Benchmade HUNT Hidden Canyon Knife Review

The Benchmade story began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology. He wanted this new knife to replace the cheap butterfly, or Bali-song, knives that he had played with when he was a kid. He had taken a high school shop class, so he used the skills that he had learned there to blueprint his dream knife. He later met Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-song prototype. Les paired this prototype blade with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. It was in his own garage that he assembled and finished his first Bali-song. He was proud of his creation and upon taking it into his local gun shop, the owner asked him if he could build 100 more. A year later, Les incorporated as Bali-song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He purchased the original equipment form the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. He utilized the basic technology that he had access to and began building custom Bali-songs. He built these knives along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. It was the success of these custom Bali’s that spurred the creation of the first production Bali-song: The model 68. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolved its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp. Seven years later, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68. The company would now need a new name. He recognized that while there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was really “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les anted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. Even to this day, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market.

Benchmade has a mindset of, “for over twenty-five years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world class products for world class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. TO exceed what is expected.” They have a commitment to excellence and as they say, “We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”

You can trust Benchmade knives and I know that you will love Benchmade knives. Over here at BladeOps, we are celebrating May as Benchmade month. Today, we are going over the Hidden Canyon Hunter knife. This is actually a family of knives, meaning that you can choose a variety of different options in the different features of the knife.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This type of steel is made by Crucible, which is a US based company. While the official title of this steel is CPM S30V steel, it is often referred to as just S30V steel. This formula has excellent edge retention and can resist rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the United states and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. They can bring the extreme hardness out of the steel alloy matrix because they have added vanadium carbides. Dollar for dollar, this steel is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is one of the hardest balances to achieve. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is very tricky to sharpen. A beginner sharpener will not be able to sharpen this steel formula.

The finish on this steel is a satin finish. This style of blade finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper. The key characteristic that accompanies this finish is that it showcases the lines in the steel. This blade finish provides you with one of the most traditional looks that you can find in blades. The satin finish does help to cut down on some glares and reflections, but it definitely is not a matte finish.

The steel on this blade has been ground into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is not only a fantastic all-purpose knife that has incredible strength behind it, it is also one of the best blade styles for a hunting knife. And one of the most common places that you are going to find this blade shape is on hunting knives. To form this blade shape, the back of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that is the first reason it is such a great option for hunting knives. The lowered point is easily controllable, which makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. And the lowered point does create a stronger tip. Because of the tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. This strength also helps to hold up to any hunting task that you might need to tackle. One of the next reasons that this blade shape is so great on a hunting knife is because drop point style knives feature a large “belly” area that is perfect for slicing. This belly will help skin and peel whatever you need. While there are so many benefits to the drop point blade shape, there is a disadvantage. The drop point has a relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. When you choose a hunting knife that sports a drop point style blade, you will be equipping yourself with a tool that can assist you in any hunting situation, as well as almost any other situation you encounter.

Because this is a hunting knife, it does sport a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that you will encounter and it is ideal for hunting. The plain edge excels at push cuts, peeling, skinning, and slicing: all things that you will encounter when you are trying to dress your game.

Benchmade Hidden Canyon Knife
Benchmade Hidden Canyon Knife

The Handle:

There are two different handle options that you can choose from with the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife. You have a G10 option and a Dymondwood option.

The G10 comes in a gray and black combo. This G10 has been designed to look like it is wood. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but you can get it for almost a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and also strong. G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta. And while this material is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape, which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles. Some people are worried that this material lacks elegance, but that is not an issue when you are in the market for a hunting knife.

The next option is a Dymondwood handle. And because this material has a base material of wood, it is a dark and light brown. Wood handles have been used since knives came into existence. A good quality wood handle is durable and attractive and wood is a relatively inexpensive material for heavy duty knives. Dymondwood is a type of stabilized wood, which means that the wood has been injected with plastic. To make this material, the manufacturer will inject polymer resin and then compress the material under high pressure to create a very dense and durable material that still exhibits its natural beauty. The Dymondwood material stands up extremely well to long term use and messy environments.

Both handle materials are textured to provide you with plenty of grip during those messy situations. There is a deep finger groove to give you a secure grip and keep your fingers safe. The rest of the handle does mold to your palm so that you can take on those long tasks without becoming uncomfortable.

