Utility/Survival/Knives test 6/97

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Mike P. Swaim

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Jun 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/11/97
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Well, under the category of be careful what you ask for, I thought
that I'd share some of my notes from my meager attempts at comparing
and evaluating some fixed blade "survival"/ "utility"/ "combat" type
belt sheath knives.

Anyway, as usual, no attempt is made to sway potential buyers one way
or the other, since, frankly, I don't care what anyone else buys or
thinks. ;-)

Basically, I took 8 common, reasonably inexpensive, "survival" or
"combat" type sheath knives that I have, and subjected them to
identical tests and noted their progress at stages along the way. I've
not yet decided where this will all end, but have already thought that
this initial report might be more preliminary than definitive. More on
that later. There will be a followup "comentaries and conclusions"
type post.

This is absolutely not meant to be any sort of definitive treatise on
survival/combat knives, but is rather just a reporting of what one guy
did with some knives in his backyard over a multi-day period, with
whatever materials were at hand.

In no particular order, the knives tested were:

**Ontario "Marine"**--, older version, made to compete with Kabar, w/
thinner 1095 blade, stacked leather handles and sawback spine,
Modified by me by way of grip tape on handle, elimination of guard on
upper side, (spine side). With moderately sturdy leather sheath this
went for around $20-$25. Disc hammer pommel is just a little loose
from several years of use. Newer versions have Kraton handles, and
lack the disc hammer pommel and the useless sawteeth, and may come
with a Cordura sheath.

** Cold Steel "Bushman"**-- , extremely inexpensive one piece stamped
SK-5 high carbon knife hardened to Rc 54 that features a handle
socket made to accomodate a spear shaft. Comes with cheap but
functional leather pouch sheath for $12-$20.

** Kabar USMC Fighting Combat Knife**--, a modern reincarnation of the
tried and true original. Stacked leather handle, disc-hammer pommel,
Rc 54-56, 1095 carbon steel Armed Forces classic available with medium
decent leather sheath for around $30-$40.

** Cold Steel BushRanger**--, Cold Steel's version of a Carbon V
traditional "Bowie". Notable for having a broad thin blade. Rc60.
Available with rather shoddy Cordura sheath for about $50-$70.

** Cold Steel SRK-- Carbon V, Rc60. Stout, midsized belt knife, that
comes either with a cheap nylon sheath, or a cheap, ugly leather
sheath. Available for $40-$55.

** Camillus Air Force Survival Knife-- Classic 5" heavy, 1095
blade,stacked leather handled, sawback spine. Also features heavy
hexagonal pommel for hammering. Comes in simple leather sheath that
features pocket sharpening stone for around $20-$25. (Sample tested is
over 20 years old, and orig. sheath was long ago replaced with heavy
duty nylon web sheath. Guard is just a trifle loose from years of
use.)

** Glock Field Knife and Bayonnet. Modern version of M3/M4 Trench
knife or bayonnet. Unknown alloy steel, hollow polymer handle and
sturdy polymer sheath. Features bottle cap opener built into guard.
Available for $25- $60.

** Ek Model 3, 1/2 Grind Commando Knife, (made by Blackjack) 440C
dagger style blade. Double edged for 1/2 length of blade. Paracord
handle, sturdy nylon webbing sheath. Sold for $20-$75.

*******************************************************
To start with, I used a "Coarse" (actually, I'd consider it medium),
DMT diamond bench hone to put a razor sharp, shaving edge on all the
knives except the Glock. The Glock came out of the box, so incredibly
dull that the edge was noticeably flat. It would not even cut paper,
hair or anything else tougher than butter. To remedy this, I attempted
to sharpen it first with the DMT hone, then with a mill bastard file.
I was amazed when the knife quickly dulled the file. Finally, I very
easily put a good, but coarse edge on it with a very coarse Sears
Silicon Carbide bench stone. I've read two different alleged Rc's for
this knife, and, frankly, would believe either of them. It could be
anything fom Rc 53 to Rc 61. I really don't know, but it's the most
aggravating knife that I've ever tried to sharpen. Don't know why.

In contrast, the Cold Steel Carbon V knives, that claim Rc60, were
ultra easy to sharpen, as was the CS Bushman, at a claimed Rc54.

Because one aspect of what I was testing was edge retention, all
knives were only sharpened once, at this initial stage. Then they were
all subjected to the uses below, with no "touch ups", resharpenings
etc. Also, throughout the different phases of this, I did make some
attempt to insure that I was not always testing them in the same
order, and took frequent breaks, whenever I felt that I was tiring.

**********************************************************
3/4" Manilla Hemp Rope Cutting-- Next, I cut through 3/4" Hemp Rope
(5) times each with each knife, and averaged the times and number of
strokes for each knife. As in previous rope tests, each "stroke" was a
pull towards me, with the rope on a 1x4. Times and strokes are the
averages of (5) complete severings with each knife.

