10 Buck Knives With S30V Steel

Buck has been making several of their popular knives with SV30 steel for quite a few years.

Whether It’s Hunting, Bushcraft or EDC, Steel Matters

Anyone who only buys their knives in a certain kind of steel is the kind of person who’s going to have an opinion about S30V. It’s new-ish and trendy right now. Everyone has this weird idea that getting a knife in S30V automatically makes it the best version of that knife. That is nonsense, but it is a nice steel if you like really high edge retention and corrosion resistance. Like any steel though, not all S30V is equal. Some companies are just better at handling it than others, and Buck’s S30V heat treatment method goes a long way toward making their S30V one of the best out there. So in the interest of collecting and debating, here are some of the best Buck knives you can get in S30V. Feast your eyes, knife nerds.

Fixed Blade Bucks

A fixed blade in S30V borders on excessive, in my opinion, but there is a place for it. If you’re kind of person who spends days to weeks in the wilderness, either hunting or hiking or just not being around people, then S30V starts making a lot of sense. Especially if you’re in jungle or generally muggy weather where you’ll be in extreme conditions far from your cleaning oil and sharpener. It’s all well and good to know how to bring your hunting knife back from a dulled coat of rust, but it’s better to know you can get wet and dirty and still get by just wiping your blade off for a while.

119 Special

This SV30 steel version of the great Buck 119 is the perfect knife for steel nerds.

  • Overall length: 10.5”
  • Blade length: 6”
  • Blade Thickness: 0.175”
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Handle material: Phenolic
  • Weight: 7.5 oz.
  • Sheath: Leather

The 119 is at least as classic as the 110. It’s into its 75th anniversary and still one of the best hunting knives you can get, and any time you pick up a bowie style fixed-blade knife, especially a Buck, you compare it to the 119. It makes for a great hunting knife, but it’s tough enough to work for bushcraft as well. In S30V you have a lot less to worry about in terms of getting wet or dirty, especially over the 420HC they usually use for it. It does get harder to sharpen along with the improved edge retention, but the blade shape is so large and simple that sharpening is really a matter of patience over skill. Keep in mind that it can be hard to find the 119 in S30V unless you custom order one through Buck, which is easily the most expensive way to get one. We’ll try to keep the link here updated, but the fact is that sometimes they just don’t exist in the wild.

 

102 Woodsman

Buck 102 Woodsman is one of the knife models that Buck makes with an SV30 steel option.

  • Overall length: 7.75”
  • Blade length: 4”
  • Blade style: Clip point
  • Handle material: Wood or micarta
  • Weight: 205 oz
  • Sheath: Leather

You could call this the mini-119. It has the same basic style and materials as the 119 but comes in about 2 inches shorter. If you hold the philosophy that bigger isn’t always better, the Woodsman is good choice for general outdoor work. If we’re being honest, it’s probably better for skinning and splitting the pelvic bone (if you forget a saw) since a shorter blade will be easier to handle and less likely to break. Even if you don’t plan on sticking it into edible animals, though, it will ride a little easier on your belt if you’re hiking and has just about the same cutting power as the 119 with a slightly better price point. It’s really all about personal preference, because who really needs more than 4 inches on a blade?

 

194 Alpha Hunter

The Buck 194 ALpha HUnter can be purchased with SV30 steel

  • Overall Length: 8.5”
  • Blade Length: 3.75”
  • Weight: 7.2 oz
  • Thickness: 0.14”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Material: Wood
  • Sheath: Leather

The Alpha Hunter is not a classic… yet. It has that functionally simplistic design that Buck has always excelled at, but stands out from other Buck knives with a more unique drop point design. This is a very solid piece of equipment. It’s made in slabs. A big slab of metal for the blade and full tang, and two big slabs of rosewood bolted onto the sides for the handle. The handle is pretty bulbous, which should be more comfortable for most people. Generally speaking, the thinner a handle the harder it is on your hand. That also comes with an abnormally well designed leather sheath that really completes the look of the knife. Looks really shouldn’t be a huge concern, especially for a hunting blade, but an Alpha hunter in its case is just a pleasing sight regardless of what you’re going to us it for. Outside looks, this is just a tough, useful knife you could use for skinning and light bushcraft. Buck also makes it as a folder if you’d like it as a more manageable EDC, but you’ll have to do some searching.

 

537 Open Season Skinner

The Buck 537 Open Season Hunter is one of the best hunting knives ever designed, and it is available with SV30 steel.

  • Overall Length: 8.25”
  • Blade Length: 4.5”
  • Weight: 5.7 oz
  • Thickness: 0.15”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Material: Wood or thermoplastic
  • Sheath: Leather or nylon

No secrets around this one. It’s a skinning knife. That’s why Buck called it the Skinner. It’s part of a series of knives in both fixed-blade and folding styles based around a recurved blade, aggressive jimping and a compact handle with finger indents in an attempt to make it more ergonomic. It’s probably not as comfortable as the Alpha Hunter, but it has good structure and it’s definitely made to choke up, so it’s a decent tool for feathering and other fine-cutting work. This is one of those knives that Buck is always reworking (I believe they just recently released a redesign with a gut hook), so you could probably find it with just about any combination of materials you want, whether it’s a micarta handle with a lanyard hole, or a folder with a wood handle. The design remains fundamentally good in all versions, if a little difficult to sharpen.

 

141 PakLite Trophy Knife Kit

The Buck 141 PaclLite is now available in Sv30 steel, adn it may be the best choice for hunters who hike long distances.

