well as two books and is working on a third. He has an ammo business specializing in hard to find ammo www.obsoleteammo.com.

Comments

Informative to say the least

I am a huge muzzle loader fan.  I am more of an old fashion guys so the muzzle loaders and lever actions are always my favorites.  I am in the market to buy a new muzzle. I have a simple base model brand that my son bought at the super big store who sales everything now.  Its a nice gun I have it now because my son wanted the old .20 guage I had and so we made a trade.  I have no complaints with it.  But would like to try a new, fancier model though.  I do have to say an acurate 300 yard with a muzzleloader is impressive to me. I dont think alot out there can make that claim and back it up consistantly.  I am gonna no more reseach into it because of this article.  Thanks

CVC's picture

Fortunately it was a good

Fortunately it was a good read, unfortunately I found out at the end of the article that the company was shutting down.  Bummer because I was thinking that hey this might be a good choice for a muzzle loader for me.  I really enjoyed the review and the comparisons of the bullets and powder.  A first rate review - look forward to similar ones on other products in teh future.

I'd like to see a side by side comparison of the most popular muzzler loaders currently on the market and oh yeah, by companies still in business.

numbnutz's picture

great looking muzzle loader,

great looking muzzle loader, wish i could use it in  oregon.

jaybe's picture

Thanks, But . . .

Two things about this rifle that makes me wonder a little:

 1) The company closed and has been purchased by someone else. I don't know who PI is, but I'm guessing that it's a Chinese-based outfit that will manufacture the same product using possibly inferior materials and cheap labor (can you say 12 cents per hour?).

 2) Why don't the authors of these gun reviews give us a range report?

How the rifle is made and what the features are is only part of the equation that I am looking at before I purchase a new gun.

I was never good at Algebra, so when you put an "X" factor in there, it's an unsolved problem as far as I am concerned.

Please give me a report of not only the speed of the bullets with different powders, but a picture of a target with the terminal results.

Thanks for the report.

I look to the future with hope and anticipation.

 

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