1)_CS BushRanger_-- 1.2 cuts/4.4 seconds
2)_Ontario Marine_-- 2.4 cuts/ 6.4 seconds
3)_ CS Bushman_-- 2.4 cuts/ 6.8 seconds
4)_CS SRK_-- 3 cuts/ 7.8 seconds
5)_Ek Commando_-- 3.8 cuts/ 9 seconds
6)_Camillus AFSK_-- 7 cuts/ 12.6 seconds
7)_Glock_-- 8.8cuts/13.4 seconds
8)_Kabar_-- 9 cuts/ 15.6 seconds
**************************************************
Steel Belted Radial Tire Puncture test--- NONE of the knives tested
would penetrate an unmounted Toyo 185/80/R13 "Z" Series All Season
Radial tire, when stabbed full force from the top. The unmounted tire
simply flexed and the knives pretty much just bounced off. ALL of the
knives easily punctured and slashed the tire when the sidewall was
stabbed, rather than the tread. The BushRanger very easily slit the
sidewall from tread to rim bead in one easy swipe.

**************************************************
1/4" Luan Plywood Penetration test--- The tire was put flat on the
ground, and a piece of 1/4" plywood was laid across the tire. The
knives were then stabbed, with one hand down into the plywood from 12"
above and the penetration depths recorded. This was done (3) times for
each knife, and then the results were averaged for the results below.

1)_CS BushRanger_-- 2 1/8"
2)_Kabar_-- 1 3/4"
3{_CS SRK_-- 1 5/8"
3{_Ontario Marine_-- 1 5/8"
4)_Glock_-- 1 1/4"
5)_Camillus AFSK_-- 1 1/8"
6)_CS Bushman_-- 3/4"
7)_Ek Commando_--- 5/8"
*************************************************
Wood Splitting Test-- Using some 10-14" 2x4 scraps, and some 6"-8",
4x4 scraps, and a 2x2 "beater" stick, each knife was forced to split
wood. The way that it worked out, each knife got to split (3) 2x4's
into (3) split pieces each, and also got to split (1) 4x4 into (4)
pieces. All knives performed this, with no noticeable damage, or
loosening of guards, handles, pommels, etc. The blade edge on the
Bushman did start to roll over just a bare little bit, but was still
sharp.

The Camillus AFSK had the greatest trouble splitting the 4x4, due to
the 5" blade leaving very little left to beat on, although it did
finally manage to split it when driven vertically into wood like a
tent stake. The SRK also had some trouble, due to small blade, but was
able to finnish, in the horizontal mode, that the rest of the knives
were used in.

The BushRanger, gave the straightest splits, and the Kabar and the SRK
tended to veer out the sides of the wood excessively. The sharpened
false edges on the Ek and the Camillus cut through sucessive beater
sticks.

*************************************************
Pulley Drop Penetration test-- Using a rope, pulley and weight disc,
the BushRanger and the Ek, were weighted with a 2kg, (4.4lb.) cast
iron barbell disc, hoisted point down over 1/4" plywood and permagum
and then dropped from 3' and 6'. I did this primarily because the
results of the eariler penetration test with 1/4" plywood had
surprised me, and I wanted to take out as much of the "human" element
as I could.

From three feet, the Ek penetrated the 1/4" plywood, 3/8", and the
BushRanger did an identical 3/8". From six feet the Ek only increased
to 1/2" whereas, the BushRanger did 1 1/2", or three times as well.

Over Permagum (duct sealant, like modeling clay), the Ek punctured it
1 1/4" when dropped from 3 feet, and the BushRanger did a very similar
1 1/2". From six feet the Ek only increased to 1 1/2", but the
BushRanger increased to 1 7/8".

**See my comments in the followup conclusion to this test.**
*********************************************
1" Oak Dowel chopping test-- Using some 1" Oak dowels, (obtained for a
previous series of whittling tests), placed on a pine stump, I chopped
completely through the dowels with each knife and recorded the
results. The data below, is the average of (3) complete severings, per
knife.

1)_CS BushRanger_-- 32.3 chops/ 26.7 seconds-- very clean cuts, knife
got stuck in wood MANY times, but survived being twisted out
2)_Kabar_--33.3 chops/ 19.3 seconds-- handle slipped sideways in hand
3)_CS Bushman_-- 39.7 cuts/ 28 seconds-- handle slipped, knife got
stuck in wood 2x, gave exceptionally clean cuts
4)_CS SRK_-- 49.7 chops/ 29 seconds
5)_Ontario Marine_-- 51.7 chops/ 33 seconds
6)_Glock_ -- 82.3 chops/ 49.3 seconds
7)_ Camillus AFSK_-- 141 chops/ 94 seconds
8)_Ek Commando_-- 149 chops/ 117 seconds-- 2nd paracord wrapping
totally undone, and hanging in ragged pieces from knife. Guard so
loose it fell off, when last remains of parawrap were unraveled. This
knife lost it's Factory paracord wrapping in a very similar test
several months ago.
****************************************************
3/4" Bulk Poly Rope Cutting test-- Using 3/4" poly rope made to look
like hemp rope, the knives were again put through the series of (5)
complete severings. The data below is again, the average of the (5).

