In the hunting community, the term “non-typical” refers to an animal whose antler pattern lies outside of the norm. Because such animals often have dramatically unusual antler configurations, they must be placed in a separate scoring category. For that reason, the separateness of design, Browning asked cutlery innovator Russ Kommer to come up with a series of knives, both folding and fixed-blade, that would visibly standout for the rest of the competition.
This new knife series, aptly term “Non-Typical Stag Hunting Knives” has established a serious benchmark in production cutlery. Using the finest materials and the very best cutlery craftsmanship, Browning has managed to produce hunting knives that possess the look, feel and performance of a custom product, and thankfully at an affordable price point. To date, there are three knives in this series, one folder and two fixed-blade models. Each model features stainless steel blades hardened to a functional Rc 56-58 on the Rockwell scale and stag (antler) handle scales.
Both of the new Non-Typical fixed-blade models, the drop-point hunter (3-1/2” blade) and the elongated clip-point skinner (2-7/8” blade), feature fully hollow-ground blades with stainless guards and butt caps. Stacked wood and brass spacers contrast with the natural stag handle scales. While stag may not be a tough as molded synthetic thermoplastic, or some other handle scale materials, it is striking in appearance and offers excellent hand-to-knife contact. To me, stag provides unmatched warmth and life to a knife that is otherwise a sterile hand tool.
The folder in this series features a hollow-ground, drop-point pattern blade (3-1/2” long), with blade-mounted twin studs to facilitate one-hand opening, and a inner-liner locking mechanism. While the handle scales are natural stag, they are well integrated with stainless steel bolsters for a striking contrast of materials. One thing about this folder that really caught my attention is the incredible smoothness of the movement of the blade tang during the opening cycle. There isn’t any hesitation and the blade locks open with an audible snap! This folder has everything you could ever ask for–top-drawer materials, superior craftsmanship and good looks–in a lock-blade folding hunting knife.
While any knife can look good, hands-on performance in the field can be something else entirely. To provide the value of these knives as game care tools, I took both the folder and the skinning knife on a wild boar hunt. Dealing with wild swine is especially challenging in that they have wire-like hair and tough hide, both of which can dull a blade quickly. I was well pleased on how well the 9Cr18MoV blade steel held up during the field dressing and skinning procedures. Furthermore, the skinning blade worked well in separating the muscle tissue from the skeletal structure.
Every year I have the opportunity to handle a wide range of new cutlery, including both production and custom models. At first look, the new Non-Typical knife series is an elegant standout and during fieldwork the knives certainly prove they are highly functional edged tools. Any knife owner would be proud to own one of these fine, custom-designed knives from Browning.–Durwood Hollis