What Can You Do With a Buck Vanguard??

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by LostViking, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    20,860
    Location:
    Northern Adirondacks
    Well Honestly, I don’t know. But I aim to find out.

    I got the hots for a Vanguard a while back. So I did some research. It seems to be a very well regarded hunting knife. Most folks say it handles critter chores very very well.

    But what about Buchcraft and Camp Chores? Not much out there on this aspect.

    So I went to youtube.
    More often than not. Youtube knife reviews disappoint me.
    The unboxing, the measuring, the fondling. It all bores me to death. The reviews of the Vanguard were no exception. I clicked on many. At least the ones I viewed were pretty lacking.

    I just don’t get how folks can stand there (usually inside), hold a knife and discuss how much they like it for twenty minutes. Especially when they never do anything with it.

    I want to see food processed, curls cut, and feather sticks made. This knife is hunting biased. I didn’t even see any critter prep, steak slicing or other such work.
    How does this thing slice a patato or an onion?
    I have now idea after surrendering an hour of my life to the Tube.

    In truth I clicked out of many reviews afte scanning several sections and still seeing the knife inside on the table.

    What can you do with a Buck Vanguard?
    I guess we will find out together.

    I ordered a Cabelas Alaskan Guide in CPM S30V, and it was sitting on the kitchen table when I got in from PA last night.

    First he basics,

    1. It’s a pretty cool knife.
    Nice looking, decently finished, decent balance. Brass pommel for pounding. (All the rage in bushcrafe world). Myself I like batons or rocks. But I get some sandy places don’t have them.

    2. The Blade,
    Curved blade shape looks like it will lend itself well to slicing and skinning. DLC coated S30V with BOS heat treat. Grinds are good. But rough. Typical Buck F&F. Decent but not great.

    3. Handle egos,
    They are different than I ecpected. But it seems comfortable. At least at the kitchen table. Brass guard up front to keep your hands off the sharp.

    4. The sheath.
    Automatic deductions for the sheath. Not impressed. Seems cheap and fumbly. I may adjust up od down as time marches on.

    I guess we will find out to gether if this is a winner or a goat.

    I make no secret I like Buck knives. Or at least the ones I own. They have treated me well over the years. And I find them to be a decent value in the knife world.

    So if you’re up for it. I’ll play with my new Vanguard and you folks can come along for the ride if you like.

    I’m sure it won’t be perfect. No knife is. But we’ll see how she does.

    Pictures and observations to follow. It will probably be more of a trickle than a flood. Time is limited these days. But I’ll try and keep the signal to noise ratio high.

    More to follow.

    Thanks,
    LV,
     
  2. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    Messages:
    6,511
    Likes Received:
    17,362
    Location:
    KC Metro
    This will be fun.
     
  3. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,284
    Likes Received:
    13,376
    Location:
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Looking foward to an update.
     
    central joe, pab1, kronin323 and 2 others like this.
  4. Enzo

    Enzo Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    9,379
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Buck makes great stuff. Really reliable. Your Vanguard sounds like a fancy one, with the upgraded steel and all. I’m sure itll perform well, but I’m interested to see the results.


    I agree with your sentiment about a lot of YouTube knife reviews. It’s ridiculous when someone talks about the performance of a tool 30 seconds after taking it out of its box, brand new.
     
    central joe, pab1, kronin323 and 5 others like this.
  5. Prairiewolf

    Prairiewolf Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Messages:
    2,079
    Likes Received:
    2,693
    Location:
    Illinois
    I have always liked the Vanguards. To me, it is the nicest looking of the Buck fixed blade knives. I have the Cabela's/Buck S30V with rubber grip for deer processing (or other food prep). And I have the basic Dymondwood 420HC model for everything else. The sheaths don't do much for me. I like the general handling characteristics of the Vanguard - it seems to be very well-fitted to my hand.
     
    central joe, pab1, freebirdfb and 4 others like this.
  6. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,498
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I am sure it can do anything that is resonable to expect out of a cutting of its size.
     
    central joe, pab1, buckfynn and 3 others like this.
  7. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    7,632
    Likes Received:
    15,951
    Location:
    Gulf Coast, Texas
    Looking forward to your evaluation of it.
     
    central joe, pab1, LostViking and 3 others like this.
  8. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    10,837
    Likes Received:
    20,614
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    I've owned a bunch of them! Sorta wish that I still did!

    They will do any sensible chore around camp and gladly ask for more! They feel good in hand. I wouldn't call them nimble, but the are not as clunky as some "Bushcraft" knives that I have owned. I agree 100% on the "sheaths"=they *B*L*O*W*!

