Buck 110 Folding Hunter vs. Böker Lockback Hunter


Today we are comparing the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter to the Boker Lockback Hunter. We will be comparing and contrasting these two knives on a variety of different criteria.

Before reading this head to head review, you should check out both the Buck 110 Folding Hunter and the Boker Lockback Hunter (Rosewood Handle) on Amazon.

To kick off the review, some general statistics about the two blades that we are reviewing.

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is a timeless American classic that measures 4 7/8 inches closed and weighs a hefty 7.2 ounces. It features an elegant, semi-hollow ground, 3 3/4 inch clip point blade made from 420HC (high carbon) stainless steel hardened to 57-59 Rockwell. It also features high quality brass bolsters with rounded edges and increasingly rare Macassar Ebony wood slabs.

Since this knife was specially designed to be carried in the included, black, leather sheath, it was intentionally designed with a wide, hand-filling, grip that is as comfortable as it is elegant.

This knife incorporates a classic rear Lockback locking mechanism which was the first of its kind among commercially produced folding knives, so, what this knife lacks in fancy blade steels, sophisticated locking mechanisms, and assisted opening mechanisms, is easily compensated for by a venerable history and sheer elegance of the design. The Buck 110 Folding Hunter retails in the sub $100 range, but check Amazon for the latest prices.

The Boker Lockback Hunter on the other hand, measures 5 1/4″ closed and weighs 5.6 ounces. Plus, it features a, Saber Ground, 3 1/8″ Clip Point blade made from either 440C stainless steel with Rockwell Hardness of 58 or Cronidur 30 stainless steel with Rockwell Hardness of 58 and a classic Lockback locking mechanism.

In addition, the Boker Lockback Hunter features nickel silver bolsters, and is available with your choice of Stag, Buffalo, Thuya Wood, Rosewood, or Grenadill (aka African Blackwood) handle scales with finger grooves and a palm swell and it includes a heavy-duty leather belt sheath. Last, the Boker Lockback Hunter retails around the $150 to $200 mark depending if there are any discounts to be had.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter vs. Böker Lockback Hunter

buck 110 vs boker lockback

Aesthetics – The Buck 110 Folding Hunter or the Böker Lockback Hunter?

Now this is a hard choice! Personally, I have always admired the look of the Buck 110 and thus, I have always considered it to be one folding knife to which I compare all others. The reason for this is that to me, the Clip Point blade design has always been my favorite blade shape for general purpose use and the bright, high quality, brass (brass is an alloy of Copper and Tin) bolsters combined with the dark Macassar Ebony wood slabs give this knife a classic look that I don’t believe will ever lose its appeal for the American public.

However, I also happen to really like the appearance of the Boker Folding Lockback knife and especially the model with the Thuya Wood and Stag Horn handle scales because they lend a very elegant appearance to the knife and nicely compliment the nickel silver bolsters.

Although both knives have a Clip Point blade design, I have to say that I like the blade shape of the Buck Folding Hunter’s blade better than I do that of the Boker Folding Lockback simply because I happen to have a distinct preference for long, slim, Bowie style, blades as opposed to the Mexican Style Bowie blade of the Boker Folding Hunter. Thus, I am going to have to cast my vote in favor of the Buck 110 over the Boker Folding Lockback.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 9/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 7/10

Blade Design

As I mentioned in the previous section, I happen to have a distinct preference for long, slim, Bowie style, Clip Point blades and thus, I find that I have a distinct preference for the blade shape of the Buck 110 over that of the Mexican style Clip Point on the Boker Folding Lockback.

I really like the longer, 3 3/4″, blade length on the Buck 110 over the 3 1/8″ blade length of the Boker Folding Lockback because it has been my experience that while a 3″ blade is fine for a pocket knife, it is just too short a length for a folding knife.

For instance, if you will closely examine the cutting edge of the Boker Folding Lockback and then note the length of the straight portion of that edge and then compare that length to that of the Buck 110, I believe that you will see that it is significantly shorter.

