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

  1. #21
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    Last year........

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  2. #22
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
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    Very nice trophy.

  3. #23
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Clip's Avatar
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    Click here to zoom: Under the Microscope

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  4. #24
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Apophis's Avatar
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    I'll pitch in a comparison pic. While there are certainly more economical ways to get the job done, both of these put a grin on my face



    IMO, they are both a joy to hold and use, but the SF has the best handle I've found, deceptively simple.
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  5. #25
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    I have been fortunate enough to have faced this task. Although S110V would be the clear choice if choosing between the two steels of that and S90V and or others, as has been pointed out the Phil Wilson collaboration South Fork in S90V is designed for this job and would be easily my choice over a Mule option. Anything that can help speed up what can be hours of field dressing time in what can be nasty or possibly dangerous weather and terrain conditions, which elk hunting tends to take place in, should be factored in.
    If it needs to be a Mule, then S110V gets my nod. Otherwise I favor Souh Fork in S90V or custom.
    Best...

  6. #26
    Spyderco Forum Registered User paladin's Avatar
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    Southfork...some of our members use them for precisely the same purpose as what you want.
    Have Kiwi, will travel...wire Paladin...Hotel Carlton, San Francisco

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    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.
    They make a line of blades with thicker stock for people who like to use more force and twisting cuts, however lots of people still use the thinner blades due to the higher cutting ability. It is simply a matter of skill/experience. I have done far harder work with the blades than is necessary to cut up meat and they work fine. People have processed large game with knives made out of bone locally (first nations do that traditionally). But yes, if you want significant prying strength you would want the thicker Havalon blades, not the thinner ones.

    However the point of reference was the steel used which can easily handle skinning and quartering a moose. But again, if you don't want your selection based on practicality, then just pick the one which is coolest to own.

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    Thanks for all the great feedback. Considering that I have a week of gear on my back weight is also high on the list. Wish the SF was still an unknown because I now want one! Leaning to the Mule to keep the size reasonable. Anything else in the super steels in a 3-4 inch fixed?

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
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    Nice! Thats a STUD!! I would take the s110v mule over the South Fork. Phil Wilson knows what he's doing, but I've always preferred shorter blades for skinning.

  10. #30
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    Thanks for all the great feedback. Considering that I have a week of gear on my back weight is also high on the list. Wish the SF was still an unknown because I now want one! Leaning to the Mule to keep the size reasonable. Anything else in the super steels in a 3-4 inch fixed?
    Survive! is using CPM 20CV, Crucibles vers of M390 in their GSO 4.1 and GSO 3.5.

  11. #31
    Spyderco Forum Registered User ChapmanPreferred's Avatar
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    I think the S110V Mule would be a great choice. That being said, I'd probably take the South Fork 10 out of 10 times.
    Last edited by ChapmanPreferred; 04-19-2014 at 01:13 PM.
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  12. #32
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    If you are quartering in the field and not skinning the whole hide (I'll take some rear hock for caddis patterns) then CTS-XHP is great stuff. Any of the ones you mention will do fine. XHP has surprised me how long it does hold an edge. It will pop off rear quarters with no problem.

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    I did pick up an Elmax ZT knife over the weekend. Any feedback on how this compares in hardness and edge holding to the steels recommended above? Thanks

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    Thanks for all the great feedback. Considering that I have a week of gear on my back weight is also high on the list. Wish the SF was still an unknown because I now want one! Leaning to the Mule to keep the size reasonable. Anything else in the super steels in a 3-4 inch fixed?
    I've done a lot of backpacking but I have no idea what I'd do with that much meat while out on the trail.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancier View Post
    I've done a lot of backpacking but I have no idea what I'd do with that much meat while out on the trail.
    If it involved a lot of carrying to get the meat out and meat only was wanted, my approach would be to bone out first the sirloin up to and including the scotch fillet. Carry more? Next off is the rump, then bone out the rest of the hind quarters. More? Then comes the fore legs, neck and brisket. Before leaving I would of course open it up and take out the eye fillet. Into plastic bags and label as the meat comes off the frame. This requires no cutting of bone or separating of bone joints. I would not be carrying bone or skin.

    The South Fork would be my choice for this job. It will skin well and bone out well while keeping good cutting edge through out.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donut View Post
    We used to have a hunter on this forum and he would clean a Caribou with a VG-10 and S30V knife.
    My father had a friend who owned a guide service, this was about 40 years ago. He claimed he could do several Elk with his production 440C folding knife. I always found this hard to believe myself.

  17. #37
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by go4thegusto View Post
    I did pick up an Elmax ZT knife over the weekend. Any feedback on how this compares in hardness and edge holding to the steels recommended above? Thanks
    ELMAX is in the S30V range typically give or take.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdblue View Post
    My father had a friend who owned a guide service, this was about 40 years ago. He claimed he could do several Elk with his production 440C folding knife. I always found this hard to believe myself.
    Even if you take the most extreme claims of edge retention, steels like S60V/S90V are at most 2:1 over something like ATS-34, that is all and it is in the most extreme case which severely favors the high carbide steels, in all other comparisons it is less. The amount of variability in how much the knife will blunt in use depending on animal, person, method is FAR more than 2:1. Thus if you would accept that one individual could handle an animal with SXXV steel, you also have to accept that another individual could easily handle several animals with a ATS-34 class blade as it is within the range of variances. The vast majority of animal work is done with very basic steels, you can even see YT video's where entire animals are processed using very basic knives.

  19. #39
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Ankerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Stamp View Post
    Even if you take the most extreme claims of edge retention, steels like S60V/S90V are at most 2:1 over something like ATS-34, that is all and it is in the most extreme case which severely favors the high carbide steels, in all other comparisons it is less. The amount of variability in how much the knife will blunt in use depending on animal, person, method is FAR more than 2:1. Thus if you would accept that one individual could handle an animal with SXXV steel, you also have to accept that another individual could easily handle several animals with a ATS-34 class blade as it is within the range of variances. The vast majority of animal work is done with very basic steels, you can even see YT video's where entire animals are processed using very basic knives.

    As you said, lots of variables so there really aren't any definite answers, I think the knives themselves can be a huge factor, not even talking about the steel, just the knives themselves.

    A lot of Professional Guides use Dozier knives and I still believe that's it's the knives themselves that make a bigger difference than the steel in those situations as they are so well designed for that task. Great design goes a long way toward efficiency...

    But D2 with that coarse edge that Bob puts on them does help I think and D2 is no weakling as far as edge retention is concerned.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancier View Post
    I've done a lot of backpacking but I have no idea what I'd do with that much meat while out on the trail.
    Go to camp, get cell phone, climb 1000 feet to divide, call packer to come with horses! That is what we did, I am 55 and had 2 knee surgeries. No way is an elk coming out 8 miles on my back anymore.

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