Buck/Camillus 300 Series

TAH

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I am not knowledgeable on Camillus knives. With that said, when Buck contracted Camillus to produce their 300 Series, were Buck knives different than standard Camillus knives? Were any of the 300 Series models exclusive to Buck or were they all just common patterns that Camillus was producing anyway?

I assume Buck specified the black saw cut Delrin handle, but did they specify other materials and features like blade steel, brass liners, long pulls, and flat grinds? In other words, were the 300 Series knives just standard knives in Camillus' existing line with a Buck blade stamp and handle shield?

53KNyKn.jpg
 
There are a lot of twists to the story.

If you look around a lot, you'll see knives similar to the Buck 300 series knives. But, the Buck knives are much more plentiful than the 'others', if that makes any sense. If you see something that looks like a Buck 300 series knife, chanches are that it is a Buck contract made knife. It seems that Camillus sold a heap of Buck branded knives as compared to the others for whom they produced similar knives.

I do buy the others that pop up. Off the top of my head, I've got Crafstman, Camillus, and (another that I'm not thinking of, I don't have my records at hand at the moment). There are some variations on the theme. Some of the Craftsman knives have the familiar slanted bolsters, some are square to the ends of the knife. Most are black, but other colors pop up too. I have a yellow Camillus that's exactly like the yellow Bucks from the 90s. Some have the sawcut scales, some are smooth. You'll find wood scales. You'll also run across Ultra Blade. They're very similar, but there are enough differences that I'm not sure they were made by Camillus. Buck distributed Ultra Blade for a while as a bargain priced knife.

The only thing I can definatively point to as being eclusively Buck is the shield and the Buck tang stamp.
 
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The only thing I can definatively point to as being eclusively Buck is the shield and the Buck tang stamp.

Thanks for the detailed information, dsutton. Sounds like the Buck/Camillus contract knives weren't anything unique or of higher quality and that Buck didn't specify much beyond scales and patterns.
 
Thanks for the detailed information, dsutton. Sounds like the Buck/Camillus contract knives weren't anything unique or of higher quality and that Buck didn't specify much beyond scales and patterns.

Yes, I think that's right. Camillus made a fine quality knife in their day, I don't think the knives that they put the Buck name on were any better or worse than their other knives. If you wanted a good, no nonsense, every day using knife, either the Buck or any of the other Camillus-made knives would have been a good choice.
 
When Buck brought the 300 Series inhouse, do you know why they didn't stick with flat ground blades? That is the one feature that I love about the Camillus contract knives.
 
When Buck brought the 300 Series inhouse, do you know why they didn't stick with flat ground blades? That is the one feature that I love about the Camillus contract knives.

No. My guess is that Buck's other knives had hollow ground blades, and it was a cultural thing.

It's interesting to me that flat ground blades are something that people feel strongly about. I've used all sorts of blade profiles, and really don't have a preference for one over any of the others.

When Buck brought the 300 series in house, there were other changes. Each blade got its own spring. A Stockman, for example has tree springs, versus the two spring found on Stockmans of nearly every other maker. The bolsters are integral with nickel silver liners, rather than bolsters attached to brass bolsters. The scales have molded grooves instead of the sawcut finish. The rocker rivet is stainless instead of brass. There were a few patterns that Camillus built that Buck never produced. I may well be wrong about this list, but I think these changes happened on day one of Buck's production of the 300 series knives.
 
There were a few patterns that Camillus built that Buck never produced. I may well be wrong about this list, but I think these changes happened on day one of Buck's production of the 300 series knives.
My guess is Buck didn't have the tooling, and the sales history for that model didn't warrant making that tooling.
 
No. My guess is that Buck's other knives had hollow ground blades, and it was a cultural thing.

It's interesting to me that flat ground blades are something that people feel strongly about. I've used all sorts of blade profiles, and really don't have a preference for one over any of the others.

When Buck brought the 300 series in house, there were other changes. Each blade got its own spring. A Stockman, for example has tree springs, versus the two spring found on Stockmans of nearly every other maker. The bolsters are integral with nickel silver liners, rather than bolsters attached to brass bolsters. The scales have molded grooves instead of the sawcut finish. The rocker rivet is stainless instead of brass. There were a few patterns that Camillus built that Buck never produced. I may well be wrong about this list, but I think these changes happened on day one of Buck's production of the 300 series knives.
I've noticed this too. There is a slight difference in how flat ground blades cut but Buck has done some Workman 110 blades that cut right with a flat grind, maybe better. So, they are not a step above. DM
 
It's interesting to me that flat ground blades are something that people feel strongly about. I've used all sorts of blade profiles, and really don't have a preference for one over any of the others.
It's probably mostly aesthetic for me.

When Buck brought the 300 series in house, there were other changes. Each blade got its own spring. A Stockman, for example has tree springs, versus the two spring found on Stockmans of nearly every other maker. The bolsters are integral with nickel silver liners, rather than bolsters attached to brass bolsters. The scales have molded grooves instead of the sawcut finish. The rocker rivet is stainless instead of brass.
I didn't know the bolsters and liners are integral. That's pretty cool. Also, the sheepsfoot and spey blades switched sides on the Stockman.
 
In other words, were the 300 Series knives just standard knives in Camillus' existing line with a Buck blade stamp and handle shield?

I think that's pretty true, although the mirror image slant for the front and back bolsters may have been unique.

I may well be wrong about this list, but I think these changes happened on day one of Buck's production of the 300 series knives.

Actually those changes didn't all occur on day one; some changes weren't made until 15 years or so after Buck started production in 1985.

