Knife Review: Ruger / CRKT GO-N-HEAVY (Plain and Veff Serrated Versions)

One of my highlights of IWA 2016 was a visit to the CRKT stand, and on that stand was a knife I could not leave IWA without. Amongst the new Ruger line of knives (produced by CRKT) was the super-sized Go-N-Heavy which stood out not only due to its size, but for the distinctive look which comes from a combination of the design brief for the Ruger line of knives and its pedigree of being a William Harsey design.

 photo 17 GoNHeavy open P1170642.jpg

The Blade and Handle Geometry:

Most knife specifications have a basic description of the blade geometry, but in this section I will be taking a more detailed look at geometry and balance.
 photo 33 GoNHeavy flat grind P1180539.jpg

Using a set of gauges and precision measuring equipment including a Vernier protractor, callipers, fixed radius gauges and the unique Arc Master adjustable radius gauge (the one that looks like a crossbow).
 photo Knife measuring P1180483.jpg

These measurements have been tabulated and are presented along with a few reference blades (8″ Chef’s Knife, 5.5″ Santoku and the popular Fällkniven F1).

Key aspects such as the primary bevel angle, grind type, blade depth, blade thickness, length, weight are detailed, along with balance information.
 photo 32 GoNHeavy grind P1180537.jpg

The ‘Balance relative to the front of the handle’ tells you if the knife will feel front heavy, or if the weight is in your hand (a positive value means the weight is forward of the front of the handle). The ‘Balance relative to the centre of the handle’ indicates how close to a ‘neutral balance’ the knife has in the hand.
 photo 31 GoNHeavy balance P1180534.jpg

In the case of full convex grinds the approximate centre of the grind is used for the primary bevel angle estimate.
 photo GoNHeavy parameters.jpg

The blade is made from 8Cr13Mov steel, the washers from Teflon and the handles are hard anodised 6061-T6 Aluminium.

Explained by the Maker:

The reasons for certain design choices may not be clear when simply looking at an object, so this section is intended to give an insight into the thinking behind a design by speaking to the designer themselves.

Unfortunately I can’t always get time with the designer so will use this section to include relevant information about the knife and its designer.

While discussing the Ruger knives with CRKT, there were a couple of insights into the processes that led to the final designs of the knives.

The project started with Ruger approaching CRKT and asking them to design a special line of knives for them. The knives had to represent Ruger, so would not simply be any old design, but had to fit in with the feel of Ruger’s products.

As one of the designers CRKT have worked with before, it turns out that Bill Harsey had already been working on a design that was reminiscent of the Picatinny rails on the SR line of rifles. Never quite making it off his workbench, it seemed a perfect fit, so was adopted for the Go-N-Heavy and Go-N-Heavy Compact knives in the Ruger lineup. The Ruger range also includes a total of 23 different models, fixed and folding, plain edges and part-serrated.

A feature used in CRKT knives are the unique Veff Serrations (which we will see in more detail). A different take on the design of serrations where the scallops are angled to give a positive feed into the cut. The effect is similar to a normal wood saw where the teeth cut into the material in one direction, but ride over the surface (clearing the cut) in the other. Veff serrations give real bite to the cut. We will cover these in more detail later.

A few more details:

This review is going to look at both versions of the Go-N-Heavy, the plain edge and part-serrated (Veff serrations). The knife arrives in a Ruger branded box.
 photo 01 GoNHeavy box P1190016.jpg

Inside the knife is in its belt pouch and wrapped in a plastic bag.
 photo 03 GoNHeavy box open P1190022.jpg

Along with the knife and belt pouch is a CRKT leaflet.
 photo 04 GoNHeavy box contents P1190030.jpg

Especially important as this is a large folder, there is a well finished nylon belt pouch.
 photo 06 GoNHeavy holster front P1170601.jpg

The belt pouch loops allow for horizontal or vertical carry positions.
 photo 07 GoNHeavy holster back P1170604.jpg

That large belt pouch is filled by the Go-N-Heavy.
 photo 08 GoNHeavy knife and holster P1170607.jpg

Let’s take a look round this, starting with the Ruger side of the blade.
 photo 09 GoNHeavy knife closed P1170609.jpg

Then the CRKT side of the blade. (On this side you can see the stainless steel lock insert/liner.)
 photo 10 GoNHeavy knife closed P1170613.jpg

Centring is pretty much spot on. Oddly, I’m looking at the actual knife right now and it looks better than this photo.
 photo 11 GoNHeavy centring P1170617.jpg

Loving the details in the handle. Though not a Picatinny rail, it is certainly reminiscent of one.
 photo 12 GoNHeavy handle P1170620.jpg

Enough blade is exposed to allow two handed opening, but there is also an ambidextrous thumb stud fitted to the blade.
 photo 13 GoNHeavy thumb P1170624.jpg

One side of the pivot has a torx fitting for adjustment. The pivot bolt appears big and oversized, but this is for stylistic reasons and sits very well with the black anodised handles.
 photo 14 GoNHeavy pivot P1170628.jpg

