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Although it is one of the more overlooked brands in the United States, Muela Knives produce some of the highest quality hunting and tactical knives in the world.
The company was started by Eladio Muela about 50 years ago, starting out as a small artisan shop committed to producing finely crafted and highly functional knives. Today, those same standards of quality construction are meticulously maintained, incorporating the latest technology to produce some of the strongest stainless steel blades available.
These blades are made of Martensitic steel, named after its creator Adolf Martens. Due to an alloy construction containing higher proportions of chromium and having a carbon content of less than 1%, these blades are highly resistant to corrosion and have a hardness between 54 and 58 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This makes them not only durable but allows them to maintain a sharp edge comparatively longer than carbon steel.
Muela hunting knives all feature thoughtful construction, with blade designs and details that not only fit the intended use of the knife but aid in its ability to outperform other knives. Many of the knives in this Muela hunting knife review feature red stag antler handles, which give them a distinctive look that is also strong. They all come with a custom made red stag leather sheath with heavy-duty stitching that won't fail on you when you need it most. These knives are backed by a lifetime warranty, however, they're well known as a knife you pass onto your children or grandchildren.
Muela All-Purpose Hunting Knives
While all of the knives in this review are hunting knives, the knives in this first grouping are intended for general hunting use. Their blades have a multi-functional design that makes them suitable for any task you may encounter out in the wilderness. Any of these knives can meet the demands of hunting, from field dressing to skinning to quartering. They also make great all-purpose bush knives that will serve you well when rambling about your homestead taking care of what needs to be done.
When it comes to a highly functional Muela hunting knife, it doesn't get much better than the Muela Viper. This knife strikes a perfect balance between utilitarianism and aesthetics with a very versatile blade. It has an upswept drop point blade with swage and gut hook. This combination makes it the only knife you need when hunting. The upsweep of the blade provides that extra length that is so beneficial when skinning. The drop point makes it easier to sheath this knife while the swage provides a good point that can still be used for piercing. The beveling is at a great angle that provides strength and a good point. The inclusion of the gut hook is an added bonus, as it makes for easier field dressing with less chance of damaging meat or hide -if you know how to use a gut hook properly.
The blade on this knife is made of the same highly durable martensitic steel common among Muela hunting knives. This is a stainless steel alloy made of 440 chrome, vanadium, and molybdenum that is more resistant to corrosion than other stainless steels. It's also very strong which allows it to stay sharp longer -thereby increasing the life expectancy of the knife as you won't have to sharpen or hone it as often.
The handle of the Muela Viper features a solid brass guard. The handle itself is made of red stag crown antler. The blade measures 4 3/8 inches long, with an overall length of 9 1/4 inches. It comes with a custom made red stag leather sheath with tough stitching to last almost as long as this knife will.
If you're looking for a good all-purpose hunting knife, but want something with that deeper ground belly that makes skinning easier then the Muela Bison is a great choice. It features a swaged clip point blade, which produces a stronger point that is still easy to sheath. The swage provides a sharper point, as well as strengthening the point. That deeper belly allows for longer and smoother strokes that allow you to more quickly and more easily skin an animal. Like the other blades in the Muela hunting knife family, the Bison features a blade constructed of tough martensitic steel that will withstand even the roughest beating your hunting season may throw at it.
This blade is 3 3/4 inches long with a full tang extending through the length of the red stag antler handle. The total length of this knife is 7 1/4 inches long. It weighs about 7 ounces, making it a lightweight knife with just enough heft that it fits comfortably in your hand. It comes with a genuine red stag leather sheath with heavy-duty stitching. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle, with a metal insert to increases durability. It comes with a length of leather cording already strung through the lanyard hole.
The Colibri is one of Muela's oldest designs and is truly a great all purpose hunting knife. Its blade is 2 7/8 inches long which makes it legal to have as an everyday carry knife. The blade features a drop point with single edge that is hollow ground. Older versions of this knife had a noticeably thinner blade that was flat ground, so this is an improvement that only makes this already impressive knife that much better. That drop point makes this a multi-functional knife that you can carry confidently on you knowing that it can handle most any job you face. And thanks to the martensitic stainless steel construction and full tang common in all Muela hunting knives, this Muela Colibri knife will make a treasured keepsake you can look forward to passing on to that next generation of hunters in your family.
