Buck 113 Ranger Skinner Knife Review - Best Value Skinning Knife You'll Find
Blade
Steel
Design
Sheath
Value
What's Great
  • Razor sharp blade and edge
  • Not difficult to return to factory sharpness
  • Compact design and feel
What Can Be Improved
  • Some people may prefer a longer handle with finger grooves
  • Designed primarily for skinning and field dressing tasks
  • No jimping on the blade for extra hand gripping
4.7Overall Score

Buck 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife Review with Walnut Handle

Having grown up hunting and spending years in the field, I can admit to the fact that sometimes I tend to be picky about what knives I take with me on hunting trips. To be blunt, I expect quality. And, when I’m out in the field, the last thing that I want to be challenged with is a dull knife, or a knife that will clog with blood and hide. An ineffective skinner can ruin your entire experience and turn field dressing into a painful ordeal. Not ideal.

Overview

buck 113 review
So with that being said, and as a bit of a knife snob (hey, we all know what we like), I have high expectations. Buck in typical fashion, has put out an excellent knife in the Buck 113. For the money, this is truly a top pick for hunters, and has left me very impressed, exceeding my expectations.

Specs:

  • Blade: 3-1/8 Inch Blade
  • Overall Length: 7-1/4 Inches
  • Weight: 5.2 oz
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Blade Type: Fixed Blade with drop point
  • Handle: American Walnut
  • Sheath: Genuine Leather

Over the years, I’ve used my fair share of Buck Knives, and consider them one of my favorite brands. If you’re not familiar with Buck, they have been around for over a hundred years, and are an experienced company. They strive to only put out quality, and because of that, it’s become a major reason why I gravitate towards their knives.

The Buck 113 Ranger Skinner might not do everything well, but what it was designed to do, it does impeccably well. If you are on a budget, and heck, even if you’re not, this is an ideal skinning, field dressing and gutting knife for cleaning deer (small to large game). The Buck 113 is a practical knife and ready to go to work right out of the box. As tempted as you might be to let it sit on your display (it is a gorgeous knife), the Ranger Skinner is built to take abuse. It is the perfect companion for whitetail season.

Initial Impressions

Out of the box, it comes in a genuine leather sheath, a card with information about the Buck Famous Forever Warranty, and of course the Buck 113. My initial thoughts are that this is an instant Buck classic, if for nothing other than its sheer sharpness. I expect a skinning knife to slice through deer skin like its butter, and that’s what you’re getting here.

This knife is the perfect size for field dressing and skinning, not too big, perhaps on the smaller side if anything, but still feels ‘right’. With its razor edge it makes the entire field dressing process so much smoother with its sharp, thick blade.

First impressions are lasting, and they’re strong with the Buck 113. It has beautiful craftsmanship. But, would you expect anything less from Buck?

 

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Notice Any Similarities?

If you’ve seen the Buck Vanguard before, then the Buck 113 might feel and look a bit familiar. The Ranger Skinner has a lot of similarities to the Buck Vanguard 192BR, and that is because it is essentially a combination of the iconic Buck Ranger and the Buck Vanguard. Both are easy to use and ergonomic knives.

 

Blade Quality

First, and most importantly, you’re probably wondering: “How is the blade on the Buck 113?” A knife with a dull blade is not a practical knife for the field. It’s better served on your display. Out of the box, the Buck 113 is razor sharp.

Different tasks require different gear and specifications. When skinning, I normally prefer a skinner that has a 2 – 4 inch blade, especially if I’m working on deer. Anything exceeding 4 inches can make it hard to operate, especially for hunting deer sized game because one wrong slice can ruin the hide, or penetrate too deep striking the meat.

The Buck 113 sports a 3-1/8” inch blade which is smack-down in the middle of what I consider to be the perfect sized range. It is dark in the cavity, so you want a shorter blade that offers flexibility as you maneuver around the insides of the deer. I also like to rest my finger on the blade, and the Buck Skinner fits my hand structure perfectly.

When skinning, I also prefer a fixed blade as opposed to a folding blade as it helps that all of the blood and hair doesn’t get stuck in the fold of the knife!

The Buck Ranger Skinner is ideal for skinning because of its blade design as well. It has a thicker belly, and unlike a knife with clip point, this design gives you a larger surface to make your cuts. I really like the drop point tip, and blade design of the 113.

A few other things to mention is that Buck designed it with a hollow grind blade (which is excellent for skinning). A hollow ground blade, in short, is where a convex hollow is removed from both sides of the edge of the blade, creating a thin and very sharp edge. It’s perfect for skinning, but I will note that you have to be more careful with a hollow ground blade because it can chip. It offers good thickness to the blade, but if you try to cut hard objects, you could potentially damage the blade. If you’re a knife guy like me, you’ll appreciate that its profile and that it is well grounded.

When skinning, I also like the flexibility of multiple hand placements for gripping – as different cuts can benefit from different angles. Unfortunately, there is no jimping on the Buck 113 Ranger Skinner. It is a very simple and to the point knife. There’s no jimping for hand holding on the blade, but it does have choil for finer cuts and a protruding tip that your finger can rest on and serves as finger protection to help prevent your finger from sliding up on the blade. Even though it may not have jimping for your hand, in the end, it won’t require touch ups for a while with its razor sharp blade, which is again, important to note.

