BKT Brute vs. Busse Battle Mistress-Preliminary Results

Oct 5, 1998
Well, the Brute and BM have been used and abused the past few days. Here is what we did.


1)Chopped approximately 8 4-5" diameter cedar trees.
2)Skinned one medium size cedar free of bark.
3)Chopped, dead hardened roots and trees.
4)Cut free-hanging 1/14" manila rope.
5)Sliced same rope on wood board.
6)Coke can test-cut coke can clean in half with one slice, leaving bottom of can stationary and 1/2 full of water.
7)Chopped 1/2" thick plastic 50 gallon drum lid
8)Stabbed in sabre and reverse grip full power into tree trunks with both knives, hands coated with dish soap.
9)hammered nails and pegs with flat and spine of blade.
10)Shaved hair off both arms with each knife.
11)Tested sheath retention/construction.
In that order.

Chopping was a task well suited to both blades. Both knives performed extremely well, with both handles being quite secure.

The BKT handle, although smooth, has plenty of contoured surface to grab, while its security is slightly less than the Battle Mistress, it enabled me to work longer with less discomfort. The BKT handle twists more than the BM, but was never uncomfortable.

With hands coated with palmolive (softens the hands...) 10 full-power thrusts were performed with both knives in reverse and sabre grips. I kept control of both knives with slightly better security with the BM, although it hurt like hell every time my hands slammed into the "talons" fore-and-aft.
After I cleaned the soap of the Busse handle, it was almost white, and still is.

The BM handle, while an excellent shape, is too thin for extended work outs. Although it is aggressively cross-hatched,as previously mentoned my hand has a tendency to slide fore-and-aft on the hand, occasionally causing extreme discomfort to my pinkie finger in a full-power chop.

In my opinion, for my hands the BM handle is better suited to fewer, full power chops, while the BKT is well suited to moderate power chops, all day long.

The aggressively textured, flat, contourless E-handle was rough on my hands. "Hot Spots" were noted after a few minutes, and my hands arent soft. My right hand is toughened from shooting large caliber pistols with checkered frontstraps, so the theory that I have "Lily white hands" can go down in flames right now...

I am not crazy about the shiny, brass rivets holding the Busse "E" handles on. On a Tactical knife, they stick out like a sore thumb. I noted a few crows eyeing them from the trees. Point, BKT.

The BKT, due to its recurve geometry works better as a draw knife, however the long, flat edge of the Busse BM allows errors in chopping aim to have less of a detrimental effect on work time.

The BM has more "usable" chopping area, while the BKT has a smaller "sweet spot", as a result, the BKT takes more wear on a smaller surface area of the edge, and showed about 10% more edge deformation and flattening than the BM.

Hammering nails with the blade spine was easily accomplished with either blade although the BKT's ergonomic handle, is also more ergonomic than the Busse handle when turned upside down.

Both knives cut the free-hanging rope, although not all testers could do it on demand with the Brute. I attribute this to the recurve. If your aim is bad with BKT, you will not cut the rope. The Busse edge geometry is also better, and sliced the rope cleaner. Oddly enough, this superior edge geometry didnt seem to matter much when chopping wood.

Slicing rope across a cutting board was easily the most surprising test. What a chore. How Jerry Busse can do it 1200 times cleanly is beyond me, but I have seen it so I know it can be done. We sliced with the knives after they had been well used and saw no undue rolling, edge deformation, or coating wear after slicing. The BM was slightly better, probably due to the thinner. less polished edge. But if you used the recurve to "catch" the rope, the BRUTE was right behind in performance.

Speaking of coatings, although very similar coatings, the BKT coating has fine scratches in it, while the Busse coating is burnished all along the work area of the blade. None of the wear along the edge penetrated the coating, into the blade steel. The only chipping of coating occured when using the knives as hammers, and hammering nails with the spines.

Both coatings performed admirably. (Note-no ice or frozen trees were chopped in this test-It was 50 degrees F here).

