Although it doesn’t greatly resemble its predecessor, the Buck 278 Folding Alpha Hunter is the upgraded version of the very popular Buck 110 Folding Hunter. The Buck 278 with gut hook is different enough to be a whole new knife. If you see traces of the 110 here, you’re pretty good.
With a 3-1/2-inch drop point blade and gut hook tip, the Folding Alpha offers hunters a compact version of a very handy hunter skinner design. Small enough for pocket or belt pouch (the Alpha closes to five inches in length), the 278’s high carbon 420HC stainless steel blade has a plain edge for field dressing game and for light camp chores. Use the gut hook tip for opening the abdominal wall of game — the hook design and internal cutting edge limit the incision to the skin and cavity walls, leaving organs intact.
One-handed opening with a nicely positioned thumb stud — out far enough to give owners a little extra leverage — and a secure liner lock add to the safety and the convenient use of the Alpha. Eight ounces of stainless steel with black rubber scales makes the Alpha feel like a real knife, not a folding pocket toy.
If the gut hook is a feature you do need, make sure you have some way to sharpen it. A small diamond-coated honing steel doesn’t weigh much and works better than a stone slip.
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