1)_CS BushRanger_-- 2.8 cuts/ 7.8 seconds
2) _CS BushMan_-- 3.6 cuts/ 9.2 seconds
3)_Ek Commando_-- 6.6 cuts/13.2 seconds- duct tape handle
4) _Ontario Marine_-- 6.8 cuts/12.2 seconds
5) _CS SRK_-- 7.8 cuts/ 12 seconds
6)_Kabar_-- 9 cuts/ 16.6 seconds
7)_ Glock_-- 17 cuts/ 25.2 seconds
8) _Camillus AFSK_-- 19.2 cuts/25.6 seconds
****************************************************

Finally, to test for edge retention after all this, the knives were
used to cut lengths of corrogated cardboard and newspaper.
At this point, all of the knives are still moderately sharp, but none
will shave arm hair, anymore. (Well, the BushRanger will, but not
cleanly or without some scraping pain.) None of them show any real
signs of edge damage, just some wear.

_CS BushRanger_-- very smooth even push cuts in cardboard and paper

_CS BushMan_-- smooth even push cuts in cardbord, very, very little
tearing in paper

_Ontario Marine_-- a good mediocore performer, some little tearing

_CS SRK_-- some tearing of both newprint and cardboard, will
definitely still cut flesh!
**************************************************
Below, this line, I'd be hesistant to still trust the knives ability
to split hide, or skin game, etc.
**************************************************
_Kabar_-- surprisingly smooth paper cuts, but quite a bit of tearing
and rolling of cardboard. I'd hate to have to try to skin a deer with
it, at this point, but wouldn't want to face anyone armed with it
either.

_Ek Commando_-- evenly tears through both np and cardboard.
Interestingly, it'll still cut flesh, even though it doesn't do much
with paper, and can't shave. Probably still good for it's intended
purpose.

_Camillus AFSK_-- ragged, really ragged

_Glock_-- BLECK!! -- doesn't even tear np, so much as it wads it up.
Cuts cardboard smoother than Kabar, but is so dull it won't cut my
thumbpad, even with heavy pressure. Still trims fingernails, though.
************************************************

Comments, Conclusions to follow,

MPS


Mike P. Swaim

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Jun 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/12/97
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mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

> There will be a followup "comentaries and conclusions"
>type post.

Comments/Conclusions
****************************

** As mentioned, sharpening the Glock, was just plain weird. When it
turned the teeth on a somewhat new file, and made it just shiny, I was
convinced that it must be super hard. But, when I very easily
sharpened it with a super cheap bench stone, I wasn't so sure. Later,
when it dulled out faster than all the rest, I became sure that it was
probably relatively soft. It almost seems to be more like tool steel
than knife steel. I just don't know.

** I should also mention, that all of the knives tested started out
with some sort of dark finish, except for the only stainless steel
knife, which was the Ek. At the end, the finnishes were in
surprisingly good shape, with the exception of the Glock, which
started out looking as if it'd been blued, and now looks like very
scratched up bluing. The Cold Steels and the Kabar came out
surprisingly unscratched.

>Because one aspect of what I was testing was edge retention,

I'm not yet sure whether I'll keep testing the knives to see what it
takes to dull them, or whether I'll resharpen them, now, and report on
how easy they are to put back to shaving sharp.


>1/4" Luan Plywood Penetration test--- The tire was put flat on the
>ground, and a piece of 1/4" plywood was laid across the tire. The
>knives were then stabbed, with one hand down into the plywood from 12"
>above and the penetration depths recorded. This was done (3) times for
>each knife, and then the results were averaged for the results below.

>1)_CS BushRanger_-- 2 1/8"
>2)_Kabar_-- 1 3/4"
>3{_CS SRK_-- 1 5/8"
>3{_Ontario Marine_-- 1 5/8"
>4)_Glock_-- 1 1/4"
>5)_Camillus AFSK_-- 1 1/8"
>6)_CS Bushman_-- 3/4"
>7)_Ek Commando_--- 5/8"
>*************************************************

The single most "dagger" like knife tested was the EK. As mentioned,
the Glock doubles as a bayonnet. The fact that these knives didn't
easily penetrate the deepest, in this test, really left me wondering.
In retrospect, I think that a knife's penetrating power can easily be
assessed, by looking at the point that the knife radically changes
thickness or width. The more gradual the point changes, the better,
but too gradual and it may not be strong enough to take the punishment
of stabbing and thrusting.
*******************************************************


>*********************************************
>1" Oak Dowel chopping test-- Using some 1" Oak dowels, (obtained for a
>previous series of whittling tests), placed on a pine stump, I chopped
>completely through the dowels with each knife and recorded the
>results. The data below, is the average of (3) complete severings, per
>knife.

>1)_CS BushRanger_-- 32.3 chops/ 26.7 seconds-- very clean cuts, knife
>got stuck in wood MANY times, but survived being twisted out
>2)_Kabar_--33.3 chops/ 19.3 seconds-- handle slipped sideways in hand

Previously, I've been pretty harsh in my comments about the Kabar's
relative ability to chop stuff, when compared to other chopping
implements. When compared to other similar sized knives, it's not so
bad. In fact, I'd have to say that at this point, my view of the
Kabar, is that it may well be exactly as envisioned and advertised for
so many years. It's not ideal for any one task, but may well be a
reasonable compromise for many tasks, at a very reasonable cost.
*****************************************************

Overall, I was impressed by the quality of all of the knives. I even
include the Glock and the Ek in that statement.

