"Survival" Knives


April 21, 2009, 10:37 PM
ok im sure this is going to get alot of "why do you want that" responces but here goes anyway...

anyone know where i can get "QUALITY" replicas that could be used of the rambo series of knives?
all 4 of them mainly for collection purposes but i dont want a junk knife just because its "modeled" after a movie prop

also anyone know of any GOOD survival knives kind of like the design of rambo 1&2

and lastly the el cheapo garbage farmers market special survival knives you see everywhere always come with two metal "spikes??" that screw into the handgaurd why is that what is there purpose?

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April 21, 2009, 11:25 PM
Not sure if they are "Rambo" replicas but here in Boise, Idaho Chris Reeve Knives turns out IMHO the best made all around knives anywhere!

April 21, 2009, 11:29 PM

There are no "quality" replicas of the Rambo knives. You can either purchase the junk or you can purchase the originals made by the makers who built them for the movies or you can commission a maker to recreate them in using quality. The crap costs too much at any price, the original makers aren't even all alive any more so the prices are out of your range so commissioning using replicas are your best bet.

April 22, 2009, 12:00 AM
If you want a hollow handle knife Chris Reeves and Randall are always at the top of the list

May 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
Look on fleabay for a model #184 Buck. The picture below has everything you would get if you bought 1 new back in the mid to late 80's. Expect to pay $325-$400 for an outfit like that today. $150-$200 for just the knife. Good luck hunting!

May 1, 2009, 11:38 PM
I won't give you any hassle for it. I think the flood of crappy knives kind of gave the overall concept a bad image. I mean, they aren't my thing, but the essential idea of creating more space without taking up more space to pack stuff that might be legitimately useful in a survival situation isn't a horrible one.

May 2, 2009, 06:32 AM
Dimis , You might find them at www.BudK.com They were selling the orig. back a few years ago. I have purchased many good quailty swords
from them all with a useable edge.
They also sell blades from all the movies and penny pocket knives.
I think they were around $80.00 when they had them. you can also try www.smokeymountainknifeworks ?
Good luck

May 2, 2009, 07:29 AM

May 2, 2009, 08:39 AM
Gentlemen, no offense intended, but BudK primarily sells low quality material.

A "quality" sword is going to start around $150-$200 retail and that Schrade is a rip-off of Chris Reeves' work and won't hold a candle to it.

Avoid all the exotic "survival" knives and spend your money on a quality 4" fixed blade made of carbon steel with a sheath that will allow you to put an Altoids tin in the accessory pocket. I've known people to loose their knife, but not too many loose the sheath and still have their pants.

May 2, 2009, 08:53 AM
anyone know of any GOOD survival knives kind of like the design of rambo 1&2

The only hollow handle knife that I would even think to trust to do the knifework that I need is the Chris Reeves Shadow. It is "kind of like" the rambo knife in design but not in looks.
Here is a link showing how it looks and how it's made:


special survival knives you see everywhere always come with two metal "spikes??" that screw into the handgaurd why is that what is there purpose?
Ok I actually know the answer to this one. The spikes are actually supposed to turn the knife into a grappling hook or anchor. Here is a link to one with an early design. Nowadays the spikes face downwards and are like 5 inches long.

But this is the "old style":

Found a "newer" version from the Buck 184:

Avoid all the exotic "survival" knives and spend your money on a quality 4" fixed blade made of carbon steel

But I also believe that many of us have that "I can't believe I own this junk" knife that we never intend to use. Usually a gift from someone that doesn't know any better. Mine is a "skyhawk" set of 3 throwing "knifes" gifted to me by my brother lol. It was actually kind of fun throwing the heck out of them and not having to worry about breaking it. Something I would NEVER think about doing with my normal knives.

May 2, 2009, 11:15 AM
HSO was right on the money.

May 2, 2009, 11:15 AM
I had a Buck 184 years ago. It was OK, but was poorly balanced (too handle heavy) in my opinion.

May 2, 2009, 11:24 AM
The cold steel bushman is kind of interesting, the handle is hollow but doesn't have a cap. I think it was made this way in the interest of cheapness but it will function as a spear if you whittle down a stick for it.

