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Backpack Hunting Knife

Old 07-22-2011, 02:24 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Default Backpack Hunting Knife

Backpack hunting knife
I am planning an Alaska hunting trip, I need a knife that will butcher as many as five different animals. I will not have any type of large knife sharpener because of a 100 lb. gear limit. I will take two folders. I have also killed more than one elk miles from camp. This is info I will use with my elk hunting.
I started my search on the web and soon found to much difference of opinion. I then went to metal ergists sights to just get steel information like rockwell, edge holding, and sharpening ease.
Next I went to a butcher shop and ask a meat cutting pro who was not trying to sell me on steel or a knife. The first thing he made clear was most meat cutters do not use super steel because it takes to long to sharpen. He said that a rockwell of 57 or 58 was best for meat cutting, not cheap steel but not super steel. The knives his shop used were AUS-8 but he was trying a new knife with 440c and might change his knives to this steel. His last suggestion was to talk to a field butcher who would gut, skin, cut meat in the field for eight hours.
My next stop was a field butcher who did a lot of pigs, cattle and buffalo. His knives were 440c and Ats-34. The 440c could be sharpened in the shop with an electric diamond sharpener to 25 degrees and kept sharp in the field with a steel all day long. The ATS-34 would cut for an hour and was hard to sharpen with a steel. He also said to stay away from 60 or more hardness. It takes to long to sharpen and the knife will chip on bones and be just that much harder to sharpen.
I spoke with two more field butchers and 440c was the most recommended stainless knife steel. The recommendations for sharpeners in the field were a small medium diamond hand held stone and a small fine grit diamond steel.
FYI on all of the metal ergists sights they used words like good, excellent, very good and fine to describe 440c and in the 1980 s it was the top steel for many years used by most custom knife makers as there best blade steel. Also the first butcher I spoke to used 17 degrees on his knives in the shop not in the field.
I do have a knife with D2 and S30V. The D2 is a bit easier to sharpen but still will not be going to Alaska.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Satellite Beach, Fl.
Posts: 42

Nice to see someone doing some research.I would also suggest talking with some actual guides who field dress for a living and see what they carry.You also did not say whether you were looking to purchase a production knife, or seek out a custom maker and have one made to your specs.
I would agree 440C is a good steel and I have used it to make some saltwater fillet knives.Having said that I think you should also consider using a carbon steel such as O-1 or 1095.Both are quality steels, have good edge holding and are very tough, but easy to field sharpen.Just to throw a few more variables in your search, the blade geometry,shape and type of grind and heat treat all need to be considered as well.If I knew where you live ,I might be able to put you in touch with a custom maker, that you could visit and see how its done and discuss your proposal with him.Dave
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:25 PM
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Default backpack hunting knives

DC Knives
One of the butchers used some 1095 and it does fall in the same hardness group. I think I will take my time and look around. Buck and Kershaw have always been good to me. I have a new kershaw in s30v nice knife but takes a long time to get sharp and with only a few cuts on 1/2 in. rope I can see small chips with magnifying glass.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tug Hill NY
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What worked for you elk hunting? If something aint broke, dont fix it.
Carry a small pocket stone and diamond hone, and you should be set for anything, remember: as much time you spend using a knife, use sharpening. I have always been surpised by the knives guides I have met use. None of them are high ticket, usually relatively inexpensive knives they just plain like: Buck brand seems to be the most common. What you are wearing doesnt count in your weight, and my knife and hone are in my pocket.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Here's a post I made at another forum that you may find interesting:


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