Asking for a friend...No really! Hunting Knife choice.

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by MT_Fin, Sep 11, 2018.

?

Which new hunting knife?

  1. Benchmade Steep Country ($85ish)

    12 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Buck Vangaurd Alaskan Guide s30v ($55ish)

    8 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner ($95ish)

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Axe'aholic Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    My buddy is looking at picking up a new hunting knife and has mostly narrowed it down to 3 options for the most part. I think he would be good picking any of the 3 (I have 2 of them) but he is still indecisive, and as a general rule ignores my advise just to be obnoxious, so I told him I would ask my fellow addicts knife people for input that isn’t mine. :4:

    - BM Steep Country
    B76AAD48-DC8D-4456-A1D4-F22FCD83DEC0.jpeg

    - BM Saddle Mtn skinner
    F71D5E97-FBC4-4F91-A1BB-2F801780995F.jpeg

    - Buck Vangaurd Alaskan Guide
    D82C5E15-AEBD-4A79-B537-1E46C30D8FA7.png


    All s30v & all from reputable companies....

    Also, he can get them all at a discount through his employer, with the Buck being the cheapest by quite a margin.

    So which would you choose and why?
     
  2. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    In my opinion the Buck has one big drawback: the sheath. I'm not much of a hunter (for now), but I do a lot of fishing. Any knife that I plan on using primarily for cleaning fish and game should have a nonporous sheath which will not absorb bodily fluids and harbor bacteria. I like to be able to completely wash out the sheath. For the same reasons, I want a synthetic handle and stainless steel blade that are impervious to the elements and can be thoroughly washed without concern for the materials.

    All 3 of these knives look like they have good handles and blades for the task, but only the Benchmades have good sheaths. Sure, the Buck may be a bit cheaper, but it comes with a sub-par sheath that a lot of people will want to replace anyways. The kydex on the Benchmades will also provide much better retention and carry, IMO.

    Just my musings, though. They may be worth $0.02, depending on your exchange rates.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  3. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    No knowledge of any of them but I like the looks of the Steep Country. The orange handle looks comfortable and will stand out if dropped.
     
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  4. Metaldog

    Metaldog Scout

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    Personally, I like the Buck for the flat pommel. Good for light hammering, if needed.
     
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  5. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    While I sort of understand the value of a hammering pommel in a bushcraft knife (driving tent pegs, cracking nuts or crustaceans, pulverizing plant material, etc...), I'm not sure I see the value in a hammering pommel on a dedicated hunting knife. Then again, I'm not much of a hunter. Am I missing something?
     
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  6. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    If the sheath on that Buck is anything like the sheath on mine (Buck Zipper), then there is a plastic insert inside the nylon.
     
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  7. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    Decent point. That’s better than straight nylon, but still not preferred.
     
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  8. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    My biggest gripe with the BMs is the handle, specifically the steel bumps sticking out the back. Admittedly, I haven't had one in hand, but I feel like they would dig at your palm.
     
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  9. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    My vote is for the Steep Country, too. Looks grippy front to back.
     
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  10. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    I can see how those may be annoying, but only one of the Benchmade models has them, correct?
     
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  11. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    I checked them out on Amazon, both of the models mentioned have them, as do the Saddle Mountain Hunter, and another little one. Past that, I'm not sure.
     
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  12. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    I think that in the Saddle Mountain knives, the "bumps" don't protrude past the handle scale. Basically, instead of raised portions extending past the scale, the texture comes from the valleys. Or so it appears. Not sure if that makes a difference to you, but it definitely looks like it would feel different than the other. Found these pics online:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    All true... but at $30-$40 less expensive, the guy could order or make a kydex sheath for it easy enough.

    I'm not sure that other than the factory sheath, there is enough to really differentiate these three knives considering performance. It's going to come down to appearance, and as CB said, the sheath that comes with it. I guess if he wants/must have a lanyard, then that narrows it down to the two Benchmade's as well.

    I'd pick the Buck, no reason to spend more than is necessary for a user knife. And I'd pick up a sheet of kydex and heat it up myself and make a sheath for it. It's about 10% more difficult than if you were to make one out of construction paper. Although I wouldn't necessarily choose the Alaskan guide edition... it is kinda gaudy looking to my eye. I had/have a 1980 Yamaha 850 triple, Midnight Special, it too went with the black and gold theme... I am working to remedy that design mistake.

    All are good choices... not sure it really matters that much which he picks.
     
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  14. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    I personally hate the look of the Alaskan Guide edition as well. The blade coating and emblem are uuuugly (to me).

    I understand that it is possible to make a cheap kydex sheath, but in reality it can be a lot more difficult. I've bent kydex several times, but never really gotten the results that I want (because I'm cheap). For good success, you need a press (which can be readily DIYed, but still costs $ to make), rivets (more $), a way to set the rivets (more $), and some Chicago screws for attaching a belt loop (more $). Unless you are already set up for making kydex, it's not very easy to make a good sheath on your first try, and it will definitely cost more than the $10 sheet of kydex.
     
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  15. MichaelBear

    MichaelBear Bushmaster

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    Steep Country or Mtn Skinner. My preference would be Steep Country due to higher grind. For hunting curves and slicey edge matters. Mtn Skinner looks beefy
     
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  16. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Scout

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    Breaking the pelvic bone. While that can absolutely be done with a saw, depending on the hunt, I try to keep gear to a minimum.
     