May 2, 2009, 11:34 AM
This is my idea of a survival knife;


May 2, 2009, 12:27 PM
This is as close as you can get to the real thing:


But, I agree that they are next to useless in actual survival mode.

You would be much better equipped with any number of smaller lighter knives.

Heck, even a K-Bar would be a better choice!


May 2, 2009, 01:27 PM
Hard to beat the basic Kabar knife for an overall "survival" knife. I would avoid the Rambo knives unless you just want wall hangers.

All knives are survival knives to me. For general purpose "survival" knives look at Benchmade, Kershaw, SOG, RAT Cutlery, Ontario to name a few. My favorite survival knife is a swiss army knife. It is one you are more likely to have with you should something happen unexpectedly. I'll take a fixed blade with me in the woods also. But I understand the appeal of knives and having big ones around. The SOG Tiger Shark might fit your vision of a "survival" knife. Have a couple of them. But a good 12" machete works quite well too considering the price.

May 2, 2009, 03:14 PM
wow this thread kinda took off when i stopped paying attention

the reason i wanted the "rambo" knives in the first place is for collection purposes truthfully i know they are not going to be functional in real world situations

i also mentioned quality reproductions because i dont want to pay 80 or more on a junk knife HSO was right about the fact that Lile and Hibben stopped making the Original Knives long ago so i have changed my mind

as for the spike question thanks for the answer Vic

ill check out the Buck but im really turned off by the survival knife idea now that i have heard a few opinions

May 2, 2009, 03:32 PM
If you want a hollow handle go with Chris Reeves in the Mark Series. Or go top end and buy Jimmy Lile.

May 2, 2009, 06:51 PM
The Rambo knives were made by Gil Hibben of Louisville KY. I believe Smoky Mountain Knife Works sold or sells the production (i.e. lesser quality, but still good) copies of these knives. The Rambo knives are excellent knives, but not particularly good survival knives. They were contract pieces made for show for the movies.

May 2, 2009, 07:36 PM
By the way, the Rambo survival knife should be called the Baldock Spear Knife of 1880 (http://www.orionwoodsbrigade.com/article_the_new_old_survival_knife.htm) - with a few minor modifications.


May 2, 2009, 07:56 PM
Randall model 18 would be my choice. You will want to use it though, I almost sure of it.

May 2, 2009, 10:12 PM
I've had a Buck 184 "Buckmaster" for many years. It is great, and it isn't. I have cut down trees with it by "batoning" it, meaning, you drive it into the trunk of a tree with a piece of wood, and repeatedly drive it sideways until you make a big enough cut you can break the tree off. I wrapped the spikes in a bit of plastic and put them in the handle so that they don't rattle. I have sometimes put just the front one in, the one under the edge side of the crossguard, but if you put both of them in you can't even hold the knife. I have used the spikes for hole punches, nothing else comes to mind, but I don't think I'll throw them away either. I have used it for chores where it's easier to drive it into a stump and cut against it from a fixed spot.

It's heavy. You tell yourself you don't care until you get rid of it for a while. (And I'm the guy who still insists that a full-size 1911 isn't too big or heavy to carry.) On one outing I forgot to bring it, but I had my Gerber MkII dagger, and I found all kinds of things I could use it for that the Buck was too big for. (The blade is 1/4" thick.) All I have ever used the hollow handle for was to hold the spikes. I suppose a truly prepared guy would keep $100 in twenties in it.

I haven't deployed yet, when I do, I might take it with me, but I think most of the time I'll have the Gerber on my gear. I did also spring for the pouch that goes on the outside of it which holds a smaller folder and a sharpener. This makes it much less silly looking, people don't ask me if I'm going to try to clean a trout with the ridiculous thing. Like they said above, a Kabar style knife probably makes more sense. It's just as long, but not as wide, and it's not irreplaceable if you break or lose it.

May 3, 2009, 12:07 AM
can you even get Jimmy Lile knives anymore i thought he had passed away

thanks for all the history on survival knives

May 3, 2009, 12:34 AM

Entrek are great knives, I have a JAVALINA absolutely great knife.

