The Buck 263 HiLine is a Well Designed Budget Pocket Cleaver that Should Have Been Made In Idaho.
The HiLine is a good budget
pocket knife, but I wish Buck would have manufactured this one in their Twin Falls Idaho factory and doubled the price. I know that sounds crazy, but this knife has the feel of something that could become a classic Buck model if they were to make a premium version of it in the United States.
The Buck HiLine is a durable pocket cleaver that punches well above its price tag.
From a budget-friendly, hard-use standpoint the HiLine is tough to beat. The G-10 handle overlay is a nice feature that I hope Buck uses in other frame lock models. The ceramic ball bearing fueled action is smooth and the lock-up is secure. If you like pocket cleavers the HiLine is worth a look.
Buck announced an XL version of the HiLine at the 2023 SHOT Show. We will be adding photos of that version to this photo tour as soon as it is available.
The HiLine has a decent fit and finish, but it lacks the premium feel of Buck’s higher end options.
The HiLine’s budget price tag makes it a good choice for an outdoor beater knife. If this thing cost as much as Buck’s premium offerings, I would be less likely to use it for hard-use type tasks.
The G-10 overlays offer added traction that makes the HiLine easier to grip compared to other framelocks with stainless steel or aluminum handles.
The tapered handle of the HiLine is fairly comfortable even when it is gripped hard for tough tasks. Those with large hands will find the back of the hand will not have any real estate to grab unless you’re choking the blade up, but the the HiLine still feels secure.
The pocket clip is noticeable when the handle is gripped hard, but it does not create discomfort.
The pocket clip was initially a little on the snug side, but it loosened up just enough after a few weeks of use.
The low profile pocket clip is nice from a hand comfort standpoint, but it does make the HiLine a little difficult to remove from the pocket quickly. If being “quick on the draw” is important to you when choosing a knife, you may want to look elsewhere.
The HiLine has a nice look that the inhouse designer deserves to be proud of. It is a very photogenic folding cleaver.
The brass backspacer adds to the HiLine’s weight, but it also ads to its overall durability, and it looks great.
Buck further boosted the HiLine’s hard-use credentials by ensuring the lockup offered over 50% coverage.
In case there was any doubt that the HiLine is a cleaver, Buck included the mandatory cleaver hook hole.
The sharp hollow grind blade of the HiLine has a nice taper, and it handled tough rubber tubing better than almost any other pocket knife we have tested.
The lanyard hole passes through the brass backspacer of the HiLine ensuring maximum dependability if you are a fan of pocket knife lanyards.
The D2 blade of the HiLine offers good edge retention for a budget steel. While the edge retention is appreciated, I think I would have preferred Buck’s 420HC steel on the HiLine for its impressive toughness and ease of sharpening.
The Buck HiLine makes a decent backpacking or picnic buddy.
The HiLine is a well designed pocket cleaver that offers impressive performance for the price. I have recommended this knife and the Off-Grid cleaver more than any other brand’s offerings.
The part of me that loves budget-friendly, hard-use knives appreciates the HiLine, but the knife collector in me hopes Buck releases a premium version in the future.