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Auger Review (Eskimo Shark, Jiffy Legend, StrikeMaster Ultra)


Dan Wood

Question

Eskimo Shark
Model 9403SQ8
2.5 HP Emak Chainsaw Engine
8" Quantum Drill Assembly
Gas mixture (92 octane mixed 50:1, per manual)
29 lbs. 14.5 oz. (actual weight with empty gas tank – documented weight I received from Eskimo is 28 lbs.)

Positives

  • Blades don’t ice up very easily – dual chipper blades work well even when iced a bit
  • Primer allows to prime before pulling – starts on first pull after sitting out in 0 deg. Weather. Just prime it up and half choke and start.
  • Throttle handle and safety switch convenient and comfortable, as is the on/off switch
  • Fast
  • 11,500 RPM geared down 30:1 – very fast cutting and plenty of torque for the toughest conditions (over twice the RPM as the competition to work with – Jiffy geared down only 12:1 resulting in less torque, StrikeMaster geared down 25:1 for decent torque but slower auger speed).
  • 2.5 H.P. and under 30 lbs.
  • Chainsaw style engine allows you to tip the auger on the side and it will keep running, unlike the Tecumseh engines. Not a big deal, but I like to use the auger as a ruler when placing holes and I can tip the auger down to do this without it sputtering.
  • One way valve on gas cap vent is just plain slick. No need to loosen anything on the gas cap ever. No spilling gas again. The vent takes in air without allowing any gas to escape.

Negatives

  • Not sure why second handle is in place on the side with the throttle – this isn’t really a flaw, just doesn't seem to be necessary. I am a bit curious as to why it was designed this way.

Jiffy Legend (not Stealth)
3 H.P.
10" chipper blade
Gas mixture (92 octane mixed 24:1)
40 lbs. (actual weight, documented weight the same I believe)

Positives

  • Doesn’t ice up very easily – always cuts with the chipper blade
  • Jiffy makes a bullet proof ice auger that will last for years (quality a big plus)
  • Primer allows you to prime before pulling – still couldn’t start my Jiffy on 1 pull though, but regardless I like to be able to prime the engine before pulling…

Negatives

  • Heavy @ 40 lbs.
  • 3 H.P. engine is extremely touchy (due to emissions requirements I believe)

StrikeMaster Ultra
2 H.P.
9" Triple blade cutting blades
Gas mixture (92 octane mixed 24:1)
26 lbs. (didn’t weigh, this is documented weight)

Positives

  • Lightest auger in class
  • More compact for storing in your sled
  • Pretty fast (I do not believe the Auger speed championship results since they are sponsored by StrikeMaster and seem to be weighted heavily towards StrikeMaster). Regardless, the auger is fast.
  • Plastic handles I’ll list as a positive and negative. The positive is they keep the weight down and keep the size of the auger down for storage. The major gripe I have with them is that slender profile size forces you to use more muscle to keep the auger from turning on you. Post hole diggers have a wider profile to create more force with less muscle when drilling. I’ve also heard they do break on occasion, although I’m not sure if that is a real problem.

Negatives

  • Compact auger handles require more muscle to be applied when drilling to keep the thing from rotating on you
  • Blades tend to ice up too easily
  • Blades shave ice rather than chip, so they must be kept sharper than chipper blades to perform well
  • No primer – need to typically pull start 3+ times to get the gas flowing through the carb.
  • Gas cap leaked quite a bit – I was told by StrikeMaster to contact Tecumseh regarding the gas cap issues as they feel the problem is Techumseh’s responsibility. I’d be demanding better quality parts from Tecumseh if I was StrikeMaster or replacing the gas caps with a better design before shipping to customers. This cap can be replaced, but when you pay $425 for an auger, you shouldn’t have these issues in my opinion.

Here is some side information….
I’ve owned all three of these augers within the past 4 months (Jiffy first, Ultra, and now the Shark). I have no association with any of the above companies. The Ultra did have StrikeMaster quality problems and I returned it after not being satisfied with the unit. StrikeMaster customer service was okay, although they didn’t go out of their way to help me out with the problem. It is hard for me to understand why they continue to push this auger as their top model with the quality problems they have been having. I was told they weren’t able to get all of the bad augers that were out there and apparently couldn’t track them down. This deal turned me off and I'm not convinced the 3 blade doesn't have some other issues (icing up easily, blade design, etc.). I think from what I’ve seen of the two blade Lazer, I’d have been a much happier customer.

