Wenger Ranger Model 51 lock back.
By a Non SAK user.
Reviewed by hawkchucker
Ok A little confession here. I am not a SAK guy. I have owned only 3 in my lifetime, and well I just found that they were not the best tools for my circumstances. My collection over a 42-year life has been A 20 year old Recruit, a recently purchased Farmer, which I have to say will not be my last. And a Sportsman’s II bought specifically as a key chain tool. So when at The Sebago Meet up in September Def gave me a Wenger Ranger model 51 I have say that It came as a surprise that upon first inspection I had thought I found the perfect knife that is a cross of a SAK and a Tactical one handed knife that I mostly carry for work.
Due to the fact that I spend a ton of time at work in cramped quarters, or up high I prefer a one handed opening blade to use at work. With that being said I also have become a self-confessed Steel snob, and find most steels as being just inadequate to suit my needs. Well that is kind of over and with the review I will kind of show how my feelings have changed and my beloved Benchmade D2 Griptillian is kind of being replaced at work.
First a little overview on the knife being reviewed:
The overall length of the knife is 9 inches or 23 centimeters. The main cutting blade is 3 ¾ inches or 9 centimeters with a handle of 5 inches or 13 cm. The pocket clip is 2 ½ inches and is tip down carried with no provision for changing this. Handle scales are black plastic that are the same composition as my Sportsman’s II and gives a decent amount of grip. A lanyard ring is provided on the bottom of the tool and will certainly be used by myself when I work High up at the plant. The knife as a whole is decently made and the liner lock button release does add as being totally one handed. These knives are readily available for 28$ shipped as of this writing from Feline Vet. http://felinevet.sosakonline.com
The Blade on the Ranger is a stout blade that is remarkably flexible but still allowing the stiffness needed to really power into a cut. Blade came sharp however I would not say that it came with the best factory edge that I have seen. The grind on the blade is a flat grind that lends itself well to slicing and it will perform all camp tasks when preparing food well. The drop point blade is pointy enough to do delicate work, and the blade also sports a belly that is good enough that I would use this blade in the outdoors for hunting and fishing. The “eye” to open the blade one handed is a Birds eye shaped hole that also has a thumb stop on the back with grooves that gave a solid purchase on the grip. However the two thing’s noticed on the blade is, 1 the cutting edge is kind of ripped off due to the grind. Instead of a notch used to end the taper of the grind it just comes to an end on a wedge that could hang up when trying to cut rope and fibrous materials. Not to mention that it takes away about ½ inch of cutting blade that could have been used. Second thing is the back spring. It is obvious that this knife was first designed as a regular folder and the one hand-opening eye was added later on a designer’s board. It would have been nice to have either no back spring or a thumb stud to give more leverage to get by the strong spring. Some will find this ok, but I have a thing about designers taking shortcuts on adding a new feature to blades.
Locking of this blade is accomplished by using a liner lock. It is a very secure lockup that uses a clever button release that is located under the shield. Simply push the shield in and Walla the blade liner lock is moved over allowing to be closed against ones leg or against the palm of your other hand. I found this locking system to be secure enough that when Torque was applied to the blade there was no lock integrity lost, and that the lockup remained in place. Though I favor the Benchmade Axis lock over all other locks the liner defiantly comes in second or me so I found this to be an advantage. However I will state that the liner lock is very thin, but not that it had affected strength so it all worked out on this end.
OK the scales on this knife are basically the same as on the economy models that Victorinox carries. However these are very secure to the frame, and have no issues with slipping due to the ergonomics and the small amount of checkering around the shield and under the clip. The handles however do have a weird notch on the back spine area that is obviously set in for another tool that this model does not include. However while this is purely just a cosmetic issue I wish that they would have a rededicated scale for this model. The thumb ramp on the back of the opening eye gives a solid ramp that enables you to really power through a cut and still remain confidant that you will not have your hand slip down the blade into the cutting edge.
OK I got to say this is where the knife lost me. I have to say that out of all the knives that I have ever carried this is absolutely the saddest and potentially most damaging clip ever produced. I really cannot believe the Quality control allowed this to be added. The issues of the clip are. First, the clip is just too high up on the scale. It interferes with a solid grip and is really just too proud of the knife. It sticks up on my model exactly ½ inch! Secondly, the bottom of the clip is just begging to tear into your furniture. It sits ¼ inch proud of the scale and will catch on anything and everything. The truck I drive for work has a really large chunk taken out of it where the clip caught and bit into it.
With all that I have stated about the clip there is something that can be done and I plan on doing it. I will mash down the top of the clip about ½ its width and take a dremell tool to the bottom to round off the clip. I will also be applying a more down turned tip to it to keep my chairs and furniture safe.
Overall I actually loved this blade and found it to be the buy of the century. However I would dump the clip on it, or modify the clip so that your spouse does not kill you for ripping the fabric on all your furniture. I found it to be a reliable piece, that will service you for years and really can work with the small gripes that are given above due to the cost of this fine knife. This Knife will make all other work knives and loaners obsolete in my box, due to the quality and the price of replacement.