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M-43 or Ganga Ram?

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by JOE68, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. JOE68


    Jan 18, 2011
    I've been looking at both the 18" Ganga Ram Special and the M-43.
    When I was looking at buying my first khukuri these knives were recommended as really good "woods" knives.
    My question is which do you prefer and why?
    I'm looking for all input on these two khuks---- good and bad (if there is such a thing):)
    What would be the weight that would be considered "normal" for each one?
    If you have both which one performed the best on chopping and general camp type duties?
    If you could buy both which would you buy first and why?
    If you have one and not the other what drew you to that particular knife?
    Opinions, input,feedback, recommendations--- anything will be of help.
    Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. stickfred


    Nov 6, 2009
    Hi JOE. I have a "Baby" GRS that is 18", 29.5oz, 7/16" spine and regular, ie non-chiruwa, handle by Murali. I got to use it last year helping my neighbor trim pine limbs that were taken out by snow and I loved using it. It held true to what I had read about this model in the Archives in that it has a tendency to land where you're chopping at. I'm no super-experienced guy with these blades but I noticed this doing my test chopping on maple limbs. It fit my hand well and felt very balanced in use.

    I did have an M43 that was 18.5", 30.5oz, 3/8" spine by Young Sher but I returned it because it never felt like it fit my hand. I'm expecting another M43 by Tirtha tomorrow and will let you know how that goes after I get it.

    The M43 is a good blade with many here that are ready to praise it and maybe I'll be in that group tomorrow. But at this point in time my vote goes to the Ganga Ram Special. It chops well and bites deep. I'll be back in touch soon.

  3. snow and steel

    snow and steel

    Mar 5, 2011
    I just ordered an M-43 abou a week ago, for what it's worth.

    Ms. Yangdu said she was out though, so I'm waiting on the next shipment in April.

    Cosmetically, I like the look of the M-43 better, but that's just me.
  4. javand


    Oct 17, 2010
    Hard to say, in the 18" size range personally love an M-43, especially if you could find a slightly older lighter one. I've got a GRS also but it's a full sized 22.5" beast by Durba 54oz. You can split logs with it like an axe, but good luck swinging it long unless you're 6'5" and built like a tank.

    BTW, personally I'm of the opinion that if you're buying a user, you should be prepared to refine the handle to suit your needs. I've never met a handle that I didn't find issue with even if it felt great at first, a little work with the sand paper or a file/rasp and it's usually sorted.
  5. wildmike


    Nov 17, 2007
    M-43 hands down!!

    I've used mine through several years of hard wilderness living. Including building a couple cabins, cutting scads of wood, cutting grass for bedding, drawknife work etc. etc. etc.

    It outchops axes of ther same size range and gives wonderful utility, plus if needed it can fill the combative role very easily. It is designed in such a manner as to improve the kukri's already excellent chopping ability. It is very agile in the hand as well.
  6. seanmizusmc


    Jan 20, 2011
    done and done!:p
    ti's why im going the bonecutter route (from what i have seen and what has been explained to me, bonecutter=chiruwa GRS)
  7. javand


    Oct 17, 2010
    well they're very similar, but I've certainly never seen a BC nearly as big as my GRS. I love the edge geometry of the BCs I've seen, but with the 22.5" GRS having a stick tang instead of a chiruwa full tang, there's just sooo much choppiness concentrated forward.

    In full GRS sizing, chiruwa would just be too heavy and total overkill IMHO. I mean, the freaking stick tang is basically 6+ inches of nearly 1/2" square stock practically. You could cut the tang off that thing and make a large chopper with the steel.
  8. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Is there a difference in handle size between the M-43 and GRS?

    My 18" GRS has a good handle for my big hands, and modifying it (if desired) would be a little easier (essentially rasping and sanding wood) than with the M-43's chiruwa tangs and pins.
  9. stickfred


    Nov 6, 2009
    The main difference I see and felt in the handles was the lack of the ring on the M43. I won't know 'til tomorrow if my first attempt at M43 was that particular khuk or the lack of the rings that I've grown comfortable with on my others. Keeps the hand from sliding. You're right though Steve, it would be much easier to change the handle of the GRS as opposed to the chiruwa M43, you don't have to go through trimming back the steel.
  10. alexs


    Nov 26, 2009
  11. Andrew Colglazier

    Andrew Colglazier

    Sep 14, 2006
    Having both the GR and the M43, I prefer the GR. But, for a general woods/camping knife, I would go with a slightly smaller, 16" overall length khuk. This makes for a lighter, more portable, packable package.

    I like the GR because of its thru-tang construction (as opposed to the chiruwa style handle of the M43). IMO the thru-tang models put a bit more weight forward into the blade, making for a better chopper. The smaller models of GRS make very good medium sized camp or trail khuks with a lot of bang for the buck.

    Also the GR has more belly and less point, and the handle is a bit longer, which again IMO makes it a better chopper.

    Here is a pic of the M43 from the HI website -

    As you can see the M43 has more point, less belly, and a chiruwa handle. This makes the knife less blade heavy and IMO a less capable chopper. The M43 can be ordered in a smaller size, but the smaller it is, the less capable a chopper it is. IMO, the chiruwa handle also conveys more shock to the hand and arm while chopping, which isn't pleasant. Also, the M43 has a more pronounced yet gradual curve to the profile of the knife, which also makes it a less effective chopper.

