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The 2 “One” Knives – Large

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  • #11201
    Clifford Begnaud
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 12

    My wife and I are in the process of re-equipping ourselves with knives for Elk/Deer hunting in Colorado. Since we will be sharpening these knives with our Wicked Edge system, I thought it would be appropriate to ask about this topic here… B)

    I understand that Clay is an Elk guide, so I’m hoping that he can provide some input, but I’m sure others here have experience to share also.
    We usually bivvy several miles into the backcountry so our knife selection will have to be versatile. We may be hunting with others that are not equipped with quality knives (probably not very sharp either), so ours may have to step in and take up the slack.

    My thoughts right now are to carry two knives each. One medium/large knife that can handle camp chores, skin/dress an elk (or two) plus maybe a mulie, and act as a survival knife if the occasion arises. The second knife would be a smaller knife that would be used for caping and deboning and assist in fine survival tasks. My wife deboned an elk two years ago with a small caper. That worked, but a little more blade length would have made it easier, plus better steel.

    So let’s attack the large knife first, I’ll start a separate thread for the small knife; the characteristics to discuss would be as follows (please add any others that I should consider)
    1.Best blade style for the proposed mission? (hunting first priority, survival/camp chores second)
    2.Blade Length
    3.Choice of Steel
    4.Blade Grind
    5.Edge type
    7.Other (ie, choil, jimping, etc)

    I’ll get the ball rolling…
    For camp survival/chores, I tend to prefer a larger knife, but for hunting it doesn’t need to be as large. I’m thinking a knife blade in the 5”-6” range. For survival knives, thick blades seem to be all the rage, but I don’t think that a thick blade is necessary. Most steels are plenty tough to handle my needs at 1/8” or maybe 5/32” thickness. I prefer a thin blade for dressing game, they just cut better. Having said that, most of the knives I’m looking at are running 3/16”. Drop points are common, but what say you about this part of the blade for game dressing purposes?

    Here’s a few I’m considering: (links at bottom of page)
    Esee Laser Strike- 1095 Steel, 5” blade, 3/16 thick, Spear Point, Full Flat Grind
    Esee 6- 1095, 6.5”, 3/16, Drop Point, Full Flat
    Ontario Blackbird SK-5- 154 CM, 5”, 1/8”, Spear Point, Full Flat
    Survive Knives GSO-5 or 5.1- CPM-3V, 5” or 5.75”, 3/16”, Drop Point (almost spear), Sabre grind
    TOPs (BOB) Brothers of Bushcraft- 1095, 4/58”, 3/16”, Drop Point, Scandi (sort of)
    Scrapyard Knves Sykco 711 (or 511)- SR-101, 7-3/8”(or 4.5”), 3/16, Drop Point, Sabre
    Swamp Rat- Rodent 4 or 6, SR-101, 4.625” or 6.37”, 3/16”, Drop Point, Sabre
    Bark River Bravo 1.5- CPM S35VN, 5.8”, .217”, Drop Point, ?? Grind
    Bark River Special Hunting Knife- A2, 5.87”, .2”, Clip pt, ?? Grind
    Something else from Bark River, suggestions?

    I think these are all fine knives, I like the CPM 3V steel on the GSO knives and the S35VN on the Bravo 1.5, but the price, ouch! I like the 1/8” thin blade on the Blackbird but I don’t have experience with 154CM steel. I like the Esee knives also. I already have a BOB knife and I will likely use it this year, but I want something different for my wife.

    I look forward to your input on these and other options you may have. Please make comments about which characteristics are desirable and which are not.
    Thanks for your help!

    Links to knives mentioned:
    Esee Laser Strike –
    Esee 6 –
    Ontario Blackbird SK5 –
    Survive Knives GSO 5.1 –
    Survive Knives GSO 5 –
    TOPS BOB –
    Scrapyard Sykco Knives –
    Swamprat Knives –
    Bark River Bravo 1.5 –
    Bark River Special Hunting –

    Ken Buzbee
    • Topics: 14
    • Replies: 393

    Not much of a hunter myself, but the Spyderco Southfork has gotten good reviews. S90V steel holds a great edge for a long time (or you can go to Phil Wilson and have him do one to your steel and hardness $pecs 😉 )


    Clifford Begnaud
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 12

    I like it…. thanks.
    Keep em coming.

    • Topics: 57
    • Replies: 1505

    So, what about WE’s knife? I actually think this would be handy… especially around the camp.

    • Topics: 25
    • Replies: 524

    My 2 cents (never hunted or skinned elk)

    6″ Ritter RSK Mk2 – Add the micarta handles. Can adjust the weight distribution. I good bushcraft knife and slicer. I like this one for blade shape and length. Or anything else in the Becker Knife and Tool line. They all have the same handles (can upgrade to micarta), all the same steel, just different blade lengths/shapes.

