1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 29 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Ron Flaherty Folder

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Ron Flaherty folder , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, July 20 ; winners will be drawn on Sunday @ 5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Buck 119 - what steel

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by g123, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. g123


    Oct 25, 2009
    Hey Guys,

    I want to purchase a Buck 119 but cannot decide on what steel. Copper and Clad carries everything from standard 420HC, 5160, S30V, ect..

    If you use a Buck 119 in the standard 420HC and have other Buck 119's in the different steels, can you compare them and give me a recommendation on what you like best. I am not sure if the premium steels are worth the extra cost.


  2. Makael

    Makael KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Personally I like 5160, 420 good steel easy to sharpen.
    g123 and jbmonkey like this.
  3. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    I like the S30V. It is kinda pricy though. Everyone has their own ideas. Pete
    g123 and jbmonkey like this.
  4. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    h20hc - best overall option - stainless & tough, but will require sharpening on a normal basis
    5160 - best toughness - non-stainless, and will require sharpening on a normal basis (great if you plan on abusing it, camp & wood use etc)
    s30v - best edge retention & stainless, reasonably tough also, will stay sharp the longest (but slightly more work when you do need to sharpen it)
    g123, GPyro and jbmonkey like this.
  5. bucksway

    bucksway Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    I think only a few very experienced folks could tell/notice the difference actually cutting something..So many other things matter more especially the grind or shape of the edge. To me the real difference is ease of sharpening and more than that how long it will keep acceptable sharp for your use. If its no big deal for you to touch up a edge then 420 is absolutely good enough and that's why Buck makes so many knives with it. Some folks will buy a new knife when it gets dull lol! If you truly want a razor edge and don't mind the time and trouble keeping it that way S30V, BG42, S35VN or similar super steels are well worth the extra cost. I bought and use the BCCI Club 301 in BG42 because I like having a really, really sharp edge when I have a specific use for it..But I only use the one blade (of the 3) a handful of times because I'm not skilled enough to get it super sharp. So if you are willing to learn how and invest in the right system to maintain it super steels are absolutely worth it and will reward you for your time and money.. A real plus too is the collectabilty of a 119 in S30V or BG42 is much greater. I think the ultimate 119 is one of the Master Series in BG42..if you can find one.
    g123 likes this.
  6. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    What are your intended uses? I'm pretty fond of the 5160 version for camping. If I was hunting and know I'm not going to be good bout keeping the blade clean, dry, and oiled, I would go with a different steel. S30V is awesome stuff and if you're not going to be too rough on the knife it should do well. S30V isn't super fragile, it's just that the 119 is pretty slicey and thin. 420 would be a good user option.

    Would the price of the S30V keep you from using it more? If so, get something different. The abrasion resistance of S30V is quite good, so think skinning game with dirty hides, but it is a lot pricier and the lesser steels will handle it.

    5160 isn't known for taking a super keen edge, like shaving, but it takes a good working edge and has very good toughness so hitting bone, or wood in the case of camping tasks, is something it can handle better than the other 2.

    That's a bit all-over the place, so summary:
    S30V if you are simply cutting a lot of stuff and the price won't cause it to sit in drawer
    420 for a great all-around option, fairly tough stainless steel and reasonable abrasion resistance.
    5160 for the tougher use task, or peace of mind that it can handle it, and corrosion isn't a huge concern.
    g123 likes this.
  7. DeSotoSky


    Mar 21, 2011
    Copper and Clad offers a 420HC 119 in a full flat grind. That would be my choice for an economical user.
    jux t, g123 and GPyro like this.
  8. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    many folks prefer easier to sharpen. 420hc and 5160 are the easiest of the bunch listed in this thread. one stainless, one not. 5160 is much tougher than bucks heat treat on 420hc, but for normal cutting tasks with a knife like the 119, it wont matter. If you are gonna use this to chop, which I wouldnt but if ya are, id go 5160. it does rust but easy to maintain.

    s30v kinda covers a bit of the best of everything.....but many dont need what it offers. I like it for a cutter and user myself.
    g123 and kossetx like this.
  9. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Geoff, welcome to the Buck Forum. If your going to use the 119 and your a competent sharpener or have a gadget then a better steel is worth it. Plus, the up grade knife is often dressed with a better handle. If your economy minded then the basic model with 420hc steel would
    fit the bill. Most of us have more than one. One for show and one to use. This model has been in Buck's line for about 55 years and can be found with about 8 different steel blades. You'll just have to hunt around at Gun Shows to stumble on to one. Here's a 1980 - 119 with 440C blade. DM
    1980 Buck 119.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  10. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    The model above with 440C steel is a great cutter with good edge retention and good stainless properties. But not for a beginner sharpener. One can find these at shows in decent shape for 3-4 saw bucks. They ask more if it is new in the box. DM
    g123 likes this.
  11. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    ^what's a saw buck Sir?
    g123 likes this.
  12. GPyro

    GPyro Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2019
    If your after stainless I second the flat grind.
    I'm a big carbon fan and like mine. A flat grind carbon would be nice.
    g123 likes this.
  13. Badhammer


    Jun 8, 2009
    It’s a $10 bill.
    g123 and jbmonkey like this.
  14. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    There's a flat ground D2 compadre in the works from SKblades, if you haven't seen the thread. Kind of hits a few of those marks.
    g123 and GPyro like this.
  15. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    thanks Sir. that is a term I never heard. went and read about it just now.
    g123 likes this.
  16. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I've never heard of a tenner called a saw buck either. Interesting
    g123 likes this.
  17. DeSotoSky


    Mar 21, 2011
    This is a SAWBUCK to hold a log for cutting.
    Bucking is the term for cutting logs.
    X = Roman Numeral 10.
    And now you know the rest of the story...(Paul Harvey)

    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  18. bucksway

    bucksway Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    I really thought a sawbuck was a twenty..
    g123 likes this.
  19. BP_

    BP_ Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2015
    I have a 420HC, an S30V, and an older 440C. Out of the three, I will say the S30V is my favorite steel, but my old 440C is my favorite actual user. Either way, can’t go wrong. Great knives with years of successful use :thumbsup:
    g123 likes this.
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    g123 and jbmonkey like this.

Share This Page