It has a red stag antler handle while the previous version of this knife had thinner wood scales. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle with brass reinforcement to add to the overall durability of this knife. It comes pre-strung with leather cording and comes with a matching, custom-made red stag leather sheath.
Muela Bowie Knife Review
What red-blooded American hasn't dreamed of owning a bowie knife? This is an iconic knife, favored by the toughest men who helped to tame the wilderness in this country. Muela bowie knives are made to the traditional standards that you would expect from a bowie knife, with greater size and weight, as well as a clipped point blade for a strong and sharp point. A Muela bowie knife can be found in a range of sizes, from mountain man standard, as seen in the Magnum 26, to the practical bushcraft blade of the Muela Gredos.
Muela Magnum 26
The Muela Magnum Bowie is the king of bowie knives, made famous by the movie "Seraphim Falls." It has a 10 3/4 inch blade made of martensitic steel. This particular alloy is known for having exceptional strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance. As it is made with less than one percent of carbon and tempered, it will provide you with years of faithful service -regardless of how heavy you use it out in the bush. This particular blade is a grade 440 martensitic steel with a hardness between 54 and 58 on the Rockwell hardness scale.
The total length of this Muela Magnum is 16 3/4 inches and it packs some heft. This is the quintessential mountain man knife. So when you're looking at a Muela Magnum 26 for sale, the question you need to ask yourself isn't whether or not this knife is too big but if you're man enough to wield it.
The handle of this blade is made from the antler of a red stag and features a brass stamp on the end of the handle depicting a hunting dog running down a large boar. Like the stamp, the guard is also solid brass. It also comes with a full grain red stag leather sheath.
There are two smaller versions available: the Magnum 23, which has a 9-inch blade and an overall length of 14 inches, and the Alcaraz 22, which has a 8 5/8 inches long blade and 13 5/8 inches overall length. Note that neither the Magnum 23 and the Alcaraz 22 have a crown antler handle (however they do have a red stag antler handle) nor do they have the decorative brass stamp on the end.
The Muela Apache is a very practical member of the Muela bowie knives family. It provides all the heft you need for it to be functional, but in a slightly smaller size that makes it more nimble and manageable. The blade measures 7 1/2 inches long and is constructed of made to last martensitic steel -a durable stainless steel that is better able to resist corrosion and maintains a sharp edge for longer time period despite heavy use. The blade differs slightly from other bowie blades in that rather than a swaged clipped point, it features a swaged trailing point. The deep beveling adds strength while preserving that sharp point, making this knife still suitable for tactical use -as all bowie knives must be. That trailing point gives this blade a deeper belly while the blade edge has a slight recurve. Most bowie knives have a swaged concave clipped point, which results in a straight blade edge. This difference makes the Muela Apache better suited as a hunting knife as it will be more effective in skinning.
The total length of this Muela bowie knife is 12 7/8 inches. It has a solid brass guard and a red stag antler knob handle that provides a comfortable grip. The end of the handle features a lanyard hole that is reinforced internally. It comes pre-strung with leather cording with an antler point added for decoration.
The deep beveling of this knife makes it a very attractive piece, especially when combined with the antler handle. This is a knife that is suitable for everyday use as well as being displayed.
The Muela Gredos is one of the more affordable Muela bowie knives yet still offers the high performance and durability that you expect from Muela hunting knives. It has a blade length of 6 1/4 inches, which means it won't draw so much attention should you forget you have it strapped to your belt and venture into civilization. The blade is martensitic steel which is known for its strength, being similar to carbon steel in hardness, and for its ability to maintain a sharp edge. Not having to frequently sharpen the blade only adds to the life expectancy of this knife. Typical of bowie knives, it has a swaged clipped point. This produces a sharp yet strong point that makes it functional for piercing and slicing.
The Gredos has a solid brass guard complimented by a red stag antler handle. There is a brass fitted lanyard hole at the end of the handle and it comes pre-strung with leather cording. Also strung onto the leather cording is a red stag antler point that adds a nice rustic looking touch to this knife. It measures 10 3/4 inches overall and weighs about 13 ounces. This knife may not have all the flash that some of the other Muela bowie knives has, but it makes up for it in being a highly functional and utilitarian knife that gets the job done. And, really, what more do you need from a knife?