    I've had a bunch of other Buck outdoors knives. They basically suck in my opinion. The 102 and 105 are ok outdoors companions.

    I had a very nice one with a custom leather sheath that I sold off. REGRET!

    Depending on your evaluation and testing-I may invest in another one and get a custom sheath for it!
     
    central joe, pab1, LostViking and 5 others like this.
  9. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2018
    Messages:
    3,441
    Likes Received:
    20,547
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    This one in oak dymondwood with BOS 5160 steel landed in my mailbox 10 days ago (pic recycled from the edged tools and beer thread).

    I've also noticed the retaining strap has a tendency to catch on the guard even when unlatched but I bet some practice will develop muscle memory around that. And it's kinda par for the course - my other Buck fixed blades with leather sheaths (102, 119, 120) don't seem to care much about ease of clearing their retaining straps, either.

    Though mine is 5160 instead of S30V, I have a couple of other knives in S30V and I haven't found them too difficult to sharpen. But the 5160 is much easier, quickly takes an OMG edge.

    But yes, the design screams "hunting knife" and in the 10 days I've had it I haven't worked it into my carry rotation yet, only some poses and some handling to develop initial familiarity (like I do with all my knives). Looking forward to what you discover, and if I do anything with mine that leads to something meaningful to add, I'll try to.

    20190807_185541.jpg
     
  10. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2015
    Messages:
    3,800
    Likes Received:
    11,598
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I've got the Buck Zipper, which is basically a Vanguard with a gut hook, in their base steel. It's hard for me to take another knife hunting because it's such a great knife!

    I personally wouldn't necessarily trust it for more strenuous bushcraft tasks like batonning, but everything else it should do wonderfully at!
     
    central joe, pab1, LostViking and 4 others like this.
  11. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    20,860
    Location:
    Northern Adirondacks
    Day one;

    Some curls and feathers for fire prep. No photos, knife did an acceptable job on mostly dry beech branches.

    I did up a quick steak to take back to Pennsylvania for lunch meat.

    The sheath managed to scratch the brass guard before I even got the knife outside. Not cool. It may have been there, but I didn’t notice it the first night. And it lines right up with the rear rivet on the sheath. I may fix it, cover it, or deal with it in some way.

    But for now, it’s the Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Sheath to the rescue! Nice fit.
    [​IMG]

    For comparison sake.
    Here is the Vanguard next to one of my favorite woods bumming knives. The Orford Woodlander.
    [​IMG]

    Toss the steak in the coals, not the knife!
    [​IMG]

    The white line that runs diagionally on the bottom third of the steak is from a bad flip.
    I turned the plate over and part stuck as it fell onto the fire. So it was folded over on itself when it hit the coals. No structual damage, just cosmetics

    This particular piece of meat was a tad thinner than I usually like. I had sliced it from a twenty-six pound slab last winter. So I watched it carefully.

    Once the blood bubbled out of the top, over she went.
    [​IMG]


    Five more minutes and it’s off the coals and onto the cutting board for the rest period. The rest period is probably the most important part of steak cooking, or any meat cooking for that matter. Letting it rest allows the juices to spread back out evenly throughout the meat. Leaving you with a juicy tender piece of meat. Instead of a piece of shoe leather and a plate full of blood drippings.

    Knife and meat resting comfortably,
    [​IMG]

    Scrape off the remaining coals and wait. Note the juices rising to the top. A good sign.
    [​IMG]

    As expected, the Vanguard rocks in the meat slicing department.
    [​IMG]


    So after day one, what are my initial thoughts?

    Well, my already low opinion of the sheath has sank even lower due to the scratching.

    The knife itself though gets better marks. The balance is very good. It is fairly light and lively feeling. Especially compared to some full tang bushcrafty type knives.

    It did a good job of making curls and feathers in seasoned beech. I purposely pushed it through some small knots on thumb sized sticks. It sliced through them like a butcher’s slicer goes through baloney. No issues. I looked the blade over when I cleaned it up after the steak. No signs of abnormalities. And it still takes a swath of hair off my arm.
    Day One Overall Impression - So far, so good.
     
  12. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2018
    Messages:
    3,441
    Likes Received:
    20,547
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, that rivet in the sheath did the same to mine, put a scratch on the guard. I just noticed that a couple days ago. That Benchmade sheath looks like it was made for it, really nice. I may have to check those out...
     
  13. Coyotesilencer

    Coyotesilencer Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Location:
    Southern Utah
    My buddy asked if I would be interested in tagging along on an elk hunt to be an extra set of eyes/hands. His father downed a big cow and used a Buck Vanguard to process it. He got to splitting the sternum and hit the Vanguards wooden handle with a decent sized rock. After a few hits the wood handle split. He cussed the "piece of junk".

