Buck Knives Famous Model 110 Folding Hunter
By Chuck Hawks
Illustration courtesy of Buck Knives.
Hoyt Buck began making knives in 1902, after learning how to temper steel so that it would better hold an edge. All of Hoyt's knives were made individually, by hand. His son, Al Buck, introduced the famous Model 110 Folding Hunter in 1962, which made Buck (www.buckknives.com) a force to be reckoned with in the knife industry. Today, the Buck Knives reputation is carried on by third and fourth generation family members.
The 2014 Buck Knife line is extensive, including both fixed and folding blade types. Most Buck knives are still made in the USA, but some of the least expensive models are now sourced overseas. Be sure you know what you are getting before buying. It is worth paying a bit more to get a Buck knife made in the USA.
The best known and most popular of all Buck hunting knives is probably the Model 110 Folding Hunter, a mainstay of the Buck line for 50 years that has always been made in the USA. The Buck 110 is a single blade, lock back, folding hunting knife. It comes with wood scales (grips). The bolsters, liners and pins are brass. The blade and locking mechanism is stainless steel. A black leather carrying pouch is included with the knife.
The Buck 110 is the seminal folding hunting knife. Its commercial success probably did more than anything else to popularize the entire folding hunter breed. Over the years, the Buck 110's basic style has been copied by Uncle Henry, Case, Western and many other knife makers.
The hollow ground blade has a moderate curve to the cutting edge and a clip point for detail work. It measures 3-3/4" long and 0.114" thick. A nail notch is provided to assist opening, but isn't really necessary. This is a large, heavy duty blade designed for field dressing big game animals. It is easy to grasp for opening and closing.
The 420HC stainless steel used in a Buck 110 is hard stuff and the angle of the bevel at the edge is such that, if you let it get dull, it is a chore to sharpen. Touch it up after use to keep it sharp and you will not have a problem. Buck says this about their 420HC blades:
This is Buck’s standard blade material, because it combines the excellent wear resistance of high carbon alloys with the corrosion resistance of chromium stainless steels. Add our exclusive heat-treat process for superior corrosion resistance and you have excellent tensile strength, hardness and wear resistance. 420HC Steel is a High Carbon (HC) version of standard 420 martensitic stainless steels – they can be can be hardened to a Rockwell hardness of Rc 58."
I have owned and used a Buck 110 Folding Hunter since the late 1960's and can attest to its quality and durability. The Buck 110 can be used like a fixed blade knife for most purposes. Note, however, that the hinge pin is brass, so don't hammer on the back of the blade or you may sheer the pin. If you must use your hunting knife to split fire wood or cleave heavy bones, get a fixed blade knife.
The wood scales are easy to grasp, comfortable in the hand and look good. The handle's slight curve helps keep your hand from slipping.
The lockback gets its name from the rocking lock plate visible on the back of the handle. Opening the blade causes the rocker to lock against the blade, keeping it open. To close the blade, push down on the rocker at the back of the handle. Two hands are normally used to open and close a Buck 110, although with practice and some machine oil on the hinge, it can be opened with one hand.
This is a heavy knife and closed it is too long for comfortable pocket carry. Use the provided belt pouch. It allows quick and easy access to the knife in the field.
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter isn't cheap, but neither is it particularly expensive compared to big folding hunting knives from other top manufacturers. The price is actually more than reasonable for a knife of this quality. The Buck 110 is a handsome, well made hunting knife. With reasonable care it will provide decades of service. It is proudly made in the USA, covered by the Buck Forever Warrantee and priced right.
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.