[This message has been edited by Dan Wood (edited 01-30-2004).]

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Ok heres what I did to modify my ice augers.
I have a Eskimo Shark 2.5hp and a 10" blade and a Strikemaster Ultra 2 hp with a 9" blade.
Since these 2 augers turn the same way I decided to mix things up a little bit. I took the Eskimo engine and the Strikemaster Ultra 9" blade and put them two together. It is awesome to use, the thing is really fast and never bogs down.

Now on the original Strikemaster Ultra the auger part was the old style that had the recall. So my dad took it directly into Big Lake. They replaced it with a whole new unit and I had to get a new handle b/c that broke too. The blades that they have on it are chipper style. And thats different than what was on the original unit but I found out that they work the same. Strikemaster also gave us a extra pair of blades to go along with it. The CS was good that day. smile.gif
We got the Eskimo Shark at Cabelas in the Bargain cave for $175 so we bought it. Nothing wrong with it either and I love the engine, it has to be the best out there.
Good deal IMO. grin.gif

------------------
AKA PikeEye 300

[This message has been edited by LocalGuide (edited 01-26-2004).]

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BTW I forgot to mention.

Nice review!

------------------
AKA PikeEye 300

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

StfCatfish,
how could the same engine for all have differant horsepower ratings?

Did you read the review?

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

They may all have the same brand motor but the Eskimo is a 2.5 hp with higher RPMs.
I see its using a different gas/oil ratio at 50:1 also. The added hp to a 2.5 hp with a 10" drill is definitely a plus. I don't care about speed records either. Dependability along with slow and steady wins the race when on the ice. I like chipper blades for the icing factor plus they're easy to resharpen, which in the long run will save you money.

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stfcatfish,
The Jiffy and StrikeMaster both use the standard Tecumseh engines. The review I had a 3 H.P. Tecumseh on the Jiffy vs. a 2 H.P. Techumseh on the StrikeMaster. The Eskimo Shark has a totally different engine. It is a 2.5 H.P. chainsaw style motor that runs 11,500 RPM. Even between the StrikeMaster and Jiffy there are plenty of significant differences. The gear ratio differs from 12:1 to 25:1 between the two, which is why the Jiffy spins at a higher speed and kicks up more ice. The blade style is also a pretty major difference that I noticed. I definitely prefer the chipper style blades for better cutting when iced and it seems you have less to scoop out of your hole when your done with the chips vs. shavings.

The Shark is geared down the most of all of the augers (30:1), yet still spins quite a lot faster than the StrikeMaster - closer to that of the Jiffy. Keep in mind the Jiffy is only geared down 12:1. The higher RPM motor on the Shark is the reason. Torque depends on actual engine input power differences between the two (in the case between StrikeMaster and the Shark, the Shark has a 2.5 H.P. engine vs. a 2 H.P. on the StrikeMaster, plus the Shark has higher speed auger rotation = much higher torque). If the auger speeds are equal, then the torque available is proportional to the engine power input (assuming equal gear box efficiencies).

http://ardisam.com/Eskimo/Shark.htm

[This message has been edited by Dan Wood (edited 01-27-2004).]

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I'd like to see a review posted for the 2 H.P. Jiffy Legend with the 'Stealth technology'. From what I've read/researched previously, the 2hp engine is much more reliable and less touchy, which basically means it easier to start and keep running. I feel by including and comparing the 'Stealth technology' only keeps it fair as it is one of Jiffy's new features -- the same as comparing the other manufacturer's new features.

I have this Jiffy and here are some tidbits from my experience...

