Types Of Hunting Knives
Hunting knives are probably the oldest type of tool used by man. They originate directly from obsidian and silicon knapping (nucleus), with which ancient people went hunting tens of thousands of years ago. It was the hunting knife that became the prototype of all knife products that are produced today. Naturally, in the process of evolution, it has undergone many changes both in appearance and in the materials for its production.
Nowadays, there are several of the most commonly used types of hunting knives: knives for dispatching the game, skinning knives, universal hunting and camping knives used for heavy work. Let us examine each of them separately.
Modern hunting knives for dispatching are used extremely rarely and are rather just a tribute to an ancient tradition. The era when people knocked down wounded animals with spears and slingshots, and then, getting closer, inflicted the final stab with a knife, is a thing of the past. Now the hunter patiently waits a hundred meters from the dying prey, and in case of its prolonged resistance finishes it off with a "mercy shot". And although rare cases of knife confrontation with wild animals still occur, the very sight of such knives is a thing of the past. According to its characteristics, the "dispatching knife" has certain characteristics: a sufficiently long and thick blade from 15 cm in length and at least 5 mm in thickness. These are mandatory requirements that directly affect the strength of such a knife. According to the geometry, blades of such knives can be both: with a one-sided grind, and with a "one-and-a-half" (with a sharpened false-blade), as well as with a dagger-like. Such knives always have a guard to protect the hunter's hand on impact and, according to Russian law, belong to cold weapons. The quality of steel on a hunting knife, as on any weapon aimed at stabbing, does not matter much. Most often, high-alloy stainless steels with sufficiently high ductility (420 HC, 65X13, 440C) are used. Dispatching knives are usually poorly suited for skinning because of their size and geometry of the blade, these same factors prevent them from showing themselves well as camp knives, they are simply not convenient to work with.
These are small knives with a blade length of about 9 cm. They usually have bevels from the spine or a concave lens (hollow grind) geometry, a wide blade, most often from 3 cm in width or more. Such a knife should not be heavy, so the blade can be 3 - 4 mm thick. A skinning knife can have a special unit on the spine - a hook for skinning. However, the effectiveness of such a unit is not recognized by all hunters and it is not often used in real work — many hunters consider such hooks inconvenient. The geometry of the skinning knife represents a wide, upwardly-positioned tip, which makes stabbing practically impossible. And the short length of the "skinner" does not allow it to become a universal knife, with many useful functions. It is an extremely specialized knife, with a very narrow functionality.
The most modern steels are perfect for such knives, since the skin of large animals is a highly abrasive material. Preservation of sharpness on skinning knives allows you to maximize the potential of such powder steels as M398, CPM S125V, Rex 45, Vanadis 10, etc. Since the knife is minimally exposed to impact loads during skinning and cutting, in which these steels are prone to chipping, this is where the qualities of their chemical composition and heat treatment standards can be tested.
Universal Hunting Knives
This is the most frequently used type of knives. Often it replaces both large camping and skinning knives. The universal knife has a blade from 12 to 15 cm long, with an average blade width and a spine thickness of 4-5 mm. The structure of the blade and geometry of secondary bevels on such knives can be very diverse: bevels from the spine, concave or convex lens shape of grind. Because of their not very large sizes and average weight, such knives are quite suitable for moveable hunting. Many universal knives can also prove themselves in setting up a camp. Most often, knives with convex lens geometry (convex grind) are suitable for such purposes as they are perfect for heavy work, such as chopping. They are also good for preparing food. Skinning with universal knives also shows excellent results. Also, as in the case of skinning knives, universal can have a blade made of the most modern powder steels and be a "test subject" to test their qualities.
It should be noted that universal knives may yield to highly specialized knives in specific types of work. For instance, blade length of 15 cm will be less convenient for skinning the prey as compared with 9 cm of skinning knives, and such knife will be worse for chopping small branches for bonfires than heavy camping tool. Nevertheless, most hunters prefer to have exactly one universal knife with them when hunting.
Most often camping knife is a large, heavy tool with a blade of 15 cm or more in length, with a strong spine of 5-6 mm. Its main purpose is to build the camp: chopping wood for the fire, if there is no axe and cooking. Steels for such knives should have sufficient degree of impact strength and be stainless. Since a camping knife usually weighs quite a lot, its use in a moveable hunt is questionable. This knife is a good option for car travelling and for survival enthusiasts rather than experienced hunters, who are more likely to use an axe when camping.
Folding Hunting Knives
Many hunters believe that folding knives have no place in hunting. Most often they use multifunctional Victorinox knives, whose tasks include carrying out various repairs. However, folding knives can still be used in any hunt, which is confirmed by the continued popularity of the folding knife of the American company Buck - Buck 110 knife. The main advantage of folding knives, in addition to light weight and small size, is a huge variety of steels. Among folding knives, hunters can choose the rarest powder steels, often experimental, produced in limited editions. Of course, most folding knives cannot perform the function of universal or camping knives, but they can be used very effectively for skinning. The main condition for such work is to have a back-lock. Other types of locks very quickly become contaminated by "production waste" and stop working. However, the location of the lock at the top of the knife prevents it from getting dirty and the lock stays operational.