    I see the Vanguard as Bucks interpretation of a Loveless Drop Point Hunter. It's an excellent game processing knife.
     
  14. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    2,601
    Likes Received:
    15,880
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    I received that exact knife two years ago from my step dad as a gift. I used it to skin a few animals. From what I can remember the handle was very comfortable, but the bolster a little less so. It was easy to index, and the drop point was nearly perfectly executed for cutting hide in a straight line down the body. After all the harvesting it never dulled enough to warrant sharpening. Despite the handle having a high polish, I still found it easy to hold onto during skinning.


    From my own humble opinion.

    Cons
    -front bolster contour
    -sheath is trash
    -Alaskan symbol is cheesy

    Pros
    -drop point design is excellent
    -Alaskan symbol scrubbed off after first couple of uses
    -edge holding was better then expected
    -great balance
    -good handle contour

    To me it had all the qualities of a good hunting knife with no real down sides. The only flaws I saw were more or less personal taste. While the sheath scratches the knife, and is cheap it did function well. One of my brothers has worn his for 3 seasons now and has skinned dozens of animals. He still holds a pretty high opinion of it. My step dad also has one, and it has seen roughly 3 dozen deer, and it is still going strong.

    It's a sweet knife LostViking, and it deserves some outside time with you. Thanks for putting this together.
     
  15. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2015
    Messages:
    3,800
    Likes Received:
    11,598
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    One thing @Coyotesilencer reminded me of! I killed a small doe a couple years ago during antlerless season and used my Buck Zipper (basically a Buck Vanguard with a gut hook and rubberized handle, in 420HC) to dress out the deer. It was EXTREMELY comfortable and nimble in hand for the task (which it should be, being the purpose of the knife). It also split the sternum and pelvis with not so much as a nick in the blade! A few passes on the stone and it was back to hair popping sharp!
     
  16. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    Messages:
    6,341
    Likes Received:
    24,882
    Location:
    SW Montana
    Later he attempted to repair a cracked windshield with the same rock. Windshield was also determined to be a piece of junk. ;):D
     
  17. Snakeshooter

    Snakeshooter Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2017
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    1,499
     
    central joe and LostViking like this.
  18. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper

    Blog Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    Messages:
    10,712
    Likes Received:
    41,973
    Location:
    East Central Florida
    The Buck Vanguard is a hunting knife, great for processing game but not a bushcraft knife. The hollow grind is primarily a game processing geometry.
    Dominick..........
     
  19. Wil

    Wil Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I have a friend out in Idaho that turned me onto the Buck Vanguard for field dressing and skinning deer.He is an older guy of 76 and pretty well set in his ways as an old grizzly mountain man sort of guy. His only knife is a Buck Vanguard that he has had forever. He uses it for anything and everything. Don't tell him it won't work on anything but processing deer and elk. I have been there, done that and I was put in my place. He told me that he had thought about getting a custom knife done at one time but when he talked to the custom knife maker, the guys asked him how he wanted it and he said, just like the Buck Vanguard. Well after some careful thought, he asked himself, what is the use? He had everything he wanted in the Vanguard so he didn't order one made. I can't begin to imagine how many elk and deer he has processed all the way, complete, to the freezer with just that knife. He carries that knife all year for the rest of the chores.
     
  20. ozarkhunter

    ozarkhunter Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,141
    Likes Received:
    8,490
    Location:
    Western Arkansas
    I picked up a 20ish year old Vanguard on Ebay last year. I dressed 1 deer with it and found it to be excellent for the task. I honestly haven't used it much besides that trip. I have several knives, including the custom Nessmuk patterned knife by @gdpolk that get most of my use. Too many great knives to make the choice. My Vanguard rides in my hunting pack as 2nd fiddle to the custom knives. I have to agree with everyone else about the sheath... ugh.
     
  21. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,189
    Likes Received:
    7,318
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    i feel the exact same way. i think every time someone uploads an unboxing video, an Angel looses a wing feather. they are unwatchable.
     
    central joe, LostViking and buckfynn like this.
  22. Wil

    Wil Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    If you need a better sheath for the Buck Vanguard,I found mine on ebay that is made by a person handy in leather. Just type in custom leather sheaths for a Buck Vaguard knife and see what happens.I paid like a whole $26 for it and well worth it.You can see the sheath in this picture.Of course my Vanguard is only the 420 HC steel but I see no reason to get anything else.
    DSC_1188 (2).JPG
     

Share This Page