Buck 658 Pursuit Small Fixed-Blade Hunting Knife Review
Russ Chastain 12.20.19
Regular AO readers may recall my post from a few months ago which introduced the new line of Pursuit hunting knives from Buck knives. Fortunately, I was blessed with the opportunity to test & review a Buck 658 Pursuit Small fixed-blade hunting knife, which I’m happy to do — right here, right now.
First, some specs:
- Model: 0658GRS-B
- Blade material: 420HC steel
- Blade thickness: 0.110″ thick
- Blade length: 3.75″
- Blade shape: drop point
- Overall length: 8″
- Weight: 3.4 ounces (mine actually weighs 3.2 ounces)
- Weight with sheath: 4.5 ounces
- Handle: Glass-filled nylon & Versaflex
- Sheath included (embroidered polyester with large belt loop and molded internal plastic portion for the blade)
- Made in USA
- MSRP: $55
The Buck 658 Pursuit Small is a nice little fixed-blade hunting knife that’s well-made, compact, light, and easy to wield. My first impression was that there’s a lot of blade for the handle — or not much handle for the blade, if you want to look at it that way — but picking it up quelled my doubts. I have large hands, but the diminutive dimensions do not deter much from the 658’s maneuverability in my meaty paws.
The 658 came out of the box shaving-sharp, and like the 684 BuckLite I reviewed last year, it retained that edge after dealing with two whitetail deer, still able to shave hair from my arm with the forward portion near the point — that is, the part of the blade which receives the most use.
This is a full-tang knife, as evidenced by the fact that the tang is exposed in three points of the handle. The non-aggressive jimping on the blade’s spine is mimicked where the tang is exposed as a thumb rest as well as a similar spot for your pinky. A lanyard hole through the handle also pierces the tang, which means the lanyard will fail before the lanyard hole does.
Speaking of that, the green portion of this handle is Versaflex, which I would describe as a tough, resilient rubbery material offering a small amount of flex and just the right amount of “grabbiness.” The black portion is glass-filled nylon, a tough and rigid material that’s textured to enhance your grip.
The grooves in the handle, which are most pronounced where the nylon and Versaflex meet, did become filled with deer fat. This was easily removed with a toothbrush when I washed the knife with hot water and dish soap.
The knife pretty much balances at the finger groove/thumb jimping area, which works well and provides a nice feel for good handling.
If I had to ding the 658 Pursuit Small, it would be that the handle tapers a bit too much for my liking at the rear, and is thus a touch more likely to slip forward out of my hand than if it had some sort of rear quillion or swell to “fatten up” the handle at the rear.
The shape of the stainless steel blade leans more towards “skinner” and has a nice grind that should be easy to sharpen — once it finally needs it. The blade is nice and narrow, which should make it fine for camp kitchen chores as well.
The sheath is a well-made number, and in my opinion is improved over the sheath of my 684 — mainly because of its generously-sized belt loop which is formed from the sheath material rather than simply being stitched onto the sheath.
At the core, the molded plastic blade insert will prevent the knife’s sharp edge from cutting itself free from its sheath. A drain hole is provided at bottom rear in both the insert and the polyester shell.
Speaking of the shell, it’s the main part of the sheath and while it’s simply a stitched polyester number, the two-tone green & black theme from the knife is echoed here and makes for a nice touch. The embroidered decoration, including the Buck anvil logo, is well-done and attractive.
In the Field
I used the 658 to gut, skin, and quarter a whitetail deer and to gut another. Even though the deer were quite fatty as you can see in the photos, I was able to control the knife pretty well, with my only desire being the aforementioned yen for a rear quillion of some sort.
Although the blade is described as a drop point and it has a false edge up top, this knife has a nice belly that makes it a great skinner. For that reason, I did turn to my Buck boning knife from time to time when I needed a “pointier point.”
As mentioned earlier, this knife was plenty sharp right out of the box, and hasn’t seen a sharpener yet — but it will shave my arm right now (I just tried it).
The Buck 658 Pursuit Small fixed-blade hunting knife is well-made and durable, plenty sharp, and made in the USA. The knife is durable and tough and the two-tone sheath is good-looking and should hold up well. If you’re big-handed like me, you might desire a fuller handle — and a rear quillion would help with retention when hands are wet.
The large belly does make the 658 more of a skinner than an all-around hunting knife, so keep that in mind as you make your decision — although in capable hands, just about any blade can do just about any job.
Do I like it? Yes.
Buck’s MSRP is $55, but MidwayUSA says their regular price is $44.99 and currently has it for $38.11.