I was disappointed that the Camillus AFSK fared as poorly as it did,
expecially considering that it's often recommended as "the Best All
Around" Survival Utility Knife. Even still, I don't think it's a bad
choice. It's just that there may be some better ones. (Though, very
few, save the Bushman, that are as inexpensive.)

The Bushman, didn't let me down in any way. I knew this was such a
good knife the first time that I bought one, that I immediately bought
another. It's not as much a fighter as the others, but is probably all
the camp knife that most folks would ever need.

The BushRanger is simply outstanding. I don't know how that thin blade
would really hold up in combat or hyper abusive situations, but it's a
heck of a knife. If only CS would put it in the decent Kydex sheath it
deserves.

Overall, I was impressed by all the CS knives. They're good buys.

Once again, I confirmed that paracord wrapped handles, aren't really
all that durable.

Later,
MPS


ylm...@worldnet.att.net

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Jun 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/13/97
to mi...@cphl.mindspring.com

mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

>>3{_CS SRK_-- 1 5/8"
>>3{_Ontario Marine_-- 1 5/8"

i'm assuming you mean the Ontario Spec Plus Marine Combat Knife, about 12
1/8 inches overall with a 7 inch blade.

what are your specific thoughts on that one? i was thinking about getting
to replace the old KABAR my father and i have been using. it looks nice
with the Kraton handle and Cordura sheath and 1095, but how was the feel?

was it comfortable for chopping and such?


Mike P. Swaim

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Jun 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/14/97
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mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

Since several of you have written to say that your server apparently
did not pick up the original message, only the commentary, I'm
reposting the entire original, with a new, leather cutting aspect at
the end. My appologies for the extreme waste of bandwidth for those
who already saw this. For the new stuff, scroll all the way down to
three rows of ********
**************************************************************

>Comments, Conclusions to follow,

>MPS
*************************************************************
************************************************************
***************************************************************
I looked through my leather scrap box, and came up with a couple of
1/8" leather belt blanks that have cosmetic flaws precluding their
usage. So, I thought it'd be interesting to see how the knives did at
cutting something like belt leather, since that might well simulate
hide, motorcycle jackets etc. Bear in mind, that the knives have not
been resharpened or retouched in any way, since the initial
sharpening. Each knife got to try to cut (1) 1/4" wide by 18" long
leather strip. The leather was placed on a wood cutting surface and
the knives were forced through the leather, with an eye toward keeping
the cuts as straight and even as possible. This means that ergonomics
and blade shape played a part as well as residual sharpness. This is
perhaps the most realistic cutting exercise yet, in terms of cutting
something on a cutting board. The number of cuts or passes til
complete leather separation, is what's recorded below. Then the
remaining leather scraps were turned on edge, and I tested the knives
abilities to "skive" off a thin section, (like peeling an apple).

1) CS BushRanger-- 2 passes, easily cuts as straight and clean as a
razor knife-- little force necessary-- Skives in one clean cut

2) CS Bushman-- 3 passes, moderate effort-- interestingly, knive won't
"skive" at all well, but circular belly was very useful on cutting
board

3) CS SRK-- 4 passes, very smooth cuts, no veering, moderate effort,
would not "skive" without leaving very ragged torn edges, quite a
contrast to edges from cutting board

4) Ontario Marine-- 5 passes, smooth cuts, moderate effort, would just
barely 'skive', but not cleanly

5) Ek Commando-- 5 passes, smooth cuts, high effort, barely 'skives',
not smooth

6) Camillus AF Survival Knife- 6 passes, high effort, barely 'skives'
but gives clean cuts, when blade bites

7) Kabar-- 8 passes, very smooth, even cuts, high effort, tough to
skive, but cuts cleanly when started

8) Glock-- 9 passes, extreme effort, (veins literally standing out of
my head and neck, just trying to force through leather), could not
stay in single cut line, very ragged edge-- "skiving" out of the
question
********************************************

MPS


Alexander

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Jun 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/15/97
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On Sat, 14 Jun 1997 13:40:53 GMT, mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P.
Swaim) wrote:
>>Well, under the category of be careful what you ask for, I thought
>>that I'd share some of my notes from my meager attempts at comparing
>>and evaluating some fixed blade "survival"/ "utility"/ "combat" type
>>belt sheath knives.
>
>>Basically, I took 8 common, reasonably inexpensive, "survival" or
>>"combat" type sheath knives that I have, and subjected them to
>>identical tests and noted their progress at stages along the way.

First of all I want to thank Mr. Mike P. Swaim for his tests.
There are very intresting and informative. Thank you again.

I have only one suggestion. You concept of "survival"/ "utility"
knife (exept CS "Bushman") is 100% american. I am far
from marking that fact as positive or negative.
You are the author of the tests and can complete testing group by your
own choice, but I think that it will be intresting to see in the row
of really good knifes the european utility knife. For example, Sweden
Frosts model *Viking* - $6, or any puukko-type knife.
There is an interesting article in one of the latest TK issues about
survival instructor's choices of the knifes. As far as I remember,
three of six instructors prefer european utlity knifes...