If you will closely examine the sweep the Boker Folding Lockback and then note the length of the curved portion of that edge and then compare that length to that of the Buck 110, I believe that you will see that it is significantly longer.

Thus, the Buck 110 has a longer straight edge and is better for cutting but, the Boker has a longer sweep and thus, it is better for slicing.

Furthermore, although both blade designs technically feature a Saber Grind, the Buck 110’s Saber Grind is hollow ground which makes a very sharp edge whereas the Boker Folding Lockback’s Saber Grind is flat with produces a less sharp, but much stronger, edge.

Because both hunting and EDC folding knives are not normally used to chop material with, I have a distinct preference for the Hollow Grind over the Saber Grind. Consequently, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter wins once again over the Boker Folding Lockback.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 9/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 7/10

Blade Steel

For a thorough introduction to blade steel you should read our article “Blade Steel Composition; what makes one blade steel superior to another?“.

420HC is an American-made high carbon stainless steel that is generally considered to be a mid-grade blade steel because it contains 0.40 – 0.50% Carbon, 12% – 14% Chromium, 0.60% Molybdenum, 0.18% Vanadium, and 0.8 % Manganese.

It is a reasonably tough and highly corrosion resistant stainless steel that is commonly used for knives that will see hard use. However, the general consensus seems to be that this steel, as heat treated by metallurgist guru Paul Bos, holds an edge (CARTA tests) even better than the 440C Buck previously used even though it has a lower Carbon and Molybdenum content.

This may possibly be due to the lower Manganese content and the inclusion of Vanadium which serves to refine the grain structure for a noticeably sharper cutting edge.

440C is an American-made stainless steel that contains 0.95-1.20% Carbon, 16% to 18% Chromium, 0.75% Molybdenum, and 1.0.% Manganese. Also, it was first used by Gil Hibben around 1966 and it quickly gained popularity as a custom blade steel. In fact, it was the number one choice of custom bladesmiths until it was replaced by 154CM.

440C is an excellent choice for hunting knives, every day carry knives, and large wilderness survival knives because it holds an edge very well due to its relatively high Carbon content and the hard, double-carbide, bonds formed between Molybdenum and Chromium during forging. It is reasonably tough due to its Manganese content, and it is highly corrosion resistant due to its exceptionally high Chromium content.

Cronidur-30 is an American-made stainless steel that contains 0.25% – 0.35% Carbon, 14% – 16% Chromium, 0.85% – 1.10% Molybdenum, 0.0% – 1.0% Manganese, and 0.0% – 0.50% Nickel. It’s made by Progressive Alloy Steels Unlimited in Hartsville, SC. who developed it for use in the aircraft and aerospace industry where component durability, reliability, and long life are a must. It is a pressure-nitrided, Martensitic, cold worked, steel that has greater corrosion resistance and is longer wearing than 440C.

Cronidur-30 is also known for its extreme cleanliness and homogenous structure of finely dispersed carbon nitrides because it is manufactured using nitrogen as a partial substitute for carbon and thus, the lack of large carbides evident in other high grade steels leads to better corrosion resistance than conventional cold worked steels.

Böker is the first company to offer sporting knives in this steel, so if you are a chemistry fan then this knife could be the right choice for you!

Even though I am not personally familiar with the Cronidur-30 blade steel, from what I have read, it does indeed outperform 440C and, if outperforms 440C, then it will certainly outperform 420HC. Therefore, on the matter of blade steels, my vote goes to the Boker Folding Lockback.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 5/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 8/10

Handle Material

This is another part of the knife where deciding between the different materials is a difficult choice. On the one hand, we have high quality brass with Makassar Ebony wood and on the other hand, we have nickel silver with our choice of several different handle materials.

Let my start by saying that I am extremely fond of both stag horn as well as exotic hardwoods. But, I also happen to really like buffalo horn as well.