Todd A
May 3, 2009, 10:52 AM
Avoid all the exotic "survival" knives and spend your money on a quality 4" fixed blade made of carbon steel

Words to live by from hso.

A knife of this type can make anything you will need to survive. It should be able to handle light batoning, branches,saplings and the like. Also it should handle fine work, notches,tips, pivets,etc.

Most importantly,for me, they are compact and light for descrete EDC. I don't know about the rest of you but I don't carry 30 pounds of gear for a short dayhike. A 3"-4" fixed is the knife I know I will have with me.

And the knife you will have with you,not in your drawer,is your survival knife.

I did all the work ,the batoning,notching,pivot ,trimming for this with the Hiker in the photo.

After playing with this knife I know it can help to shelter and feed me. It is my new "survival" knife.


May 3, 2009, 06:55 PM
"that Schrade is a rip-off of Chris Reeves' work and won't hold a candle to it."

For what it's worth (and that may not be much as I am quite knife ignorant) the Schrade knockoff did quite well in a destruction test, vs. the chris reeve original. Maybe the original is superior in other ways like edge holding ability or balance, I don't know. Nor am I sure how realistic the tests are - I'll never hammer my knife though a concrete block. Still.

May 3, 2009, 08:27 PM
Nor am I sure how realistic the tests are - I'll never hammer my knife though a concrete block

tests are not realistic at all , and are more or less laughed at by many in the knife world.

A knife is to cut , you want to chop , get an ax.

Never could understand why people expect a knife to do more than cut .

Simply put , use the right tool for the job.

May 3, 2009, 08:39 PM
A knife is to cut , you want to chop , get an ax.

Never could understand why people expect a knife to do more than cut .

I usually carry a hatchet for big chopping. But I also don't think it is expecting to much out of a quality knife to "baton" it to cut down a 3 inch branch or sapling in case I loose the hatchet. For me, a knife is a "tool" to keep me alive if needed. Cutting is just one of the functions.

May 3, 2009, 09:10 PM
I should have prefaced my post with " in my opinion " , sorry about that.

following also just my opinion:
I don't believe there is such as thing as a survival knife , a knife can be part of a survival kit however.

Too many people view the knife like a pair of vice grips , expecting it to do too many things ( although the vice grips can do many things , it doesn't truly do anything well. )

May 3, 2009, 10:37 PM
Well, I just ordered the Schrade ripoff of a Chris Reeves knife. I like the design but can't afford $300+ for a knife right now. Hope I didn't waste my money, we'll see as soon as the UPS man gets to my door.

May 4, 2009, 12:04 AM
One of my Fighters and a tin for the other stuff and you're good to go!


Todd A
May 4, 2009, 11:47 AM
Never could understand why people expect a knife to do more than cut .

Simply put , use the right tool for the job.

In general I agree with your opinion. I do feel though that a knife should be built well enough to withstand harsh use. If needed to fill a role other than cutting.

When I built that figure 4 in my prior post I reached into my pocket for my SAK. It wasn't there, I lost it last week at work :(. So without its saw I used my JK to baton/chop instead.

It feels good to know that if I needed to make one for "real" the JK can handle my light batoning/chopping. Should my SAK be lost, of course as soon as I replace it.

I don't believe there is such as thing as a survival knife , a knife can be part of a survival kit however.

Again agreed. Just how much stuff you are willing to carry does reflect on how important your blade choice is though. Me I am a minimalist when going out alone on a dayhike.


The multi-tool pouch is a mini survival kit with

Mag fire starter
JK tin knife
Cotton ball tinder
25’ of 165# 3 strand nylon twine
Large oven roasting bag
3 fish hooks w/split shot

The Altoids tin is a First Aid Kit with

Gauze pads
First aid tape
Imodium AD
Band aids

Along with a USGI canteen with cup and I am good.I see no need to carry a axe on the off chance I am going to chop something. Should "survival" arise my fixed blade can do the job.