Mike P. Swaim

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Jun 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/15/97
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ma...@online.ru (Alexander) wrote:


>First of all I want to thank Mr. Mike P. Swaim for his tests.
>There are very intresting and informative. Thank you again.

You're welcome, and thanks for taking time to comment. I do such
things, primarily out of my own sense of curiousity, but am happy to
share my simple observations. Especially, if it helps others in any
small way.

>I have only one suggestion. You concept of "survival"/ "utility"
>knife (exept CS "Bushman") is 100% american. I am far
>from marking that fact as positive or negative.
>You are the author of the tests and can complete testing group by your
>own choice, but I think that it will be intresting to see in the row
>of really good knifes the european utility knife. For example, Sweden
>Frosts model *Viking* - $6, or any puukko-type knife.
>There is an interesting article in one of the latest TK issues about
>survival instructor's choices of the knifes. As far as I remember,
>three of six instructors prefer european utlity knifes...

That's a fair enough observation, but I simply tested what I had. I
didn't buy anything for those tests, and I don't have a magazine's
budget or easy access to whatever my little heart might desire. As it
happens, I'm very interested in the Puuko style. I'm also interested
in some of the Anzas, (which might be considered American, file built
Puukos.... well, sorta ;-). It may work out that I'll be getting some
knives on loan to test, and over time, I imagine that I'll be aquiring
more variety. I'll report on whatever I obtain, as I obtain it. I
stated, from the outset, that I wasn't even attempting to put forth
any sort of treatise on "survival/utility/combat knives".

Eventually, I'd really like to be able to do a comparison test,
whereby I would attempt to compare some of the high end custom knives
to some of the inexpensive production knives. Unfortunately, I doubt
if I'll be buying very many Randalls, Reeves, Harleys, Mad Dogs etc.
just to test them against Bushmen. Too expensive. But, getting a Puuko
(or 3 ;-), and reporting on them? Yeah, sure. I'll see what I can come
up with.

Thanks for the interest. ;->
MPS

Mike P. Swaim

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Jun 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/15/97
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ma...@online.ru (Alexander) wrote:

>There is an interesting article in one of the latest TK issues about
>survival instructor's choices of the knifes. As far as I remember,
>three of six instructors prefer european utlity knifes...

The article that Alexander refers to was in the May issue of TK. In
it, Dan Shechtman writes of interviewing 7, supposedly famous survival
instructors. I've only ever heard of one of these guys, but that
certainly doesn't mean anything. I just thought it odd, that I didn't
see such really well known survival gurus as Tom Brown, Richard
Graves, Don Paul, or Bjorn Hjellstrom in there. Oh well, the knife
picks of the folks interviewed are indeed interesting.
Here are some points of interest:

* ALL of the men questioned pack multiple knives, (or axes or saws)
for various different chores. There was not one single reference to
desiring one knife to supposedly "do it all". A refreshingly honest
view, in light of the usual tendency of knife mags to try to make each
knife sound like the _only_ one to have.

*The only two relatively high end knives picked were the Busse Steel
Heart II, (nice choice), and the Puma White Hunter. All of the rest
were extremely inexpensive, and the only one of the men represented
who actually lives year 'round in the bush prefers a simple butcher
knife and an ax. He stated his preference for that as a matter of
expense, availability, and ease of sharpening. Remarkable, that after
150-200 years, the choice of the American pioneers should still be so
valid, (and valid for very much the same reasons.)

*Of those who carry some kind of folder, I was quite amused to note
that all of the men carried really cheap, and common folders like
Schrade stockmen, Gerber Gators, a single SAK and a Kershaw
BlackHorse.
Not one single Sebenza, AFCK, or even lowly Spyderco or Cold Steel.
In fact, no liner locks, and no multitools except for the SAK.

*I was quite amused that Charles Stinett, (former US Army SERE
instructor) was listed as carrying an unnamed SAK and a Schrade
stockman, after going on about how a "survival knife" should be
capable of taking all sorts of abuse, including chopping, splitting
wood, digging, prybar use, and even use as an extra step. His SAK must
be a model that I've not seen. ;->

*Finally, after detailing a motely list of stick tang puukos, unnamed
butcher knives and slip joint folders, Mr. Shechtman makes the
stunning, jaw dropping total misrepresentation of his interviewees by
stating, "Full tang. preferably a slab handle and good steel are what
each expert sought in a knife." Whew, anybody wonder why I keep TK
next to the toilet? ;-> (Sure do wish they'd switch to a more
absorbent paper. ;-)


;->MPS;->


Hugh Callaghan TOK

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Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
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Mike P. Swaim (mi...@cphl.mindspring.com) wrote:
: mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

: >** Cold Steel BushRanger**--, Cold Steel's version of a Carbon V


: >traditional "Bowie". Notable for having a broad thin blade. Rc60.
: >Available with rather shoddy Cordura sheath for about $50-$70.