Muela Skinning Knife
Skinning knives are unique in the world of hunting knives as their design is meant for a very specific purpose. They feature deep bellies that allow for longer strokes despite having considerably shorter blade lengths. These three Muela skinners also have swaged trailing points that give them a functional point while providing extra assurance against punching holes in the hide. These knives fit comfortably in your hand, allowing you to move freely while the blade shape compliments your natural movements and makes skinning go more quickly.
There are more than a few great Muela skinner knives available, but we really love the Muela Sabueso-11S. This skinning knife has an overall length of 9 inches with a 4 1/8 inches long blade. That blade has a deep, sweeping belly that allows for longer strokes. The arcing shape of the blade is more efficacious to skinning than straight edged blades as it works with your natural movements to produce clean cuts with less effort. The blade on this Muela hunting knife resembles trappers knives, yet has a trailing point with swage. This allows a sharp, piercing point that allows for survival and general hunting use of this knife as well. The thicker spine produces a heavier blade with more meat left at the tip to support the bevel of the swage without comprising the structural integrity of the blade.
In addition to a thoughtful design that lends this blade extra durability, while not compromising its functionality, is the use of 440 martensitic steel -renown for its toughness and ability to resist corrosion. Paired with a handmade red stag crown antler handle and you've got yourself a skinning knife you'll be proud to pass onto your grandkids when you finally hang up your hunting hat.
This knife also comes with a red stag leather sheath to compliment the artisan quality of this knife. It weighs just under a pound.
The Sioux is another beautiful addition to the Muela skinning knife family. It features the same durable blade construction using martensitic steel. This steel contains less than 1% percent of carbon which makes it highly resistant to corrosion and is quite durable. It affords a strong blade that will last for generations with proper care. The Muela Sioux features an upswept drop point blade with swage, which brings additional benefits to this skinning knife not found in other Muela knives. That upsweep affords a good belly on the blade, which allows for longer strokes despite the compact 4 inches long blade. The drop point makes it easier to sheath and unsheathe this knife quickly and ensures greater life expectancy of the leather sheath as you don't have to navigate around the trailing point as found in the Sabueso. This means you can keep your eyes on your surroundings or on what you're working on. The swage on the drop point also affords greater versatility to this blade, allowing you to use it for general hunting purposes and not just for skinning.
The Sioux also features a beautiful wood handle with a full tang. The handle is made of Pakka wood which has high contrasting and rich hues that make this knife stunning yet practical. The end of the handle has a hole that allows you to attach a lanyard or leather cording to better secure it to your belt or loop around your wrist.
The Muela Sioux has a total length of 8 1/2 inches and comes with a custom made leather sheath.
Don't let the name fool you! The Muela Mouse is a heavy duty knife designed specifically for skinning, as reflected in its size and shape. It has a 3 inches long blade with a deep belly and swaged trailing point. This distinctive shape makes it excellent for skinning as the deep belly allows for longer strokes despite a shorter blade length. That heavy sweep also better follows the natural movements you'll make while skinning, allowing for easier control and more effective strokes of the blade. The double beveling of the swage creates a sharp point that maintains its strength thanks to a thick heavy blade made of heavy duty martensitic stainless steel. This highly effective design makes it your go-to knife for skinning or caping.
It features a full tang with red stag antler scales, however, it is also available with highly contrasting pakka wood scales. Both the antler and wood handles feature a reinforced lanyard hole and are pre-strung with a length of leather cording. It measures 6 inches in total length and comes with a custom made red stag leather sheath.
Final Thoughts on Muela Hunting Knives
In looking at just a handful of Muela hunting knives, it becomes painfully clear that this is a brand that deserves much more attention that it currently has. Each Muela hunting knife is meticulously assembled with handmade handles and blade designs that reflect a deep understanding of their intended use. The high-quality construction and durability of the blades and handles make for a knife that you'll look forward to passing down the line through your family after years of faithful service.
Sources and Official Brand Websites
- Muela, Official Brand Website.
- The Advantages of Fixed Blade Knives, Krudo Knives.
- What’s the best knife? Ceramic vs. Stainless Steel Knives, Triple G Italian Kitchen.
- Leather Sheaths vs Kydex Sheaths: The Good and Bad, Hedgehog Leatherworks.
- Why Serious Cooks Use Carbon Steel Knives, Serious Eats.