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Ontario-Bagwell Hell's Belle


Jan 2, 1999
Hi Guys,

I have just got my hands on the new Ontario-Bagwell Hell's Belle and boy am I impressed or what!!!
It is an EXACT replica of Bill Bagwell's Hell's Belle model right down to the leather sheath ! As I heard Bagwell himself was quite amazed at the high quality piece Ontario managed to produce. I had a chance to compare the Ontario Hell's Belle with a Bagwell original hand-made (high carbon model - 2 years waiting period + 850$) and they look so much identical that I would have trouble saying which one is which unless one of them had "Ontario" inscribed on the blade.

The Blade is amazingly high polished finished. I called Ontario and they said that it will be in stores during March and the MSRP will be 220$ - This is going to be a great hit knife, even for people who own the original Bagwell.

A smaller model called the Gambler will also be out (for those who think that a 12" fighting Bowie is too long) and there will also be a black covered blade version.

I am so excited as I heard about this collaboration but I still cannot believe that Bagwell gave them the rights to his Hell's Belle model right down to every aspect of the knife and sheath....It is an amazing example to what a good custom collaboration is...it seems that Spyderco really missed a chance here as they failed to collaborate with Bagwell not too long ago...

For any other questions regarding that knife feel free to ask - Ontario web site is still under construction so the only place to see how the Hell's Belle looks like go to Bagwell's homepage at: http://bagwellknives.com/

Take care

[This message has been edited by AG (edited 20 February 1999).]
Oh man a Hell`s Belle I can afford. I`m there!
What kind of steel/wood is it made of? Marcus
Hi Marcus

The steel is a riddle to me too.
It is said to be a high-carbon steel (QS13 -forgive me if I heard wrong). It has been subjected to several tests by Bagwell himself and passed with flying colors according to what Bagwell & Ontario are saying.

If you have any additional info on this I will be glad to hear.
Anyways, I will call Ontario to find out at their toll free number 1-800-222-5233

[This message has been edited by AG (edited 20 February 1999).]
Hi guys,

I am still wondered how you guys are not excited as I am about this amazing FB.

And things are even better than I thought
Here is an email reply I got from Ontario Knife Company regarding the Hell's Belle blade steel:

"Blade Steel- High Carbon 440C Stainless Steel with a special QS13 proprietary

Handle- Fibron material

Guard- 420 Stainless Steel."

Anybody here heard fo this QS13 blend ?

high carbon stainless 440C ???? sounds amazing to me.....

Jeeze AG, there you go getting me interested in another knife.

My budget can't handle another one right now. If this is a must have, I just must wait

Since your so excited about it, this must be a winner.
AG --

I think many of us were very excited, but there didn't seem much to say. I know I'm really interested.

ALL 440C is "high carbon stainless", so don't be too excited about that description! So's ATS-34, and 440B, 8A, etc. The one thing that has quashed my interest a touch is the use of any stainless, modified or not.

'course, I think the HB is meant to be a fighter, so ergonomics, balance, and edge geometry are probably more important than toughness and edge holding. Still, I was hoping for one of Ontario's carbon steels.

Probably get one anyway though!

The name and design excite me, but the 420 does not.


One may want to keep an Eye out for my review of the Bob Kasper designed, Kevin Gentile modified AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper. Sorry about the wait, my review and interview should be online within two weeks, look for it right here at BladeForums.com.

Marion David Poff fka Eye, one can msg me at mdpoff@hotmail.com

"The victorious Warrior wins first and then goes to war, while the defeated Warrior goes to war and then seeks to win" Sun-Tzu


Tom - The only place to see a pic of the Hell's Belle is Bill Bagwell's web-site at: http://bagwellknives.com/ - Ontario web-site at: http://www.ontarioknife.com/ is still under construction.

Joe - You are probably right and now I understand is that Ontario meant that 440C is a high carbon stainless (as ATS-34) - what really puzzles me is this QS13 blend - I wonder what it is and in what way does it enhance the 440C.

Marion - Pay attention here, the 420 steel is for the guard only !!! the blade is modified 440C so please get excited :)

I hope I can get my Hell's Belle scanned for you guys, I just don't know yet how to attach images to my posts - will be glad if someone tell me.

Take care and regards from ISRAEL

AG --

I wonder, too! Maybe they added a good carbide-former, like vanadium. So we'd get 440C's stainlessness and somewhat acceptable toughness, and possibly raise its edge-holding from crappy to acceptable!