: >** Cold Steel SRK-- Carbon V, Rc60. Stout, midsized belt knife, that
: >comes either with a cheap nylon sheath, or a cheap, ugly leather
: >sheath. Available for $40-$55.

Mike, thanks for an informative post! I'm interested in the two Cold
Steel entries: the Bush ranger seems to come out very much on top as
regards ease of cutting and both are Carbon V. I know the SRK has an
extremely thick blade (3/16") - can you tell me how thick the Bush
Ranger is? Do they have (roughly) the same bevel angle?

It would be interesting to see how both perform in gross abuse tests
a la Hilton's chin-ups etc. This is something I'm sure you'd rather
read about than try on your own knives, just like me! ;)

Cheers,
Hugh

Steve Harvey

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Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

Mike P. Swaim wrote:

> *I was quite amused that Charles Stinett, (former US Army SERE
> instructor) was listed as carrying an unnamed SAK and a Schrade
> stockman, after going on about how a "survival knife" should be
> capable of taking all sorts of abuse, including chopping, splitting
> wood, digging, prybar use, and even use as an extra step. His SAK must
> be a model that I've not seen. ;->
>
> *Finally, after detailing a motely list of stick tang puukos, unnamed
> butcher knives and slip joint folders, Mr. Shechtman makes the
> stunning, jaw dropping total misrepresentation of his interviewees by
> stating, "Full tang. preferably a slab handle and good steel are what
> each expert sought in a knife." Whew, anybody wonder why I keep TK
> next to the toilet? ;-> (Sure do wish they'd switch to a more
> absorbent paper. ;-)
>

Hee, hee, har, hee, haw!

How about the latest from a TK knife evaluation article by a justifiably
highly-respected knife fighting arts instructor, who should stick to his
primary calling (name of the evaluated knife changed to make it take a
little longer to figure out who I'm quoting):

"Such a controlling, positive grip as the Spleenshredder offers its
owner also bolsters mental conditioning for potential problems."

And:

"When I test a knife to find out how it wants to move, I use a series of
patterned actions. These motions convey vital information regarding the
balance of the knife and its edge alignment. The knife tells my hand, my
hand tells my brain and from there the optimum performance requirements
are refined. This very same process told me that these knives had the
potential to be heavy hitters."

This is somebody whose opinion about a defensive knife I would normally
value very highly, but he was obviously making this up as he went along.

When I buy Playboy, I only read the articles. When I buy TK, I only look
at the pictures,,,of the knives, not Ms. Paragon.

;^)

Harv

Matthew Rapaport

unread,
Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

In article <33A58C...@3mail.3com.com>,

Steve Harvey <"steve_harvey<delete> wrote:
>"When I test a knife to find out how it wants to move, I use a series of
>patterned actions. These motions convey vital information regarding the
>balance of the knife and its edge alignment. The knife tells my hand, my
>hand tells my brain and from there the optimum performance requirements

I think this is a case of 500 words being adequate for the job, but the
article had to be 1500 words long, so he had to come up with something
to pad it out :-)...

I was real curious about the SEAL knives designed for sentry elimination
that were, purportedly, tested on live (now dead) sentries! Let me see
now, there was the Gulf War 6 years ago, and then Haiti (I suppose some
rambunctious SEALS might have taken out a fisherman or two there), but
other than those two incidents, I can not think of any combat event that
would have warrented SEAL action recently. Does SEAL training now
routinely involve killing to test equipment?

--
matthew rapaport The difference between theory and practice KD6KVH
is that in theory there is no difference,
m...@crl.com but in practice, there is. qu...@dfw.net

jaukg

unread,
Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

In article <33A58C...@3mail.3com.com>, Steve says...

>
>Mike P. Swaim wrote:
>
>> *I was quite amused that Charles Stinett, (former US Army SERE
>> instructor) was listed as carrying an unnamed SAK and a Schrade
>> stockman, after going on about how a "survival knife" should be
>> capable of taking all sorts of abuse, including chopping, splitting
>> wood, digging, prybar use, and even use as an extra step. His SAK must
>> be a model that I've not seen. ;->
>>
>> *Finally, after detailing a motely list of stick tang puukos, unnamed
>> butcher knives and slip joint folders, Mr. Shechtman makes the
>> stunning, jaw dropping total misrepresentation of his interviewees by
>> stating, "Full tang. preferably a slab handle and good steel are what
>> each expert sought in a knife." Whew, anybody wonder why I keep TK
>> next to the toilet? ;-> (Sure do wish they'd switch to a more
>> absorbent paper. ;-)
>>
>
>Hee, hee, har, hee, haw!
>
>How about the latest from a TK knife evaluation article by a justifiably
>highly-respected knife fighting arts instructor, who should stick to his
>primary calling (name of the evaluated knife changed to make it take a
>little longer to figure out who I'm quoting):
>
>"Such a controlling, positive grip as the Spleenshredder offers its
>owner also bolsters mental conditioning for potential problems."
>
>And:
>
>"When I test a knife to find out how it wants to move, I use a series of
>patterned actions. These motions convey vital information regarding the
>balance of the knife and its edge alignment. The knife tells my hand, my
>hand tells my brain and from there the optimum performance requirements
>are refined. This very same process told me that these knives had the
>potential to be heavy hitters."
>
>This is somebody whose opinion about a defensive knife I would normally
>value very highly, but he was obviously making this up as he went along.
>
>When I buy Playboy, I only read the articles. When I buy TK, I only look
>at the pictures,,,of the knives, not Ms. Paragon.
>
>;^)
>
>Harv