Choosing a knife handle material is more than just a matter of aesthetics because it depends on the use to which you intend to put the knife. For instance, Buffalo Horn is a very tough material and thus, it would be an excellent choice for hard use whereas the Thuya Wood, the Grenadill Wood, and the Rosewood are not quite as tough as the Buffalo Horn but they are nearly as tough and they are much prettier and thus, they would serve well on every day carry knives.

Perhaps the prettiest material of all, and yet the least tough, is the Stag Horn and thus, it is best reserved for hunting knives in my opinion because dropping a knife with stag horn handle scales onto a hard floor can damage the scales even though Bucks regularly use their horns to subdue their rivals.

Therefore, in this section, my vote goes to the Buffalo Horn as the toughest material and to the Stag Horn as the prettiest material

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 6/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 6-9/10

Toughness: Buffalo Horn – 9/10 vs. Exotic Hardwod – 7/10 vs. Stag Horn – 5/10
Appearance: Buffalo Horn – 6/10 vs. Exotic Hardwod – 8/10 vs. Stag Horn – 9/10

Locking Mechanism

Both the Buck 110 Folding Hunter and the Boker Lockback Hunter feature the venerable and dependable Lockback locking mechanism which consists of a lever that is pinned in the center of the liners such that it pivots on the pin and then, either a leaf spring or a coil spring is placed underneath the rear end of the lever to provide positive pressure.

Consequently, as the knife’s blade is rotated into the open position, the end of the lever slides around the end of the blade’s tang and then drops into a notch milled into the side of the tang; thus locking it in place. While this is not a particularly sophisticated locking mechanism by today’s standards, it is both functional and dependable and thus, it does serve to prevent the knife’s blade from accidently closing on the user’s fingers although, they do require the user to use two hands to unlock and close the knife.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 6/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 6/10

Value for Money

When it comes to weighing the value of these two knives, I would normally consider both the Buck and the Boker to be on par with each other since they each normally employ similar blade materials. However, in this case, we have to weigh the use of 420HC stainless steel, exotic hardwoods, and high quality brass against the use of 440C or Cronidur-30 stainless steels, exotic hardwoods and stag horn, and German nickel silver. Also, despite what I read about some people considering Buck’s treatment of 420HC being superior to their treatment of 440C, I still feel like 440C is the better blade steel and I am reasonably certain that Cronidur-30 will outperform both.

In addition, the Boker Folding Lockback is available with several different handle scale materials at no extra charge. However, when I consider the last factor of a $73.00 retail price for the Buck 110 versus a $189.95 retail price for the Boker, I find that I am forced to place my vote for the best value for the money in favor of the Buck 110 Folding Hunter.

* Due to fluctuations in the market, and special discounts – you should check the prices of both knives on Amazon to see the most up to date price. View the Buck 110 and the Boker Buffalo Horn Hunter on Amazon to check the latest prices.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 9/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 7/10

Personal Preference and Gut Feeling

There again, this is a hard choice to make. However, as much of a fanatic as I am about having the proper blade steel for the job at hand and, as much as I like nickel silver bolsters and, especially as much as I like highly figured, exotic, hardwoods, I have to admit that when I look at a Buck 110 Folding Hunter, my heart just goes pitter patter!

In fact, there is something so simply elegant about a Buck 110 that it is hard to describe but it has something to do with the fact that the knife seems to have everything it needs and yet, nothing it doesn’t. In addition, there is the long, slim, elegantly shaped, classic, Clip Point blade combined with the softened edges on the bright, brass, bolsters highlighted by the dark Macassar Ebony handle scales that make this knife absolutely stunning.

So, although I feel like the Boker Folding Lockback is a better quality knife, the truth of the matter is that I like the Buck 110 Folding Hunter better. So, of course my vote in this category goes to the Buck 110.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter – 9/10 vs. Boker Folding Lockback – 6/10

Final Thoughts

So, in adding up the numbers, I see that these two knives have run close race just like the last pair I reviewed. However, the Buck 110 just barely tops the Boker Folding Lockback on the Folding Knife HQ ranking chart.

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