Monday, March 8, 2010

Product Review: SOG Hunter Revolver Knife
One of the products I have recently had the opportunity to review through DIY Bowhunter was the new Hunter Revolver knife/saw combo from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools.

Testing this knife in the field was great. I noticed immediately how lightweight the knife and sheath were. I had recently purchased the SOG Field Pup and although that knife is smaller, it weighs more. I was pretty impressed with the weight of the knife for its size. I thought it'd be heavier, but this was great!

Here are the knife specs on the Hunter Revolver from their website:
Blade Length 4.75" x .15"
Overall Length 10"
Weight 6.0 oz.
Edge Straight/Double Tooth Saw
Steel 440A
HRC 56-58
Handle Glass-Reinforced Nylon
Finish Satin
Sheath Nylon

To switch blades on the knife you have to press and hold a button on the grip as you rotate the blade around. I wondered if I pressed too hard while cutting something if I would trigger the rotation. No worries here folks, it worked like a charm. You actually have to push and hold it and have other hand out of the way for the blade to actually move. If you are in the field and need to rotate the blade quickly for trimming branches and such it works great.

The knife was very light, but the grip didn’t seem very strong. It actually felt kind of flimsy. I mentioned this to the guys and handed the knife to each of them. They quickly reminded me that it was designed that way to be light in the field. I had to agree and decided to test it out. It was raining and I wanted to try to saw through some wood for the fire. I picked a piece of wet Manzanita to zip through. Let me tell you, this thing had sharp teeth and the grip was great. I felt that my hand my slip off of it from time to time, but it never did. It cut through the thick log with ease. It is a very efficient tool. I then wanted to test out the cutting blade. I cut up our venison after it came off the grill and it was such a smooth cut. I was very happy with how sharp it was and how easy it is to clean. I did like the fact that the handle is satin and not shiny. I have used many knives in the direct sunlight where the blade and handle reflect into your eyes and it's difficult to work. This knife was great to use in the sun. I didn't have to squint using it.

It was a bit chilly when I was using the saw blade and I noticed that my hand never got too cold from the knife handle. Major bonus points! How many times have you guys been field dressing an animal in sub-zero temps and the knife felt like it was welding to your hand? I believe this knife will help with that. The grip is strong, not metal and non-slip. I think using this knife in the colder temps would be a benefit. The one thing I do wonder is how durable the handle is. If it were really cold and you dropped the knife, would the handle stay in one piece? I think that chance is rare, but I will test that theory this fall in NY.

We had a brief discussion in camp about carrying a knife on your hip. One of the guys mentioned he hated having a knife there because it caught on things and got in the way. Once I had the Hunter Revolver knife on my belt I hardly ever felt it. I actually had to check a few times to make sure it was still there. It was quite a contrast to my BUCK knife that I have carried for years. My BUCK has a leather sheath and the knife is all metal. You definitely know it there, but it’s also a great knife. The Hunter Revolver is light and the sheath, being nylon, bens and moves with you. When Howard and I were trudging through the thick Manzanita and scrub, the knife never caught on anything. Anytime it hit a branch it just bent and slid out of the way. It was nice not having to stop every few steps to dislodge my sheath.

One suggestion I have for the folks at SOG is to do something about the Velcro strap holding the knife. The strap is 100% Velcro and is low on the base of the knife in relation to the sheath. The SOG Field Pup has Velcro, but it also has a snap button holding it in place. I always knew my SOG wasn’t going anywhere, but a few times the Velcro on the Hunter Revolver tore open and I was afraid of losing my knife. I was constantly checking to see if it had fallen out. I would hate to be backpacking and have it fall out. If it had the snap it would hold tight and I wouldn’t worry. You can find more photos here: Hunter Revolver Knife.

The one part of the knife I did not have the opportunity to test out was the gut hook. I guess I would actually have to harvest an animal to test it out on first, huh? That day will come soon, I am certain of that. I have no doubt that it will work well. I am fairly new to using a gut hook, too. I have always field dressed my game with the blade it self. The hook on this knife looks very sharp and useful.

I have carried a knife (or two) and a folding saw in my pack for years. I am now going to be switching to the Hunter Revolver. Not only can I reduce the amount of gear I am packing, but the weight is drastically reduced as well.

I think the team over at SOG did a very nice job with the knife and that the sheath needs minor improvement for extended use in the field. At $40.00 I think the knife is a great deal. It's lightweight, you get a saw and a knife, and it's durable. It's perfect for hikers, backpackers and sportsman alike. I’ll be using this knife on my future hunts and it’s already been added to my current Gear List.

One of the bonuses to testing this knife out is that SOG has given us one to give away over at DIY Bowhunter. Be sure to register on the site and check out the contest page in the next couple weeks to enter (I'll be sure to let you know when).

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