If I have someone with me,say my 10 year old son, I carry enough stuff to equip a squad.

May 4, 2009, 12:15 PM
cheaperthandirt.com had all for in one of their magazines but I just checked their website and the must've quit carrying them

May 6, 2009, 08:07 PM
Buck Survival Knife

May 7, 2009, 05:10 PM
Seriously, HSO - and sorry to misroute this thread - but what is so inferior about the Schrade knock-off of Chris Reeves project knife? I'm not trying to argue, I'm trying to learn. Is the fit and finish not as good? The metal used inferior? The edge improperly ground?

I like the design of the Chris Reeve knives, just can't afford them. And I understand why there might be some resentment of a mass production company ripping off somebody's custom work. So I hope the original designer was compensated by Schrade (or Taylor brands or whoever) but what I'd like to know is what specifically are the differences in quality between the two knives? How do I recognize quality in a knife?

May 7, 2009, 05:26 PM
If you want the rambo knives as part of a collection for display, this site has them:


I don't see them as having any use in the field though.

May 7, 2009, 05:39 PM
I have three knives that I use as bushcraft and survival knives. A Fallkniven F1, Bark River Bravo-1 and I recently acquired a RAT Cutlery RC-5, which is probably the strongest fixed blade knife I own. All are good for a survival kit or camping, hiking, etc.

May 13, 2009, 03:27 PM
Camillus Navy/Airforce Pilot's Survival Knife is all the knife I'll ever need.That and a leatherman,and I'm good to go.

May 13, 2009, 11:10 PM
Can't think of many chores a leatherman Wave can't do. I don't even carry a hatchet away from my vehicle and use a small saw bow when horse packing.
I did trade my Cav Scout kid an Ontario Black Wind Sword for his Ont. SPAX, lord knows were that will end up.
I also got him a Gerber LST? I believe as a gift when he completed training at FT. Knox. What is the word on these knives?

Black Toe Knives
May 19, 2009, 09:46 PM
My choice of Hollow handle knives are Chris reeve Mountain series or a Randall model 18 5 1/2 version. These are not cheap knives. I would trust my life to either one. But you are going to pay 300.00 to 500.00 respectively. Rat cutlery has a Para chord handle knife that a tube fits in hand under the para cord. Don't ever forget the importance of para cord They handle on para cord knife will give you 20 ft of fishing line.

May 24, 2009, 08:40 AM
It might be counter-productive to partially compromise the utility of a knife handle by using that cord. A tiny coil of fishing line in a little tin, or using lanyard cord instead, and that can be avoided.

Being a terrible fisherman with a rod and reel, I wouldn't give much for my chances using paracord. (I take it you meant taking the strands out and using those, rather than the none-too-thin paracord directly?) I think I'd build a basket fish trap and use the paracord to help that happen, rather than line fish.

Though looking at it from a broader perspective, most any rough outdoor situation should resolve itself one way or another before starvation becomes a concern. Water, fire, and shelter should generally suffice.

Insofar as outdoor blades go, my view is that as long as you have something like a Mora or better, you can make do. But for life in the lap of bladed outdoor luxury, I feel superbly equipped with just one of these categories:

- hunter/skinner + folding buck saw
- khukuri
- hatchet or small axe (e.g. GB Wildlife Hatchet or Small Forest Axe)
- Son Of Dogfather size/style blade

Each of these on its own can perform a broad range of wood and animal processing tasks, each with its particular strengths. I rotate through them all to keep some muscle memory intact, but I'd say that my khukuris see the most use since they're just so much fun.

May 24, 2009, 03:56 PM
We've had these discussion before. Somewhat like starboard, I prefer the traditional kukuri model: that is, a very large, efficient chopper for big tasks and self defense, coupled with a much smaller utility knife for delicate tasks and a steel or stone to sharpen. Some potential pairings:

Very large: large kukuri and small knife (Shrade Sharpfinger? Any decent midsize folder).
Fairly large: good large bowie and SAK.
Large: Valkman 7" blade and Bird and Trout.

