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I am looking for a good fixed blade all around knife for under $100. I would like it to be in the 5"-7" range. The front runners include the CS Bush Ranger, and one of the SOG's such as the Seal 2000 or Sog Tech.
Any other recommendations?
Katz Knives' Black Kat series has several models that fit the bill:
BK-300 5 1/8 drop point
BK-302 6 1/8 drop point
BK-1006 6 3/4 tanto point
All are kraton-handled (similar to Cold Steel construction) with XT-70 blades. This is a proprietary Katz steel that I know is very easy to sharpen and has decent edge-holding, I'd say roughly even with AUS-8. With a little looking any of these can be had under $100 (I checked discountknives.com).
If you can find them, Blackjack's model 1-7 and model 5 are fabulous knives in this class. They are gorgeous copies of Randall patterns and have carbon steel blades (meaning non-stainless) that take the sharpest edge I've ever seen on a production knife, with little effort and excellent wear. Trouble is they went out of business about 2 years ago, so these are hard to find
Personally (goes out on limb), I don't care for SOGs. They're extremely well-constructed knives, but you pay through the nose for them and they are almost all in 440A, which is a poor steel in my experience (never could understand the mating of such high-class knives with such a low-class steel steel). Just my opinion.
I guess it al ldepends on your intended use...
I have both brands of knives you have mentioned...both are excellent quality production knives. I have the Sog SEAL Pup, Sog Jet Edge and I have a number of Cold Steel folders. One thing about the Cold Steel company that is to their credit, they have sttod behind their knives without question. I had one of their earlier knives that had some hadle problems...they REPLACED it twice and finally with the new Voyager line that they sell. Another thing about them is they have some great edge retention...
I love my Sog, but so far, the cutting goed to the Cold Steel brand...Good luck
CORDUROY IS RIGHT. SOG ARE BEAUTIFUL BUT
THEY HAVE A POOR STEEL AND THEY ARE A B#*"
I WILL PUT MY MONEY ON CS ANYTIME.
I ALSO RECOMEND YOU CHECK THE CS SRK AND
GREAT KNIVES AND GREAT VALUE.
I have also been well satisfied with Cold Steel. Other low cost options would be those from Ontario or Buck. Buck has a new knife out called the Intrepid II designed by Kit Carson. Though pricier at $170 suggested retail, the Intrepid feature a 6.75 inch modified tanto blade of 420 HC stainless. Comes with cobination nylon/Kydex sheath.
I would go for one of Mel Sorg's knives (MadPoet Custom Knives). He uses D-2 and they are heavy duty and VERY versatile. I just got one of his hunters, which has probably a 4.5" blade or so, and I would not hesitate using it for survival purposes at all. Great knife, and I've reviewed it in the review section of BF. His website is <a href = "http://www.angelfire.com/mn/madpoet"> here</a>. His knives are very rustic and utilize wood handles, etc. If you are looking for an ultra-modern, "tactical" showpiece, then I would suggest something else, but these knives are truly hardcore!
One may want to keep an Eye out for my review of the Bob Kasper designed, Kevin Gentile modified AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper. Sorry about the wait, my review and interview should be online shortly, luckily Spark has graciously offered to do the pictures, look for it right here at BladeForums.com.
Thanks everybody for you input, and especially to Chiro75 for turning me on to the Mad Poet Custom Knives. I ordered a 6" D2 knife with cocobolo handle and leather sheath for just a little more than a stainless Sog or other production knife. Should be a nice one.
Keeping to the specs -- 5"-7", <$100 -- the Bush Ranger is easily my top choice. It's a nice-sized knife with incredible edge geometry. If you favor strength over edge geometry, the SRK is an option. Out of the knives mentioned here that meet your specs, the Bush Ranger is the one! Unless Mel can make that D-2 knife under $100
One knife I'd strongly consider, if the price is low enough, is that "Finnish Military" knife (or whatever it's called) that was recently posted about in the Knife Reviews forum. It looks like a hell of a performer, and just meets your low-end size of 5". I don't think we have a price on it yet, though, and it hasn't been performance tested yet.