In both versions of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This is a fantastic option to secure your knife against loss and to add extra safety while you are using it. However, one of the best purposes to use a lanyard on the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife is to add safety when processing a large animal. When field dressing a large game animal, there comes a time when you’ll reach inside the cavity to cut the esophagus so the intestines can be pulled out. This is a messy, blood situation, which makes the knife handle slippery. A lanyard around your hand or wrist can prevent  your hand form slipping down the handle onto the blade.

 

The Mechanism:

Both versions of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife are fixed blades. There are so many benefits to using a fixed blade as your hunting knife. For starters, they don’t break. This is because there are no moving parts on a fixed knife. Fixed blades are also easier to maintain, you don’t have to worry about the hinge as you do with a folding knife. And one of the biggest reasons to use a fixed blade for your hunting knife is because cleaning is straightforward and simple. All you have to do is wipe down the knife and you are good to go. When you are constantly using this knife for messy situations, such as dressing game, you are going to want easy clean up. And not only can you use this when you are hunting, but fixed blades makes for a superior survival tool because they can cut, dig, split, hunt, hammer, and even pry.

 

The Sheath:

There are also two different sheaths that you can choose from: a leather sheath and a kydex sheath. The leather is a very traditional option that has great aesthetics. Leather is a well-known material that looks exceptional, feels nice in your hands, and even smells good. Leather is also very quiet when you are putting a knife in and out of the sheath. However, leather is a natural material and will eventually become unusable.

The kydex sheath is a thermoplastic material that’s used to make holsters and other items. The greatest aspect of kydex is its durability. It can even be submerged in salt water without breaking down. But, kydex is unreasonably loud when you are taking out a knife. And, after repeated taking out and putting back a knife, the edge will dull.

 

The Specs:

This knife has a blade length of 2.67 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The overall length of the knife is 6.32 inches long. The handle thickness on these knives is 0.58 inches. The G10 version of the handle weighs in at 3.53 ounces, with a sheath that weighs 1.38 ounces. The Dymondwood handle weighs in at 3.19 ounces and has a sheath that weighs in at 1.06 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

This knife is a compact knife for those who are looking to save space, it is truly about as much knife as you’ll ever need for processing your harvest thanks to the large applied blade radius that excels at skinning and meat removal. This knife is also made in the United States of America. Help us celebrate Benchmade month and pick your favorite version of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife up today at BladeOps.

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Benchmade HUNT Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife Review

Benchmade was founded over thirty years ago and has a rich history that starts even before that. Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation. Benchmade’s story really begins in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, that he played with as a kid. Before Benchmade was Benchmade, it went through a couple of different names. To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

At BladeOps, May is Benchmade month. To celebrate, each day we will discuss a different knife or knife family and today it is the Saddle Mountain Skinner Family.

 

The Blade:

Benchmade HUNT Saddle Skinne
Benchmade HUNT Saddle Skinner

The blade on this knife is made out of S30V steel. This is a premium grade steel that is made by US based Crucible. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. IT was designed in the United States and is typically used for the higher end premium pocket knives ads well as expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible has added Vanadium Carbides into the steel alloy matrix to bring out the extreme hardness of the steel without lessening the toughness that it has. S30V steel has gained the reputation of being one of the finest knife blade steels that sports the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this steel formula is that it does tend to be rather tricky to sharpen.

The finish on this blade is a satin finish to showcase the lines of the steel. To form this finish, the steel is continually sanded in one direction with sandpaper or another similar abrasive with an increasing level of fineness. This is a medium finish, because there are shinier steel finishes and there are also finishes that are more matte. The satin finish does cut down on glares and reflections while providing you with a timeless blade.

There are actually two different versions of the blade shape that you get to choose with the Saddle Mountain Skinner. You can choose a regular drop point or you can choose a drop point with a hook carved into the back of it. The drop point blade shapes is one of the most common shapes that you are going to find on hunting knives. This is for a variety of reasons. For starters, this is a great all-purpose blade shape that can virtually stand up to anything. To form the shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. The lowered point helps to add more control to the tip. This is the second reason that the drop point blade shape is such a fantastic shape for your hunting knife. Because the point is so easily controlled, it makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. The lowered point also helps to add strength to the tip. This broad, strong tip is a huge benefit to the blade shape, but is also sometimes a drawback. The reason that it is a drawback is because with it, you have virtually no stabbing capabilities. But, it is such an advantage because it adds so much strength to the tip, enabling your knife to take on almost any task that you can throw at it. And because the point has so much strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. One of the last reasons that this is such a perfect shape on your hunting knife is because it sports a large belly that provides plenty of length for slicing. And with a hunting knife, you are going to be doing a lot of slicing and will want the clean cuts.