Steel

The Buck 113 is constructed with Buck’s most common steel, the 420HC (high carbon) steel. It is typical on most of their knives, and is made through their proprietary heat treating system … which makes a very, very fine piece of steel.

Sure, there are better steels than the 420HC on the market, such as Bucks own S30V, but it’s still a heck of a steel. You also have to remember the price range this knife is in, and considering that you can find it for $xx (less than $100 normally), you have to maintain reasonable expectations.

Overall, the 420HC is a great steel for what it is. It re-sharpens easily, and maintains its edge. For example, if you take the Buck 113 out on a hunt with you, use it on several deer or hogs, after you bring it home, a couple of passes on a wet stone or sharpener and you’ll find it right back to its factory sharpness, and sharp edge. Not bad.

Design

Personally, I’m a fan of traditional looking knives. The Buck 113 has a very classic, but modern look and feel, with what I consider to be a very attractive design. It reminds me of the Buck 110 and Buck 112. It’s a very sleek design, with a wood handle and brass guard (specifically which are reminiscent of the class buck 110 folder).

Buck clearly designed the Ranger Skinner to be easy to use, sturdy and compact. Overall, great design!

Handle and Feel

Buck 113 handle

The handle is one of the best features of the Buck 113. Buck has paired an excellent blade with a smooth, sleek walnut handle made out of dymondwood. It has a beautiful look to it. It’s an interesting handle since it is essentially layered up wood, pressed together by heat to make a very smooth wood surface (look and feel of wood), but the durability of plastic. And, holding it all together are 2 pins locked in. It’s essentially the best of both worlds.

With full tang, there is one piece of steel that runs through the entire knife, tip to tip. As one piece of the blade, it offers additional toughness, however I still would not recommend using it to baton wood. Another great feature of the knife that stood out to me is the curved brass bolster, which is designed to fit your hand.

Buck 113 brass bolster

I also like Buck’s usage of the lanyard hole, which I recommend using. It offers portability for carrying your knife around. As I mentioned earlier, while there is no jimping on the blade, you might prefer to use the lanyard hole, and wrap it around your wrist in order to ensure you have a good grip on it in case it slips off.

Buck created this knife to rest comfortably in your hands. I personally prefer having four fingers on the handle or three with my pointer on the spine and thumb on the side, but both ways, the knife felt natural in my hand.

If you’ve handled your fair share of knives in the past, you’ll know the difference between a flimsy knife, and one with a little meat to it. For its size, the Buck 113 has a very solid feeling to it. The perfect weight so that it is not too flimsy, but still lightweight. It feels like you are holding on to something stout.

Overall, I give Buck a one thumbs up on the handle for its ergonomic shape and feel, but the one down side is the size of the handle. It fits my hand very well, but I have heard of others who say it would have been ideal had it been a tad longer.

Sheath

The Buck 113 comes out of the box with a black, thick leather sheath. Buck has put tremendous thought into the design and feel of the sheath, with excellent stitching mending it all together. From the feel of it, it seems like it is built to last.

As far as the functionality of the sheath, it has a stitched belt loop (not adjustable). It is a drop-in sheath, which means that it does not have a button or retention strap.

The high quality craftsmanship on the sheath is telling. The knife seamlessly draws out of the sheath with just a little bit of force. The Buck 113 rests comfortably within the sheath so that it won’t fall out. When you put it in, it basically ‘clicks’ in to the plastic insert which holds it in place and protects the integrity of the inside of the sheath. I prefer this design of the sheath because it offers better protection for the blade, and your own safety. It shouldn’t shake out or fall out accidentally as it fits like a glove.

Buck Forever Warranty

As is customary with the Buck brand, the Buck Ranger Skinner knife comes with the Buck Forever Warranty. In other words, if your knife arrives damaged, Buck provides a warranty to repair or replace your Buck 113.

Verdict

Having used dozens of knives, I am thoroughly impressed by the Buck 113 Ranger Skinner. I would consider this to be one of the best value skinning knives that you can buy – emphasizing tremendous value – at its current price. It also would make for a fantastic present.

It is very hard to find a knife of this quality not only at this price point, but a knife that is ALSO made in the USA. Buck has hit close to a homerun with this model with their balance of a sharp blade, high quality steel, quality sheath (leather), ideal blade size, and wood handle. It really is fantastic value. Most importantly, it is designed to effortlessly handle all of your skinning and butchering jobs with its ability to offer precise cuts. Its sharpness is no joke.

As I mentioned earlier in the review, what it does well, it does extremely well. However, it’s more or less a knife designed with skinning as it its purpose to life. Buck did not create it as a bushcraft knife, or for other intensive outdoor tasks. While you certainly could do things like whittling wood or other light outdoor activities, if you’re not buying it specifically for skinning tasks, then you can probably find another knife that will better suit your needs.

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 / 5.0

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PROS:

  • Razor sharp blade and edge
  • Not difficult to return to factory sharpness
  • Compact design and feel.

Cons:

  • Some people may prefer a longer handle with finger grooves
  • Designed primarily for skinning and field dressing tasks
  • No jimping on the blade for extra hand gripping

Also Worth Checking Out:

If you’re doing a lot of skinning, then also check out our full buyer’s guide for our top pics for the best skinning knives!

http://www.huntsharp.com/cold-steel-trail-master-review/

http://www.huntsharp.com/buck-119-review/

http://www.huntsharp.com/buck-110-review/

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