    These are all just my opinions, but are based on personal use of both khuk styles.

    Hope this helps.

  12. seanmizusmc


    Jan 20, 2011
    check youtube for "Himalayan Imports 22" Bonecutter VS Keyboard"
    thats a big ass bonecutter. im just not a fan of stick tangs. i think its because you have to replace the handle materials more often and im too lazy to do this...and too broke to go buy the necessary equipment. 18" overall is a good size, C.S Graves has one. weight is not too much of a factor for me as i really am 6'5" and built like a tank.
  13. jdk1


    Apr 21, 2010
    I don’t have a GRS per say, but I do have a 12.5” Murali GRS/Bonecutter. It’s outstanding in that size; of course the handle is a wee bit tight. I have an M-43 and love it. Mine is a Tirtha at 19” and a hair less than 32 ounces. From what I’ve read and heard, 32 ounces would have been heavy in the old days, very light a short while back, but seems to be not too uncommon nowadays. It feels like a good weight to me. The Chiruwa handle is easy to shape so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I performed pretty major work on my M-43 and minor work (ring reduction) on my B-43, and I’m not really handy with tools. Files, rasp and sandpaper will do anything you want. I will say that my horn handled WWIIs, non-chiruwa of course, have outstanding handles and don’t need any tweaking. For the ultimate in strength, chiruwa seems the logical choice. History has shown this level of strength is probably not needed during a hard working Nepali lifetime. I personally like chiruwa because it seems to balance out certain long or heavy bladed khuks, in my limited experience, and would seem to simplify re-handling. Will re-handling ever be an issue? I don’t know. I have now seriously beaten my Tirtha M-43 and Tirtha WWII like borrowed mules and neither said “uncle”. To me your decision comes down to blade design. The GRS, IIRC, is a pretty dedicated chopper. That’s its role with that giant belly and blunt tip. The M-43 was designed for military, come-what-may use. It does many things well. Wild Mike proved this during his years of hardship. BTW, I’d love to someday hear the story behind these years. You’ll probably end up with both, so I wouldn’t sweat it too much:). Take care.

    Here's my M-43 balancing on a chopstick:D;):).
  14. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Well, given equal size, I think the GRS will outchop the M43. Reason being, the GRS usually weigh in more than an M43, and as noted they have more of the weight near the end of the blade.

    I'd prefer the M43 because it is pointier, and that has advantages in the woods, not just in the combat role. Plus, it's more of an all-purpose blade than a dedicated chopper.

    The only reason I didn't like my old M43 was the smooth handle. A few days ago I emailed Auntie about having one made with a traditional handle with the ring in it, and made on the lighter side (since my CAK iks a bit too big and heavy for now with the problems I'm having with my hands, this should fill the gap).
  15. bgz101


    Oct 6, 2010
    Do you mind sharing the specifications you have for this? Length? Width? Weight? Handle material? I'm curious what you're aiming for since I want to order an M43 as well.

  16. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    It was just a standard 18-18.5" M43 with a traditional wood handle with the retention ring in it, and I said "On the lighter side". I'll let the kamis work their magic from there.
  17. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    For woods use, I might have to go with the GRS. I have the full size version (I know, apples and oranges between an 18" and 22" GRS:eek:) that I bought from Uncle Bill back in the summer of '04. A massive storm blew through and downed several full sized trees at my mom's place. Uncle Bill cut me a deal on a dedicated chopper with a bit of "boxer's profile" at the tip. It'll outchop an axe all day;)

    On the other hand, I DID take my M-43 with me as my camping khuk on the night of the camp out I had before my wedding. It'll chop like no tomorrow. That said, for "general use" I prefer a khuk with more grip options. My M-43, while very useful, just feels a bit more "martial".

    So in short...get both;)
  18. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    M-43 or Ganga Ram?


    I suspect it will be all about YOU, and your relationship with whatever khukri is in your hand and knowing/understanding/discovering how to use it for whatever task you ask of it.

    Wildmike certainly provides a heck of an endorsement/testimonial for the M-43, but I suspect he would have faired as well if he had a Ganga Ram instead. There may be certain tasks that the M-43 can perform 'better' than the Ganga Ram, and vice/versa.

    Guess you won't really know unless you have both and use both for the same tasks. Then again, over the years, these tasks may change as well due to aging of your human body, or the tasks may remain the same, but the tool of choice may change.

    Life is short - have fun - get both!!
  19. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    I own numerous Ganga Rams and I have owned only 1 M43.

    The M43 I sold because the edge was not as acute as the Ganga and for some reason, not sure if it was the handle or overall curvature of the knife but it seemed to twist a bit on me as I was chopping.

    Nearly all of the Ganga Rams I have owned have been great choppers. The Bonecutter is really good too.
  20. Tohatchi NM

    Tohatchi NM

    Mar 26, 2002
    Ganga Ram.

    My vote, given the two. The BGRS is more typical of most mid-sized HI khuks. The M43 is a bit of a different animal, mostly in the handle smoothness and curvature. Not sure what current production is like in that regard. In my hands, the M43 seems like it wants to slash and make arcing, curving cuts. For "woods work", the Ganga Ram will handle splitting (hatchet-like) better. M43 would be better at brush, small branches, and machette-like work.

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