03-17-2012, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: North West Washington
The Viscera Report
The North American Hunting Club sent me The Viscera, by RealAvid, a swing-blade-type “Field Dressing Tool” for evaluation. I have had the tool for a number of months and as I feel this product has high merit and only minor shortcomings, I decided to file a report on my findings.
I was unable to use the Viscera in an actual hunting application; however, my occupation requires use of edged tools on a regular basis. I wore the Viscera continually for about a month for over forty hours a week plying it in my trade as a Field Service Technician in the material handling industry (electric and LP fork lift mechanic).
The following are some conclusions I reached during my tests:
Interestingly, the RealAvid product catalog lists a knife named “Revelation” that sports what I would think is a near perfect solution to the sheath problems listed above. Perhaps the only suggestion I might make is the addition o a drain hole at the bottom of that sheath to allow for easier cleaning and prevention of moisture build-up.
As with so many things in life, tools are generally part of a larger system. Excellent design, superior workmanship and materials, and unbeatable execution can sometimes render the best concept unworkable if one component in the “system” is substandard.
I love the Viscera knife but pine for a more rigid, snug fitting sheath. The knowledge of the sheath’s issues will probably be sufficient to prevent future loss of the tool. I don’t love the over all design and execution of the tool and simply don’t want the Viscera lost!
I appreciate the opportunity to test the RealAvid Viscera and aside from the sheath’s minor shortcomings, they have an excellent product on their hands. This product definitely ranks as a “Must Have” for anyone looking for a light weight, robust, easy handling, hard working field dressing tool.
- The over-all light weight of the knife is excellent. In many instances, a light weight tool also brings with it fragility unwelcome in a working application. I never once got the impression that I was over taxing this tool in oftentimes vigorous cutting applications.
- The balance of the knife with either blade extended (a 3.75 inch modified drop point knife on one end and an over-sized gut hook and bone saw on the other) was also excellent. At no time did I ever feel I was fighting the balance of the blade even with cold numbed or fatigued hands (a situation often faced when hunting).
- The material used in the blade (440 stainless) accepted a ready edge and was able to retain that edge for extended (sometimes brutal) use. Admittedly, the drop point edge was the blade that was used in most of my testing. I did use the hook experimentally on a number of materials and found it not only to be initially sharp and durable but its edge retention was very good.
- The grip to blade angle was excellent.
- The brightly colored handle covering took some getting used to; however, the bright over molding would make a dropped tool much easier to locate afield. Not only was the over molding comfortable but it held sufficient “tack” to provide a slip free surface even when wet without undue weight.
- Discussion of the tool’s sheath is a horse of a different description. I found the sheath, while entirely appropriate for display in a sales counter, was a miserable failure when used in practice. Invariably, one-handed insertion of the tool to its sheath was almost impossible. The backing of the sheath is too flexible and allows for misalignment between blade and sheath. The retainer was constantly running afoul of the blade and getting nicked and once successfully returned to the sheath, if the retainer was not properly fastened (also almost impossible one-handed with or without gloves…gloves are now commonly found in field dressing situations), the blade was apt to fall free of the sheath if any activity such as bending or stooping was undertaken. Aggravation from returning the blade home, gradual destruction of the retainer, two-handed reinsertion of the blade and likely loss of the complete tool would surely lead to less than complete satisfaction.
“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter can not be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”
Col. Jeff Cooper