Buck-184 Buckmaster Survival Knife

The Buck 184 "Buckmaster" is a large Bowie-bladed survival knife, allegedly developed at the request of the US Navy SEALs. I received the following photo from a visitor to this webpage which shows a Navy SEAL with a Buckmaster strapped to his hip.


The knife has a blade that is approximately 7.5" (19cm) long, and is of the classic Bowie shape. The hollow-ground main edge is about 6.5" (16.5cm) long. The false edge is serrated on one side. The back of the blade features a very aggressive 3" (7.5cm) long sawback. Maximum blade width is about 1.5" (3.7cm), and the blade is .288 - .290-inch thick. The blade is forged 425mod steel. The handguard is about 6mm thick, with both ends curving slightly towards the blade. Each end is drilled and tapped for a 2" (51mm) long, 10mm diameter "point" which is designed to allow the knife to be used as an anchor when a line is attached to the lanyard ring at the pommel.

 The grip is 4" (102mm) long and 1.25" (2.8cm) in diameter, knurled and grooved for a sure grip. The grip is hollow, with a usable internal opening secured by the threaded pommel, which in turn is knurled, slightly larger in diameter than the grip, and sealed with a black rubber O-ring. The threaded pommel also secured a 4.5mm thick steel stamping which is pierced to provide a lanyard/rope hole.
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Regarding the grappling hooks, these are described it the patent which CAN BE SEEN HERE. In brief, the patent discusses the attachment of the grapples to the quillon with sufficient strength to support a load of 600 pounds and reference is made to a casting line. With this said, it is generally accepted that using the knife as a grappling hook, which implies the act of tying a rope to the pommel and throwing the knife, could be very hazardous! In fact, the last of the BUCKMASTER knives came with small flyers saying that using the knife as a grappling hook would void the warranty. A better use of these hooks are as anchor pins where knife can be wedged in some rocks or the crotch of a tree and used with a securing line off the lanyard loop attached to the hollow handle cap/pommel.
The sheath is of black rigid fiberglass-reinforced plastic. Attached to the front of the sheath are two removable black nylon pouches; the smaller one contains a full-size Silva Type 12 compass with a red cord lanyard. The back of the sheath has an inlaid sharpening stone. Heavy black nylon webbing is used to cover the stone, secure the two pouches to the sheath, secure the knife in its sheath, and provide a loop for a leg tie. An additional loop of black nylon webbing, with a Fastex-type closure, provides a quick-release belt loop.
As for the knife's production, the Buckmaster was tested by and issued to the Navy SEALs for a short time. I have read that the knurled metal handle did a number on hands while chopping; it didn't do too well in salt water tests; and it was very heavy. Commercial production lasted 13 years but cheaper copies led to the end of the Buckmaster. These days the Buck 184 "Buckmaster" is extremely popular with collectors and I personally use one as a camp knife. These knives are extremely rugged and the blade holds a sharp edge making them an excellent example of a Rambo era survival knife.
There are four finishes that I have seen on these knives. The most common are matte stainless steel silver and a black oxide finished as shown in the picture above. I have also seen a few polished stainless steel blades. Beyond these I have seen highly polished blades, gold plated blades, and even a damascus blade Buckmaster that came from Buck's Custom Shop. 


 

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