The second option that you have with this knife is a drop point blade shape with a gut hook in place. This is a blade in which the spine has a sharpened semi-circle ground into it. This gut hook is mostly a blade feature, although a lot of people call them a blade shape. This hook is most often used by hunters for field dressing, the hook in the spine is placed in a small cut in the underside of the animal and pulled like a zipper. Its purpose is to split the skin of a game animal in gutting operations of filed dressing by hooking over the skin, and being pulled along to sever it. The small hook opens the abdomen of the animal without slicing into the muscle, possibly affecting the equality of the meat. The gut hook is made from a semi-circle “C” shape being ground into the blade with the inward part of the “C” being sharpened. This hook needs to be sharpened occasionally but it can’t be sharpened with a typical flat sharpening stone or other knife sharpener. Most hunters purchase a round file and use this to sharpen the inside of the gut hook. This is a disadvantage, because sharpening this hook can prove to be very difficult. However, while this is a very specialized tool, it does the job perfectly, and what’s not to love about that?

Both versions of the blade sport a row of jimping where the blade meets the handle to help with control and add to your gripping abilities when you are doing your messier jobs. Both versions of the knife also have a plain edge. This is perfect for a hunting knife because the plain is most traditional, easiest to sharpen, has the ability to get a finer edge, and excels at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. All of which will come in handy when dressing your game.

 

The Handle:

There are also two different options for your knife handle. The first one is a gray G 10 that has been designed to look like wood. G 10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. IT has very similar properties to carbon fiber, except that it can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is extremely tough, very hard, super lightweight, and crazy strong. In fact, G 10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates although it is a more brittle material. And while it is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process which is used in FRN handles. G 10’s production process can utilize many layers of the same color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the handle, in this case, the handle is gray and black and made to look like wood. G 10 is such a great option for your hunting knife handle because it is durable, lightweight, and non-porous, so it won’t weigh you down and it won’t absorb any of the gunk that handles can accumulate during the hunting process.

The second option that you have for this handle is a Dymondwood handle. Dymondwood is a phenolic resin impregnated wood veneers that are laminated and compressed. It is very similar to Micarta, G 10, and Carbon Fiber, except that the base material is different than those other materials. The base material for Dymondwood is wood. Dymondwood is a very affordable option. This is a very stable mateiral that has a very decent toughness. It is more stable than regular wood and is also tougher than most woods. This option is a dark brown with black accents.

Both versions of the handle are very comfortable to use for long periods of time as well as a safe option to use because it has a finger guard. The handle has been carved to fit nicely in your hand, with the curves cushioning your grip slightly.

Both versions of the knife have a lanyard hole on the butt. Dressing your game is a messy job and a lanyard can help to secure against loss during the craziest of environments. The lanyard can also provide safety when you are processing a large animal. When you are field dressing a large game animal, there is a moment when you’ll need to reach inside the ability to cut the esophagus so the intestines can be pulled out. This is a messy situation, which can easily make your knife handle slippery. And if you have a lanyard wrapped around your wrist or hand, you can prevent yourself from your hand slipping down onto the blade form the handle.

 

The Mechanism:

The Saddle Mountain Skinner knife is a fixed blade. There are so many advantages to having your go to hunting knife be a fixed blade. For starters, fixed blade knives are stronger and bigger than a folding knife This means that you are really going to be able to dress any sized game. Another one of the benefits to having a fixed lade is that they don’t break. When you are out in the field, you really don’t want your knife to break. And this knife will be able to stand up to most of your tasks. Another one of the benefits is that they are easier to maintain. When you are dealing with a hunting knife, you will want to jump at any opportunity you can to make your maintenance a little easier. Hunting knives are constantly caked in blood and guts after each use, so having a knife that you can just wipe down is going to be a huge plus. With the Saddle Mountain Skinner, cleaning will be straightforward and simple. A fixed blade is also the superior survival tool. A fixed blades offers you more versatility for any number of tasks that can be associated with so called survival knives, which include cutting, digging, splitting, using it as a first aid tool, using it as a food preparation tool, using it as a hunting weapon, hammering with it, and even using it as a prying tool.

