10 Buck Knives With S30V And S35V Steel

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. Or S35V. Or 154CM versus CPM154, or D2 and why a $50 price increase for Crucible Powder steels is worth it. Buck is a little late getting to this party, but regardless of where anyone stands on steel types, they were happy to see Buck finally show up.

Everyone has this weird idea that getting a knife in one of the S30V steels 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 or S35V steels are 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 Crucible steels some of the best out there.

I should qualify something really quick, though since we are talking about two different types of steel. The distinction is minute for most people. S35VN is essentially the same steel with a few more chemicals added in to make S30V steel tougher and easier to machine. I suspect that’s the reason you’ll mostly see S35V on Buck’s larger knives.

Buck’s Custom Knife Shop

Most of the knives in Buck’s customizing page can come in S30V or S35V. The only exceptions seem to be incredibly large knives like the 916 Bowie (and probably don’t want it in that big of a blade anyway), and the handful of models that they still make in China. Other than those, this is a great resource if you not only want a Buck knife in a Crucible steel, but if you want it engraved with a specific handle material.

Just be careful. I’ve lost a lot of time playing with knife variations in there that I had no intention of buying.

Here are 10 of our favorite fixed blade and folding Buck knives with SV30 or SV35 steel:

Fixed Blade

  • 537 Open Season Skinner – 4.5″ Drop Point Blade | Wood or Thermoscopic Handle | Leather or Nylon Sheath | Read More…
  • 141 PakLite Trophy Knife Kit – 3.5″ Guthook Blade & 2.5″ Caping Blade | Stainless Steel Handle | Polyester Sheath | Read More…
  • Buck Pursuit Pro – 4.55″ Drop Point Blade | GFN/ Versaflex Handle | Nylon Sheath | Read More…
  • 119 Special Pro – 6″ Clip Point Blade | Micarta Handle | Leather Sheath | Read More…
  • 102 Woodsman Pro – 4″ Clip Point Blade | Micarta Handle | Leather Sheath | Read More…

Folding

  • 110 Hunter – 3.75″ Clip Point Blade | Wood Handle | Lockback Lock | Read More…
  • 112 Ranger – 3.0″ Clip Point Blade| Wood Handle | Lockback Lock | Read More…
  • 722 Spitfire – 3.25″ Drop Point Blade | Aluminium Handle | Lockback Lock | Read More…
  • 347 Vantage Pro – 3.25″ Drop Point Blade | G-10 Handle | Liner Lock | Read More…
  • 294 Momentum – 3.1″ Drop Point Blade | Textured Aluminum Handle | Liner Lock | Read More…

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, honing rods, and sharpening stones.

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.

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
Blade Thickness:0.15″
Blade Style:Drop point
Handle Material:Wood and 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, 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.

Pursuit Pro

The Buck Pursuit Pro with S35V pictured in it's sheath and out of it's sheath on a white background.
Overall Length:8.0″
Blade Length:4.5″
Weight:6.4 oz
Blade Thickness:0.14″
Blade Style:Drop point
Handle Material:GFN / Versaflex
Sheath:Nylon

The Pursuit Pro series is one of Buck’s newest lines of knives. They were designed with hunters in mind, but they work great for camping, hard use, or even survival tasks. The bright orange handles are a different look for Buck, but it does make it easier to find the knife if it’s dropped in low light. The Pursuit Pro knives also come with green handles, though, if you’re willing to take the added risk of dropping it on the forest floor and never seeing it again.

In either color, the handle of the Pursuit Pro Large is made of a GFN/Versaflex combination which makes it incredibly grippy and durable even in cold and wet weather. They’ve managed to do a pretty solid job at making a knife that’s good for multi-day hunting or backpacking trips in any weather.

119 Special Pro

The Buck 119 Pro with a Micarta handle and SV35 steel blade on a white background.
Overall Length:10.5″
Blade Length:6.0″
Weight:0.175″
Blade Thickness:Clip point
Blade Style:Micarta
Handle Material:7.5 oz
Sheath:Leather

We are pretty excited about the Buck 119 Special Pro here at Nothing But Knives. The slick phenolic handles of the old 119 have been replaced with grippy Micarta, and the new S35VN steel blade holds a great edge. We will have an in-depth review of this knife posted soon.

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 S35V 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.

Hopefully this knife stays in production for a a long time, and remains easier to find than the old 119 Pro which was often difficult to find.

102 Woodsman

The Buck 102 with an S35VN steel blade and Micarta handle scales.
Overall Length:7.75″
Blade Length:4.0″
Weight:205 oz
Blade Style:Clip point
Handle Material:Micarta
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 is not always better, the Woodsman is a 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 more about personal preference, though, because who really needs more than 4 inches on a blade?

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
Blade Thickness:0.12″
Blade Style:Clip point
Handle Material:G-10
Lock Type: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 corrosion 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.

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:G-10
Lock Type: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 in 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.

The S30V version of the Buck 112 is often out of stock at most retailers, but it is usually in stock on the official Buck Knives site.

722 Spitfire

It opens easy and it’s stripped down to be lighter.
Overall Length:7.25″
Blade Length:3.25″
Weight:3.2 oz
Blade Thickness:0.12″
Blade Style:Drop point
Handle Material:Aluminum
Lock Type: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.

Buck now allows this knife to be completely customized. Click on the Buck link below to choose handle material, blade steel and hardware.

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
Blade Thickness:0.12″
Blade Style:Drop point
Handle Material:G-10
Lock Type: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 liked 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
Blade Thickness:0.12″
Blade Style:Drop point
Handle Material:Textured aluminum
Lock Type: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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Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

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