Ka-Bar TDI Knife Review

by GunGuy

I’ve owned a large Ka-Bar TDI knife for over 5 years. It’s really easy to carry the knife in a discreet manner as a backup or primary every day carry (EDC). I carry the knife on my support or strong side depending on the circumstances and clothing. Those who have a few extra lbs around the middle will find that it digs into their side when carrying it inside the waist band (IWB). I found this out the hard way as my weight fluctuated over the years. Clipped on the outside of the belt there is no issue.

The  knifes sole purpose is to be an emergency last ditch self defense knife. It comes sharp from the factory but I touched it up with a leather strop to make it razor sharp. This knife doesn’t get used for anything that will dull the blade.

The Taiwan made Ka-Bar TDI ships with a kydex sheath, and includes two straps with velcro and button snaps that make it compatible with Molle webbing and belt carry. I added the Ka-Bar TDI belt clip to give me some versatility while carrying IWM or OWB. The belt clip is personal preference and is not a requirement for carrying it effectively. For the price of $45 for the knife and $10 for the belt clip it’s a good deal and it’s worth the money.

KaBar TDI Large
KaBar Belt Clip

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Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 Review


I have a Vortex Viper Pst 4-16×50 scope mounted on a Remington 700 SPS Tactical chambered in .308. I purchased the scope for $900 and the fit and finish of the scope is near perfect. Vortex is possibly one of the best values in mid-high range scopes. The equivalent Leupold would be another $300 and a Nightforce even more than that. More than anything else in the gun world, when it comes to optics you generally get what you pay for. This is where Vortex has really carved out its niche. It has become known for making very good quality scopes with very good glass at a very good price point.

The Vortex Viper PST line offers illuminated reticles on all models. What makes this scope so good is the magnification range is about perfect all around. With 4-16 magnification you can shoot from 100 to 1000 yards very well. The Mil scope adjustments are an improvement over the standard MOA adjustments of most American scopes. This allows your adjustments to match the reticle in your optic. If you range a target and need to make a 1 Mil adjustment you put ten clicks onto your optic and are good to go. With a traditional MOA optic with a mil based reticle you need to convert Mils to MOA and then dial the adjustment. Its just an unnecessary step and the reason military scopes now are adjusted in 1/10 mils instead of the traditional 1/4 or 1/2 MOA adjustments.

The first focal plane insures that your reticle is accurate at any magnification. With a second focal plane optic the reticle is only ‘correct’ at one setting, usually at the highest magnification. So 1 Mil would equal 1 Mil only at 16x magnification. At 8 magnification it should equal 1/2 Mil. Another step you can avoid with the FFP optic in which the reticle is correct throughout the entire magnification range. Vortex also offers fantastic customer service and one of the best warranties in the business. I’ve seldom needed to take advantage of it but any time I have contacted them the interaction has been fantastic. I can strongly recommend this scope for the serious hunter, long range shooter or tactical shooter.

One note, if you are going to install the shims for the zero stop feature, be sure to not scissor the shims as they go in. If you do the zero stop will vary quite a bit. It’s not that big a deal but I have read where people are complaining about this.

Remington 700 SPS Tactical Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50
Remington 700 SPS Tactical Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50

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Kuksa – The Bushcrafter’s Coffee Cup

by Woodsbum

There are many, many really cool things that you learn about when diving into the whole “bushcrafting” world. Different techniques for doing things that you have done for years, re-purposing old gear, making your own kit items, and learning about things that you didn’t even know existed are just some of the ways in which an outdoors-person can benefit. When I ran across wooden eating/drinking items, I was not too sure at first. After time, I found that building these things didn’t just help me to become better with cutting tools, but it also helped me to think differently about what I truly needed to carry with me into the woods. Although my spoons, bowls and cups are not ready for prime time I wanted to pass along the whole idea of making your own items. When I make something that is more than one step above functional, I will include pictures and do a post on it. Until then, please learn about the “kuksa.”

Kuksa and Guksi originate from Scandinavian drinking cups that were made from birch burls. Now a days you can find them from all sorts of varied wood types, but they are basically the same concept. They are hollowed out pieces of wood that make a cup shape and have a handle. Not a big innovation of design. They are, however, very nice to use. The ones that I have made seem to cool my coffee to a drinking temperature almost instantly and keep it there for a relatively decent amount of time. They also give something I like to call “style points.”

Here are a couple pictures of different kuksas so that you have an idea of what I am talking about.

Kuksa

Kuksa

Kuksa

Kuksa

As you can see, they differ in shape and handle style. The only common thread that they really seem to have is that they hold liquids and have a handle of some sort. Many are hand carved in the traditional construction method. Many are also done by machine or a combination of machine, knife and axe. Once completed, they are soaked in some sort of a non toxic oil, like vegetable oil, and allowed to dry so that they don’t crack out.

Here are a few videos on construction.

