Buck Makes Too Many Great Hunting Knives
So I organized every hunting knife by Buck I could find by series and type into tables so you can see the differences at an easy glance to find your best option. Buck has been one of the biggest go-to knife makers for hunting and camping for decades. Whether you plan on hunting deer or duck, there’s a Buck knife you should take with you. On the one hand, that’s a nice, strong legacy. The problem is that any company that’s been around for that long has put out a lot of different products by necessity. Buck knives might be the American hunting knife, but which Buck knife? They make a lot of knives, and too many variations of all those knives to keep track of… unless you spend too much time going through their catalogue specifically to start keeping track of them.
I’ve tried to categorize all these knives according their style or the collection they belong to. Not all of them fit so cleanly into a category so you might see outliers, but every Buck knife that seemed (to me) to be made especially for hunting is in the blog.
Table of contents:
- Buck Knife Features
- Hunters and Rangers: The EDC Hunting Set (110 & 112)
- 101 Hunter, the Fixed Blade Buck 110
- Orphan Hunting Knives
- Buck Bowies: The Survival Set
- Open Season Knives: The Dedicated Hunting Set
- PackLite Knives: The Backpacking Set
- Buck Hunting Multi-Tools
Buck Knife Features
You’ll see a few odd things attached to some of these knives that you might not recognize right away. I think most people know what it means when they see BOS 420HC steel, but what about DymaLux wood? I didn’t know either. Here’s what I’ve found about that kind of thing:
Edge2X Blade Technology: This is a whole “new” process of creating edges that Buck start in 1999. It involves laser cutting machines and a different way of heat treating, but essentially it’s a reduced angle on the edge’s bevel from what had been around 45 degrees total to 30 degrees total (meaning a 15 degree bevel on each side of the edge). This makes the blade a lot better at slicing, and a little easier to sharpen, although it does require a gentler touch.
Crelicam Ebony: This is ebony wood bought from the Crelicam wood mill owned by Madinter (a wood supplier) and Taylor Guitars (a guitar manufacturer). The idea of the company is to promote and encourage legal and ethical sourcing of ebony wood, which has been a problem in the past.
DymaLux Wood: This is basically dyed birch laminate injected with resin. If you were ever familiar with the Dymondwood scales Buck knives used to have, it’s similar to that.
Hunters and Rangers: The EDC Hunting Set
These are the designs that made everyone fall in love with Buck knives, and probably knives in general. The 110s and 112s have been around for a long time now, and we’ve never stopped buying the crap out of them because they’re great EDCs, but hunting and general camping was their original intention.
Table of Buck 110 and 112 Variations
Recently the 110 and 112 models have had several evolutions. Buck updated everything in this series with different steels, handle materials, and carry systems. The clip point blade style and blade sizes remain the same throughout the versions.
|Steel||Handle||Open System||Carry System||Amazon Links|
|Standard||420HC||Wood Handle||Nail Nick Open||Sheath||110 / 112|
|Pro||S30V Vanadium||G10 Handle||Nail Nick Open||Sheath||110 / 112|
|LT||420HC||Nylon Handle||Nail Nick Open||Sheath||110 / 112|
|Auto||420HC||Wood Handle||Button Open||Sheath||110 / 112|
|Auto Elite||S30V Vanadium||G10 Handle||Button Open||Sheath||110 / 112|
|Slim||420HC||Nylon Handle||Thumb Stud Open||Pocket clip||110 / 112|
|Slim Pro||S30V Vanadium||Micarta Handle||Thumb Stud Open||Pocket clip||110 / 112|
- Overall Length: 8.5”
- Blade Length: 3.75”
- Blade Steel: 420HC
- Style: Clip
- Grind: Hollow
- Handle Material: Crelicam
- Carry System: Leather sheath
Just what it says. The 101 Hunter is exactly the same as your standard Buck 110 except it’s a fixed blade. I don’t hear a lot of chatter about this little outlier, and I definitely don’t see many people carry it, but it’s a nice thought from Buck, whether or not it’s actually a good idea. A full-tang 110 seems like a neat thing to own.
Orphan Hunting Knives
There are a few good hunting knives by Buck that aren’t part of a series and don’t quite fit cleanly into any category beyond “hunting”, so this is where they go. I’m putting them up here at the beginning so they don’t get missed, because some of these really are fantastic knives.
|Overall / Blade Size||Steel||Carry System||Handle||Blade Style||Folding / Fixed Blade||Check Price On Amazon|
|Alpha Hunter||8.125” / 3.5”||420HC||Nylon pouch||Rubber Handle||Drop point||Folding||Amazon|
|Omni Hunter 10 pt||7.75” / 3.25”||420HC||Nylon pouch||Rubber Hanndle||Drop point||Fixed Blade & Folding||Amazon|
|Omni Hunter 12pt||9.75” / 4.0”||420HC||Nylon sheath||Rubber Handle||Drop point||Fixed Blade & Folding||Amazon|
|401 Kalinga||10.0” / 4.75”||420HC||Leather sheath||Dymalux wood Handle||Skinner||Fixed blade||Amazon|
|103 Skinner||8.25” / 4.0”||420HC||Leather sheath||Phenolic or Dymalux Handle||Skinner||Fixed blade||Amazon|
|Vanguard||8.5” / 4.25”||420HC||Leather sheath||Rubber or DymaLux Handle||Drop point||Fixed blade||Amazon|
|Zipper||8.5” / 4.125”||420HC||Nylon sheath||Rubber or DymaLux Handle||Guthook drop point||Fixed blade||Amazon|
Buck Bowies: The Survival Set
By all rights, these should probably be included in the Big Game knives category, but Buck’s bowie knives are a little more versatile than that. Many of these are the kinds of knives you could take into the woods with nothing else. They all have pretty long blade, but many are thin enough to work with smaller game in a pinch, and they can handle some bushcraft and survival jobs a lot better than the skinning-oriented knives that dominate this list.
