The Cutting Edge

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BucknBear Damascus Hunting Knife Review

Buck n Bear Damascus Hunting Knife

Getting a good knife doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. While many custom knives go for several hundred dollars—or more depending on whom you’re commissioning the knife from—it’s more than possible to get a handmade knife without selling a kidney.

But are these handmade knives for those on a budget worth it? We aim to find out by taking a look at one.

BucknBear makes a variety of handcrafted knives that are surprisingly affordable for featuring flourishes like quality materials and Damascus steel. In this review, we take a look at the BucknBear Damascus Hunting Knife to see whether it’s worth your time. Because it is a custom knife, this model is no longer available for purchase, but there are similar models like the BucknBear Damascus Cali Hunter.

About BucknBear

BucknBear LogoIf you haven’t heard of BucknBear, you’re probably not alone. The relatively new brand was founded in 2011 and is based out of Pennsylvania.

BucknBear is a manufacturer of fixed blades and folding knives made from a variety of quality materials, like D2 steel, 1095 and 15N20 high carbon Damascus steel, and exotic woods.

You’ll often find the brand spelled as Buck N Bear, but a representative insisted the official name is BucknBear, so that’s how I’ll be writing it throughout the review.

The products from BucknBear are touted as handmade items by skilled artisans and craftsmen. While not explicitly said anywhere, it’s likely these knives are from Pakistan, which is a common place to find relatively inexpensive Damascus knives.

Most knife enthusiasts will tell you that Pakistan has a reputation as a mixed bag for its knives in terms of quality. BucknBear explained to me that they have quality control experts who maintain a high standard throughout the entire process of production.

Over the years, BucknBear has grown its following and brand image. It’s not more evident than on the BucknBear Instagram page. You can tell they care about and love their knives, which is always a good sign.

On to the actual knife.

First Impressions

Before I get a knife to review, I usually do a little pre-research to see what others have said about the knife. Unfortunately, there’s pretty much no reviews of any BucknBear product out there, except for a few Facebook reviews and a positive video review of a BucknBear Damascus Lockback.

So I went into this completely blind and without any expectations. Needless to say, I was blown away by the knife upon receiving it. The hunter came neatly packaged in a branded BucknBear box, and the minute I took it out, I was smitten by its attractive look.

BucknBear Damascus Hunter

Again, since these are custom-made knives, there are limited quantities. The particular model I have is no longer available, but they do make pretty similar hunters, such as this BucknBear Damascus Cali Hunter.

Here are the specs for the one I received.

  • Blade Length: 4.625 inches
  • Overall Length: 9.25 inches
  • Blade Material: 1095 and 15N20 Damascus
  • Handle Material: Burlwood & Micarta
  • Knife Weight: 13oz
  • Sheath: Leather
  • Price Range: $95

With some of the initial thoughts out of the way, let’s delve deeper into the knife.

Blade

The blade length of 4.625 inches is pretty standard for a hunting knife, though maybe on the longer side, depending on your task. With a drop point on the blade, the knife is more in the vein of a camp knife that’s designed to be a multipurpose outdoor knife. I’m definitely not complaining about that.

Buck N Bear Damascus Blade

It has a polished edge with a recurve. Some people hate the recurve because it’s a little harder to sharpen, but it’s mostly a matter of preference.

Then, of course, the highlight of the blade is the Damascus steel. Modern day Damascus steel is made from at least two different steels that are folded over each other, creating a distinguishable pattern when etched. In the case of this hunting knife, BucknBear used 1095 and 15N20 steel—as they do in all their Damascus knives. These two steels are frequently used together in Damascus production because they complement one another.

Buck N Bear Damascus Hunting Knife

1095 is a high carbon steel, and 15N20 has a high nickel content. This not only gives a nice contrast in the pattern but it also gives you a functional blade steel. 1095 has a high hardness level and strength, and 15N20 is a tool steel with good toughness. When combined, they give you a tough steel with great strength. BucknBear says its knives have a hardness of 58 to 60 HRC after heat treatment. We’ll talk a little more about that later.

Aside from the sexy twist pattern, the blade features some nice custom file work along the spine. Many Damascus knives include this type of file work with interesting patterns. It doesn’t add anything to the functionality, but it does add some extra flair to the overall look.

The BucknBear logo is also on the blade.

Buck N Bear Logo on Blade

Handle

The relatively thick full tang extends down into a handle that’s absolutely gorgeous. It has a stainless steel bolster that gives the knife excellent balance. The balance point is pretty much right in the middle of the knife. Then there’s a burlwood accent piece that’s a deep brown and surrounded by brass spacers. Finally, black Micarta scales extend down to the butt of the handle.

BucknBear Hunting Knife

The Micarta scales look to be attached with brass pins, and a lanyard hole offers extra security and different carrying options.

In terms of functionality, the handle is a plus. The Micarta scales have a light texture to give it some grip. The ergonomics are understated but appreciated. It conforms pretty nicely to my hand. Thanks to the knife’s blade, there’s a small finger guard that kind of acts as a choil. It’s just enough to keep the hand from sliding onto the blade when things are slippery.

BucknBear Leather Sheath

I won’t spend too much time talking about the sheath. It’s a pretty standard leather sheath that fits the knife well. I believe it has some sort of inlay that appears to be snakeskin, but I’m not entirely sure.

Fit & Finish

Now on to one of the most important aspects of these Damascus knives that aren’t overly expensive: fit and finish.

I’m happy to report that this hunting knife is solidly built.

