I get a lot of kit in to test at various points in the year, and it’s sometimes hard to find a place for it all in articles, especially when some items can’t really justify an entire review. So here I have put together a few things I have been using over the last twelve months but haven’t brought any great attention to before.
The first time I came across Havalon knives was in the hands on famous Canadian Hunter Jim Shockey. Never having seen them in the flesh, I was curious but not enough to chase one down. By pure coincidence Julian Savory from JMS Arms messaged me only a matter of weeks later asking if I was keen to have one for review. Since then I have used it pretty much non-stop.
Despite there being nothing ground breaking about the knife, I don’t think I would be without one now. Essentially it’s is a folding, replaceable blade knife. A simple plastic handle inlaid with gripable rubber scales on one side, a belt clip can be found on the opposite scale. It operates a liner lock system to fix the retractable arm. This arm facilitates a standard scalpel blade fixing. Using a pair of pliers, pull and replace the blade when it becomes blunt. Sterile and razor sharp, it’s very hard to find complaint with this economically simple system. Ideal for dressing and boning a carcass for packing into a rucksack, it’s small and compact. Universally useful, available for under £40 with replacements blades costing around £25 for 100.
Waterproofing spray: Diver Dave's Waterproof spray
In fairness of disclosure, this item has been made available to the market by a friend of mine, known affectionately to most as Diver Dave. Based up in Aberdeen, and the go-to guy for all fishing wader repairs, he has now launched his own brand of waterproofing repellent spray intended for clothing.
Initially designed for its repelling properties in wader materials, this product can now be used to increase the waterproofing properties of just about any material that allows the spray to be absorbed. A good example was one of my favourite baseball caps, which was not in anyway water proof. Giving it a full spray, allowing to dry and testing the following day was quite astonishing. It now floated like a boat, absorbing no water what so ever after being left to sit
submerged for five minutes.
It’s very important that the spray is allowed to fully dry before exposing to the elements, because the fluid is water based. Its non-toxic, non-staining and works on just about anything. It won’t turn a net into a bucket, but massively enhances a garments waterproofing capabilities and keeps a materials breathability. As far as I can tell from the last few weeks of testing, it doesn’t seem to wear off with normal use. If you want to find out more check out Diver Dave on facebook or www.wader-repairs.co.uk. One bottle retails at £6 plus delivery.
William Evans from DPT contacted me to look at the new DPT moderators just a week before I was coincidently hunting with someone who had just bought one. I have long used Hardy Moderators as my go-to choice, but seeing the DPT mod suddenly made me revaluate. The next week my own test moderator arrived in the post and for the last couple of months I have been using it non-stop on my new Kimber .308Win. I have hunted hard while filming for our new Youtube series, and am yet to have any complaints. I will run a full review in the coming months when I do some side-by-side moderator comparisons, but for now here are the main specs.
Weighing in at 260grams, it is as light as you need a moderator to be, and was ideal for my ultra lightweight 5 lb rifle. Made from Duralium (a type of hardened aluminium-copper alloy) and finished in an anodized, hardened matt black. Despite all the roughing I am yet to scratch it.
It is available in any calibre up to .45 and pretty much any thread size you can imagine. Unlike some mods, it is strippable, and additional baffles can be added if required. The baffles can be removed by hand with no additional keys needed, and to this point have remained seated exactly where I have left them even after strings of range work. The over-barrel reflex type model will add 105mm to the barrel length. I can’t comment on the level of sound suppression other than saying it’s comparable to similar sized mods. I will be testing this accurately at a later date.
It is clear to see that these have been designed with thought and care, and are well machined and finished through-out. A stainless steel blast baffle option is also available for longer life in semi-auto rifles and for use with shorter barrels.
Price £255 available from www.dpteuro.co.uk
(Made in New Zealand)
I have been using a lot of kit from Casstrom in the last half a year. They have a knack of either making cracking equipment themselves or sourcing quality gear from other manufactures. The Hultafors hand forged axes are a perfect example of that. I have always had an unexplainable fascination with blades, and in particular axes. These are some of the finest, and the forest/hunting model has become our standard camp axe for recent expeditions.
Their Field Saw is now a permanent fixture to my hunting bag, either for field dressing and packing out game, or for situations where I don’t have a proper kitted out larder. Precision sharpened, ergonomically designed with an impact resistant glass fibre handle, the blade can be replaced when past its best at a cost of just £7.50. If you don’t have a compact bone saw, this is a must, and can double up as a versatile saw around camp if need be.
I have also been making considerable use of their No.10 Fire Striker combo forest knife. A reliable lighting source that remains unaffected by wet weather, the knife itself is an ideal cross between a solid camp knife and a blade suitable for hunting. As a pure stalking knife it’s thicker and wider than I would choose, but as a single choice blade to use on everything from feathering fire sticks to bleeding a stag and lighting fires, it has stood the test to this point.
Field Saw: £24.95
No.10 combo knife: £94.95
Hultafors Hunting Axe: £66.95
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