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Thread: Help me decide on blade material for Mule Team elk hunting job

  1. #1
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    Help me decide on blade material for Mule Team elk hunting job

    Hi all, first timer here but long time Spyderco fan. I am backcountry archery elk hunter and on a quest to buy a blade that can make it through an elk skinning and quartering job. I want to buy a Mule Team but can't decide between S110V, 390, or CTS-XHP.

    I am proficient in proper sharpening and will carry a diamond or white rod. Looking for stainless and edge retention in the field.

    Feedback please..............

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Take the S110V Mule, put a coarse edge on it around 400 grit, I doubt you will need to touch it up before the work is finished.

    Take the white ceramic rod just in case...

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    My vote goes to the xhp. My xhp native has been through so much abuse it's ridiculous and it takes an edge like no other. Xhp for the win
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  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Another thought would be the South Fork in S90V, that's what that knife what made for....

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    For skinning? Definitely K390. You'll be hitting bones, etc. K390 will hold the longest edge, and be the toughest which are important for skinning. The only thing you'll have to worry about is keeping it rust free
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  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    For skinning? Definitely K390. You'll be hitting bones, etc. K390 will hold the longest edge, and be the toughest which are important for skinning. The only thing you'll have to worry about is keeping it rust free
    Yeah, but he said he wanted stainless or that would have been the 1st choice.

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ankerson View Post
    Yeah, but he said he wanted stainless or that would have been the 1st choice.
    Oops, totally missed that part
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
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    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
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  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User nccole's Avatar
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    I would say S110V. Keep it SS for sure, so no K390 and nothing holds its edge better than S110V after that.

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadFish View Post
    My vote goes to the xhp. My xhp native has been through so much abuse it's ridiculous and it takes an edge like no other. Xhp for the win
    XHP doesn't have the edge retention to do the job without having to stop and sharpen it, we are talking about ELK here, skinning and quartering..... They are HUGE.....

  10. #10
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    He might be talking about M390 and not K390. Which i would vote for. It's very stainless and holds a good edge it should do well for skinning and takes a very nice fine edgebb

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VashHash View Post
    He might be talking about M390 and not K390. Which i would vote for. It's very stainless and holds a good edge it should do well for skinning and takes a very nice fine edgebb
    You'd vote M390 over S110V?
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
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    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
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  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Donut's Avatar
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    What steel do you use now and how far through the Elk do you make it before the edge isn't in good enough condition?

    We used to have a hunter on this forum and he would clean a Caribou with a VG-10 and S30V knife.
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    I am backcountry archery elk hunter and on a quest to buy a blade that can make it through an elk skinning and quartering job. I want to buy a Mule Team but can't decide between S110V, 390, or CTS-XHP.

    I am proficient in proper sharpening and will carry a diamond or white rod. Looking for stainless and edge retention in the field.
    That can be done with any commonly used stainless steel, especially if you have a diamond or ceramic rod, but it certainly isn't necessary. I have loaned the Havalon Piranta to friends/relatives who hunt big game and then can skin and quarter a moose without replacing a blade (or sharpening obviously). I gave them 20 blades as spares and the used ones are not significantly damaged or blunted (you can still cut paper with them) so they had no concerns about wanting to use dull blades. That knife just uses generic "surgical" stainless steel (i.e. 3-5Cr13). Meat cutting is not traditionally done with those kinds of steels, it is like using a HSS rip saw blade to cut pine, you can do it sure, but it is kind of dramatic overkill.

    Any of those knives could do it, but they are not necessary and are not going to offer a functional advantage over something much simpler. CTS-XHP has a cooler name than m390 though, so that would be my suggestion if practical performance isn't the guiding criteria.

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    M390 should be fully capable of handling the task so in this situation yes.

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    Actually, I haven't been knowledgeable about steels until now. Used a Havalon switch blade on my bull last year. Snapped 3 blades and really felt like an eco-pig throwing away blades. I would rather have a great knife on my pack for all chores on a 10 day hunt.

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    Actually, I haven't been knowledgeable about steels until now. Used a Havalon switch blade on my bull last year. Snapped 3 blades and really felt like an eco-pig throwing away blades. I would rather have a great knife on my pack for all chores on a 10 day hunt.
    That sounds about right.....

    I remember a story someone told me once about a guy who wanted to use a scalple to dress an ELK, changeable blades etc....

    Well the dude went through 20 or 30 blades and not getting very far while the other one waited until he got tired of doing it then handed him a knife to finish it... And it was finished with that one knife...

    Pretty much goes along with my history back when I was young and did a fair amount of trapping and skinning..... Back in the late 70's...

    Used to keep 4 knives and rotate them out then sharpen after they all went dull..... Wish I would have had the steels we do today back then, I could have used one knife all day....
    Last edited by Ankerson; 04-18-2014 at 10:35 AM.

  17. #17
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Holland's Avatar
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    I would just buy a southfork if i was you. its got superior ergos and design imo, and s90v is amazing.



    Phil Wilson Smoke Creek s110v, SouthFork, Gayle Bradley, Chaparral 1, Chaparral 2, Native 5, Para2, Para1 SE, Caly 3, Dragonfly 2, Dragonfly 2, Delica 4, Ladybug 3


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  18. #18
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VashHash View Post
    M390 should be fully capable of handling the task so in this situation yes.
    But on the secondary market, S110V and M390 will probably be around the same price. For the same price, don't you think S110V will be better suited to his needs of "stainlessness and edge retention"?
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  19. #19
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    But on the secondary market, S110V and M390 will probably be around the same price. For the same price, don't you think S110V will be better suited to his needs of "stainlessness and edge retention"?
    Both will do the job, but if the hide is dirty and that can happen then I would want S110V personally...

    Not like one can just run a hose and wash the ELK down before working on it out in the middle of nowhere like they do in the slaughter houses....

    There is a very big difference in working in a slaughter house or meat dept in a Grocery store and being out in field working on game.

    I have done both personally and the knife and steel recommendations would be different depending on what the task was, big difference in working in a clean environment than in the field.
    Last edited by Ankerson; 04-18-2014 at 10:57 AM.

  20. #20
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    Happy Hunting!
    Own: C81GPBN2, C11FPGY
    Wanted: C01GPGR, C180GP

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