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  17. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    Oh, ok. I wouldn't have expected a flat pommel to be able to easily break the pelvic bone of large game. I'm fairly ignorant, though. The only deer I have butchered was already quartered by my friend by the time I got to it. Field dressing a deer is something I have no experience with.
     
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  18. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Scout

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    At those prices I would get all three.
     
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  19. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Scout

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    Sorry, I probably wasn't clear enough. While many probably wouldn't treat their knife this way, a good size rock against the pommel or even the spine of the blade works wonders breaking the pelvic bone. It's something I always saw my dad do, so it's how we do it.
     
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  20. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    Gotcha. Thanks!
     
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  21. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Axe'aholic Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The steep country sheath isn’t great IMO either. There is no retention to it and if not strapped in it can come out. Not sure on the other BM.

    It is comfortable but very thin in the grip.

    I’m not sure what he would need to hammer on the pommel for hunting.

    They are hardly noticeable and not uncomfortable at all.

    It is, but kind of thin. Great grip though.

    The logo is easily removed, that AG version would be picked due to steel vs standard vanguard.

    It’s actually pretty trim and light as well, thin in the scales.

    We typically quarter and pack, but usually have a small saw anyway. I’ve personally never driven a knife through a pelvis so I can’t comment on that method.
     
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  22. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    Awesome information! Appreciate you breaking it down!
     
  23. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If he has size large or larger hands, I'd suggest the Buck because it has a handle that's will fill his hand better. The Benchmades look very thin side to side. This may not be a factor if he's going to only gut one animal a year, but if he's going to field dress, quarter and skin one or more animal in the field, I think that handle of the Vanguard will cause less fatigue. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  24. ozarkbushman

    ozarkbushman Tracker

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    I like the saddle mountain Skinner the best out of the three. As far as the sheath goes it doesn't really matter what it's made of. You just clean your blade before you resheath it. It matters more about how it holds up to me. I prefer leather sheaths for all my knives. Unless I'm kayaking or wading then I will carry a mora.
     
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  25. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    my vote is the buck - because that handle is grippy even when it and your gloves are wet, and it has just a little bit of cushion which lessens hand fatigue while processing a deer or elk.
     
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  26. Top Gibson

    Top Gibson Supporter Supporter

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    none of the above for me.....a Frontier Valley is more to my liking.....
     
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  27. Coyotesilencer

    Coyotesilencer Scout

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    Buck Vanguard is a classic hunting design that has been around for so long for a reason. It's a solid choice for a hunting knife especially in S30V. On an elk hunt with my buddy and his father he broke the wooden handle off the tang of a vanguard using a rock to hammer it through a sternum.

    Benchmade steep country looks like a winner to me as a field dressing knife also.

    Throw in a Wild card the benchmade 162. Also in S30V and I feel like a good hunting knife and general purpose design.
     
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  28. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Bushcraft Friend

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    I actually received this Buck Alaskan in S30V as a gift a couple of years back. It has excellent skinning geometry in my limited usage. The sheath is poo, but that's kind of always been the case with Bucks. With a bit of scrubbing the goofy Alaskan guide symbol comes right off.

    They all look like excellent Skinners.
     
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  29. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    Buck Vanguard-only because I am a fan of Buck knives.

    That Steep Country looks like a good knife as well!
     
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  30. WesinND

    WesinND Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have used the Buck Vanguard but not the others. Last year I used a Benchmade Grizzly Creek model, along with my Buck Crosslock for field dressing. I like having a guard when reaching up inside the tobody cavity of a deer to get the trachea. My hands get slick and it give me a positive point of reference for my grip. For the past few years, I've been using field dressing gloves, too. My Vanguard is the regular model with the laminate handle and leather sheath.

    That being said, any of the three would do a fine job. I think Benchmade has the edge when it comes to the blade and edge retention. My buddy just bought a saddle mountain and likes it. I would get the one that feels better in his hand.

    Good luck!
     
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  31. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic

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    I voted for the steep country, as I like it best of the three, but if I had the budget I'd look at a couple $100-150 knives - the smaller LT offerings (Frontier Valley, Frontier First, and Great Plainsman), or the Cummings Bladeworks Trailmaster. Personally, I'd either do the Great Plainsman in D2 for $115 or the Cummings Trailmaster in AEB-L for $150. For the cost you could get two or three Bucks, but I'd rather have one of those. I think they make good game knives and also pretty good all around bushy knives. We all have our biases though. :rolleyes:

    ETA: I have friends that like to ignore my advice, and then spend a year or so before finally coming back to me and going "Hey, you know how you said X... well... You were right." Never had that happen with knives though. Gotta love those knuckleheads, right? (Not that I'm any different... lol)
     
  32. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Just to clarify, will this be strictly for field dressing or does he plan on quartering, skinning, etc?
     
  33. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Axe'aholic Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    All of the above, though we both carry Havalons as well.
     
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  34. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Based on that, I voted for the Saddle Mountain Skinner. The Havalon will field dress like a champ, and the skinner seems best suited for the rest of the job. (honestly any of the three would be fine, but you already know that, lol)
     
  35. the cow

    the cow Tracker

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    I had a benchmade saddle mountain hunter since I don't like the recurve of the skinner
     

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