Here we can see the blade stop pin and locking surface (which is fresh and unused straight out of the box).
 photo 15 GoNHeavy stop pin P1170633.jpg

And out comes that nice big blade with recognisable Harsey style.
 photo 16 GoNHeavy part open P1170636.jpg

Both versions together to show how it looks open and closed.
 photo 05 GoNHeavy open and closed P1190031.jpg

One side of the blade has the CRKT logo, plus model, engraved into the surface.
 photo 18 GoNHeavy logo P1170646.jpg

Lock engagement straight out of the box looks a little light, but was strong and soon settled in slightly with use.
 photo 19 GoNHeavy lock P1170649.jpg

Stepping back a little this view shows how the stainless liner fits into a recess in one of the aluminium handles.
 photo 20 GoNHeavy lock bar P1170653.jpg

The holes in the handles do go all the way through. You might also spot that the holes in the stainless steel liner are slightly smaller.
 photo 21 GoNHeavy holes P1170655.jpg

Only one side of the pivot bolt has a torx fitting. The other side is completely plain.
 photo 22 GoNHeavy pivot 2 P1170659.jpg

The plunge line is neatly executed.
 photo 23 GoNHeavy plunge P1170663.jpg

Torx bolts are used to hold the handles together.
 photo 24 GoNHeavy handle screw P1170666.jpg

On the thumb ramp there is some fine jimping to give you extra grip.
 photo 28 GoNHeavy jimping P1170696.jpg

Taking a very close look into the Go-N-Heavy with the blade open you can see the detent ball on the side of the lock bar which holds the blade in the closed position.
 photo 29 GoNHeavy detent P1170703.jpg

There is a nice flowing semi-swedge on the blade spine.
 photo 25 GoNHeavy angle P1170677.jpg

Now a switch over to the part-serrated version featuring Veff serrations.
 photo 34 GoNHeavy veff P1190041.jpg

Really heavy-duty serrations with only four scallops in the serrated area.
 photo 35 GoNHeavy veff serrations P1190047.jpg

From the other side of the blade you can see the serrations are cut with a single bevel.
 photo 36 GoNHeavy veff single bevel P1190054.jpg

The two versions.
 photo 38 GoNHeavy both P1190085.jpg

What is the Go-N-Heavy like to use?

Before we go onto using it, to start with we have to get the proper ideal of scale, so here the Go-N-Heavy is next to the Fällkniven F1 and a Spyderco UK Pen Knife. Yes, it really dwarfs the Fällkniven in blade and handle.
 photo 27 GoNHeavy size P1170691.jpg

I take XL size gloves, and this knife makes my hand look small. What the large handle does allow for however are a range for different grip positions all of which remain comfortable.
 photo 30 GoNHeavy in hand P1170714.jpg

Ok, I’m not going to argue that it is the most practical knife, but saying that there are plenty of occasions I want to have a large knife with me but can’t really justify a fixed blade. The Go-N-Heavy gives you a knife with presence but which is small enough when folded to pop into a bag or onto your belt and not be too noticeable; until you need it.

There is also just something so satisfying about a big folder, watching that large blade appear and the knife double in size. When at IWA I found it very difficult to put down, and knew exactly which CRKT knife I wanted to test.

Perhaps a little over sized for a box cutter (especially as you might end up going through the entire box and cutting the contents), but it did the job. Clearly this is not what the knife was intended for.
 photo Box cutter IMG_20161006_133916.jpg

Though the factory plain edge was serviceable enough, I decided to give it a bit of an upgrade and pop a Wicked Edge onto it.
 photo Wicked edge GoNHeavy P1230401.jpg

Looks rather nice with its new edge.
 photo Wicked edge GoNHeavy P1230411.jpg

Unfortunately no large rope cutting tasks have yet presented themselves, so I’ve had to make do with smaller ropes. On the smaller sizes, the rope tends to stick in one of the serrations rather than the serration sawing through. It makes it more like a series of line cutting hooks. You need to scale up the cutting job to really get the Veff serrations showing their power. They look great, and are very aggressive, but on smaller jobs they can be hard work.
What you really can feel is the effect of the angled serrations; they actively bite deeper into the material as you cut instead of riding over the surface. In the right cutting job it makes for a very aggressive and efficient cut. For smaller jobs you often have to push the cut away from you to stop the teeth biting so deeply.
 photo 40 GoNHeavy veff cut P1230442.jpg

Serrated or plain edge, its your call and depends on your requirements (I’d love to see a mid-serrated version – see The Mid-Serrated Blade – A new concept from Subwoofer). Either one will give you a really satisfying super-sized folder.
 photo 39 GoNHeavy both P1190091.jpg

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Super-Sized Folder. Serrations are too large for some jobs.
Harsey Design. Smaller hands may struggle to open one handed.
Multiple grip options.
Distinctive Styling.
Veff Serrations have excellent bite.
Belt pouch included.

 photo 40 GoNHeavy ruger IMG_20160326_121119.jpg


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