Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ray Mears' Bushcraft Season 1....

Links to my Megavideo-hosted copies of Ray Mears' show titled Bushcraft, originally aired on BBC.
Feel free to watch them, but I've disabled downloading and comments.
Here's the links:

Episode #1.
Episode #2.
Episode #3.
Episode #4.
Episode #5.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Camillus MC-1 Paratrooper Knife Review.

I've had this knife for close on four or five years.
It was my first TADgear purchase; I was looking for one, they had them and for cheap!
This is the knife that was issued to Army and Marine Paratroopers before their first "real" jump. Generally during training they were all collected, clipped together and went with one guy to prevent midair injury but since Vietnam they've seen pocket time in action and many an old vet still proudly totes his orange-handled MC-1.
The main blade is automatic (in other words, it's a utility switchblade). It's not meant for use as a weapon (obviously) but rather for cutting shrouds after a hangup in trees or brush, if that should occur while landing.
While I've never used it for that, I have used it periodically for utilitarian tasks and I can tell you that it's very easy to open. Just retrieve it from your pocket (or unclip it--I put a spring clip on my lanyard loop), switch the safety to off, and push the button. It'll open in a flash, with a snapping sound. This is a leaf-spring auto--very strong but rather loose in the joint, so if you're obsessive about your lockup, don't even bother with this knife (unless of course you're a collector and just want it for show).

  • Heavy duty leaf spring will likely last you your whole life and longer. This one's a hand-me-down.
  • Automatic main-blade can be quickly and easily deployed in emergency situations.
  • Manually-deployed "cord hook" shroud cutter is useful for cutting paracord or even, I'd imagine, seat belts after a car crash. It'd be hard to get out under stress though...
  • Safety-orange Delrin handle is hard to miss should you drop it in leaf litter or water.
  • Bail loop to secure knife to yourself or your nylon gear.
  • HC steel is easy to hone, doesn't take long to put a new edge on it.
  • High-carbon steel dulls quickly and rusts easily.
  • Blade is rather thin, not meant for heavy usage (is more for cutting cord).
  • Bail loop would be better placed on the butt-end of the knife so as to avoid snapback opening failures and facilitate easier blade deployment.
Here's a vid of the action.

Manufacturer: Camillus Cutlery (No longer in business).
Price: 45.00-60.00. Generally over 50.00.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! This one's a keeper, and not only because it's collectible.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gerber Recoil Autopliers (Multitool Review)...

About three years ago I bought myself a new multitool when it came out.
It's lasted me this long and is still going relatively strong, but here are a few things I like and dislike about it.

  • Lighter than my old Leatherman Supertool.
  • One-hand opening, spring-loaded push-button mechanism makes using the tool easier (sorta).
  • Enough basic tools to provide assistance in nearly any general-use scenario (screwdrivers, folding knife, scissors, can opener, etc).
  • Sturdier torsion-wise than the Compact Sport (or so they say).
  • Has a very high CDI factor due to its "switchblade-like" opening mechanism. Basically these are OTF pliers. Pretty sweet if you ask me. (This of course is just a bonus. Form, after all, follows function, not the other way around).
  • Heavier than the Compact Sport version, which I plan to buy with black-oxide coating sooner or later now that I've given away my old Leatherman.
  • Thicker than the Compact Sport. Longer too.
  • Less reliable than the Compact Sport version due to the number of small working parts that could break eventually.
  • Does not accept the "Gerber Toolbox" bit set like the Compact Sport does.
  • Requires you to have a hard surface to push against in order to retract the pliers, similar to a single-action OTF.

A vid of the action:

Manufacturer's Product Page: Recoil Autopliers.
Price: 45.00-60.00 in stores nationwide. I got mine at Target in 2004 or 2005.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 4 Stars, minus 1 star for the aforementioned weaknesses.