1) Overall, I think it is an ok auger, not a great auger. I hope it lasts a long time and hence I get my moneys worth over the long haul. Mainly, I wish it would start better and power through the hole better.
2) There is no primer that I know of and it likes to start on a minimum of 3 pulls. Start on full choke, pull til it sputters, then 1/3 to 1/2 choke and pull and it runs. Let it warm for 30 seconds minimum and cut your hole. If you don't let it warm, it bogs down alot in cutting the first hole. After you cut your first hole, the performance gets better through the next couple of holes. I assume this is because the engine is ready.
3) If you put weight on the auger to try and get it cut faster, you slow your cut down. The best way to cut the hole is to let the auger do the work and lift the auger up a bit every 3 inches or so of cut to clear out the chips.


PS: This is just a personal feeling and opinion only ... Calling it 'Stealth technology' seems a joke. Jiffy won't sell spare blades on the market because they probably don't want them attached to other manufacturers augers. So you have to order them direct. Any part you order direct from Jiffy will cost you more than you can get it from the local merchants and you have to pay shipping. I'm sure its a "liability issue" -- the coverall of all supreme coveralls.

------------------
Life is too short to not go fishing today!

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G-man,
Thanks for the great info!

I didn't have the Stealth available for testing or I would have tested that. Ideally I would have liked to test that auger. And you are right, the 2 H.P. is a better engine.

The weight would still be my biggest negative on the 2 H.P. Stealth. It would still be the heaviest of all tested even in the 2 H.P. version - 33 lbs. is the documented weight on the 2 H.P. Stealth. The primer is another thing as I mentioned that I do like to see on an auger. I do believe Jiffy makes a very high quality auger that will last forever. I really wish they would go with a different color scheme though, ughhh grin.gif

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I have the lazer mag ultra that I purchased last year. The only problem was this year with the ice build up on the blades. Has strikemaster had a recall on this auger? I have heard some-one else mention it before.

Thanks

O
"work is for people who don't fish"

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opsirc,
They did have problems with the auger assembly on the ultra last year I was told - there are still some of those floating around. The way you can tell if you have that is they don't have the braces that go around between the blades. The other problem I was told they have had with the ultra is a bad batch or batch(s) of blades (sounds like they just don't hold their edge). They said they would replace the blades if that was the problem.

I think the 3 blade just has a general problem with icing-up with all of the small areas near the blades. The shaving type blade also seems to ice up easier as it needs a good edge to cut. If I would have stayed with StrikeMaster, I would have returned the 3 blade auger portion for the 2 blade (they will do that for you I was told by their customer service). I think they also have a chipper blade available.

[This message has been edited by Dan Wood (edited 01-27-2004).]

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I always felt the Yellow was a bad color(omen) on an engine/machine.
What color is a lemon?

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I think we're getting a little walleye central here... My Ranger 621 is better than your Skeeter XZ2059 and that it better than your C'liner 202 becuase of... Yada yada yada is all I can say to this debate. I have used a Jiffy and like them. I own a Strikemaster because they are down the street from me(and I like to support local economy). That is the only reason I own SM. This is my first season with a gas auger and it beats the hell out of my Mora or any other hand auger when the ice gets this thick. I have never used an Eskimo, but who REALLY CARES which auger is faster than the next or better at certain situations compared to others? This ain't bass fishing, you don't have to have an auger for an individual situation. That's my $0.03- I rambled on.

=NotBLM-

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I have to agree with Dan on these reviews. The only thing that I know for sure is I will NEVER AGAIN buy a 3hp auger! I had a 3hp jiffy and it was heavy, hard to start, and very finicky.

I switched to a 2 hp lazer and I couldn't be happier. Lightweight and very fast. I can't imagine what advantage there is to having 3 blades instead of 2. It couldn't hardly cut any faster. And sure it ices up more than a chipper blade but when you are done with your session of cutting holes just cut a partial hole a few inches deep to clear off the blades and it will be good to go.

A friend of mine has a Shark and that thing is an awesome auger, all that speed and torque and starts right up all the time. Cuts like a dream. I would have bought that one but they are a little more expensive and I got a good deal on my slightly used strikemaster.

Another friend of mine just bought a brand new Barracuda from Eskimo and I was not nearly as impressed with this model. Same nice 2hp motor as my Lazer but noticably heavier and I could cut 2 holes to his 1 almost.

