The black polymer handle slabs of the Buck 301 Stockman are not as fancy as the rosewood of the 371BRW, but you get the same good knife at a bargain price. The polymer material in the handle isn’t new to the Buck product line — it’s been used long enough to trust completely, and some do prefer it to more natural materials. The fit to the nickel silver bolsters is perfect, and the surface has enough fine saw-cut ribbing for a secure grip.
The 301 Stockman in any of its versions is the largest classic pocketknife Buck makes. With a closed length of 3-7/8 inches and a weight of 2.9 ounces, it’s still not too heavy for comfortable pocket carry so there’s no need for a pocket clip. The three blades were designed for ranchers and farmers but work just as well for people with other occupations. The clip point (the longest, at 2-3/4 inches) and two-inch spey and sheepsfoot blades cover just about any normal cutting tasks as well as the old chores of prying pebbles from horse’s hooves or doing the odd bit of animal surgery.
The Stockman is the older slip joint style, not a lockback. Each blade opens with a thumb notch, which is always a two-handed operation, and snaps into place when opened fully. Spring steel bars in the spine of the handle hold the knife blades open and release again under a firm pressure. Spring tension also holds the knife shut. It’s a very old design that works well with no accidental opening to worry about. In piercing tasks, the blades could fold back on the hand, but using one safely is a skill easily acquired. One close call is all the instruction you need.
The Buck 301 is a knife that will last a lifetime. People who bought Buck Stockman pocket knives when I was a kid are still happy they did.