I’d like to review my latest acquisition. It’s a Bob Dozier Custom “Master Hunter”, Hollow Ground with Dessert Ironwood Scales.
First some history. In the summer of 2003, Bob whipped up some new prototype blades. Two of these went on to infamy as the “Convex versus Hollow Ground test blades”. Dan Crotts posted: “The test blades were called the Sixgunner when we started making them. Then when we made the semi production version we changed the name to Master Hunter.” The majority of these blades were produced as a joint venture between A. G. Russell and Dozier. These mass produced A. G. Russell blades were laser cut and Flat Ground by CNC machines, than Heat-Treated and finished in Bob’s shop.
The Knife reviewed here is a Custom Hollow Ground version, made entirely in Bob’s shop, part of a batch turned out for the knife show circuit. This is a big knife, larger then it may appear in photo’s. It fits my large hand well. The .160” thick, Heat-Treated, D2 Tool Steel blade is 4” long, by 1 1/8” wide (1 7/16” at the guard). The handle measures 4 5/8” of palm filling Dessert Ironwood. The overall length is 8 5/8”. The fit and finish is flawless. Razor sharp out of the box.
The “Master Hunter” moniker is well chosen for this knife. It has more “Belly” then Old Saint Nick, and could easily skin all his reindeer. The knife rides easy in the hand and feels well balanced. The scales are shaped in such a way to allow for flexibility in the grip position, while the pinky swell keeps you in touch with the end of the handle; important features in a knife designed for dressing and skinning. A fresh road kill helped me put this knife through it’s paces. The working edge glides through hide, meat and sinew like the proverbial hot knife through butter... Amazing. Working the local Farmers Market, I had a chance to use this knife on some camp type chores; cutting canvas and rope, slicing fruits and vegetables, even chopping through corn stalks and cobs. I beat on this knife more than usual, I tend to go easy on hollow ground skinning type blades. The blade on this Master Hunter is very stout, and was easily up to the task. The deep hollow ground edge cut much thinner slices than you would think a blade with this much backbone should. And like all Dozier’s D2 blades, the edge is hard to dull, and sharpens readily.
The Dessert Ironwood Scales on this knife are not of the highest grade, but are tight grained and very serviceable. I’m not complaining, as I got a great deal on this knife, and I plan on working it. The polished finish provided was attractive, but a bit too slick for my taste. Some light sanding raised the grain enough for a more secure grip, while showing more character in the dark Ironwood grain.
The vertical carry Dozier Type “B” Kydex belt sheath is excellent. Safe, low profile, very secure, and the knife is easy to deploy; every thing a sheath should be. On my hip, the knife/sheath combo proved quiet and unobtrusive on the trail or in the brush. Fine for wearing around camp, a bit large for comfort sitting in a truck or car. I understand that Bob makes beautiful leather sheaths for those with more traditional tastes.
In conclusion, this may be the best hunting knife I have ever laid my hands on. And if you where packing a hatchet or machete, this knife would work nicely as a camp knife. As any collector knows, some knives come and some knives go, but I consider this one a “keeper“. I would highly recommend Dozier’s “Master Hunter” to anybody who needs a high quality slicing and cutting tool, be they a novice woodsman or a master hunter.
Additional photo’s to follow.