Ultra light skeleton hunting knife Recommendations?

Bill V

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Jan 24, 2017
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Colorado
I agree a Bark River fixed blade is a great knife when you are not counting ounces. The owner Mike Stewart is also a big fan of A2 and we have discussed it's advantages.
 

KHNC

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Jul 11, 2013
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NC
Did we talk? If so I believe I said that the skeleton handle had sharp corners on the first batch and we now break all the corners. I'll ship a die maker stone to anyone who bought one to break the corners or you can use any sharpening stone to do this. The paracord wrap makes the handle more comfortable and we plan to start selling an optional G10 CNC machined handle in a couple months that can be added. Many guys love this knife for what it is, a one ounce knife that can get easily get you through a whole animal without resharpening with proper use. I used them on eight animals this year and found that to be the case. I'm hearing this from a majority of the feedback as well. Ask any knife maker and they will tell you that A2 steel at 60 HRC hardness holds an edge really well. Some of the steels with extremely hard carbides will take longer to wear down, but they are much more difficult to get the edge back. A2 steel has the added benefit of multiple times higher toughness which is important with the reduced material in an ultralight knife. You might get a rust spot if you leave the knife wrapped in something wet for days, but I haven't seen one in two years of use with several back country hunts. This knife has a top sharpened edge near the tip that can be used to make all the hide cuts keeping the belly of the knife sharp longer for skinning and boning. For the few people that like to hold their index finger near the tip to guide a blade when cutting, this is not the knife for you.
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Bill, The first time i used my BRAND NEW knife in 2019 was on a pronghorn in Wyoming, last August. It started out very well on the back legs up the belly and on the front legs. Used a gut hook to gut it. Then i decided to cape the head out up to the base of the skull. This went decently and i was able to get the head off with the cape. Knife was showing signs of getting dull already. After i finished quartering the animal and cutting out the back straps, i proceeded to finish caping out the full skull. The knife got so dull after making the hide cut up the back and between the horns that i had to get out my havalon to finish. It would barely cut. Once i returned to NC, i used the carbide sharpener to get the blade back to hair shaving status. This was not difficult the first time or two. Fast forward to september elk. Once i had my elk down , i started on the back leg to use gutless method. Got the hide off one side and knife was toast. Luckily i still had havalon and spare blades. (not a fan of havalon blades due to breakage). My buddy had a good fixed blade that we also used. Again, back at camp, i sharpened it back up again. He killed his elk and i had the same result after one side. By this point , i was about done with the knife. I dont see how you or anyone was able to get a FULL animal of any big game size skinned without multiple sharpenings. Now the edge is so worn down the carbide sharpener will not work to a razor edge. I can use a stone on it, but it still wont hold the edge. What is your opinion of my experience? I have killed and/or skinned literally 100's of deer and other big game. Elk require resharpening on any knife i have tried, but not deer or antelope. I should be able to EASILY skin and cape any deer with the same blade without resharpening.
 

Bill V

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KHNC, to make the knife stay sharp longer, I use the top sharpened edge to make all the hide cuts and the belly of the knife to skin and cut meat. It's not clear if you did this. It's a relatively small knife and if you use the same one inch of blade to do everything for instance, it won't last as long. The top is sharpened for the first 1.5 inches back from the point and this can be used by pulling upward through the hide. Most people aren't used to doing this but hide and hair really dull a knife, so if you make all the hide cuts with the top edge, the bottom of the knife is pristine when you start skinning and boning meat. Caping and removing the head can also be hard on a blade edge depending on how much you scrape hide or bone, so I do this last. I think if you follow this process and order, you can get through an animal without issue. The carbide sharpener planes or shaves metal from the edges. It is quick and handy in the field but not the best way to resharpen over and over. In my experience, it can be used a couple times to quickly bring an edge back, but then stones are needed to redress the faces. A Gatco, Lansky, KME or Wicked Edge system with flat stones held at set angles work well really for this. I think your knife probably needs this and could be good as new after sharpening with one of these systems using medium, fine, and very fine stones to the point where it can shave hair. Also, when using the carbide sharpener in the field, use very light pressure and more strokes until it shaves. Higher force can create a burr and be counterproductive. I typically just wait until I get home and use flat stones. Good hunting.
 