There are lots more good combinations, but you usually get more out of building your own dedicated kit (Altoids tin, even) than using someone else's idea of what you'll be needing. I used to have many that I'd made, some carried in soft glass cases with velcro closures. I think those usually had Slim Jims or peanuts, a lighter, hooks, fishing line, trioxane tablets, alcohol wipes, and a space blanket.


May 24, 2009, 04:28 PM
I have so many survival knives I don't even know which one I'd choose if I were walking into a survival situation (and knew it in advance). Do I want to mess up my customs? How about my EK Commando Bowie? (That was my original "survival knife") How about one of my Randall's? How about one of the many SOGs I own? How about my CRKT Razel? How about one of the many Spyderco's I own? How about a Case Trapper? SOG Multitool? Unfortunately, the only knife that I know will be in my pocket is probably one of my SAKs. I do have the itch for either a RAT RC-4 or RC-5 however. :)

Like JShirley said, I view it as a two or three knife choice for a survival scenario. The SAK is probably always going to be part of the mix.

Black Toe Knives
May 24, 2009, 07:01 PM
I love Rat cutlery. I seen the Rat 4 at SMKW few weeks back for $87.00.
I made something like it. I made two of them. Gentleman in Russia and someone in SC bought them.

Here a pic of of it.

One of my next knife is going to be modeled after the Randall model 18 with a Damascus Blade I am making mine a crutch tip of course. I always wanted a Randall.

May 25, 2009, 01:24 AM
I like that design a lot. Which steel, and what's that surface treatment?

Black Toe Knives
May 25, 2009, 01:44 AM
The Blade is 1095 and it professional powder coated. The handle is Custom Micarta made by my wife.

May 28, 2009, 05:50 PM
the guy who made the original Rambo knife was this cat.


he's dead now, but A couple of guys are producing the same knife under his name. I don't know them. I met Jimmy Lyle at a knife show once and he was a cool dude and real craftsman.

May 29, 2009, 03:55 PM
Les Stroud survived a week solo each time out in many of the planet's harshest places with a multi-tool as his primary. Not my cup o' tea because a folder is too fragile to be the primary in my view, but he proved it could be done satisfactorily, and it gave him something with which to strip a bike, snowmobile, pick-up truck, and even a light aircraft, recreating "lost tourist/traveler" scenarios.

Of course in Northern Ontario, he also had an axe and in polar bear country a rifle.;)

Choose the right tools for the job. One could do a lot worse than to carry a decent SAK or decent multi-tool combined with a compact but tough fixed bladed knife like an RC-4 or a Fallkniven F-1.

Big choppers have always amused me for "survival" purposes. Why hack away at the green forest, needlessly burning energy and dealing with carrying a heavy and beefed up machete when there is deadfall nearly everywhere for the picking up?

May 30, 2009, 12:19 PM
Having seen this sort of thing before I would say the destructive testing of a knife is quite unreasonable. Actually, ridiculous is a better word.

To split wood with a knife and baton one uses another piece of wood to strike the spine of the knife. To notch or cut a piece of wood one can use the weight of the knife alone in a chopping stroke. You can do this even with a 5" blade of reasonable heft. Belting a knife with a hammer is a rather silly idea; and hard to visualize in any but the most conjured scenario. And concrete blocks??

If you can carry a 3 pound hammer you can carry a machete or a small ax. If it just so happens that you have a regular hammer with you - but no ax or machete - the claw portion of the head will chew through alot of wood if employed vigorously enough. You could actually grind the head of most hammers into an ax on a concrete block with some work.

Something I find very irritating about this is that Shrade has copied a very distinctive knife - in minute detail - that was the fruit of someone else's genius, along with much time, skilled and painstaking work.

If Shrade are capable of producing a superior knife, why can they not produce a design of their own?

I would save my money and wait before I buy a Shrade copy of one of Mr Reeve's knives.

My current advice? A good SAK, and or good 3.5 to 5 inch knife + a 12" Tramontina machete. The latter can be had for a song.

May 30, 2009, 12:46 PM
Imperial Chinese Schrade come up with their own designs? Surely you jest.

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