Harv;

what makes you think that he knows anymore about his area of expertese than this
subject?

for fun at your next big knife show, stand 20-30 ft from the paragon booth and
watch the kids scarfing up the posters, you may recognize some of them.

jaukg

Ryan Meyering

unread,
Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

Hugh Callaghan TOK wrote:
>
> Mike P. Swaim (mi...@cphl.mindspring.com) wrote:
> : mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:
>
> : >** Cold Steel BushRanger**--, Cold Steel's version of a Carbon V

> : >traditional "Bowie". Notable for having a broad thin blade. Rc60.
> : >Available with rather shoddy Cordura sheath for about $50-$70.
>
> : >** Cold Steel SRK-- Carbon V, Rc60. Stout, midsized belt knife, that
> : >comes either with a cheap nylon sheath, or a cheap, ugly leather
> : >sheath. Available for $40-$55.
>
> Mike, thanks for an informative post! I'm interested in the two Cold
> Steel entries: the Bush ranger seems to come out very much on top as
> regards ease of cutting and both are Carbon V. I know the SRK has an
> extremely thick blade (3/16") - can you tell me how thick the Bush
> Ranger is? Do they have (roughly) the same bevel angle?
>
> It would be interesting to see how both perform in gross abuse tests
> a la Hilton's chin-ups etc. This is something I'm sure you'd rather
> read about than try on your own knives, just like me! ;)
>
> Cheers,
> Hugh

I just received my Bush Ranger about a week ago days ago, and I was glad
to read from Mike's test that it seems I made a good choice. To answer
your question, the blade is 3/16" thick, although I don't know about the
bevel angle compared to the SRK.

By the way, does anyone know what Carbon V is? Why didn't Cold Steel
just use a standard steel so we know exactly what we're getting? I
guess if Carbon V is superior somehow to other high carbon steels that's
one explanation, but I wonder...

Ryan

Steve Harvey

unread,
Jun 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/17/97
to

Matthew Rapaport wrote:
>
> I was real curious about the SEAL knives designed for sentry elimination
> that were, purportedly, tested on live (now dead) sentries!<slice>
> ...Does SEAL training now

> routinely involve killing to test equipment?
>

Ixnay Matthew. Be careful how much you reveal, or you may be the subject
of the next Rogue Warrior novel.

Hee, hee!

Harv

Steve Harvey

unread,
Jun 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/17/97
to

jaukg wrote:
>
> In article <33A58C...@3mail.3com.com>, Steve says...
> >
> >...a justifiably
> >highly-respected knife fighting arts instructor...

>
> what makes you think that he knows anymore about his area of expertese than this
> subject?
>

In all respect and fairness, I have studied the above quoted author's
videos, and heard some first hand feedback about his seminars. Based on
that, and my own limited martial arts background, I believe him to be a
skilled and dedicated martial artist.

But his writing style in this article makes one want to duck, and get
rubber boots and a hose!

Har, har, har, har!

Shame on me. When is Steven Dick going to join this news group so we
don't have to feel guilty for bashing his magazine behind his back?

Harv

Mike P. Swaim

unread,
Jun 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/17/97
to

Steve Harvey <"steve_harvey<delete>"@3mail.3com.com> wrote:

>How about the latest from a TK knife evaluation article by a justifiably
>highly-respected knife fighting arts instructor,

<snip>

My all-time favorite TK article starts on pg. 18 of the March '97
issue. In it Cliff Jacobson, presents, what I think may be the most
honest knife review that I've ever read. He starts out by detailing
the real world superiority of the old style Gerber "Shorty". (This is
the older "Armorhide" aluminum handled camp knife that looks like a
rather bland kitchen knife, but performs like a dream. Readers of this
group may recognize it as a knife that I've gone on about at some
length, as being simply wonderful. ;-)

Anyway, Cliff gets into detailing his search for something to replace
this knife with, and comes to a conclusion that I reluctantly admitted
several years ago. Namely, that very few production knives are even in
the same thin blade niche, much less the same price range. So he tells
of how he gets a custom knifemaker, named Mike Mann to build him one.
Only, the twist is that rather than having a knife similar to the
"Shorty" built, he draws a different design, featuring a sharper
point, more belly, and specs it hand forged and made thicker. (Talk
about redesigning, ... Heck, Cliff simply spec'ed another knife
altogether.) Mike Mann, for his part, provides him with exactly what
he asks for.

So, after $120, and a 3 1/2 month wait, Cliff gets the knife, and
likes it, but there's a catch. He comparison tests this new knife of
his design, against his original Gerber, and finds that the Gerber out
performs it in both kitchen and field. So what does he do? He orders
another Mann custom, (and presumably spends another $120, and waits
some more), and somewhere in there, he gives away his Gerber.

