Before passing away back in March 2013, one of Tony Knight's last big "Hoorahs" for the sport of muzzleloading was working with the development of Knight Rifles' "somewhat new" .52 caliber bore. Those who have studied the big and heavy half-stock "Hawken" and other similar styled rifles fully realize that .52 caliber muzzleloaders were available back in the 1840's, and that a rifle with a .520" land-to-land bore was nothing new at all. Even so, one with a fast rate of twist for shooting a saboted bullet was indeed.
(Note: Introduced during the early to mid 2000's, Knight Rifles' .52 caliber models are still being produced, but the bore size has failed to make much of a dent in the sales of .50 caliber rifle models.)
Along with the "new" in-line ignition rifle bore size, he also worked hand in hand with the folks at Barnes Bullets to develop the hefty all-copper 375-grain .475" diameter Knight "Red Hot" bullet shown above ... and with Muzzleload Magnum Products to produce that reddish-purple .52x.475 sabot shown above left. It was THIS BULLET which allowed the Knight .52 caliber rifle models to earn the moniker "The Powerhouse of Muzzleloading" !
The one thing that Knight Rifles had to do in order for their .52 caliber rifles to shoot this lengthy 1.210" long all-copper spitzer hollow-point with any degree of accuracy was to break away from the standard 1-in-28 rifling twist ... and build the .52 models with a slightly faster 1-in-26 rifling twist. The twist that had served the .50 caliber in-line rifles well through the 1990's simply was not fast enough to properly stabilize the longer Barnes produced 375-grain .475" diameter "Red Hot" bullet ... but the 1-in-26 twist did just fine.
That other light blue sabot shown above right is the .50x.475 sabot offered by Harvester Muzzleloading. Yep, this sabot allows .50 caliber rifle owners to load and shoot .475" diameter bullets. And some of you reading this have been shooting lighter and shorter 275- to 350-grain .475" bullets out of your 1-in-28 twist Knight ... CVA ... Traditions ... Thompson/Center ... and other in-line rifle models. However, if you've tried to shoot the lengthy 375-grain bullet shown here ... I'm sure accuracy truly sucked. That bullet and the 1-in-28 twist simply are not compatible.
Before the end of this month, we will get in a couple of mornings shooting the .50 caliber rifle shown here ... with 110- and 120-grain charges of Blackhorn 209 and FFFg Triple Seven ... shooting the 1.210" long Knight 375-grain "Red Hot" bullet and the Harvester Muzzleloading .50x.475 sabot. This is our .50 caliber Pedersoli 1-in-24 twist Rolling Block Muzzleloader ... and we've already witnessed how this rifle can shoot, with accuracy, a couple of other long saboted bullets... something that no 1-in-28 twist .50 caliber bore could accomplish. Watch for a report on this shooting about August 20th.
If any of you reading this have played around with shooting saboted .475" diameter bullets out of a .50 caliber bore, please share your findings in the comment section of this post. - Toby Bridges
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Happy 4th Of July!
Muzzleloader Featured Above - Thompson/Center .50 Strike With Hi-Lux Optics 1-6x Buck Country Scope