Case Ridgeback Hunter Fixed Blade Knife

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Case Ridgeback Hunter Fixed Blade Knife.
Illustration courtesy of W.R.Case & Sons Cutlery Co.

If you are looking for a quality American-made knife there are many good choices, but you need look no further than Case. The Case Cutlery company, currently celebrating their 125th Anniversary, goes back to 1889 when the four Case brothers began selling their hand-made knives out of the back of a wagon in New York. By 1905, the company was located in Bradford, PA, where it remains to this day. The company had been named W.R.Case & Sons by John Russell Case in honor of his father, William Russell Case.

When Jim was growing up in Ohio in the 1950s, it was a family tradition that your first pocket knife was a Case. His was a 6165/SAB folder, which he still uses today. He has lost count as to how many rabbits and deer that knife has dressed-out, but it is a bunch.

Case Ridgeback Hunter Fixed Blade Knife.
Jim's 60-year old Case 6165/SAB

In the days since he got his first Case, Jim often wondered what the "XX" on the blade meant. In doing our homework for this article, we discovered that during the manufacturing process the first X was placed on the pan holding the blade after it had been put through its initial hardening. The second X was placed on the pan after the blade was tempered and properly treated. Thus the legendary XX Trademark was born.

To this day, Case still uses domestic steel for their blades. Tru-Sharp surgical steel is used for the blades in the Case Ridgeback series knives.

Tru-Sharp is a Case proprietary variation of 420HC steel with a higher carbon content. 420 is a good quality, hard and tough stainless steel commonly used for knife blades due to its good balance of desirable traits. This steel works well with Case heat treatment standards, allowing them to produce a knife that maintains its rigidity and toughness. It has decent edge holding capability and allows easy re-sharpening.

The handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable and secure grip. The rosewood scales are well fitted to the handle and secured with two polished brass pins. The light serration on the back of the blade in front of the handle provides positive thumb control of the knife. As expected, the blade was well sharpened upon arrival.

The leather sheath is stitched with heavy leather-craft thread with six rivets added for strength and security. The belt loop is an extension of the sheath and double riveted to insure that it doesn't come loose. The thread, stitching, rivets and leather thickness on the Ridgeback sheath are the same as that found on Jim's 6165/SAB sheath, which are still intact after sixty years of hard use.

If you inspect the leather sheaths of most imports, they are generally pathetic. They are commonly fabricated from thin leather or nylon with light stitching and glue. If they have any rivets at all, there are rarely more than two or three. Flimsy (often dangerous to the wearer) sheaths are one of the drawbacks to many of the inexpensive knives imported from third world countries.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Blackie Collins design hunter/skinner
  • Blade type: Fixed, drop point, high hollow ground
  • Blade length: 4 inches
  • Blade width: 1.35 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.103 inches
  • Blade material: True-Sharp high carbon stainless steel
  • Edge: Plain
  • Sheath: Brown leather (1.03 inch thick cowhide)
  • Handle: Full tang with rosewood scales and lanyard hole
  • Overall length: 8-1/2 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 ounces
  • Country of origin: USA
  • 2014 MSRP: $76.00

The Ridgeback Hunter series knives are recent entries in the Case line and are sure to become popular among hunters and outdoorsmen in general. We are looking forward to taking it with us on our fall hunts in Texas. Coming soon will be our review of a Ridgeback drop point with a Zytel handle.

Back to Cutlery

Copyright 2014 by Jim and Mary Clary and/or All rights reserved.