The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Buck 110 Folding Hunter Review

A solid, nostalgic piece of utilitarian equipment. Modern knives are a little easier to use.
Buck 110 Folding Hunter
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Price:  $80 List | $44.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Classic, large, strong
Cons:  Heavy, with no modern pocket clip
Manufacturer:   Buck Knives
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 22, 2017
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 19
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 4
  • Ergonomics - 20% 5
  • Portability - 20% 4
  • Construction Quality - 20% 6
  • Other Features - 10% 0

Our Verdict

THe Buck 110 Folding Hunter is the most "classic" product in our review. Even the name hints at the lasting legacy of this knife. Referring to your product as "famous" right in the name is bold, to put it mildly. However, it is warranted in this case. When one pictures a pocket knife, they probably imagine the Buck "Famous Folder". Does the design prove to live up to the hype and provide lasting function? This knife would do well living in a tool box or fishing kit. As the name implies, it could also be used by hunters. For "every day carry" there are lighter and more sophisticated knives in our test.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Classic, large, strongGreat blade, classy wooden handleIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityProven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomicsImmaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance
Cons Heavy, with no modern pocket clipExpensive, no assisted opening functionPricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveLarge, no assisted openingLarge in your pocket, expensive
Bottom Line A solid, nostalgic piece of utilitarian equipment. Modern knives are a little easier to use.A solid little knife for all-around “every day carry”. With assisted opening, this model would be similar enough to our Editors' Choice to really complicate our assessment.Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task.Full-size, basic folding pocket knife with immaculate construction.The full size version of our Editors' Choice is less portable with minimal but real gains in usability. If you know you need a full size pocket knife, the Barrage 580 is a great choice.
Rating Categories Buck 110 Folding Hunter Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Benchmade Griptilian 551 Benchmade Barrage 580
Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)
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4
10
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9
10
0
9
10
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9
10
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9
Ergonomics (20%)
10
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5
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8
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8
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9
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8
Portability (20%)
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4
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5
Construction Quality (20%)
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6
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9
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Other Features (10%)
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Specs Buck 110 Folding... Benchmade 15031-2... Benchmade... Benchmade... Benchmade Barrage...
Weight (ounces) 7.2 oz 3.2 oz 3.4 oz 3.9 oz 4.2 oz
Blade Style Clip point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? No Yes Yes No Yes
Opening Style Fingernail Ambidextrous thumb-stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud
Lock Mechanism Frame lock Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis)
Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket Sheath Pocket Clip Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip, lanyard hole
Blade Material 420HC stainless CPM-S30V stainless steel 154CM Steel 154CM steel 154 CM stainless steel
Handle Material Macassar ebony dymondwood Stabilized wood Plastic Plastic Valox
Blade Length (inches) 3.5 2.9 2.9 3.5 3.8
Closed Length (inches) 4.9 3.9 4 4.6 4.8
Overall Length 8.6 6.9 6.9 8 8.5
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches) 0.6 0.53 0.57 0.6 0.7
Other Features or Functions None None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Buck Knife 110 Famous Folder is the most lasting design in our review.

Performance Comparison



A simple  classy combo of throwback design  excellent materials  and an included belt sheath.
A simple, classy combo of throwback design, excellent materials, and an included belt sheath.

Blade and Edge Integrity


Across the internet and knife blade community, the "420hc" that Buck uses in this knife gets mixed reviews. To fully understand any review of knife steel, one must acknowledge that there are competing demands on a knife blade and the material it is made of. It must be hard and durable to hold an edge and relatively rigid for energy transmission. It must also be soft enough to sharpen at home (all knives require maintenance, despite the claims of some budget, hype-heavy manufacturers) and flexible enough to deflect before snapping.

Depending on the intended application and blade shape, these attributes are balanced in different ways. In short, there is no "best" steel for constructing knife blades from. Lastly, the blade is heat-treated for hardness after the shape has been finalized. Knowing that, we can dive in a little more to the 420hc. This alloy is known to be relatively inexpensive (both in its raw form and regarding manufacturing process and equipment). Also, it is known to be relatively soft and therefore easily sharpened. This softness, however, compromises edge hold. Balancing the soft makeup of the steel is Buck's excellent heat treating process. The end product is nothing special but holds an edge through weeks and months of "normal" use, and then is readily sharpened.

The distressed brass and Buck embossing on the blade speak to the tradition and veracity of this classic knife.
The distressed brass and Buck embossing on the blade speak to the tradition and veracity of this classic knife.

Ergonomics


As one of the largest knives in our test we expected it to be easy to hold in one's hand during heavy use. The drawback, however, is the shape. The knife handle is long and relatively symmetrical. The wider, more rectangular handle profile of something like the Editors' Choice Benchmade Mini Barrage 585 was easier to hold in heavier use. Next, the biggest difference in modern knives and the Buck Famous Folder is in blade deployment. Modern designs can be opened easily with one hand. The 110 requires two hands, one of which must be equipped with a prominent and strong fingernail for activating the blade. This attribute alone significantly compromised the scores of the Buck and allowed for most of the more contemporary, full-size knives to shoot ahead in overall rating.

Construction Quality


Like any "classic" throwback product, one expects construction quality and lasting design. The Famous Folder meets these expectations. The knife is durable and strong, with smooth hinge and reliable lock.

Portability


This competitor is the heaviest knife in our test, but also the only one that comes with a dedicated belt pouch. Most modern environments aren't real conducive to belt carry. However, if you live and work in an environment in which carrying a leather holster on your belt with your knife in it is appropriate, the Buck Famous Folder could be a viable option for you. Belt carry is comfortable and unobtrusive, as the weight of even this robust tool is transferred to your entire waist instead of just the front pocket of your pants. That being said, the entirety of our testing team preferred the lightweight pocket-clipped carry of something like one of our award winners. Of those knives that don't have pocket clips, the Opine No. 8 is lighter and more compact than the Buck 110.

The Buck Folder is the only knife we tested that comes with a belt sheath.
The Buck Folder is the only knife we tested that comes with a belt sheath.

Other Features


There are no other features on the Buck Famous Folder. This is a simple folding blade.

Value


The Famous Folder price point seems to put a premium on the nostalgic design. The materials nor design is particularly sophisticated, but the price is well above the low end of our test roster.

Backcountry base camp steak dinner  styled further with the Buck Folder as silverware.
Backcountry base camp steak dinner, styled further with the Buck Folder as silverware.

Conclusion


This model is a nostalgic product with a familiar look and design. Other tools in our test are more sophisticated, but the design and function of the Famous Folder are reliable and applicable. The beefy construction, workable ergonomics, and satisfactory blade earn the Buck Famous Folder average scores in those categories, while the portability and features scores are below average. The sum is a score near the bottom of our category. However, remember that we only compare the best of the best. The Buck is a great, classic knife.


Jediah Porter