I have a buck zipper and find the gut hook really gets in the way, as for cheap knives versus expensive your ability to sharpen a knife is paramount ,though the expensive knife will hold its edge much longer
A good knife is a joy to use. A cheap one is a pain. Try dealing with a moose with a knife that won't hold an edge.
Gut hooks are a waste of money and a pain in the a.. to use. They do one thing well, and then they are in the way for the whole rest of the job. Folding knives can be cleaned well in an automatic dishwasher, but I prefer fixed blades for serious use.
I hate cheap plastic handled knives. They are just what it says on the tin, cheap. and nasty .
There are some excellent stalking knives out there, designed for the job in hand and not costing a small fortune.
Like Canuk has said " A good knife is a joy to use. A cheap one is a pain. Try dealing with a moose with a knife that won't hold an edge."
Its all down to choice at the end oif the day.
Cheap plastic knives have a place but that place is in the larder doing what they were intended to do.They never hold a decent edge for long. Ok when your in the larder and be bothered to keep on working them up with a steel. Also the blades are always to long and flexable for practicable use in the field.
When we are culling and have a number of hinds to turn out the last thing you want is a crappy knife to work with.
Buck, Scharade and Remmington make some very good and affordable knives.
I have some expensive knives which i agree are nice to have and to use but is a pain if you lose one. I also have a few bushknives of bushwear and there cheap as chips and re sharpen easy every time. and at £4.00 each you cant go wrong if you lose it
But i would never consider a folding knife or a gut hook knife.
Well, I have to say, I use a buck alpha hunter folding job with rubber non slip handle and with a gut hook! it’s the best 30 quid I’ve spent. (besides a lap dance) Normally around 70 quid in the uk, got it on e-bay for £30. C
Compact when on your belt and easy, comfy to use. Buy and large I only use it to graloch in the field so it remains razor sharp for a very long time.
Used it in Canada this last summer, skinned a whole bull elk and a black bear with out sharpening, my guide couldn’t believe his eyes!! If that doesn’t show a good knife I don’t know what will!
I have a couple of hand-made Finnish Puukkos. Straight bevelled, and therefore sharpened on a Japanese water-stone. No matter how sharp you think your knife is, it ain't nothin' compared to these things. Just like a Japanese sushi knife. If you just brush against either of these knives in passing, it's Elastoplast time.
They are amazingly expensive, and I'd hate to loose one, but they are utterly beautiful to look at.
Puukkos are wonderful. Even the sub £100 jobs are often well made, with very high grade steel.
As long as the blade is made of 440 steel you wont go far wrong.
Opinals are good too, easy to look after (even easier to lose ) and can be sharpened on anything,brick,stone,file,sandpaper etc etc as they were designed for the Foreign Legion, they must be a simple lot
I was once bought a Wyoming Knife for my birthday. It's a fairly strange looking beast with a gut hook and separate skinning blade a bit like a Stanley knife blade and is roughly triangular in shape with a "knuckleduster" type grip. It is nice to look at and reasonably effective but I hardly ever use it preferring a good quality fixed blade instead.
Expensive or cheap, I use both, but what some folk are forgetting is the type of grind on the blade.
A flat scandi grind will be fantastic for wood/carving and general bushcraft use, but the wire edge that is formed during the sharpening process will soon come off when a bone is struck.
IF you intend to use a knife for butchery then may I suggest a blade with a back bevel, as there is more steel behind the edge, thus making the edge stronger.
Hollow ground blades are usually incredibly sharp, but can be difficult to sharpen, especially in the field.
Frosts mora is a cracking little knife for around £10, comes in stainless too. Great if you shoot near the sea or are partial to a bit of wildfowling. Flat bevel knife that comes up to razor sharp in 5 mins on a Jap waterstone, also provides you with a cheap blade to practice your sharpening skills.