Many are customizable, and Buck offers a decent range of handle and blade materials, but for the most part these are all 420HC with phenolic or DymaLux wood handles that could stand to be a little grippier.
|Overall Size||Blade Size||Blade Style||S30V Version||Check Price On Amazon|
|102 Buck Woodsman||7.75” Overall||4.0” Blade||Standard Clip point||No S30V Version||Amazon|
|105 Pathfinder||9.125” Overall||5.0” Blade||Modified Clip point||No S30V Version||Amazon|
|118 Personal||8.5” Overall||4.5” Blade||Modified Clip point||No S30V Version||Amazon|
|119 Special||10.5” Overall||6.0” Blade||Standard Clip point||Has S30V Version||Amazon|
|120 General||12.0” Overall||7.375” Blade||Standard Clip point||No S30V Version||Amazon|
|124 Frontiersman||11.75” Overall||6.25” Blade||Slight Drop point||No S30V Version||Amazon|
Open Season Knives: The Dedicated Hunting Set
This is Buck’s dedicated hunting series. Whatever you’re planning on doing or hunting on your next trip, Buck has tried to make a knife under this name that will be perfect for the job. Right now, there are two versions of these knives made: the regular Open Season knives which are mostly BOS 420HC Steel and DymaLux scales, and the Pro versions, which have S35V steel and Micarta scales.
NOTE: I left out the 550 Selector 2.0 here and put it in the Multi-tool section.
|Overall / Blade Size||Steel: Standard / Pro||Handle: Standard / Pro||Blade Style||Guthook Version||Check Price On Amazon|
|535 Moose Skinner||11.2” / 8.0”||S35VN||Micarta Handle||Spear Point||No Guthook Version||Pro|
|536/537 Skinner||8.5” / 3.75”||420HC / S35VN||DymaLux / Micarta Handle||Drop Point||Has Guthook Version||Standard / Pro|
|538/539 Small Game||7.63” / 4.25”||420HC / S35VN||DymaLux / Micarta Handle||Drop Point||Has Guthook Version||Standard / Pro|
|541 Boning||10.25” / 6.5”||S35VN||Micarta Handle||Boning||No Guthook Version||Pro|
|542/543 Caper||7.0” / 3.5”||420HC / S35VN||Thermoplastic / Micarta Handle||Caping||No Guthook Version||Standard / Pro|
|556/557 Folding Skinner||8.5” / 3.75”||420HC / S35VN||DymaLux / Micarta Handle||Drop Point||No Guthook Version||Standard / Pro|
PackLite Knives: The Backpacking Set
These are stripped designs for longer trips. If you plan on packing gear through the woods for an extended period, PackLite blades are made to be as light as possible and still offer the same degree of function you get from other Buck knives. They aren’t the most comfortable knives, but that can be helped a little if you have some paracord to spare. There’s a similar range of selection here to the Open Season knives, including blades for small and large game, plus a few for dressing game in the field.
|Overall / Blade Size||Blade Style||Handle||Guthook Version||S30V Version||Check Price On Amazon|
|135 PakLite Caper Knife||6.75” / 2.5”||Caper||Skeleton Handle||No Guthook Version||S30V||Standard / Elite|
|136 PakLite Boning Knife||9.25” / 5.25”||Boning||Skeleton Handle||No Guthook Version||S30V||Standard / Elite|
|140 PakLite Skinner||6.625” / 2.875”||Recurve drop point||Skeleton Handle||No Guthook Version||No S30V||Amazon|
|141 PakLite Large Skinner||8.0” / 3.5”||Recurve drop point||Skeleton Handle||Has Guthook Version||No S30V||Amazon|
|143 PakLite Skinner Black||7.75” / 3.875||Recurve Drop point||Skeleton Handle||No Guthook Version||No S30V||WalMart Exclusive|
|673 BuckLite MAX Small Knife||7.75” / 3.25”||Drop point||Rubber Handle||No Guthook Version||No S30V||Amazon|
|679 BuckLite MAX Large Knife||8.75” / 4.0”||Drop point||Rubber Handle||Has Guthook Version||No S30V||Amazon|
|684 BuckLite Max II Small Knife||7.5” / 3.25”||Drop point||Rubber Handle||No Guthook||No S30V||Amazon|
|685 BuckLite Max II Large Knife||8.875” / 4.0”||Drop point||Rubber Handle||Has Guthook Version||No S30V||Amazon|
Buck Hunting Multi-Tools
There are a handful of nifty Buck, especially if you’re into bowhunting. None of these are Leatherman-style multi-tools with ten different kinds of bottle openers tucked inside the handle. They’re task-driven designs boiled down specifically to cater to hunting.
It should be noted that the 550 Selector 2.0 is technically part of the Open Season series. Its overall design is the same as the 556 Open Season Folding Skinner, but the Selector’s interchangeable blade feature puts it in a different class for me.
|Tools||Handle||Purpose||Check Price On Amazon|
|183 Alpha Crosslock||3.0” spear point blade|
Saw blade w/ guthook
|Anodized Aluminum Handle||Multi-purpose hunting||Amazon|
|737 Bow Tool||11 allen hex drivers|
|G10 Handle||Bow maintenance||Amazon|
|738 Bow Tool TRX||8 torx drivers|
Broadhead wrench tool
|G10 Handle||Bow Maintenance||Amazon|
|550 Selector 2.0||Interchangeable blades:|
Drop point serrated
|Thermoplastic Handle||Multi-purpose hunting||Amazon|