I must confess I never grew up hunting. It was something my family never got into, and so I was deprived of that early introduction to the classic hunting knives that so many Americans get to enjoy. (My family was big into fishing however so I’ve got some pretty mean filet knives – small consolation.) That said, I liked the Bone Collector series ever since Benchmade introduced the line, and picked up one of their the Bone Collector mini-folders (model 15030) for testing. I don’t use it for hunting, but the small size, great steel and solid construction make it a perfect EDC blade, and the Mini Bone Collector has been spending some serious time in my pocket this summer.
Naturally, with the Bone Collector moniker and celebrity hunter Michael Waddell’s name etched on the knife, one would assume this is a small hunting blade. I’ve never used it for this purpose but the nice belly and gentle tip lead me to believe this would make a decent skinner. I’ve been using this knife as an EDC blade, and feel like it does the job just fine. This could also be a great (small) folding camp/utility knife. I’ll be examining the knife mainly from an EDC standpoint.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The mini Bone Collector (or “mini BC”) has a 2.95″ blade, an overall length of 7.08″ and a weight of 3.46 ounces. For an under 3″ blade, it may seem on the heavy side, but it’s a very sturdy design with a thick blade, full stainless steel liners and a full backspacer. It makes for a nice solid EDC knife.
The blade is a modified drop point design – modified to the point where it almost resembles a sheepsfoot blade. No doubt this was done in part to function as a skinning knife, but I found the good belly and relatively blunt tip to be both functional and friendly in appearance. The knife has a partial flat grind, that begins about 2/3 of the way up the blade, making for a strong design that slices well.
Benchmade used a thick piece of D2 tool steel for the blade. D2 is a high carbon tool steel that is very resistant to wear. Benchmade finished this steel to a rockwell hardness of 60-62, which is on the higher end for most EDC knife steels. Edge retention has been excellent and I haven’t noticed any chipping on the blade. One of the trade offs is that D2 is supposed to be more prone to corrosion than other steels. I’ve treated this knife like any other EDC knife (I keep it clean and dry) and have noticed zero corrosion down here in humid south Florida. In my opinion, if you are comparing this knife to a mini Griptilian or other axis lock knife in 154CM, D2 is a great upgrade.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The mini Bone Collector handle is made from G10 scales over stainless steel liners. The G10 on my handle scales came very cool black and green pattern, although you have the option of plain black as well. The scales have been sculpted in a “bone” pattern. It’s a little different and further distinguishes this knife in the Benchmade lineup. The liners have been given a black finish and are meticulously skeletonized. The knife has a black G10 backspacer that is finished in a pattern faintly reminiscent of a spinal column, completing the Bone Collector effect. Construction is all top notch and everything has been bolted together with black stainless steel hardware.
The ergonomics on the mini BC are good. There is nothing particularly outstanding about the ergos, but I managed to squeeze all 4 fingers onto the handle without any issues. The choil area has been carved out to better accept the fingers and there is some functional jimping on the back of the handle. It’s not super aggressive jimping, but it holds my thumb in dry conditions. The heavily textured scale provides both visual interest and some moderate amounts of grip. I am not sure how well this jimping will hold up if you are skinning a deer and have hands covered in blood.
The pocket clip is outstanding. The mini BC comes with a standard arrow style clip, the same clip found on the HK 14210. This clip has been given a durable black coating and can be swapped to either side of the knife – tip up only. The clip rides fairly deep (not ultra deep) and is very discrete. This is a proven pocket clip design and is among my favorites.
Deployment and Lockup
Benchmade decided to include a thumb hole for deployment on the mini Bone Collector. One gripe is that the thumb hole is small. I took a tape measure to it and it measured out at 11mm. By way of reference a standard thumb hole on a Spyderco Knife is 13mm. It may not sound like much, but those 2mm actually do make a difference here and I found the thumb hole to be relatively difficult to actuate. The fact that the hole is partially blocked by the handle only exacerbates the problem. That said, deployment was certainly not impossible – it just took some getting used to after carrying so many Spydies. I do think under stress or with gloves it could be a challenge. Deployment itself was smooth though, and the knife sailed on it’s phosphor bronze bushings.
The mini BC has an axis lock, which hardly needs an introduction here. I’ve written a lot on the axis lock, but suffice to say, it works very well with this knife. I detected absolutely zero blade play and I love the ambidextrous ease of the axis lock. In conclusion, lock up is awesome.
The Bone Collector is an interesting addition to the Benchmade lineup. I think the mini BC offers something a little different with the D2 steel, sculpted green and black scales and thumb hole. It’s a tough knife with its thick blade and full backspacer. If you are comparing this knife to other smaller Benchmade knives, I think part of the decision will be if you like the look of the knife. The aesthetics are unique and some will definitely be drawn to the distinct Bone Collector styling. And if you hunt, well, perhaps that will factor into the decision as well.
As for overall fit and finish, this is at the usual Benchmade standard of quality. My knife came razor sharp, everything fit together perfectly and blade centering was near perfect.
The mini Bone Collector has left me with a very favorable impression. If you want a rugged axis lock folder with a small footprint and premium steel definitely consider the Mini Bone Collector 15030. It’s a very well built and practical knife that could work just as well out in the field as it could at your home or work.