The Knight Revolution:
Just another Revolting Development?

By Randy Wakeman

Knight Revolution
Illustration courtesy of Knight Rifles.

The tested gun was one of the very few truly "new" front loading rifles for 2004, the Knight Revolution in stainless steel / Realtree Hardwoods configuration. As supplied, it is 8-1/2 pounds on the nose, hanging from my Lyman electric trigger gauge. The barrel measures 26-1/2" from muzzle to breechplug, about a one inch increase over other Knight "26 inch" models. Knight normally has a usable barrel length one half inch less than stated, closer than many manufacturers. In the case of Thompson or other QLA ("false muzzle") rifles, you can also subtract the unrifled portion of the barrel crown, as that can do nothing to spin or push bullets.

The trigger that came with my Revolution was defective, having a distinct two-stage crack to it. It was returned to Knight, and Knight's superior customer service very quickly took care of the problem, the trigger arriving back in my hands in just a few days.

The Revolution's trigger is adjustable for break only, not creep. As received, it breaks cleanly at a very acceptable four pounds. It is certainly a good hunting trigger, far better than the horrid Traditions and CVA triggers I've tested recently.

However, it suffers by comparison to the outstanding Knight Disc Elite, Disc Extreme, and Wolverine triggers due to the noticeably longer take-up. Whether that is an issue of substance to an individual is subjective, of course. It is clearly a step backward from other Knight product according to my trigger finger. Knight bolt action triggers have been uniformly superior; this effort falls short tested side by side.

The "quick-release" action featured on this rifle is puzzling, reminding me of a waterwheel or some peculiar attempt at perpetual motion. An interesting conversation piece, it is great fun to carry around and ask your friends, "What do you think this is?" Though it is easy to remove, the value of that is lost on me.

Knight has billed the Revolution as "Easy To Clean." Well, it is easy to take apart, but easy to clean it certainly is not. Easy to get dirty more accurately describes the situation. Knight bolt-action rifles are a dream by comparison.

The Revolution retains the Knight "Red Full Plastic Jacket." In their plunger guns and bolt actions, the red jackets have proved to be a very good idea for field use. It clearly weatherproofs their rifles, eliminates the need for a capper in their bolt actions, and no field capper is required for the Revolution, either.

The breechplug is the same on the Revolution as it is on the bolt action Knight Disc Extreme and Disc Elite models. In Knight bolt guns, any excess primer residue that is spewed onto the bolt action (and a small amount into the bottom of your scope) which is very easy to hand disassemble, soak, and clean. Such is not the case with the Revolution.

The same red plastic jacket spewage remains. It should, the very same breechplug, nipple, and red plastic jacket are employed. In the case of the Revolution, it spews inside the receiver, coating the inside completely, and also gurgitating all over the trigger group. It leaks out a bit beneath the receiver, and also out the rear flap that closes in concert with the action when you lock and prime the action. All this just means more clean up, and runs counter to the ads that brag, "Easy To Clean." Easy to get filthy dirty, it achieves.

After firing this gun, you must physically depress a little pedal (or foot) that protrudes from beneath the pistol grip to open up the action and then re-prime. This is counter-intuitive to me. Can you imagine a lever action rifle (such as the Marlin 336) where you have to push a button just to cycle the action? I couldn't, but apparently somebody could. A simple spring and detent set-up just makes more sense.

At the range, I found the Revolution to be in an accuracy class similar to several Extreme models. While Knight still brags about their 2-1/2" accuracy guarantee, I have yet to test a Knight that will not easily better that. The Revolution's three-shot groups size at 100 yards was in the area of 1-3/4 to 2" with Barnes 245 grain Spitfires, available as Knight "Ultimate Slam Series" SBT bullets with sabots. The Revolution was able to keep 348 grain Powerbelts in the same accuracy genre as well. While certainly adequate hunting accuracy, the Revolution falls far short of the blazing accuracy level of their own Knight Disc Elite, which remains at the very top of the many muzzleloaders I've tested in the tack-driving department.

The Revolution's ramrod is adequate, no different from other Knight rifles in this regard. The factory option "PowerRod" remains as a big step up. The factory Williams fire sights are backwards to my eyes, red against the face, but Knight will change them out if you prefer green next to your eyes and red at the muzzle as I do.

Handling wise, I felt the Revolution to be both heavy and muzzle-heavy, and I found the cross-bolt safety slow and noisy compared to the thumb safety on the Knight Disc Elite. The buttstock feels a bit short and stubby, and sure enough the Revolution has at least a half-inch shorter length of pull than the Disc Elite. The Revolution also lacks the cheek-piece found on the Disc Elite, something that I wish they had not removed. The safety is reversible, though, and it seems that this and the buttstock were perhaps aimed at ambidextrous appeal.

I am a fan of Knight Rifles in general, admire their barrel quality and (until now) exceptionally good triggers. In this case, with a blank sheet of paper in front of them, I am perplexed at what exactly the good folks at Knight attempted to accomplish here. For a $500 gun, I found the Revolution disappointing. Compared to the plethora of options available to today's muzzleloading enthusiast, I am forced to say, "Start the Revolution without me."

Note: A quite different take on the Knight Revolution rifle written by Randy D. Smith can be found on the Product Review Page.

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Copyright 2004 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.