Sheaths-well, the Busse sheath pales in comparison to the BKT sheath. The ability to reverse the BKT in its sheath-with security-is a great feature when tromping around the woods. The BM relies on a slip fit between its kydex liner that doesnt quite give the security that the BKT sheath does.

To test sheath strength, a colleague lifted my fat*ass off the ground using both the BM sheath and the BKT sheath. No nylon, rivets, or snaps broke. I weigh 230 pounds.
Both sheaths are plenty strong for govt. work.

The coke-can test was the high point of the day. The BM cleanly cut the coke can in 1/2 while leaving the bottom stationary, and full of water. The Brute cut the coke can, but its thicker edge geometry just wouldnt leave it standing still. If you are ever out in the woods pruning aluminum can trees, the BM will outperform the BKT.

Both knives shaved after all this.
The edges of both knives look great.
The coatings of both knives look great.

I would estimate the Busse "Infi" blade to have held up about 10% better than the BKT 0170-6 blade.

The nice thing about this test is that these knives are very close in edge geometry and the results really compare nicely.

Here we have 2 blades that have a lot to offer.

Do you want a recurve? Get the BRUTE.
Straight edge-get a BUSSE.

I would like to see BKT come out with a knife with similar geometry to the BM (thinner cross-section) with thinner blade stock. I think(know)that most of these .250 knives are overly thick. A .188 BRUTE or a 9" Campanion would be a big winner in my book. The .188 stock would give the BKT handle some needed slimness, and would probably not sacrifice much in practical durability.

I would like to see BUSSE put a more contoured handle on the BM. Knives like this are meant to be used for extended periods, not once or twice- this new handle looks like a real time saver in production compared to the old BM handle. No contour, some CNC cross-hatching, and the least bit of sanding (uneven) around the edges does not add up to comfort for me. The BM blade deserves better in my opinion.

So, you guys do the math.
I really like both blades. The BM has better edge geometry, and slightly better balance. It is slightly faster in my hand.

The BKT has the better sheath and handle and performs very well as an all-purpose chopper.

The BKT 0176-C seems like a great steel.
The Busse INFI seems a lot like a tough, grabby edged D-2 (also great steel)
Since they are both proprietary, we will never know what they really are, but I can tell you that they are both good, with the slight edge in toughness to INFI.

After a brief steeling on my new 14" smooth steel, they both slice paper cleanly.

[This message has been edited by Anthony Lombardo (edited 11-29-2000).]
Anthony, Well done, thanks! These head-to-head tests are the best way to learn.

Camillus has a new BKT knife coming out, I think called the Bush Hog, that's a bit longer (14" or so), but straight. Kind of in the small machete role, but it's somewhere around the 3/16" spine width that you're asking for. It will be interesting to see how it fits in.

Oops, just checked the photo, the Bush Hog has a curved edge.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 11-29-2000).]

That's more abuse than I would have heaped on the BM in 2 years!!!!!

Great review.
Anthony, thank you for the comparison; well done.

The only thing missing is the retail price comparison.

RICK - Left Handers Unite
Good review. Have any more ergonomic comments? More about the handles of each, please. Did you hand hurt much after using them all day?

What's with the .45? Expecting someone to try to disrupt your testing schedule? :)

[This message has been edited by samwereb (edited 11-29-2000).]
I carry that thing everywhere, not just in the woods. Besides, 10 mils from nearest gas station is where you need a gun the MOST!

The handles are very different. If I carried a knife in a combat situation where I would most likely need to use it for brief periods, the BM handle would be somewhat more secure in the short run. The aggressive cross-hatching locks the handle in well.

For all day use, there is no comparison. The BKT handle is far better.

Imagine a checkered axe handle.....for long, hard use that wouldn't work either.

Both great knives, but in my hands, the differences in overall performance is quite slim.

Yes, my hand was fatigued the next day. Not exactly sore, but not fresh either.

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb
one comment to make.

Cliff has commented that BKT handles seemed slick to him. I recalled that several of my older Blackjack-BKT's had sandblasted scales.

It reduced slickness and made the BKT handles slightly tacky to the touch.

Try it if you require more grip.