In this column early last year, I wrote about the then new Savage Hunter’s Edge exchange-blade folder. Even though the majority of modern hunters prefer a folding knife configuration, there still remain those who stake their claim to a fixed blade. Since a fixed-blade design always stands at the ready, there’s good logic in such a choice. You never have to fool with blade opening and closing, have concerns about lock mechanism integrity, or whatever other problems can be found in a folding knife design.
To meet the needs of those who are sheath knife users, Savage Arms has now introduced a fixed-blade version of their Hunter’s Edge knife. This knife features a 3-1/2-inch drop-point pattern blade, crafted from high-carbon 440C stainless steel. What the folding version of this knife does with a number of different exchangeable blades is accomplished in this knife by integrating most of those features into the single fixed blade.
In addition to 2-3/8 inches of main cutting edge, the lower portion (near the choil) has been serrated. Furthermore, aggressive saw-teeth are situated along a 2-1/4-inch portion of the back of the blade. Finally, a guthook is also positioned on the back of the blade, about 3/4-inch behind the tip. What this all means is that the knife can be used in every phase of field dressing, skinning and even field butchering of big game.
The knife handle is a rugged black thermoplastic, with finger scallops on the bottom and a series of ridges for added hand-to-knife contact on the top. Attached to the blade tang with Torex screws, this handle has a wood insert that provides a dramatic flare. And a ferrule is positioned at the very end of the handle for lanyard attachment.
More Features and Test Results
The knife is housed in what appears to be a heat-cut, nylon sheath that features a cut-proof insert for rigidity. An attached retaining strap, with hook-n-loop fastener, clasps around the knife handle and holds it securely in place. Most interestingly, an external pouch mounted on the sheath holds a diamond-coated sharpening rod and a reversible (standard/Phillips) screw bit. The screw bit is designed to be inserted into a six-sided opening in the rear of the knife handle. With the knife firmly secured in the sheath and the screw bit in place, this edged tool can also serve as an emergency screwdriver.
With pronghorn antelope season at hand, I had a real opportunity to test this knife in an actual field setting. By the close of opening day, I had a pronghorn on the ground and was elbow deep into field-dressing chores. First of all, I used the tip of the blade to free the terminal end of the digestive system from the surrounding tissue. Since the knife was extremely sharp, this presented no problem. Next, I used the guthook feature to open the animal’s abdominal cavity. The only problem encountered was the fact that antelope have a lot of loose hair. The hair tended to clog up the guthook, but it was easily removed and the work continued unabated.
After removing the viscera, I started with the skinning procedure. Right off, I used the serrated portion of the blade to cut around each of the leg hocks to facilitate their removal. The serrations worked great and the hocks came off quickly. By using the serrated portion of the blade, I was able to preserve the edge integrity of the main cutting blade. During skinning, both the sweeping, leading edge and the ridges on the knife handle made blade control a simple matter. After the carcass was skinned, I used the saw-teeth on the back of the blade to cut through both the ribcage and the pelvic bone with ease. In all, the knife performed within expected parameters. Best of all, I didn’t have to fool around with different blades.
Fixed-blade enthusiasts will find that this new Savage knife variant has a lot to offer. In reality, the knife itself is a portable, in-the-field butchering tool. Furthermore, the diamond rod on the outside of the sheath can be used to touch up the blade edge when necessary. Also, the screwdriver function can be used to tighten loose scope mounts, adjust open sights or for a host of similar chores.