Buck HiLine Knife Photo Tour & Review

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The Buck 263 HiLine is a Well Designed Budget Pocket Cleaver that Should Have Been Made In Idaho.

The HiLine is a good budget pocket knife, but I wish Buck would have manufactured this one in their Twin Falls Idaho factory and doubled the price. I know that sounds crazy, but this knife has the feel of something that could become a classic Buck model if they were to make a premium version of it in the United States.

The HiLine is a godd option for anyone looking for a folding cleaver to take camping.
The Buck HiLine is a durable pocket cleaver that punches well above its price tag.

From a budget-friendly, hard-use standpoint the HiLine is tough to beat. The G-10 handle overlay is a nice feature that I hope Buck uses in other frame lock models. The ceramic ball bearing fueled action is smooth and the lock-up is secure. If you like pocket cleavers the HiLine is worth a look. It has become of of our most recommended knives with D2 steel.

Buck announced an XL version of the HiLine at the 2023 SHOT Show, so if you like the look of the HiLine but want something bigger, the XL version might be perfect.


Overall Length:7.6″
Blade Length:3.25″
Handle Length:4.37″
Blade Material:D2
Blade Thickness:0.14″
Locking System:Frame Lock
Blade Style:Cleaver
Blade Grind:Flat
Made In:China
Buck HiLine Knife Photo Tour & Review - Image 1: Buck Hiline Cleaver Review 1
The HiLine has a decent fit and finish, but it lacks the premium feel of Buck’s higher end options.
Buck HiLine Knife Photo Tour & Review - Image 2: Buck Cleaver Pocket Knife 1
The HiLine’s budget price tag makes it a good choice for an outdoor beater knife. If this thing cost as much as Buck’s premium offerings, I would be less likely to use it for hard-use type tasks.
Buck HiLine Knife Photo Tour & Review - Image 3: Buck Hiline Closed
The G-10 overlays offer added traction that makes the HiLine easier to grip compared to other framelocks with stainless steel or aluminum handles.
The HiLine sports a relatively comfortable handle. The contourd G-10 overlay offers added traction.
The tapered handle of the HiLine is fairly comfortable even when it is gripped hard for tough tasks. Those with large hands will find the back of the hand will not have any real estate to grab unless you’re choking the blade up, but the the HiLine still feels secure.
The Buck HiLine Pocket Clip is a bit too tight, but it can be loosened with a nickel.
The pocket clip is noticeable when the handle is gripped hard, but it does not create discomfort.
The Buck Knives HiLine has a deep carry pocket clip.
The pocket clip was initially a little on the snug side, but it loosened up just enough after a few weeks of use.
This image shows how tight the pocket clip is when the knife is new.
The low profile pocket clip is nice from a hand comfort standpoint, but it does make the HiLine a little difficult to remove from the pocket quickly. If being “quick on the draw” is important to you when choosing a knife, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Buck HiLine has a nice aesthetic that makes it photogenic.
The HiLine has a nice look that the inhouse designer deserves to be proud of. It is a very photogenic folding cleaver.
The Buck HiLine has practical jimping on the blade spine and a brass backspacer.
The brass backspacer adds to the HiLine’s weight, but it also ads to its overall durability, and it looks great.
The frame lock of the Hiline gives about 65% coverage.
Buck further boosted the HiLine’s hard-use credentials by ensuring the lockup offered over 50% coverage.
The Buck HiLine blade features a hole near the front, because it is a cleaver.
In case there was any doubt that the HiLine is a cleaver, Buck included the mandatory cleaver hook hole.
The HiLine is a fairly effortless cleaver.
The sharp hollow grind blade of the HiLine has a nice taper, and it handled tough rubber tubing better than almost any other pocket knife we have tested.
The lanyard hole of the HiLine passes through the liner of the knife.
The lanyard hole passes through the brass backspacer of the HiLine ensuring maximum dependability if you are a fan of pocket knife lanyards.
The G10 overlays are held in place by T6 torx screws.
The D2 blade of the HiLine offers good edge retention for a budget steel. While the edge retention is appreciated, I think I would have preferred Buck’s 420HC steel on the HiLine for its impressive toughness and ease of sharpening.
The Buck HiLine does a decent job with snack food prep.
The Buck HiLine makes a decent backpacking or picnic buddy.
The Buck HiLine is a busget folder that features a good design and good fit and finish.
The HiLine is a well designed pocket cleaver that offers impressive performance for the price. I have recommended this knife and the Off-Grid cleaver more than any other brand’s offerings.
The world needs more folding frame lock cleavers,. Hopefully Buck will release new models in the future.
The part of me that loves budget-friendly, hard-use knives appreciates the HiLine, but the knife collector in me hopes Buck releases a premium version in the future.

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Avatar of Ben North

Ben started a twenty year commercial photography career after a blurry stint in the navy. He spent a lot of time losing and breaking knives and other EDC gear on location shoots before starting Nothing But Knives. He has reviewed and tested hundreds of both outdoor and kitchen knives over the course of the last six years, and he was mostly sober while testing and reviewing.

4 thoughts on “Buck HiLine Knife Photo Tour & Review”

  1. who ever a Buck the made the decision to have any knives made in China, needs a good swift kick right between the pockets.

  2. I usually buy U.S. or German made knives but I am very happy with the design and durability of this knife. I thought the pocket clip was unnecessary for a knife this size so I removed it immediately. I honed it to a razor edge when I got it 6 months ago and haven’t had to resharpen yet and I use it almost daily. Overall I recommend it highly and thus far have no complaints of its design or performance. If they make a larger one of the same design I will buy one right away. I have German knives costing over $100 that aren’t a great amount better in performance than this one.


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