Modern muzzleloaders offer hunters dependable performance, weather-resistant material, and durable components, with accuracy that rivals the best centerfire firearms. With the exceptional craftsmanship of these modern muzzleloaders, buyers often look for something that stands out on the gun shelf. Undoubtedly, the Knight Mountaineer Rifle will catch the eye of anyone looking for a new front-stuffer. The Mountaineer is a show piece that performs as well as it looks.
The Mountaineer (www.knightrifles.com) could easily be confused for a high-quality centerfire rifle. The laminated stock shows exceptional wood grain and is available in walnut, green or grey. There are options for either a straight or thumbhole stock, and with a bolt action to safeguard your primer from the elements, the rifle will not immediately be identified as a muzzleloader. The attention to detail stands out, and anyone would be proud to show this gun off as a top-end muzzleloader for looks and performance. There is detailed checkering on the forestock and in the grip area, and the Monte Carlo stock makes it look distinguished. The forend of the stock tapers slightly, and mushrooms out with a downward curve, creating a natural stop and grip for your hand.
Handling And Shootability
The Mountaineer Rifle has a length of pull of 14 ¼ inches, making it easy to shoulder and sight down the long barrel, allowing you to quickly acquire your target. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces, the gun is well balanced and easy to hold steady. Most muzzleloaders are barrel-end heavy, but the Mountaineer balances evenly on the palm of your hand when placed in the center of the forestock. The weight of the rifle reduces felt recoil. The rifle can be loaded with a 100-grain charge or up to 150 grains of propellant for a magnum load, if you don’t mind the extra recoil. That said, the recoil does drive straight back without much barrel lift, allowing the shooter to stay on target. The soft recoil pad helps minimize the kick of the rifle. Stocks are available in a pistol grip or thumbhole, offering hunters a distinct look to match any preference. The rifle comes with a Williams’ fully adjustable metallic fiber optic sight set. For those not wanting to shoot open sights, the rifle is drilled and tapped for mounting the scope of your choice.
Knight Rifles guarantees a 4-inch, three-shot group at 200 yards with this rifle. One of the reasons they can offer such a guarantee is the quality of the trigger, which is fully adjustable. There is zero creep and the trigger breaks clean with little pressure, allowing you to maintain a steady hold on target. Being able to customize the weight and pull lets you fine-tune this rifle to your shooting style and preference for best results. Knight does recommend using Knight bullets and sabots for optimal performance.
Water, Weather And Corrosion Resistance
The Mountaineer Rifle was designed for use under extreme conditions. The bolt action, plastic primer jacket and tight fit of the primer into the breech keep your ignition completely weatherproof. Solid pressure is required to load a bullet and sabot, which sit snug on the powder charge to prevent moisture from creeping down the barrel and contaminating the propellant. The gun is treated with DynaTek Bore Coating, a ceramic-based hard clear coat that provides optimal corrosion protection and reduces cleaning time and effort. The coating also helps increase velocity by reducing bullet drag.
The Mountaineer Rifle comes with an American-made Green Mountain barrel. Each unit is individually hand tested and checked for quality. The lands and grooves are sleek, distinct and free of defects, which is critical to obtain a proper gas seal with a sabot. The 27-inch barrel provides optimal room to burn a magnum powder charge. The free-floating barrel is fluted to within an inch of the end. The barrel is made of 416 stainless steel and the .50 caliber comes with a 1:28-inch twist rate, while the .45 caliber is 1:30 and the .52 caliber is 1:26.
The Mountaineer barrel is rifled to the end of the bore, meaning you will need to use a bullet starter or extra pressure to start a bullet with a ramrod. Strong and steady pressure is required to load a bullet and sabot down the length of the barrel and seat it on the charge. The tight tolerances of the barrel for loading produce a consistent gas seal for reliable downrange results and to keep moisture from getting to the powder.
All Mountaineer Rifles come with an Easton ramrod made with a 7075 Full Metal Jacket Shaft with a high-strength carbon core. The unique design adds 60 percent more rigidity to the ramrod, making for faster and easier loading. The ramrod is less flexible than most, and makes loading easier given the tight tolerances of the barrel.
Ignition is with a bare 209 primer or a primer with a full plastic jacket. Either can be easily placed into the face of the bolt, then is directly inserted into the nipple/breech and secured when the bolt is locked down. The primer is in direct line with the powder charger, providing quick and positive ignition. A primer can be inserted into the plastic jackets without difficulty, and the larger diameter makes them easier to handle and place into the bolt.
The bolt action is smooth and easy to operate, locking the ignition down to prevent blowback. The bolt handle has a knob which is comfortable to operate between your finger and thumb or the palm of your hand. The bolt is also easy to remove by pulling the release button on the side of the receiver. Bolt components are made of stainless steel, making them durable and easy to clean. A thumb-operated safety on the right side of the bolt handle easily slides forward when you want to fire the rifle. There is a secondary safety that can be threaded in or out on the back of the bolt preventing the rifle from firing under any circumstances. The bolt can be disassembled for cleaning and is simple to take apart and reassemble.
Shooters will notice the DynaTek Bore Coating allows for barrel cleaning with half the patches normally used. The coating simply does not hold the powder fouling and residue. The ramrod comes with a cleaning jag which can be used to swab between shots in the field, and an extension handle can be added to use it as a cleaning rod at home. Each gun comes with a special tool to remove the breech plug for cleaning, and again for re-insertion. Extra effort is required for cleaning the ignition source and bolt assembly, but when weighed against the performance of the gun, anyone looking for a muzzleloader should not shy away from the extra work. It wasn’t many years ago that all guns required extra effort to clean thoroughly. The small amount of blowback does make the bolt easy to clean up. Hunters and shooters might overlook this rifle because it does not have a break action and speed breech, but the accuracy and protection from elements is worthy of a closer look.
Is It Right For You?
If you are looking for a muzzleloader with a distinct, notable appearance and classic laminated wood stock, look no further. This gun doesn’t just look good though, it performs with outstanding accuracy. There are lots of muzzleloaders on the market that perform well and are easy to clean, but few will stand up to the stylish presentation of this unit. The 200-yard accuracy guarantee will be easily understood the first time you try this trigger and inspect the tight-fitting action and components. The Green Mountain barrel shows outstanding craftsmanship, which will allow you to shoot tight, three-shot groups that just might rival your favorite centerfire rifle.
Also, this gun is the only muzzleloader on the market with a secondary safety, making it ideal for trekking through rugged country, or for taking out a first time hunter with little experience.
Knight is proud to say its guns are 100 percent American-made and the individual attention to detail allows Knight to offer an accuracy guarantee out to 200 yards.
Manufacturer: Knight Rifles
Model: Mountaineer Rifle
Calibers: .45, .50, & .52 calibers available
Action: Bolt action
Twist rate: .45 cal. is 1:30, .50 cal. is 1:28, .52 cal. 1:26
Barrel: 27 inches, stainless steel, DynaTek Bore Coating
Ignition: Full Plastic Jacket with 209 primer, or bare 209 primer
Trigger: Fully adjustable Matchgrade trigger
Sights: Williams’ fully adjustable, metallic fiber optic sight set
Stock Options: Available in straight or thumbhole stock, wood laminate in Forest Green, Shadow Grey and Burl Walnut. Synthetic in OD Green
Overall Length: 45½ inches
Weight (Unloaded): 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces,
Other Features: Easton ramrod with carbon core, extendable jag, soft recoil pad, secondary safety
MSRP: $614 – $1189
For More Information: (866) 518-4181; www.knightrifles.com.