BucknBear Finish

Everything fits together snugly and seamlessly. The stainless steel bolster blends almost perfectly with the full tang. If I’m being really nitpicky with the fit and finish, there’s a tiny portion that doesn’t line up with the bolster snugly. The brass spacers also have a very slight space between the bolster. Nothing I would make a big deal out of.

BucknBear Fit & Finish

On other Damascus knives or cheaper imported knives, you’ll notice imperfections in the steel and worse (nicks, defects, and substandard edges). This does not have any of those. The Damascus steel looks fantastic and well-made. On extremely cheap knives, places will try to pull one over on people and actually draw on the Damascus pattern. One way to tell is by looking at the spine. If you can see the layers inside the steel, it’s legitimate. In this knife, you can see the layers in the file work. It’s a little hard to see in this image, but it looks like fingerprints.

BucknBear Filework

A major complaint I have about the knife is its edge. It’s not as sharp as I would have liked. The simple paper test revealed it’s not up to snuff with other factory edges. It’s fairly sharp but not the razor sharp edge you should keep on a hunting knife. Hopefully that’s not indicative of other edges on their knives.

Another issue with some cheaper knives is heat treatment. Heat treating involves heating and cooling metals at extreme temperatures to achieve the desired hardness. BucknBear says it uses Rockwell testing equipment to maintain control over the hardening process and that its knives have a hardness of 58 to 60 HRC.

It’s pretty difficult to check something like that, but nothing I have encountered with the knife would lead me to believe otherwise.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the BucknBear Damascus Hunter is a great knife that I do recommend. While some people have moral qualms about buying imported knives from outside the United States (something I don’t fault people for), others are more worried about what kind of quality they’re going to get. BucknBear is just another in a growing number of brands with knives made elsewhere that are proving quality knives can come from other countries (I’m looking at you, Kizer!)

BucknBear Hunting Knife

Many of these knives are made in limited quantities, so you probably won’t find this exact hunter, but BucknBear will often come out with pretty similar models. If you’re interested in checking out other products, check out the BucknBear brand page or visit the BucknBear website.

I’m looking forward to seeing more knives from BucknBear and hearing what others have to say as they continue to get more popular.

21 Comments

  1. Is there any details about this subject in different languages?

  2. Have you tried CFK knives. I have several that were half that price and made in America and are as good. Same materials and Quality maybe better.

  3. Called BnB. They said they are made in China.

    • They’re made globally. China, Japan, and BnB has their own factory in Pakistan which is where all the forged custom knives comes from!

  4. I have Damascus Hunter. It is a great knife that I do recommend from my experience

  5. Call me old fashion but I like my American made knives I know good knives are made else where but I like my American made Gerbers but this knife that is shown is a nice looking knife.

  6. WARNING:
    DO NOT PURCHASE DAMASCUS KNIVES! This company does not use true damascus steel, rather it is just a desin print to have the appearance of damascus. I purchased one and was completely dissapointed as soon as I pulled it out of the box. It had many flaws in the design coating, so it is completely obvious it is fake. So dissapointing

    • Maybe you got one from a different seller on Amazon. I’ve bought two of their blanks and as the author says these are real Damascus.

    • BucknBear uses 1095 Damascus for fixed blade knives which have been forged 276 layers worth. We have a pocket knife that has VG10 Core Damascus which is also very popular..

  7. Based on the pics, I would say those are fake Damascus steel.

    The Damascus pattern only exists on the main sides of the knife. No pattern shows on the edges or the back of tang, i.e., the area between two sides of the handle.

    True Damascus steel should be like those cakes that have colorful layers. No matter where you cut the cake, the surfaces show the pattern.

    • BucknBear uses 1095 Damascus for fixed blade knives which have been forged 276 layers worth. We have a pocket knife that has VG10 Core Damascus which is also very popular..

  8. Very great post. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info.I have really enjoyed browsing your blog post. I am searching this information from few days and I found this information on your blog. Your blog is very informative. Thanks for sharing this post.

  9. DisappointedAtChristmasTime

    December 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    NOT REAL DAMASCUS, I’m so bummed out. I bought a knife from them as a Christmas gift and I got it from them because I almost bought the same knife from Forseti Steel. They have the same knife exactly to the T but with different logo so they obviously just order them out of a catalog from China or Pakistan. Either way. NOT a Damascus. Finding a real damascus on the internet has become extremely frustrating. My dad ordered me a pocket knife a few years back and it was a real damascus, super sharp and the pattern was in the metal, not a coating that you could literally scratch off with your fingernail. That’s what Buck N Bear is passing off. It’s a terrible scam and for them to say they have people doing Quality checks actually makes it way worse. And to come across this site saying they are real, while showing a photo of a fake, because mine is just like this only a different version, just points out that the author either doesnt know anything about knives or is in on the scam. Either way, you shouldnt be writing in both cases. It’s just wrong. I’m super mad that a christmas gift has now turned into the annoying task of trying to get my money back. Yeah, the pictures look great, and they are hoping you wont bother with returning it or you are too ignorant to know that it’s not real.

    • BucknBear sells real Damascus. sounds like you ordered from an unauthorized dealer who’s selling fakes!

  10. I have a Hunter like this one and its a great knife. I must say I was also a little disappointed with the sharpness of the blade compared to the other knives I have from them. So all blades are not like that. I have 5 in all.

    Really nice product for the difference of price compared to other knives you have out their. I had been looking for a nice big Texas Bowie knife for a long time. But they are very expensive. BnB had what I was looking for a third of the price.

  11. Bucknbear are actively stealing other knife makers designs, there extreme hunter is an exact replica knock off of the Hibben Knives Negotiator 2. Their CEO reaponded with bigoted terminology when questioned about stealing designs.

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