Dave

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I too have the luxury of having 3 augers. (Brother owns a pawn shop smile.gif ) O.K. here goes...best one hands down... the Eskimo Shark. That Emac motor is tough to beat. Starts usually the 1st pull, never bogs down, and is quick. I'll tell you what the thoughts are for the "second" handle. When drilling a lot of holes walking around on the lake, trying to find structure, you can carry the auger with the other handle so as not to push the throttle when walking. Also it helps protect the plastic "pistol grip" throttle... This would be my only negative, I haven't broke mine yet, but I do have a friend who dropped his off the taigate and it broke. They could probably beef this up a little, maybe go to a high strength composite?. I do like the on off switch on the handle. Vented cap is awsome, no more leaking from a bad o-ring on a Techumseh cap. Great auger!

Second I'd go with a Lazer Mag (2 blade). It is nice and light if you are pulling a sled or carrying it. It cuts through the ice fairly quick and starts fairly easily, usually within 3-4 pulls. some icing problems on blades, will stall if tipped on it's side. All around a decent auger, just a little short of the "Shark"

3rd would be my Jiffy. Now I'll admit mine isn't stealth (but my friend has a 2hp stealth, and I'd still rate it 3rd) I have the 3 1/2 hp Premiere. I believe they discontinued this model. It cuts unbelievably fast, but is a bear to start when really cold and takes a good 2-3 minutes of run time before it will run consistantly. I'll still use it late season LOW if we are hammering through 36" ice, but between the weight and the cold blooded nature of the beast it sits at home a whole bunch. You cannot bog this auger down! I like the "big" handle on the pull rope, you can put any glove or mitten through it when pulling it over. I'm sure the motor will last forever, but it is like holding a lawn mower while drilling your holes. My friends 2 hp stealth isn't quite as cold blooded as mine, but not quite as reliable starting as the Eskimo or SM. It does bog down drilling through thick ice and you really have to be ginger with the amount of pressure you apply when drilling. I do not like the way the blades and bit are put together. I found out from D-Roc that this is an Achillie tendon that should be addressed. If I remember right, if the nuts and bolts loosen a little the whole bit is shot. Still a distant 3rd place.

I know alot of what I said is just repeating the other posts, just piping in with an honest review from a guy who's used / owned all 3. Hope it helps someone out who is trying to make the decision which to go with.

Good Luck! Ken

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Ken,
Thanks for the info. I can sort of see the use for the second handle for that reason, but I'd prefer to see that taken off to save some weight and make it look a little less akward. This isn't even an issue, just my engineering mind at work a little too much I think smile.gif.

The primer is a very nice feature to have on an auger in my opinion. Why pull 3 times to prime your engine, when you can start it on the first pull? Simple and cheap for any company to add to an auger and to me is well worth it.

As far as dropping an auger off your truck, the StrikeMaster wouldn't hold up either. If you want something that can take a beating like that, I'd look at Jiffy.

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Has anyone else NOT had the problem of the 2hp lazer cutting out when tipped on it's side? I have never had mine stall out when its on its side as I walk from hole to hole. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't say that this is a problem with my auger. Also tips for helping with the freeze up. I've learned most of them off this site, so I can't take credit, but they do work well. Wax your shaft. It will shed water quicker leaving less to begin to ice up. Second, drill a half of a hole after you are done to clear the blades off. Just don't punch through. That should get rid of the excess water that usually freezes up the blades. Since I've started these two practices I've not had my auger ice up this season. And I love how light it is. Tight lines everyone!

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JIffy a distant 3rd???? I have the 2hp stealth. Missouri river 24" of ice, -17 degrees. I welcome any eskimo,lazer, or other manufacturer of a 2hp auger to come out and beat this stealth on say ten consecutive holes. Heres the kicker....we'll do it again in ten years if you can still find one of the other models that is still running and cutting holes!!! Iceman out>

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I love this thread! Like Dan said, must be my engineering mind.

------------------
Life is too short to not go fishing today!

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I've had my jiffy model 30 for almost 20 years. It's bullet proof, and mine gets used plenty. 1 carb rebuild in 20 years.

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I did post Jiffy's will last forever...and some of the other positives, some guys would put my list in reverse order...the order I ranked them is just my opinion after I've used them.

Good Luck! Ken

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