Joe Talmadge - I just wanted to tell you, and you can confirm this with Bagwell himself by emailing him, that I spoke to someone who knows him and got the chance to talk to him at 1999 SHOT show - according to him Bagwell has been given by Ontario several blade steels to choose from: 440C, 1095, ATS-34 and probably some more. He was the one who chose which steel to be used after extenssive testings. Trust Bill Bagwell that he chose the best possible steel and he sure was given the 1095 option and still refrain from selecting it.. that says alot to me.
Who says anyways that 1095 has better edge holding than 440C - have you looked at their carbon ratings ?
1095: 0.90-1.03 carbon
440C: 0.95-1.20 carbon
(according to Spyderco's steel chart)
I am aware that other elements have influence over edge holding but still I can't understand why you prefer 1095 over 440C ?
AG --

The usual hardness range for 440C is 56-58 Rc (or 59 max), beyond which it can become brittle, an artifact probably of all that chromium. You can harden 1095 well beyond that, and edge holding will simply blow away 440C, while still at an acceptable toughness level. If you differentially temper it (and I realize that won't be happening with the production HB), you can take the edge even harder while still leaving the piece reasonably tough.

Regardless, I must admit to having a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to bowies; stainless bowies disturb my sense of order
However, I think I may already have come to grips with the 440C HB -- it appears to be a fighter, so there are more important properties than edge holding for it. Ernest Mayer is doing his fighting bowies out of ATS-34.

Anyway, I agree with you that if a no-compromise guy like Bagwell really chose this modified 440C, that's a good sign. I'd love to hear his reasons.

I fell in love with the HB when I read James Keating's review of it in Tactical Knives, but the price tag put it out of reach for my paltry, artist's means. When I first read about the Bagwell/Ontario collabortion on Comtech's website I was filled with anticipation, a "Bagwell" I can afford. Well, sort of. $220 dollars is still alot of $$$ to me, especialy for a knife I can't carry for everyday use, legally. The use of 440C makes it not very suitable for a hiking/camping knife and besides it's a fighter. So, I guess it might be awhile for me. Aaaahhhh...so many knives, so little money.


Joe - Thank you for this information - I now understand what you meant , I am too curious about Bagwell's choice. I emailed him at his site but haven't got a reply for a couple of days... I guess he doesn't regularly read his emails...when I get an answer I will post it here.

There are pics in the latest isue of BLADE. They got it pretty darn close to the original. It will be interesting to see if Onterio can make the jump in quality to compete in the $200+ market - lets hope.
One question; answer it quickly, answer it accurately, and no one gets hurt!
Where can I get one for ME? now!
If you want a big fast high-quality and low-bux Bowie fighter, check out this thread:


This piece isn't exactly "artfully balanced" because it doesn't need to be: 1/8th stock high-carbon steel makes it faster than a rattlesnake on methamphetamines. For $150ish you get one HELL of a knife.

Also, I personally think you could ask Ernie Mayer to "stretch" a Black Cloud Fighting Bowie #4 out to 12" and get a better steel than the Ontario product and in my opinion, better grips and guards that won't get in the way if you try it from the reverse. While I'm quite sure Mr. Bagwell has the balance of his piece "down to a T" and Ontario faithfully reproduced it, I've held Black Cloud big fighters before. Ernie's no slouch either, only thing is he doesn't normally take 'em to 12"...but Ernie is a "low ego factor maker", he'll work with you to get you what you want. And at a guess, you're looking at $400 absolute tops, considering you can get a good 8" piece from him for $250. I'd opt for Ernie's formula for ATS34 against anybody's 440C.

Jim March
Schlager- My best suggestion would be to contact Ontario-Knife-Company toll free number and simply ask them.

It is 1-800-222-5233

Maybe you can get one direct from them

Ken Jay- I am glad to tell you that from the piece I have in my hands right now I have the answer and it is a definite YES: Onterio has made the jump in quality to compete in the $200+ market.

[This message has been edited by AG (edited 26 February 1999).]
Jim, thanks for the reply, and I've liked the Black Cloud fighter since seeing one in Tactical Knives last fall. Now that I'm working once more, my want list for blades is being acted upon, but this list also includes a number of swords and rapiers too. Received my new Axis last week and its my new pocket sabre.

Ag, Thank you also for your suggestion, but I've been on Ontarios "notify" list for this item since this fall. Heard nothing, and now I hear that someone has one in hand. Ontario has a resonable product, but they need to re-think their edge geometry. Maybe Bagwell's influence will change things for the better.