And another one:

Again, these are beautiful and function pieces of equipment that can either be carved or machined, all depending on your skills. So, grab some wood chunks and get to work making your own. It is a rewarding experience that can become a bit addictive over time.
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Wild Boar Blades Trout and Game Knife

by Woodsbum

I can’t remember exactly, but it was about 18 months or so ago I saw an advertisement in The Backwoodsman for a nice little trout and game knife made by Wild Boar Blades. I called the number to get some pricing and information. Come to find out, the maker has a shop out in Silver Lake, WA and answered his own phone. The gentleman seemed like a great guy so I went ahead and ordered one of his knives.

Shipping was quick and the price was good considering I was getting something from a custom knife maker. Some of my custom knives have been over $600, so this was almost “chump change” in comparison. Again, I will say that the maker himself was great to talk to over the phone and the pictures of his work made his knives appear quite good. Then I got it in the mail……

Now I don’t want to pick apart someone’s work nor do I dislike the knife enough to not use it. There were just some quality issues that need to be addressed before I feel that it should have been released from the work bench.

First, let me show you the knife.
Wild Boar Blades Trout knife

Wild Boar Blades Trout knife

As you can see, it looks nice from the pictures. Mind you, I have used the heck out this knife and both it and the sheath have seen better days. There are a couple maker errors that I found when I first got the knife, however. The first thing that I noticed was that the handle scales were not even. The maker did not square off the butt evenly and now there one side is annoyingly longer than the other. It is hard to see in this picture, but if you look closely you can see it.

Crooked scales

Crooked scales

You can also see the grinding marks on the tang right at the butt as well as crookedly ground scales up toward the top of the scales.

The grind on the blade was also way too sharp of an angle. It would not hold an edge at all. It took me several hours on a stone to get the angle to a workable angle. As you can see here, I did not do a perfect job. It is a lot better than it was, however. The blade came with a very sharply angled convex grind to it. The way it was done made it where the blade did not hold an edge nor could I get it very sharp. A flatter or more tapered grind would have been a better choice for this knife considering it was designed for cleaning trout and small game. It really came as more of a patch type knife than anything else. I still have many hours left to make it perfect, but considering the other flaws I will just let time and strop sharpening fix the edge.

The other issue that will require my attention is the stitching of the sheath. Even though the sheath is not evenly cut and the stitches were not properly aligned to the edge, the real problem is that the maker used an easy stitch with unwaxed thread. Of course the thread broke and is now in need of a complete restitching job.

Broken stitching and uneven edge spacing

Broken stitching and uneven edge spacing

Now don’t get the idea that I hate the knife. The finish sanding and polish of the scales is awesome. The design and shape is phenomenal as well. I even like the maker’s mark and name of the blade company. I just think that there are some build and quality issues that need to be addressed.

As a side note, I have used this knife quite extensively to clean small game and fish. It has cleaned 20-30 trout, several dozen ducks, a dozen or two rabbits, probably a 100 doves, countless squirrels and helped bone out my son’s deer. After flattening out the edge on the blade it is now sharp enough to work as it was originally intended. Again, it has a long way to go. As you can see below, it is sharp enough after meating out several racks of ribs last night to still cut paper without issue.

Sharp enough for now

Sharp enough for now

If you have the skills to fix the blade when you get it or are like me and don’t care too much about using a blemished custom knife, I would recommend the shape and design of this knife. If you want a show piece or don’t know how to fix the edge of a knife to make it more suited for cutting up meat then I would recommend you look elsewhere.
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Vortex Strikefire 2 Review

I picked up a Vortex Strikefire 2 for $180 and my initial impressions is that it is a quality site that is robust. The Vortex Strkefire 2, which is modeled after the Aimpoint Pro, has a red and green 4 MOA dot, night vision brightness settings, 30mm one piece tube, a co-witness cantilever mount, is waterproof, and has flip up scope covers. Vortex has made some improvements over the original Strikeforce by moving the controls to the front of the site preventing accidental activation, improving the lens caps so they do not easily pop open, and an auto power shutdown after 6 hours to prevent the batteries from draining.

Comparing the Vortex Strikefire 2 with my Aimpoint Pro side by side I found that there isn’t that much difference in between the two at shorter distances. Using both sights mounted on a Sig Sauer M400 I had similiar results out to 200 yds. At 300 yds plus is when the 4 moa dot on the Strikefire 2 was at a disadvantage and I started losing my rounds on the paper targets. Adding the Vortex VMX-3T flip mount magnifier would have probably helped out a great deal. After the trip to the range I knew my limitations with the sight.


All  things considered the Strikefire 2 is a very good site for the money and is a low cost alternative to the Aimpoint Pro as the price difference between the two is about $240. With the additional savings you can get a Vortex VMX-3T flip mount magnifier for a $160 and increase your optics range. If you want a competitor that can hold it’s own and stand up right along side those military grade optics for a cheaper price, Vortex is your best bet.

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Vortex Strikefire 2
Vortex Magnifier
Strikefire 2 on a KSG

Strikefire 2 on a KSG

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