Buck Pursuit: the American big game hunting knife

Founded in 1902 in the US state of Kansas, Buck Knives is one of the oldest manufacturers of sporting knives still active in the USA. Known above all for its fixed-blade knives with a very classic line and for the 110 folder, in recent years Buck too has given in to the need to outsource part of its production to Eastern suppliers, but still has a large section of its sports and kitchen knives catalog marked "Made in USA".

Among these, a very modern-looking hunting model attracted our attention: the 657 Pursuit Pro Large Guthook Knife. The name is quite explanatory and tells us that the knife is large and features a gut hook on the back of the blade, very useful for skinning game of a certain size. It is therefore a one hundred percent hunting knife, and the hunting use is emphasized by the high visibility orange coloring of the handle. For those who love more traditional colors, no problem – the Pursuit is also available with an olive green handle, while those looking for less bulky options will be happy to know that there is also a folding version of the knife, included in Buck's online catalog as the model 660.

Buck Pursuit: sturdy and ergonomic

The blade of the Buck Pursuit is made of S35VN stainless steel hardened to 59-61 HRC. 
The blade of the Buck Pursuit is made of S35VN stainless steel hardened to 59-61 HRC. The satin finish is excellent.

The Pursuit Guthook model is a fixed blade knife with a full tang construction following the external profile of the handle. This offers the maximum robustness. The blade, or rather the entire metal part, is made of S35VN stainless steel which ensures an excellent edge retention, as well as great mechanical strength and corrosion resistance. The heat process is proprietary and named after its perfectionist metal expert Paul Bos. The result of the heat treatment is a blade with a hardness of 59-61 HRC, which is stronger yet easy to resharpen.

The blade has a modified drop-point profile, since the back section of the point features the guthook that allows you to eviscerate game such as deer, roe deer and other ungulates with a pulling motion, reducing almost completely the risk of perforating the entrails. This model is numbered as 657 in Buck's catalog, and for those looking for something conventional, we find that the 656 model is nearly identical, but lacks the gut hook and thus features a pure drop-point blade profile. The blade is 4.5”/114 mm long, more than enough for use on good-sized game, while thickness is 0.140”/3.5 mm, a good compromise between flexibility and strength. Workmanship of the blade is very accurate, with a high bevel, well connected to the sides and a well finished gut hook. The rounded knurling near the gut hook also reveals great attention to detail. The Buck Pursuit's factory sharpening is nothing short of excellent, with absolute consistency in the height of the edge width. There is nothing to complain about the satin finish of the blade, which is just as expertly done. The laser-made markings on the blade are very light, almost faded, but it is certainly not a problem, since this is certainly not a knife that you buy for aesthetics.

The excellent glass-filled Nylon handle 
The comfortable glass-filled Nylon handle features soft Versaflex inserts in the grip areas.

The handle is composite: the main section is made of orange high-visibility, glass filles Nylon, while the grip area is black Versaflex, an elastic polymer with high strength, which greatly increases handle grip. The handle shape is the result of all the experience of Buck designers and you can see it – or rather feel it. Even users with larger than average hands will appreciate the grip surface and the semi-anatomical grooves that prevent dangerous slipping of the fingers towards the edge, while on the back of the handle a cut leaves a short section of the knurled tang exposed, where you can rest your thumb. As I often say, great knives are made of small details, and in this respect the Pursuit is certainly a well thought-out product. At the handle end we find a rounded trapezoid-shaped hole for a lanyard.

The Buck Pursuit's polyester sheath
The Buck Pursuit's polyester sheath is bomb-proof and protects the knife from the elements.
The Buck Pursuit offers two knurled areas to rest your thumb on
The Buck Pursuit offers two knurled areas to rest your thumb on, one on the back of the handle, another near the gut hook. 

Finally, let's move on to the polyester sheath featuring a very solid construction, which allows you to carry the knife on your belt or secured to your backpack: once in a while it is not the weak point of the knife, but it is well made, fitted with an internal anti-cut insert and a safety strap with an oversized snap button, to prevent any accidental release. This aspect of the Buck Pursuit is also very convincing.

Accustomed to the prices of Eastern-made knives, the price of the Buck Pursuit of about $ 120 for the Orange version, may seem a bit high, but you must consider the overall quality of the knife and sheath. Moreover, we must remember that the knife is proudly manufactured in the USA and to emphasize the trust of the American company in what it does, it is covered by Buck Knives' "Forever” life guarantee. Which is no small thing.

Buck Knives Pursuit Pro Large Guthook 657 specs and price

Buck Knives, USA 
Pursuit Pro Large Guthook 657
Fixed blade knife 
S35VN stainless steel hardened to 59-61 HRC
Blade Profile: 
Drop-point with gut hook
Blade Finish: 
Blade Length: 
4.5”/114 mm
Overall Length: 
9.5”/241 mm
Blade Thickness: 
0.140”/3.5 mm
6.4 oz/181 g
Glass filled nylon with Versaflex inserts
$119.99 (Orange), $64.99 (Green)
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