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The Wait Is Over. From this thread, orders for the 2023 BladeForums Traditional Knife are open & here's your handy order button. OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS WITH GOLD OR HIGHER PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS OR have 25+ posts in the Traditional Forum Preorder price is $160 shipped CONUS, price increase on 9/25 11:59PM when ordering opens to anyone on the forums
Bill Bagwell and James Keating are both recommending it as alternative to Hell's Bell. Bagwell now has a production Bowie out incidentally from Ontario, I will buy one even though my Hell's Bell will be ready in October. If Bagwell recommends a bowie, you can bet most anything on it. The Raider Bowie is based on the Marine Raider Bowie made famous by Carlson's Marine Raiders Pacific Theater, WWII) and is a hell of a design. 9 1/2 inches and a FIGHTING guard, not designed for streading peanut butter. The maker, Ontario makes Mil-Spec K-Bars and I have trained w/ K-Bars with Dr. Gyi as my instructor. He states unequivocably that the K-Bar is the best mass-used knife in the world bar none and if he states so, it is so. Basically you can buy this thing w/o worry, and real experts like it...that ought to count for something. However, as with anything it is the user's opinion that counts most. Kraton will abrade a soft hand if you are chopping and the nylon sheath...I hate nylon sheaths. Get Mr. Newt Livesay (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make you a good carry rig of Kydex. Tell him your intended uses and mode of carry. Buy it and post back your impression. Good Luck!
I did and Cliff just got it, and the Survival bowie. The Survival bowie is way lighter being flat ground than the Raider. The Raider is good solid blade you can chop with. The Survival's only advantage to me over a folder is that it's edge is longer, thus sharpen less often. No, it ain't flimsy, except compared to the Raider. Wait til Cliff gets the Bolo. Now THAT is a nice light knife with a good whacking geometry, will probably do better than it ought to.
I have done some work with the two Bowies from Ontario (Survival, and Marine Raider) both of them are nice knives that are easy to sharpen, take an edge well and hold it for a decent period of time. The Survival is much lighter with a more neutral balance than the Raider. Primarily because its flat ground and much narrower.
The Survival workes better on light work like slicing, limbing and brush cutting than the Raider as it will fatigue your wrist a lot less. The Raider is much better at heavy chopping and it is in improvement about 3-4 times over the Survival in this area. The Raider would also probably be much better at prying and other such trying tasks.
I don't like that fighting guard on the Raider as for heavy utility is a negative, the plain handle on the Survival is nicer.
Both of the bowies have a rather nice feature and that is the knife gets thicker near the tip and the grind gets much more obtuse (it goes up to about 35+ degrees per side). This leaves a tip that should be very strong for heavy utility work.
The blades on both are very stiff, less flexible than the TUSK. Holding the Survival in both hands, one at the handle and one around the blade tip I can flex it slightly but not much. The Raider is much stiffer.
Both knives I have belong to Rusty and he has sharpened the top of the clip point on the Raider. This is actually a functioning edge and I have used it to do some limb clearing. The geometry is wrong for reverse heavy chopping (I don't know why you would want to do that anyway), but it would be nice from a utility perspective as an edge to do really hard cutting with (bone, metals) and leave the full cutting edge on the other side unmarred.
The only negative aspect I have found so far is that the handles can be a problem when your grip gets weakened from fatigue. When you are nice and fresh they feel very comfortable and they work well. However when your hand is tired and it starts to slip around on heavy impacts, those little groves in the handle do a nice job at abrading your skin and that hook at the pommel digs into your palm quite nicely. Look at the MD ATAK handles for an example of how to make a grip with excellent retention and comfort.
As I work with them some more I will refine the rather vague comments I made above and put the details up here :
This knife was one of my early purchases (couple of years ago). I don't use it, but it sure gives you the "That's a Knife" feeling when you hold it. It will be really interesting to see how it holds up to real use/abuse by the experts!
I have had one for awile now and for the initial cost compared to much higher priced knives it can hold it's own in the field.The good part is you can really abuse it without worry and it cleans up nice.