The Knight KRB7 "Rolling Block" Rifle
Back at the SHOT show, I was so impressed with the imminent Knight KP1 that I glossed over Knight’s new .50 caliber KRB7 “Rolling Block” muzzleloader. Over the years, I’ve tried my best to give praise where indicated (Knight Disc Elite) and express disappointment when deserved (Knight Revolution). This year has seen the introduction of the world’s clumsiest muzzleloader, Thompson’s magnificent failure to “Triumph.” When my Knight Rolling Block arrived, I had no particular preconceived notions about it good or bad. After spending some time with it, now I do.
The supplied KRB7 is the stainless steel, camo composite stocked model, generally my favored Knight format. Knight does a very good job with their composite stocks compared to the hollow Tupperware attempts that continue to plague the industry. The Knight’s trigger breaks at a clean 4-1/2 pounds, quite suitable for a hunting trigger and better than many muzzleloaders out there. The rifle, including ramrod weighs in at 7-1/2 pounds on the nose. It is a practical weight for a .50 caliber muzzleloader, nicely balanced and it feels very good between the hands.
Calling this rifle a “rolling block” is a bit of a stretch; it bears no semblance at all to a classic Remington Number. It is better described as a “rolling primer block” rifle rather than a rolling breech block. The KRB7 does away with the Knight red plastic jackets, a consumable that I found to be a convenience in Knight bolt actions, but a complication of no tangible value in the Revolution/Vision series, neither of which did much for me.
Someone must have decided that “break actions” are suddenly good for muzzleloaders, though the break-open action is a hoary old design used in no rifles that define accuracy today. Some are good rifles in spite of this, but the glorified “Topper” shotgun of times past really should remain there. I’m glad this rifle’s action does not break.
I’m also glad that Knight has not stooped to using the barrel length robbing “QLA” or false muzzle that can also destroy accuracy if eccentric to the bore. As is to be expected with Green Mountain barrels, they are far better quality than most in terms of consistency, metallurgy and bore tolerances. Green Mountain uses certified barrel materials, tests from lot to lot and Knight Rifles has always done a very good job shooting their rifles before they hit the market. Compared to import companies who have no clue exactly where, how, or perhaps even why their rifles are made, this is refreshing.
The KRB7 has redundant safeties; a cross-bolt safety that serves no purpose and a hammerblock that is integral with the hammer itself. A muzzleloader, naturally, is never capped or primed until you intend to use it; is never transported or out of your direct control when capped or primed. What the crossbolt is supposed to do is a mystery to me.
It is necessary to pull the hammer back to prime the rifle. As you do, the hammer block automatically flips up. Open the “rolling” gate and in goes a primer. The gate has a built in 209 holder/extractor. Close the gate, close the hammer on its integral block and you are good to go. When you recock the gun, the hammer block stays up (or in ‘safe’ position). From above, you can push the hammer block flush with no noise, effectively taking the rifle off safe. It is unconventional, takes a little bit of getting used to, but quickly becomes intuitive.
At the range, I decided to use some of the Knight 290 grain “New! EZ Load!” Barnes PBT saboted bullets that come with a proprietary blue Knight (by MMP) sabot. Well, they load easily all right, maybe too easily. I was able to load them with one finger on the ramrod over a pair of Triple Seven pellets. Nevertheless, they shot more than well enough to whack a whitetail. My initial group, using the iron sights, was 2-1/4 inches. Changing over to the tighter fitting Barnes TMZ 290 yellow saboted bullets and spit-patching between shots, the groups tightened to about 1-3/4 inches, about as well as I’ll do with iron sights. There is little question that this rifle is a shooter. I’ve always been able to get better accuracy out of weighed charges of Triple Se7en than the comparatively inconsistent pellets and I always shoot better with a scope than with iron sights. Nevertheless, this rifle is more than capable of putting venison in the freezer right out of the box.
Cleaning the KRB7 could hardly be more convenient. One button and the entire action comes out. The breechplug is then removed through the rolling gate. It is easy and effortless.
The entire rifle has excellent build quality. It all fits together well, is easy to operate and has remarkably good balance and handling qualities. Felt recoil, thanks to the well-fitted recoil pad and the substantial stock, was quite moderate with a 290 grain Barnes TMZ bullet and two Triple Seven Magnum pellets.
Best of all is the price of this new Knight KRB7. Box store street prices run from $299 for the blued/black version to $399 for the stainless/camo model, making this rifle not only the best brand new model of muzzleloader I’ve tested this year, but very likely the best bargain in inline muzzleloading today. Knight is going to make a lot of hunters happy with their new KRB7, to be sure. It is a winner in my book.
Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.