There're a lot of morals and conclusions that could be drawn from
that, but, to me, it's the most honest article that I've yet seen in
TK.

Me, I'm not about to part with my 20 year old, $14 Gerber "Shorty".
Nor, my set of 1945 LF&C GI Mess Kit Knives. They may well be all the
hunting camp cooking knives that I'll ever need. ;-)

MPS


Hugh Callaghan TOK

unread,
Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
to

Ryan Meyering (rmey...@ucla.edu) wrote:

: I just received my Bush Ranger about a week ago days ago, and I was glad


: to read from Mike's test that it seems I made a good choice. To answer
: your question, the blade is 3/16" thick, although I don't know about the
: bevel angle compared to the SRK.

Right - so it's the same. Thanks. Hmmm ... is it the extra length that
makes it so much better? I went for the SRK for size reasons. What do
you think of the sheath?

: By the way, does anyone know what Carbon V is? Why didn't Cold Steel


: just use a standard steel so we know exactly what we're getting? I
: guess if Carbon V is superior somehow to other high carbon steels that's
: one explanation, but I wonder...

Carbon V is just their name for high carbon non-stainless steel. If you
check out the steel section of the rec.knives FAQ (taken largely from A.G.
Russell's guide?) it says that Carbon V performs similarly to O-1 including
rusting fabulously. There's also a hint that, by giving it a different
name, Cold Steel could be changing the steel composition when it suits them
without having to specify what they're using exactly. I dunno.

Cheers,

Hugh

mi...@ipof.fla.net

unread,
Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
to

mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

It sure sounds like the CS BushRanger is the best of the bunch in your
tests.

I haven't found it for less than $62.50 (discount knives). Could it be
that your article caused demand/price to increase (you gave the price
range as $50-70)?

I'd like one for camping, etc. Who has the best price?

Mike A.

<snips>


>>Well, under the category of be careful what you ask for, I thought
>>that I'd share some of my notes from my meager attempts at comparing
>>and evaluating some fixed blade "survival"/ "utility"/ "combat" type
>>belt sheath knives.
>
>>Anyway, as usual, no attempt is made to sway potential buyers one way
>>or the other, since, frankly, I don't care what anyone else buys or
>>thinks. ;-)
>
>>Basically, I took 8 common, reasonably inexpensive, "survival" or
>>"combat" type sheath knives that I have, and subjected them to
>>identical tests and noted their progress at stages along the way. I've
>>not yet decided where this will all end, but have already thought that
>>this initial report might be more preliminary than definitive. More on
>>that later. There will be a followup "comentaries and conclusions"
>>type post.
>

>>** Cold Steel BushRanger**--, Cold Steel's version of a Carbon V

Mike P. Swaim

unread,
Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
to

mi...@ipof.fla.net wrote:

>mi...@cphl.mindspring.com (Mike P. Swaim) wrote:

>It sure sounds like the CS BushRanger is the best of the bunch in your
>tests.

>I haven't found it for less than $62.50 (discount knives). Could it be
>that your article caused demand/price to increase (you gave the price
>range as $50-70)?

>I'd like one for camping, etc. Who has the best price?

>Mike A.

Discount Knives just posted a sale, listing the Carbon V BushRanger at
$60, but I got mine from Josh at PVKAT, during a sale that,
unfortunately, ended April 30th. During that sale, Josh offered the
BushRanger for $49.50, and offered the Carbon V SRK for $39.60, as
well as the Glock for $25.28. Naturally, I ordered one of each. The
BushRanger has a ridiculously high suggested retail price of $99.99,
and sells through Cold Steel Special Projects for $74.99.

It's a good $60 knife, but I'd not want to pay more than that for one.
(This knife is in baaaddd need of a good Kydex sheath, and if you
don't make it yourself, that'll run you another $25-$30.)

Josh is at (800) 956-4337 or JoshB...@aol.com. As mentioned, his
sale prices are long gone, but you might give him a call. Unlike some
others, he's usually there to take your call during buisness hours,
and is a fun guy to talk to. ( fer a Yankee, anyway ;-> ;-)

MPS


Ryan Meyering

unread,
Jun 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/18/97
to mi...@ipof.fla.net

mi...@ipof.fla.net wrote:

> It sure sounds like the CS BushRanger is the best of the bunch in your
> tests.
>
> I haven't found it for less than $62.50 (discount knives). Could it be
> that your article caused demand/price to increase (you gave the price
> range as $50-70)?
>
> I'd like one for camping, etc. Who has the best price?
>
> Mike A.
>

Mike,

I bought a CS Bush Ranger from PVKAT a couple of weeks ago
when they had a sale on it. I paid $50. Their regular
price, I think, is $57.50.

Brian at Discount Knives will beat any internet price by 10%,
so you can tell him about the price at PVKAT and get it from
him for $57.50 - $5.75 = $51.75. He also charges only $3
for shipping, so you save a few bucks there too.

http://www.pvknife.com

htttp://www.discountknives.com


Ryan Meyering

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