Founder of Knight Rifles and renowned gunsmith Tony Knight passed away on Monday at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Monies, Iowa. According to his obituary at Thomas Funeral Home, Knight is survived by his wife Rose, two adult children, and four grandchildren who were “his greatest joy.”
Knight is perhaps most well known as “the father of modern in-line muzzleloading.” He founded Knight Rifles in 1985 and opened his first factory in Missouri two years later. There, along with a few friends and a love of elk hunting, Knight began to pioneer new designs for muzzleloader firearms. In an interview with Randy Wakeman, Knight said it all began with elk season and the frontloaders of that time. Dissatisfied with the reliability and accuracy of the firearms he was using, the gunsmith decided that he could do better.
Knight went from a small bow and gun shop in 1982 to an expansive plant in Centerville, Iowa by the early 90s. He attributes much of his success to the mentorship of Roy Weatherby, who was instrumental in encouraging Knight to move forward with his plans.
“Roy Weatherby told me all the details of how he started, what his challenges were, and shared with me what he felt his successes were due to,” Knight said in an interview. “Roy helped me along the right path when others couldn’t be bothered, and I’m indebted to him for that.”
In addition to producing groundbreaking designs like the Knight MK-85, the gunsmith spent his leisure time enjoying nature and hunting. Knight confirmed his favorite stomping ground is Alaska and enthusiastically encourages everyone to experience what the state has to offer.
Funeral services will take place on Saturday, March 23 at Thomas Funeral Home.
Knight Rifles continues to manufacture muzzleloaders and accessories to this day from its Tennessee location.
Featured image courtesy Thomas Funeral Home and the Knight family, Second image screenshot of video by USOUTFITTERS1 on youtube