I checked AG Russell's web site. All it says is 'German high carbon stainless'. I'm guessing it's AUS8. A good steel, but not in the top rank either. My dad has one. Its a nice knife. I really like the handle shape and the blade geometry. I sharpened it up for him and found the steel to be hard, not too soft.
In that price range ($50-$100) there are several other companies that make good hunting knives with better steel but much different handle and blade designs. Check out Fallkniven (VG10 steel), Marbles (52100), and Buck (BG42).
Tony, first off, I'll state my bias right up front: I sell them because I like them, a lot. I think Grohmann knives, especially the Russell Belt Knives, have a handle and blade combination that really make these knives great to use.
The only downside is the steel, 4110, which is equivalent to 440A:
Now, 440A is looked at with disdain among some, but it does have good qualities and its place in the scheme of things, (especially when heat treated properly), those qualities being easy to sharpen and pretty stain resistant.
As an aside, their QC is darn good. I have not had to send one Grohmann knife back, nor have I had one returned.
Click here for Grohmann and Marble's knives.
[This message has been edited by Tom Marshman (edited 12-14-2000).]
I took one camping a couple of years ago & was very happy w/ the performance- Felt good in the hand & was thus able to cook & work w/ no problems, blade geometry worked very well, sharpened up without too much trouble on the Sharpmaker & held the edge until I wore it down again after a respectable amount of cutting & it didn't drink up all of my beer. They've been around for years for a reason. They work well and they aren't expensive to the point where your life is over if it gets lost. Even if it's not made of the latest & greatest super steel, it's a proven performer.
OK Grohmann, mail my check to... wait, is this thing still on?
"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" (Celtic Proverb)
I have one of the carbon steel ones for collecting. I bought a #1 after seeing a friend's #2 (the bird and trout, a smaller version of the #1). The #2 sheath will fit nicely in your pocket. you will have a great blade that won't scare sheeple.
I don't have a problem with the steel in a Grohmann. It's better steel than in my kitchen cutlery and I use that every day, day in and day out. And properly sharpened, they can have a very aggressive, razor-sharp edge.
IMO, Grohmann's are one of the best ergonomically (ugh--I'm starting to hate that term) designed knives on the market. They are comfortable in the blade up or blade down position--something that's often ignored in handles. I don't know about others, but I use my knives in both positions. Also, the offset handle allows for cutting board use without banging your knuckles and it gives you some extra leverage for heavy cutting chores. Great for camping. In this way, the Grohmann knives are similar in design to the Schrade Sharpfinger, another knife of enduring popularity. However, I much prefer the drop point design over the upswept tip for gutting (and for general use, for that matter).
I also like the lightness of the Grohmanns. This is my number one choice for a fixed blade for backpacking and canoeing. I use to prefer puukkos but I like the ergonomics (ugh--there's that word again) of the Grohmann's handle better. And I like a dangling sheath that will move out of your way when you sit down, just like you find for most puukkos.
I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
I've been a Grohmann fan for years -- I think they have unique look that (surprisingly) hasn't been copied by many knock-off masters. I've commented on this in the past -- their steel's not the greatest, their handle materials not the greatest, but they're a great combination of form & function. I own both a #1 & a #3 and interchange them for hunting & camping. My next purchase will be a #2 Bird & Trout
"I can't believe you stabbed me with this cheap piece of mail-order sh*t"
James Caan in 'Eraser'