 

The Sheaths:

There are two separate options for your sheath. You can choose between a kydex sheath or a leather sheath. The leather option is one of the more traditional materials that sheaths are made out of. There are a handful of benefits to a leather sheath, one of the main advantages is the aesthetics. Leather is a well-known material that looks exceptional, it feels nice in your hand and it smells good. Leather is rugged and also very quiet when you are putting a knife in and out of the sheath. However, since it is a natural material, it will eventually become unusable.

The kydex option is a more modern material for sheaths. Whether it is submerged in salt water or exposed to different environments, Kydex will be able to hold up very well. However, it does make a noisy clanking sound and it will eventually dull the knife’s edge.

 

The Specs:

The blade is 4.17 inches long with a thickness of 0.140 inches. The overall length of the knife is 8.73 inches long. The handle thickness is 0.58 inches. With the G 10 handle, the knife weighs in at 5.13 ounces. If you choose the Dymondwood handle, the knife weighs in at 4.7 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

This is a large fixed blade with a recurved blade that assists in meat cutting and skinning chores. This blade is made out of S30V steel with a satin finish, with the option of getting a gut hook in your blade. This is a fixed blade that has either a Dymondwood handle or a G 10 handle. This fixed blade will change the way you think of hunting knives. Pick yours up today at BladeOps and celebrate Benchmade month.

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Benchmade HUNT 15001-2 Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife Review

Benchmade HUNT 15001-2
Benchmade HUNT 15001-2, Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife

The Benchmade HUNT Saddle Mountain Skinner knife offers you everything you desire in a quality hunting knife.  From the S30V premium steel blade to the Dymondwood handle scales to the rich leather sheath, the Saddle Mountain Skinner is a knife to be reckoned with when the going gets tough.

Benchmade recently released their HUNT knife series.  These knives are designed specifically for those who demand the best.  Based on research projects, R&D lab tests as well as miles of field research, each and every HUNT knife is built from advanced materials and designed to give you serious performance in a ruggedly durable knife.  With a Benchmade HUNT knife, it is all about, “The art of pursuit.”

A HUNT knife offers several advantages over any competitors.  First, each one uses the CPM-S30V premium stainless steel.  Based on the CATRA testing method, S30V consistently ranks as one of the very best premium hunting steels for first cut depth as well as consistency of cut depth and edge retention over time.

The other critical point of edge retention is the edge angle.  For this reason, each HUNT knife has a blade angle of between 30° and 35°.

Because CPM-S30V is a sintered powdered metal steel, it also delivers serious durability.  To produce this steel, thousands of tiny BBs are produced that contain the exact ingredients necessary.  Then these BBs are fused into a single, solid billet that has the ingredients neatly and evenly mixed throughout the billet.  This billet is then rollered flat into the proper thickness for use as blade steel.  This process allows for an amazingly even grain structure that isn’t found in standard stainless steels.  This evenness creates a blade steel that wears evenly over time.  It also gives you serious strength and consistency.

A true stainless steel, CPM-S30V also delivers top grades for corrosion resistance.  This is critical for a knife to be used outdoors.  Moisture is certain to get on your blade.  And sometimes, in the field, there isn’t time to get the blade completely dry before you need to move on.  S30V has got your back delivering corrosion resistance 619% higher than carbon steels such as D2.

Finally the handle material.  You can pick up the Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife with G10 handle scales.  That is model 15001-1.  If you prefer the Dymondwood handle scales, you are looking for model 15001-2. Dymondwood is a layered composite of all natural fibers.  Superior to wood in that it delivers more dimensional stability as well as resistance to moisture, Dymondwood is a fantastic choice for a classic hunt knife look.

The Saddle Mountain Skinner has a 4.17″ drop point blade with just a slight recurve in the blade belly that gives you just the angle you need for long separating cuts.  The tip allows you plenty of flexibility for making detail cuts.  The Skinner is the perfect one knife solution for those who want to pack light.  It has the flexibility to be used for big, medium and even small game.  It also serves as a great companion to a guthook knife as part of a complete hunting knife set.

If you need a serious knife for serious work, check out the HUNT Saddle Mountain Skinner.  Let me know what you think of yours down below in the comment section.

SPECIFICATIONS: 

  • Blade Length: 4.17″
  • Blade Thickness: .14″
  • Handle Thickness: .58″
  • Blade Material: S30V Premium Stainless Steel
  • Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
  • Blade Style: Modified Clip Point
  • Lock Mechanism: Fixed
  • Overall Length: 8.73″
  • Sheath Material: Leather Pressure Fit Sheath
  • Class: Blue
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