KHNC

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Jul 11, 2013
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NC
KHNC, to make the knife stay sharp longer, I use the top sharpened edge to make all the hide cuts and the belly of the knife to skin and cut meat. It's not clear if you did this. It's a relatively small knife and if you use the same one inch of blade to do everything for instance, it won't last as long. The top is sharpened for the first 1.5 inches back from the point and this can be used by pulling upward through the hide. Most people aren't used to doing this but hide and hair really dull a knife, so if you make all the hide cuts with the top edge, the bottom of the knife is pristine when you start skinning and boning meat. Caping and removing the head can also be hard on a blade edge depending on how much you scrape hide or bone, so I do this last. I think if you follow this process and order, you can get through an animal without issue. The carbide sharpener planes or shaves metal from the edges. It is quick and handy in the field but not the best way to resharpen over and over. In my experience, it can be used a couple times to quickly bring an edge back, but then stones are needed to redress the faces. A Gatco, Lansky, KME or Wicked Edge system with flat stones held at set angles work well really for this. I think your knife probably needs this and could be good as new after sharpening with one of these systems using medium, fine, and very fine stones to the point where it can shave hair. Also, when using the carbide sharpener in the field, use very light pressure and more strokes until it shaves. Higher force can create a burr and be counterproductive. I typically just wait until I get home and use flat stones. Good hunting.
Thanks for the Reply. I will give this a try on one more animal after resharpening on a stone. I have started using the top blade for hide cuts. I just think there is too much blade gone to use the carbide system. I do have several stones however.
 

rino

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Jul 31, 2016
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Bozeman, Mt
I carry two knives hunting. A havalon folding knife (use for field dressing) and a TOPS mini scandi MSK neck knife (3.8 oz w sheath). I can batton sticks for kindling with this knife (for stove and general safety).

I feel carrying 2 knives is prudent for safety and ethics of the hunt (imagine if you dropped/lost your knife in deep snow with an elk on the ground...with no backup).
 

Mike Islander

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Aug 10, 2019
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Lowcountry, SC
I've used a Havalon for years, and I like it, but I'm ready to try the skeleton knife because I'm tired of breaking blades. Right now I'm pulling out my hair, trying to decide between the Benchmade Altitude and the Argali Carbon knife. They both look awesome, but they seem to have pros/cons over each other and I can't decide which pros outweigh the cons.

The Argali's handle looks a lot more comfortable to me, but I'm not sure if I'll mind the Altitude's handle that much.

But the Benchmade is S90v (as opposed to the Argali's S35vn), and I really want a knife that I can debone an entire bull elk without having to sharpen it in the field. Does the S90v retain an edge significantly better than the S35vn? I'm not concerned about how hard S90v is to sharpen.

So what do you guys who own these two knives think? Does the handle on the Argali beat the Benchmade? Or is the S90v noticeably better than what the Argali has to offer?
If you like the blade knives an Outdoor Edge seldom breaks blades. And the one I have is much lighter than my havalon.
 

brsnow

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Apr 28, 2019
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I carry an argile and altitude, with a small strop to sharpen in field. Probably don’t need both but they are light. I also have a 200 Puukko on my hip, so all areas covered and collectively under 9 oz.
 

bowtech101st

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Aug 21, 2015
Messages
55
Location
WY
I carry an argile and altitude, with a small strop to sharpen in field. Probably don’t need both but they are light. I also have a 200 Puukko on my hip, so all areas covered and collectively under 9 oz.
What are your thoughts when comparing your argali to your altitude. Pros/cons, and do you prefer one over the other for certain tasks?
 

brsnow

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Apr 28, 2019
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What are your thoughts when comparing your argali to your altitude. Pros/cons, and do you prefer one over the other for certain tasks?
i like the grip and easier resharpening of argali, but really splitting hairs.
 

Mike Islander

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Aug 10, 2019
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Lowcountry, SC
I carry an argile and altitude, with a small strop to sharpen in field. Probably don’t need both but they are light. I also have a 200 Puukko on my hip, so all areas covered and collectively under 9 oz.
So a strop is enough for restoring your edge when carving up a large animal? I've been carrying a DMT Extra Fine/Extra Extra Fine double sided diamond sharpener. Maybe a strop would be lighter, or work better?
 

brsnow

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Apr 28, 2019
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So a strop is enough for restoring your edge when carving up a large animal? I've been carrying a DMT Extra Fine/Extra Extra Fine double sided diamond sharpener. Maybe a strop would be lighter, or work better?
I typically only use a strop unless the blade is damaged. If Idon’t let the blade get too dull, the strop brings it right back.
 

MattyWight

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Feb 6, 2020
Messages
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So a strop is enough for restoring your edge when carving up a large animal? I've been carrying a DMT Extra Fine/Extra Extra Fine double sided diamond sharpener. Maybe a strop would be lighter, or work better?
Agree with brsnow. I've quartered and boned out entire Sambar deer (3rd largest deer) which have a super thick hide with only stropping.

Heliums are a fantastic knife (i've used but don't own). I do own an altitude and i would highly recommend it.
 

sndmn11

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Mar 28, 2017
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1,292
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Littleton, Colorado
I ended up with @Bill V 's sample K1 knife from his Iron Will display at the Western Hunt Expo, and I have been using it for cooking and also for cutting up rib roasts that were on sale into steaks to vacuum seal. The thing is super easy to get A+ sharp on leather, and no issues on bone so far. I think I am going to throw a cork handle on it and keep cutting stuff up.
 
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