The Knight Disc Elite Rifle
In the past I've paid homage to Tony Knight, for no one can hold a modern inline muzzleloader in their hands without saying a big "thank you" to Tony Knight. When the original Knight Dual Ignition System Concept (DISC) rifle was singled out by the BATF and classified as a GCA firearm, Tony Knight took them on essentially alone, and won. All subsequent makers of 209-primed inlines have reaped the benefits. Tony Knight, together with Del Ramsey, made the inline and saboted projectile the most popular and fastest growing segments of muzzleloading rifles in the last fifteen years.
The Knight catalog boasts that the Elite is "1/2 pound lighter," and lists its weight at 7 pounds 5 ounces vs. the catalog weight of the Extreme at 7 pounds 14 ounces. According to my Lyman electronic trigger gauge, that just isn't so. Both guns are virtually identical in weight, a touch over 8 lbs. with scope bases installed, but sans ramrods. The answer is that the Knight laminated stocks are lighter than their more substantial synthetic offerings. Additionally, the barrel weight saving is more pronounced in .45 caliber models. Finally, the beefier forked recoil lug adds weight to the barrel assembly, but in a far better place.
Normally I don't get too terribly impressed with camo stocks. However, the Elite's hardwoods camouflage stock is strikingly handsome: the best looking synthetic stock I've seen on a muzzleloader. The molded checkering is functional as opposed to the "for show only" stippling arrangement on the laminated example. The recoil pad is generous, and well fitted in both cases.
One thing that has always impressed me about Knight Rifles is their customer service and tech support. One of the benefits of owning a Knight is that a new Knight customer can ship their trigger to Knight, and Knight Rifles will adjust it to your specifications, normally shipping it back to you within 24 hours, at no charge. I asked for a 3 pound trigger and they came very close, a 3 pound 3 oz. repeatable break with almost no take-up. Easily the best trigger I've ever pulled on a Knight, and one of the very best on any muzzleloader.
The Knight Extreme that I've shot so hard in the past has never failed to leave a thin scope coat of residue. After extensive shooting with the Elite, I was amazed that though there was certainly blowback residue in the action, there was just a small fraction of what the Knight Extreme produced. I switched from Federal to Winchester to Remington primers, with no discernable scope residue. Thinking that Knight had hardened the plastic jackets somewhat, I used the remainder of the earliest red plastic jackets I had, still no residue. Checking with Knight, I was assured that there has been no running production change. There are cumulative tolerances here, in both plastic jacket and nipple / breech plug. Call it "luck of the draw."
The Knight 2003 catalog says the Elite "has a unique bedded action for added accuracy." The action is in no way bedded that I can fathom, it is a forked recoil lug lying on plastic. However, the Knight press release of December 2002 is a bit more descriptive, mentioning the new cantilevered lug that allows the barrel to be "nearly free-floating." The Elite's barrel does pass the "dollar bill test," exhibiting no contact from the muzzle down to where the barrel taper ends. When you tighten down the lone recoil lug, you can watch the barrel lift up and away from the stock. So, the fork attached to the recoil lug does indeed help with its larger footprint.
I'm impressed with the look, feel, accuracy, trigger, and contoured barrel of the Disc Elite. The longer, forked "cantilevered recoil lug" addresses, at least in part, what I have long felt was the Knight's primary deficiency, a barreled action flaccidly attached to the stock by one wimpy lug and screw. This is the first Knight I can really wax enthusiastic about. It is the finest, best handling, most accurate Knight Rifle I've seen.
Note: A complete review of the Knight Disc Elite rifle can be found on the Product Review Page.
Copyright 2003 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.