Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by DDDWho, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. DDDWho


    Aug 21, 2015
    Is every 420HC blade that leaves the factory the same quality as to heat treat etc. from the lowly Bantam to the top of the line?
  2. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    should be. same type of steel is going to be heat treated the exact same way, id think.

    why do ya ask? something go wrong on a knife?
  3. DDDWho


    Aug 21, 2015
    I’m just curious I have a $15 Bantam and a Mesa. Wondering if I should include them in some sort of serious knife duty.
  4. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    gotcha. both of them were made in America. the blade on the bantam anyways. the bantam is still around and I see no reason not to put it to work. easily replaced or warranty exchanged if anything goes wrong.

    the mesa is discontinued so while I use one harder it can't be replaced easily without the aftermarket and fees for discontinued premium paid.

    I kept one mesa in the collection unused for this reason......but the one I've used I've done hard tasks with it and its held up to everything. its a knife I'd like to see come back into production one day.
    Yo Mama and DDDWho like this.
  5. Makael

    Makael Books temporarily closed on sheath orders. Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Agreed. Im sure heat treat and quality are the same. The only difference would be thickness of the blade.
    DDDWho likes this.
  6. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    The Bantam is a good knife. Use the hell out of it.
    mnblade and DDDWho like this.
  7. matthewtstock

    matthewtstock Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 1, 2010
    Great question, I have wondered about differences in heat treat for different models and changes throughout the years.

    I assume some less than par heat treats get through from time to time. I have a Frontiersman (2017 model) that develops a little edge deflection(cleans up easy with no chips) after splitting the sternum on whitetails. The only Buck I have experienced deflection with including other 124s.
    DDDWho likes this.
  8. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    On all my 420hc bladed knives, the bantam, the 55, 110s, 300 series and 100 series fixed blades have all been very good. I can’t tell the difference in cutting performance between a $10 bantam, or the $19 110LT compared to the 124 @ $120. But I sure can tell a difference between Bucks 420hc Bos heat treatment and other brands sporting 420 grade steel and equivalent. I think Buck has 420hc on any model in a class by itself. In my observation and experience no others have been as good.
    Ace Rimmer, mnblade, skypeace and 4 others like this.
  9. Pack Rat

    Pack Rat Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    I use the heck out of my Mesas. Do a great job skinning and quartering.
    Then back home a light scrubbing and into the dishwasher. They come out looking great.
    I tried cornering the market on those when they first came out and sure enough the prices skyrocketed.
    Jeff of the North and DDDWho like this.
  10. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    It used to be, 10+ years ago when Paul Bos worked at Buck, if a blade was stamped Bos with his flame mark, the heat treat was personally supervised by Bos. However I think thiswas only done with premium steel.
    DDDWho likes this.
  11. DDDWho


    Aug 21, 2015
    IIRC I paid $43 for mine at Wally. I saw some on eBay recently for around $100.
  12. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama

    Sep 25, 2011
    I believe I literally got the very last Mesa walmart had, I ordered site to store. At the time they were just getting known, I was almost to late.

  13. Frotier76


    Dec 14, 2013
    Just for kicks here's a video of guy who Rockwell tested the 420HC on the USA and China models. Their Select Series stuff states a hardness of "up to" 58rc.

    Here's a picture of a Buck 119 (looks like a 2013 production year date) and it says on the blister package 58-60rc on their 420HC and it's part of their Avid line.


    I really don't know what to tell you. I had a Bantam and a Quickfire that didn't hold an edge worth a darn. Then again I've still got a 442 that was made in 1998 and a 450 and Protégé from 2001 that performed well. But these knives would be considered part of the Select Series if still produced today.

    I think it's fair to say that when Buck created the Select quality level 12-13 years ago they went lighter on the heat treatment to reduce labor costs.

    You asked a very good question by the way.
    DDDWho likes this.
  14. Makael

    Makael Books temporarily closed on sheath orders. Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    How would lighter on the heat treat reduce labor costs?
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  15. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    it would also be interesting to see the hrc closer to the blade edge.

    that vantage in the video even at 57 hrc as he said performed well enough to compete in his testing with d2. that is pretty good in my book. I dont see Buck cutting any corners and still making a cheap in cost American made knife that does that well in 420hc even at 57hrc hardness. i don't see any real cost savings there.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
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  16. st8yd

    st8yd Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 6, 2009
    Ya, it rides on a conveyor thru the process.
    I know nothing about the test equipment, but can there be any variance from one machine to another?
    If the blade can test different in two different locations, i would think it would be expected to be different from one blade to another as well.
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  17. J Hubbard

    J Hubbard Moderator Moderator

    Mar 29, 2001
    Rockwell testing has a +-.5 tolerance so each test blade is tested 3 times to get an average reading per blade. We don't use a different or 'lighter' heat treat process on the select series. All 420hc made in the USA gets the same heat treat.
    Lardog, Luke73, DDDWho and 5 others like this.

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