LocaCarnivore Long-term Test and Review: Buck Pro-Line Hunting Knife

Every hunter wants durable equipment which will last for years.  At LocaCarnivore, we're no exception.  We've used the same Buck Pro-Line knife for over two decades.  How has is stood up season after season?

The Knife

Buck's Pro-Line is a straightforward, multi-purpose hunting knife with a four-inch, hollow ground, 440C stainless steel blade and brass furniture.  The blade's tip has a moderate up sweep and the tip ends almost even with the spine.  The tip's slight drop is there to accommodate a gut hook along the spine's front quarter and enables the tip to puncture better than a skinning knife.  The grip is deep checkered rubber, and Buck includes a reinforced ballistic nylon sheath.  The blade design is a compromise between a classic skinner and a cutting knife.


The blade works well overall.  It is long enough to gut, skin, and de-bone most game animals in the field.  Although it's not a dedicated skinning knife, the blade tip is up-swept enough to get this chore done, if the user pays attention to the task at hand.

Stainless steel doesn't hold an edge as well as carbon steel, and this Buck is no exception.  It needs a touch up hone several times while processing deer-sized animals.  Once sharpened, however, it cuts with ease.   Clean up is simple: just warm water and mild dish soap remove even dried-on blood and tallow with minimal effort.  We noticed no corrosion at all in humid environments with frequent rain and wet snow.

Durability has been excellent.  The blade has not loosened over time, and the edge resists nicks and burrs.

The gut hook is well designed and has held its edge for years.  The hook's lead is long enough to start and maintain a smooth cut.  Not all gut hooks are created equal.  Many are too narrow and load up with hair, skin, and tallow, while others do not have a long enough lead section and slip from the gut wall.  The Buck avoids these issues.
Well designed gut hook is sometimes compromised by the blade's tip
The gut hook has one drawback, but it's the blade fault.  The tip is a bit too high in this mode and can puncture internal organs if the blade's spine is not held flat against an animal's abdomen along the hook cut's entire length.  This can prove difficult since an animal's gut line runs in a compound curve and does not lie flat.  Sometimes, as the gut hook approaches the pelvis, the user has to hold the viscera back with one hand and complete the cut with the other, all the while not slicing their own fingers.

We can't say enough about this knife's grip.  The deep cut checkering combines with the rubber compound to ensure it does not slip in the hand in any temperature no matter how much blood, mud, snow, or rain is on the user's hands.  All hunting knives should have this grip, period.
Sheath is tough and simple.  We'd pay the extra money for one with better attach points and blade retention.

What We Liked

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Great grip
  • Holds a good edge for a reasonable time
  • Good gut hook
  • Grip is well angled for both cutting and skinning
  • Durable sheath
  • Skins well if the user pays attention to the blade tip
  • Affordable

What We Didn't Like

  • Could hold its edge longer
  • Sheath's belt loop is too narrow
  • Sheath's retaining strap interferes with re-holstering blade
  • Blade's tip angle gets in the way sometimes when gutting and skinning

The Bottom Line

The Buck Pro-Line knife is a good all-round hunting knife with few faults.  If a hunter wants to carry just one knife for everything, this is a good choice.  The affordable price makes it better, yet.  It's a LocaCarnivore top pick.

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