Today’s review will cover a classic hunting knife that has been around for nearly 50 years. It’s the Buck 119 Special. When I was a kid, if you happened to see a black handled knife, you knew it was a Buck hunting knife. No questions asked. The only other blade I can remember that radiates the personal of a hunting knife is the old Western hunting knife with the leather washer handle. You knew if you saw these, the owner was a hunter! Buck claims this is their best selling sheath knife and I can believe it.
The Buck 119 Special has a 6 inch blade and is 10 1/2 inches overall. The blade steel is a 420HC steel that Buck uses in most, if not all, of it’s knives. It’s an older type of steel, but it still works great today. It’s not the hardest knife steel out there, but it holds an edge well and is easy to resharpen if you know what you’re doing.
The handle is Phenolic, which I believe is a type of extra hard plastic. I could be wrong because I’m not aware of any other knife company who uses it. I love the look of this handle material, plus it has ever so slight finger grooves at the bottom. The handle is not as slippery when wet as you might think, or at least it wasn’t for me.
The guard and butt are aluminum, so don’t go using the butt for a hammer or you’ll ding it up!
Older Buck 119 Specials came with leather sheaths. I guess in an attempt to cut cost, Buck has started shipping many of the newer ones out with nylon sheaths, but they do still offer the leather ones if you look hard enough. They’re still a good sheath, but I prefer leather. You can find the leather sheaths online at several place for between $10 and $15. I’ve even seencustom leather sheaths for the Buck 119 Special for around $25.
Two other great features about this knife are that it’s made in the U.S.A. Plus, it comes out of the bubble pack razor sharp! If that was the only two things this knife had going for it, those two things alone would make it worth the price! I simply can’t stand a knife manufacturer who sends out dull knives!
What is the Buck 119 Special Good For?
In my opinion and experience, the Buck Special is too large for field dressing deer and other big game such as Elk. The 6″ clip point blade is just too unwieldy and it makes puncturing intestines or the stomach a real possibility. Not to mention cutting yourself when working up in a chest cavity of an animal.
I’ve seen some reviews where the people say they use it to clean small game such as squirrels and rabbits…umm…yeah! I’ve created hundreds of gut piles in my time from all types of big and small game animals including and up to Moose. The best all around blade length for getting the insides of an animal on the outside is a 3″ to 4″ blade, preferably with a drop point.
Two things that I do use if for when I have an animal down is splitting the brisket and the pelvis bone. I cut through the hide and mean down to the brisket, find me a good stout stick and hammer the knife from back of the rib cage to the front. This makes getting to the guts an easy chore. The same goes with the pelvis. Take a good club and whack the Buck through and get the remaining intestines out of the canal that runs through the pelvis. This job is made much easier with a small saw, but if my saw is forgotten and I have the Buck, the job goes just as quickly using a club.
So what other uses do I use the Buck 119 for? I use it as a general camp knife when I’m camping. I also carry it trapping and hiking. It’s a great all around general use knife.
If you don’t have a Buck 119 Special, get yourself one ASAP! If you have one, you know what a great knife it is, so get you another one!