 

  • Overall Length: 8” (Guthook), 6.75” (Caper)
  • Blade Length: 3.5” (Guthook), 2.5” (Caper)
  • Weight: 7.5 oz (in sheath)
  • Blade Style: Guthook and Caping
  • Handle material: Stainless steel
  • Sheath: Polyester

This is actually two knives in a set, but I like the concept. It gives you one big 3.5 inch blade with a gut hook and a pretty severe recurve and a smaller 2.5 inch blade with a long single curve for slicing all in one pouch. I do foresee problems with the comfort of the PakLite set since their handles are just bare steel, but that really adds to the utilitarian purpose of these knives. They’re meant to be economical in weight and space, and they’ve made some sacrifices in ergonomics for that purpose. Whether or not they’re actually achieving that perfect balance of weight to usefulness is debatable, but they offer an interesting option for backpackers and hunters.

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Folder Bucks

Any tool with a lot of moving parts can benefit from S30V, mainly because of its corrosion resistance. Keeping a blade clean and rust-free is one thing, but on pocket knives you have parts inside the handle where you can’t see getting grimy and wearing out. Premium steels are a good idea for anyone living near the coast where there’s a lot of salt in the air. You still have to be vigilant, but there are some places where plain high carbon steels are just a nightmare to maintain. Steels like S30V give you a lot more margin for error on cleaning and weatherproofing knives that are a little more complicated to take care of.

110 Hunter

The classic Buck 110 folding hunter is offered with SV30 steel.

  • Overall Length: 8.6”
  • Blade Length: 3.75”
  • Weight: 7.2 oz
  • Thickness: 0.12”
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Handle material: Wood
  • Locking: Lockback
  • Sheath: Leather

Of course you can get the Buck 110 in S30V steel. Buck offers more customization options on this knife than anything else in the world. You could probably get it mounted with a scope if you wanted. It’s been the go-to gift knife in America for at least twenty years. Considering the ever changing preferences of every new generation, it makes sense for Buck to make it in every possible variation they can think up. It’s good for skinning, whittling, picking your fingernails, displaying, carving your initials, losing in the bottom of a messy drawer, etc. In S30v it becomes a lot more formidable in terms of corosion resistance and hardness, but loses a little toughness, so if you lose it somewhere in a dusty house for a few years it should still be a good condition when you find it again, just be extra careful about trying to pry anything with it.

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112 Ranger

The Buck Knives 112 Ranger comes with a leather sheath and is available with SV30 steel.

  • Overall Length: 7.25”
  • Blade Length: 3.0”
  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Handle material: Wood
  • Locking: Lockback
  • Sheath: Leather

The mini-110: for when the regular 110 is only slightly bigger than you want. Honestly it feels a little redundant to put the 112 on this list, because wherever the Hunter goes the Ranger follows. That being said, the Ranger really is a good knife to have in its own right. I think it actually makes more sense to get it S30V over the Hunter since you’re more likely to use the smaller blade exclusively for slicing. It also makes a good first knife for a kid since its both smaller and less prone to rust.

 

722 Spitfire

The Buck KNives 722 Spitfire folding knife is a great SV30 choice for those people who are looking for pocket knife with a clip.

  • Overall Length:
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Weight: 3.2 oz
  • Thickness: 0.12”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle material: Aluminum
  • Locking: Lockback

Stepping out of the classic Buck era, we get something a little more sleek. The Spitfire is made to be streamlined. It opens easy and it’s stripped down to be lighter. You can also move the pocket clip to all four positions so it’s a pretty versatile EDC. The recurve edge gives you some good slicing power too. It makes a lot of sense to get this knife in S30V since it’s not the kind of thing you would put under the hammer, and honestly it’s exactly the kind of knife you might forget about. It’s good to have it tougher against dirt and water until you remember you need to clean it properly. The edge shape will make it trickier to sharpen, though, so make sure you brush up your whetstone skills before then.

 

347 Vantage Pro

The Buck Knife Vantage Pro is a popular folder with an SV30 stainless steel blade.

  • Overall Length: 7.6”
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Weight: 4.0 oz
  • Thickness: .012”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle material: G-10
  • Locking: Liner

Buck isn’t typically known for their one-handed open flipper designs, which is a shame, because the Vantage definitely deserves some praise. It’s a neat slicer with a compact design and a clean look. The edge takes a very simple line with a hollow grind on a drop point blade. It’s a whole lot of really simple details that add up to make a solid knife. G10 is a fantastic, inexpensive handle material, but I’ve never like it much for looks. in this case, though, Buck has made a handle that actually improves the overall aesthetic. It’s one of those knives that you like a little more every time you see it.

 

294 Momentum

The Buck Momentum folding knife is a versatile pocket folder that can be purchased with SV30 steel.

  • Overall Length: 7.75
  • Blade Length: 3.1”
  • Weight: 4.15 oz
  • Thickness: 0.12”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle material: Textured aluminum
  • Locking: Liner

I’m loathe to recommend an assisted open knife, but the Momentum is pretty interesting in terms of design. The handle is just contoured enough to grab the hand so you should have a pretty secure grip with it. The blade style is technically drop point but the angle is so long and subtle it borders on a spear point. The false edge gives it a little more of a finer point too. I still hold that a false edge on any knife is almost always an artistic decision, not a functional one, but it definitely makes the knife look more interesting and does add a little severity to an already extreme point. For a 3 inch blade, it’s a pretty intimidating piece of equipment.

 

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2018-08-18T22:36:48+00:00

About the Author:

Copywriter with vague delusions of grandeur. My time is spent aggressively oscillating between drinking coffee at my computer and running through the woods with pointy objects.
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