    4.5″ ESEE 4 I like it for a medium sized knife. I see you already have some ESEE’s on the list.

    Why stop at 2 knives? My rule is always carry an extra one. If think you need 2 take 3.

    Some light weight, smaller options (as backup and small tasks)
    ESKABAR in D2 steel, they also make it 1095.

    Ritter RSK MK5 Very small, a true backup. If you have 2 knives already may not be worth the weight trade off.

    If you think others won’t have sharp knives buy a crowd pleaser (like an ESEE4) sharpen it and sell it during the trip. Make a few bucks and you won’t have to carry it the entire trip.

    • Topics: 25
    • Replies: 524

    Thinking outside of the box – Consider a folder, especially as knife #3. (unless you hate caring folders while camping)

    I would go with this (strictly as a folder) Benchmade Adamas 275.

    D2 steel, enough blade, Could serve as camp knife. Comes down to if you want a folder or only fixed blades.

    Scott Babineaux
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 80

    I can’t speak to many of your listed choices but I do have the Bark River Bravo-1 in A2 tool steel. With the exception of very high end hand made knives; the finish on this knife is unsurpassed. The attention to detail is flawless. You wont find better in a production blade.

    Clifford Begnaud
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 12

    I was fondling some Bark River knives today (as I have done before).
    They are very tempting, I was admiring many of them. My wife likes the Nessmuk, and I like that form factor also.

    • Topics: 123
    • Replies: 2938

    I carry a couple of knives for elk; a folder with two blades and folding filet knife. The two-blade folder is by browning and the design is great for elk though I wish the steel were better. The AUS-8 can hold up for a couple of elk if needed, but it could be SO much better in a super steel. I’m still looking for someone to take it apart for me and replace the blades with a better steel. The shape of the primary blade is perfect for me for initiating the hide cuts and skinning. The secondary blade is called a hide blade and has a bull-nosed tip. Once I’ve initiated my skinning cuts, I slip the hide blade under the skin and unzip it in smooth, easy motion. If this blade were super thin, super hard, it would be amazing. As it, it still works really well. The knife is the Browning FDT Folder. The second I carry for elk is a Folding Fillet knife by Benchmade that is ultra-light, ultra-thin and works terrifically for all the quartering and meat removal. I don’t do any prying with my hunting knives and I don’t open the sternum or pelvis, so my needs are a little unique. I always have a pocket knife on hand as well, for tasks and just in case. Attached to my pack I have a Fallkniven F1 for camp/survival.


    Clifford Begnaud
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 12

    Thanks for your reply.
    After lots of input here and quite a bit of discussion on our part, my wife and I have come up with a system very similar to yours.
    I already procured a Spyderco Stretch with ZDP-189 steel for her pocket knife. For the majority of the skinning and deboning work she’ll carry this Shun Elite knife with SG-2 Steel (HRC 64-65), it will be carried in a homemade sheath.
    That exact model is discontinued, but they have the Classic model in Damascus with a VG-10 core.

    This knife has a thin blade and takes the absolute sharpest edge imaginable (when sharpened with the Wicked Edge system, of course) and it will hold that edge until the sun burns out in a few billion years.

    Seriously though, this knife is very high quality and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action on an Elk. I have never seen a knife cut a chicken in half as easily as this Shun knife. It just glides through the breastbone and backbone so easily that I was absolutely startled by it the first time (and I used to be in the restaurant business and have cut up thousands of chickens) While it will cut up chickens, it’s not really designed for that purpose due to the thinness of the blade and the hardness of the steel (possibly brittle, though I have had NO chipping at all).
    I think that there are many thin blade Japanese style knives that would work well for processing game. Perhaps a 4” paring knife or even a small chef (gyuto) knife would work.

    I plan to get the wifey a survival blade, but have not yet decided which one it will be.
    Finally, for good measure she’ll probably throw one of these gut hooks, with changeable blades, into her day pack (me too).

    For me this year, I think I will carry my Tops BOB knife as my primary game processing/survival knife (not ideal for game processing, the blade is thick at 3/16”) If I really get ambitious, I may get the Spyderco Wilson Southfork, thank you KenBuzbee for the suggestion, I had not seen that knife before you mentioned it.

    My wife informed me that she had recently pre-ordered a new folding knife for me as a gift:–Zero-Tolerance-0770-Knife-Aluminum–15193
    I’m eager to try out the Elmax Steel and something about this design really appeals to me.
    She got this because I had fallen in love with the knife that inspired the 770, the ZT 777:

    It may be that the 770 won’t arrive in time for Archery Elk season, which means that I would have to get another folding knife, isn’t that a shame ;-). (sure, I have several folders that would work, but what a great excuse to get some super steel)
    All the best,

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