Monday, June 01, 2009

Knight Rifles closes doors

© By Othmar Vohringer

For weeks I watched the news with a pounding heart hoping against all hope that General Motors (GM) would pull through. Then came the bad news that GM has filed protective bankruptcy. My heart skipped a beat. Yes I admit it, I am a GM fan. I don’t care about Ford, Toyota or Ram. For me the ultimate in comfort and quality is a GM truck.

In all the hoopla surrounding General Motors and completely overlooked by the mainstream media a reputable hunting company quietly closed its doors. Today Knight Rifles announced that they close their gun factory. Tony Knight, the founder of Knight Rifles, was an revolutionary inventor when it came to muzzleloaders and always was a nose length ahead of the competition. Knight was the first to offer an in-line muzzleloader in 1985 and it created a lot of controversy back then. Today in-line muzzleloaders are the norm for most serious black powder hunters and it is thanks to Tony Knight and his far reaching vision.

Later Tony Knight produced another first when he came out with a black powder gun that used shot shell primers as ignition instead of percussion caps. The shot shell primers provided a hotter and more reliable ignition and muzzleloader hunters love it. I still remember my very first muzzleloader, a Knight Wolverine .50 cal, I liked the simplicity, sleek design and out-of-the-box accuracy of that gun and henceforth became a loyal follower of Knight Muzzleloaders.

Over the years Knight Rifles came to be known and respected as trusted quality workhorses that didn’t break the bank. It is thanks to Tony Knight that muzzleloader hunting made the leap from a small niche interest to a hugely popular hunting method that ranks right up there with bowhunting. So what makes such a successful and all around respected company fall down?

According to Toby Bridges, Editor of Knight Rifles Muzzleloader Magazine, it is Knights departure from their original simple design. I think Toby is on to something, because I changed from Knight to Thomson Center for this very reason. It’s sad to see a innovative hunting company go that changed the world of muzzleloader hunting for the better as much as Knight Rifles did.

I wish Knight Rifles the best of luck for the future and sincerely hope that sometime in the future we see them again.

Othmar Vohringer Outdoors
Founding Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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deerslayer said...

Othmar; Hard to believe that they closed the doors on such a great company as Knight Rifles. I've often thought of getting one of their rifles but somehow always put it off another year. Their company came a long way with some great products and somehow I believe they'll be back in a very few years to come with even more new products. Thanks for the news flash on a company that will be remembered through their product line for years to come.

SimplyOutdoors said...

That is sad news for sure, Othmar. A sign of the times I guess, but still a very sad sign.

Othmar Vohringer said...

deerslayer - I too didn't expect news like that coming from Knight Rifles. There are others that I would have expected to close the doors. Knight Rifles are right up there with the best and their closure really hit me as a big surprise.


Othmar Vohringer said...

Arthur - It is sad news and I hope that things soon get better for all of us. Everything suffers under these conditions. There are rumors that a very large hunting magazine publication is about to close the doors too. If that is so then many well known hunting and fishing magazines will be missing at the news stands in the very near future.


Anonymous said...

It's not entirely a poor economy sad story, although it is very much a sad story. Knight Rifles had been slowly going downhill ever since the brand was sold to Pradco. When Tony ran the company and oversaw R+D as well as production, they went from a garage-based business to one that produced and sold thousands of high quality, accurate guns that led the rest of the muzzleloading industry into new and better products. Once the company was sold to the clowns from Pradco/Ebsco, the focus immediately became "cheap outweighs good" and they began to turn out second-rate guns that were T/C product "wannabees". I, for one, will not spend another dime on Pradco's garbage, and I would recommend that one be very cautious in purchasing anything from them that could be dangerous in the event of a malfunction. I will be waiting and hoping for Tony to start making guns of his own design again, and maybe he can bring his good name out from the ashes into which the fools from Decatur drove it.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you Anonymous for the additional information on the fate of Knight Rifles.

After I wrote the article I did more background checks and found out what you mentioned in your comment. It is very sad that smaller companies are taken over by larger ones only to be destroyed in the manner you elaborated on.

I too hope that one day, hopefully soon, Tony will come back again. I thought something "fishy" went on when all the the former pro-staff of Knight Rifles left the company a year or so ago.


mark said...

Does anyone know where I can get 52 cal. bullets for a Knight rifle?

Othmar Vohringer said...

Mark - You do not need spacial bullets for a Knight Muzzleloader. Any muzzleloader bullet for a 52cal. will do just fine. Try Cabela's and Bass-Pro-Shop they have a great selection of bullets for muzzleloaders.


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