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I was recently asked to recommend a low priced but good quality Scout knife. Well I've purchased just about every scout knife I could find that is currently being produced. Currently the only two I haven't bought are the Kissing Crane Scout knife that used 420 (AUS 6) stainless and goes for $25-30 and the Schrade GI Utility that uses a "400 Series" (Whatever that is) Stanless and goes for $20.
Below are the low priced ($25 and Under) current production 4 blade Scouts that I do own:
I have laid them out best to worst (in my opinion) from left to right. The opinion was based on price, steel, fit and finish, stay and play. All knives are made in China.
From left to right, best to worst
1) The Rough Rider Scout. - nice thick blades. 440 Stainless. Great snap, great fit and finish. Some blade rub but not bad. Brass pins and liners. Nickel silver bolsters. Has an old timey can opener that makes a great box cutter. Long Screwdriver and big plus! Red Jigged or Amber Jigged Bone Cost: $12-15
2) Cattleman's Cutlery Sage Brush Trail Scout - Blades are not as thick as the Rough rider but thicker than others.. 420J2 Stainless, Great snap. Standard tools, nice fit and finish. Well fitting Zebra Wood Scales. Stainless Steel through out. $15-$20. Als comes in black pakkawood.
3) Official Boy Scouts of America Camp Knife (Suspected Taylor Brands) - Blades a little thin. "400 Series Steel" Great snap on the blade. Some blade rub but not bad. Brass pins and liners. Nickel silver bolsters. Has Official Boy Scout Knife Blade etch and Boy Scout Shield. Amber Jigged Bone (3 5/'8 inches) Cost: $25.
3) Black Hills Camp Knife (Frost) - Blades a little thin. 440 Stainless OK snap on the blade. Some blade rub but not bad. Brass pins and liners. Nickel silver bolsters. Fit and finish could be better, Comes in Grey or Blue jigged bone or Orange Delrin. (3 5/'8 inches) Cost: $15.
3) Coleman Cub Knife - Nice thick blade... 420J2 Stainless, Great snap. Standard tools, Blades are tight but they don't open and smoothly as the should. Decent snap Black wood handles with the Coleman Lantern shield. (3 5/'8 inches) $12-15
(The three way tie is based on quality of the build and price. The Official BSA knife has a finish that rivals the Rough rider but it is also cost twise as much as the other two knives it tied with. )
4) Marbles GI Camp Knife - Blades are average thickness. 440 Stainless. the Baldes all have a a small amount of wobble. The knife is also quite a bit thinner than the original Mil-K knives. Long Screwdriver and big plus! Stainless Steel through out. Cost: (3 3/4 inches) $7-$10 Overall Opinion: Okay but for a couple more dollars you get a much better knife.
4) Boker Magnum Classic Steel - Blades are not as thick as the Rough rider but thicker than others.. 440 Stainless, Great snap. All blades have a small amount of wobble. The over all finis of the knife is quite nice. The Black wood handle are nicely pinned. Stainless Steel through out. (3 5/'8 inches) $12-15 Overall Opinion: Okay but there are better knives in the price range.
(the two way tie is based on the price of the Marbles. The Magnum is a better made knife but the marbles is simply cheaper)
I Can't t recommend buying the remaining two knives
5) Sarge Licensed BSA Scout knife - Blades are very thin. .. 440c Stainless, Fit and finish is just so-so significant blade wobble on the can opener and the awl . The awl is too thin for serious work. . Stainless Steel through out. (3 5/'8 inches) $25 Overall opinion: Not worth buying at any price.
6) Frost Double Warrior (Frost) - Blades a little thin. 440 Stainless OK snap on the blade. Bad blade rub . Brass pins and liners. Nickel silver bolsters. When people talk about poor quality Frost knives, this is one of them, Comes in Red or Blue jigged bone or in the Red/blue Smooth as pictured. Mine arrived with a bent awl which I had to bend straight in order to realign the blades and allow the knife ot close. Had I bought this one first, I would not have bought the Black Hills Scout. (3 5/'8 inches) Cost: $15. Overall opinion: Avoid it like a spurned psychopathic former lover.
Hope this helps anyone looking to buy a low priced camp knife.
Happy 4th to you as well, Ron.
It is interesting you mention the bail on the SI. Did you know the bail is only on the civilian version. Yep the one that was actually issued to Swiss Soldiers lacked the bail. The hole was for an optional lanyard. I left the bail on mine simply so I could hang it for display more easily!
I have to agree that a scout is a great all purpose knife. I just mentioned heat treat in another discussion. I often wonder how SMKW was able to get such great HT on all their lines. While I know they are all virtually made in the same factory, they do not utilize the same steels in all the brands nor in all the patterns. I can say, I know they do it up right in heat treatment
"Avoid it like a spurned psychopathic former lover."
As my English major spouse would state .. "communication occurred".
Nice review , Tobias. I appreciate your stating reasons for your opinions. e.g. better knives for same price .. simply cheaper .. etc. That allows the reader to better understand why you rated the knives as you did & further allows them to proceed based on this info AND their own priorities.
!!! .. Nice job .. !!!