The PUMA White Hunter knife is handmade in Solingen, Germany. It has long set the standard for the ultimate hunting knife. In fact, this knife was originally developed in 1956 in conjunction with the East African Professional Hunter’s Association to be the leading knife for big game hunting.
Consequently, the Puma White Hunter’s 6” drop point blade is made from German-grade 1.4116 stainless steel chosen for edge retention, toughness and corrosion resistance. During the smelting process of the initial steel bars, trace elements such as carbon and silicon are added to maintain the temper ; while chromium is added to inhibit rust.
Other trace elements such as manganese, phosphorus, sulfur and molybdenum are added to give the steel better structural strength and consistency by aligning the molecules more evenly during cooling. Then, after the initial steel bars are formed, the bar stock is heated to 3150-4200 degrees Fahrenheit, the blank is placed between two dies and is then mechanically forged under 2200 pounds of pressure to fit the shape of the dies. In fact, not only does the hot-drop forging process provide the blade with its initial shape, it also further improves the molecular structure of the steel.
Then, once the White Hunter’s blade is forged and cooled, it is then tempered and hand finished in 22 separate steps by skilled craftsmen; each step incorporating increasingly fine lubricants, oil coolants and special polishing grease.
In addition, as a compliment to the fine steel blade, the PUMA White Hunter features handle slabs made from the antlers of the wild stag which are formed via meticulous manufacturing process to make this knife a truly unique hunting tool like some of the others we’ve reviewed on this site.
First, each scale is boiled, stabilized and dried over a period of weeks. Then, the slabs are individually cut and hand fitted to the knife. Brass rivets are then used to attach the scales to the tang. Last, the rivet heads are filed. And finally, the handle is burnished to a precise size and shape for optimal fit and function.
In fact, I remember that when I was a kid, local hardware stores were very common and every hardware store you went into had display cases full of Case, Buck and Old Timer knives. But occasionally, you would run across a special store that had a display of German-made Puma knives. Thus, just like every other budding knife aficionado, I too would spend countless minutes staring at those cases until I was forcefully dragged away by a parent. And thus, the Puma White Hunter has always represented the pinnacle of knife perfection for me.
Of course, when I was a kid, I didn’t know about the East African Professional Hunters Association and yet, now that I am both older and far more experienced as a hunter, I can see a certain genius in the design of this knife since it was designed to be both a skinning tool and a butchering tool in one.
For instance, the broad tip on the blade makes it much stronger than a Clip Point or a standard Drop Point and the extra tip strength is very handy when separating vertebrae and prying ball joints from their hip sockets. Also, the broad tip, combined with the recurved edge, creates more belly in the sweep; thus lengthening the cutting edge. Yet, at the same time, the dropped point positions the tip closer to the center line of the knife where it is out of the way. In addition, by combining the broad tip with a recurved edge, a considerable amount of weight is placed well forward to aid with light chopping strokes. Plus, the saber grind on the blade facilitates the sharpening of the spine into an axe-like edge which is designed to handle heavy-duty chopping strokes that might otherwise damage the cutting edge. Last, there is a short section of fine serrations ground into the back end of the cutting edge for parting string, rope, or other such materials.
In addition, I have always admired the stag horn handles on this knife but, now that I am older, the overall size of the handle strikes me as being designed for smaller hands; and thus, while I am certain that this is a wise marketing strategy I would personally prefer this knife to have broader handle slabs.
Also, while the choice to construct the bolster/quillion from stainless steel instead of brass was a wise one, the lack of a smooth transition from the stag horn slabs to the bolster is very disconcerting to me.
So, although the Puma White Hunter will always live in my memory as a shining example of what a high quality hunting knife should be, now that am older, wiser, and far more experienced as a hunter and guide, I see both genius and an attention to detail in the design of this knife.
I am still highly impressed with this knife design, if I were willing to spend the premium cost that this knife requires on a hunting knife, there aren’t many options out there that I would choose over this particular model.