I'll try to pull some information together about changes for the 303. A lot of those changes will apply to other models in the 300 Series.

Bert
 
When Buck brought the 300 Series inhouse, do you know why they didn't stick with flat ground blades?

From 1985 until 1998, the 303 had blades with a flat grind. However, the Buck flat grind was slightly different from that on the Camillus knives. On the Camillus knife the flat grind went all the way to the spine. The Buck knives had what is generally called a high flat grind that stopped just below the spine. The secondary blades had a full flat grind.
 
When Buck brought the 300 series in house, there were other changes. Each blade got its own spring. A Stockman, for example has tree springs, versus the two spring found on Stockmans of nearly every other maker.

Also, the sheepsfoot and spey blades switched sides on the Stockman.

Traditionally, the stockman pattern had two springs, with the sheepsfoot and spey blades attached at opposite ends of the same spring. This was the configuration used for the 303s produced by Schrade and Camillus and by Buck when it took over production in 1985. However, in 1988 Buck made a major change and introduced a three-spring design. Of course the change required more than just adding another spring since when one thing is changed other changes often are needed.

For the two-spring design, the main clip blade had a spring with what I call a “spacer” end and a “pivot” end; the spring for the secondary blades had two pivot ends, and the two springs were separated by a brass mid-spacer. Since the secondary blades were attached at opposite ends of the same spring, adjustments were needed so that blades would bypass each other when closed. The solution was to put a slight bend or crink in the blades at the tang. The sheepsfoot was bent towards the center and the spey to the outside. As a result, the sheepsfoot was the middle blade in the closed position

For the three-spring design, each spring had a spacer end and pivot end. There was no longer any need for the brass mid-spacer and there was no need for a crink in the secondary blades Just as in the two-spring design the sheepsfoot was the middle blade except it now pivoted at the opposite end. I have seen some comments saying that placing the sheepsfoot at the end opposite that of the main blade was a good choice. In reality, there was no choice. Each spring acted as a spacer, and, therefore, two spacers could not be next to each other. In addition, the sheepsfoot is wider than the spey, from edge to spine, and unless it was the center blade, it would cover the nail nick of the spey blade making it difficult or impossible to open the spey.
Two-Spring Components.jpgThree-Spring Configuration.jpg
 
In reality, there was no choice. Each spring acted as a spacer, and, therefore, two spacers could not be next to each other. In addition, the sheepsfoot is wider than the spey, from edge to spine, and unless it was the center blade, it would cover the nail nick of the spey blade making it difficult or impossible to open the spey.

bertl, thanks for the excellent posts. I'm still a little confused on why the sheepsfoot and spey needed to switch sides. I understand that two spacers could not be next to each other, but why not just put the spey in the center opposite the main blade? The sheepsfoot blade and spey blade on my 301 "Camillus" knife both measure 11mm at the widest point. Couldn't the kicks on both blades be slightly adjusted to allow access to the spey's nail nick?
 
I understand that two spacers could not be next to each other, but why not just put the spey in the center opposite the main blade? The sheepsfoot blade and spey blade on my 301 "Camillus" knife both measure 11mm at the widest point.

TAH, here is a photo of a knife with the sheepsfoot on the outside and spey in the middle—not my photo or knife. I don't think it could be modified enough.

301 3-spring error (2).jpg
 
Not doubting you, I just don't understand why the sheepsfoot blade on my Buck/Camillus 301 sits up so much higher than the spey when they are the same width. I just assumed it was "in the kick".

Thanks for all the information! :thumbsup:
 
I just don't understand why the sheepsfoot blade on my Buck/Camillus 301 sits up so much higher than the spey when they are the same width. I just assumed it was "in the kick".

My guess is that it is the kick, otherwise the nail nick wouldn't be exposed. The point on the sheepsfoot is at the cutting edge so it is out of the way when closed. If you had the spey in the middle, it would have to sit high enough to expose the nail nick, and the point would be exposed when closed and that wouldn't be very comfortable.
 
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My guess is that it is the kick, otherwise the nail nick wouldn't be exposed. The point on the sheepsfoot is at the cutting edge so it is out of the way when closed. If you had the spey in the middle, it would have to sit high enough to expose the nail nick, and the point would be exposed when closed and that wouldn't be very comfortable.
Yep, you're right. Good point!
 
No. My guess is that Buck's other knives had hollow ground blades, and it was a cultural thing.

It's interesting to me that flat ground blades are something that people feel strongly about. I've used all sorts of blade profiles, and really don't have a preference for one over any of the others.

When Buck brought the 300 series in house, there were other changes. Each blade got its own spring. A Stockman, for example has tree springs, versus the two spring found on Stockmans of nearly every other maker. The bolsters are integral with nickel silver liners, rather than bolsters attached to brass bolsters. The scales have molded grooves instead of the sawcut finish. The rocker rivet is stainless instead of brass. There were a few patterns that Camillus built that Buck never produced. I may well be wrong about this list, but I think these changes happened on day one of Buck's production of the 300 series knives.

One thing to add about the hollow grind.I've acquired several 301's made between 1999-2001 and those have a finer edge produced from the grind than the current ones.I believe they thickened the blade stock on the 301 somewhere in the 2000's.I also noticed they used to also do a clean satin finish on the blades too versus today.
 
Thanks for the detailed information, dsutton. Sounds like the Buck/Camillus contract knives weren't anything unique or of higher quality and that Buck didn't specify much beyond scales and patterns.

The Camillus 301's had much richer snap and better polish work.As decent as the 301 is the old Camillus one gave you 3" in edge also and I really miss the long-pull nail nick.
 
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