Author Topic: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone  (Read 21222 times)

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« on: January 19, 2013, 03:02:43 PM »
After receiving one of the coolest Christmas gifts in a long time, the Buck 184 from Red by way of Hushnel (thanks guys!) I decided to do a comparison and review of the "next best thing", a Taiwan made copy called the Ramster Survival Knife. For the moment this will be a tabletop review, but I plan to get out and wring it out on some fire prep and trap triggers outdoors and update with my findings then.

The Ramster is available on Amazon and a few other places, army surplus stores sometimes carry them. You might see them on ebay or at a gun and knife show. I paid $39.04 for this one, including shipping. I wasn't too hopeful about the quality at that price, but in the interest of science, I figured it was worth a look.

Ramster Knife

I had, years ago, purchased a similar Buckmaster clone at an army surplus store. It was extremely thin and cheaply constructed, and I ended up throwing it away. It was so poorly made as to be useless. The good news is this Ramster knife is much better constructed than the cheap copy I once had. But, as the following pics will show, it still falls short of the real thing.

First, here are the two knives in their sheaths. The Buck sheath has "Buck" molded into the bottom.


Next, here are the anchor spikes side by side. The real Buck Spike is on top, with the Ramster spike below. The threaded portion of the Ramster spike is shorter, because the hand guard is thinner than the Buck (pic to follow). Also, the Buck is stainless steel with a bead blast finish. The Ramster spike appears to be powder coated "steel" of unknown composition.


In this picture, I installed the Buck spike in the Ramster knife's guard. You can see some of the threads protruding through the thinner guard. The threads are compatible on the spikes between the two knives. However, the handle end caps are not threaded the same and are not compatible.


In this picture, with the Buck 184 on top, you can see the difference in thickness of the blade, and the hand guard. The Buck is 1/4", and the Ramster appears to be about 5/32"-3/16" or thereabouts. Still pretty stout, and a reasonable thickness for a blade this size, but not as sturdy as the real deal.


The two end caps, side by side - Buck left, Ramster right. Again the Ramster cuts corners a little with thinner material on the lanyard loop. The handle and end cap on the Buck are bead blasted Stainless steel. The Ramster's handle components are powder coated "steel".


From the package, the blade is actually stainless, though a bit on the soft end of the Rockwell scale, not quite machete soft. As you can see, the handle components are "steel". It will remain to be seen if the dissimilar metals contribute to galvanic corrosion. Having a carbon steel handle defeats any advantage the stainless blade has where the knife's overall corrosion resistance is concerned. If you have to be careful not to let salt water sit on the handle, you might as well make the blade from carbon steel as well.


End caps - Buck left, Ramster right. This is an earlier model Buckmaster. Later models stopped using compasses in the end caps and started including a liquid filled Silva compass if my research is correct.


Like the Buck sheath, the Ramster sheath has an included aluminum oxide sharpening stone. Both of them are pretty coarse and not really the best thing for all but the roughest edge reshaping. A better modern improvement would be using a diamond stone here instead.


The Ramster compass. This is also a copy of the real Silva compass Buck included with their later model Buckmasters. The real compass would have been liquid filled. This one is not liquid filled. But it does point to magnetic north, so it is a step above a button compass. It would be fine for determining a rough bearing in a pinch, though not ideal as a compass.


Little pouch of "goodies" in the handle. Includes items as described on box a few pictures above. Also has a few small matches with a striking surface. I remember how quickly these little wire saw used to fail on the really cheap carnival prize survival knives of the 80's. I am looking forward to wringing this one out a bit too, just to see how it fares. Of course, one would want to put some useful stuff in the handle, but selecting your own items would probably be better than relying on the included ones.


Here is a close up of the powder coat finish on the Ramster handle.


And a look inside. The Buck also has the same epoxy coating on the tang nut, but as you can see in the pic, the Ramster epoxy is not a complete even coat. The Buck version fills the entire front end of the handle, sealing it off and locking the tang nut in place. This knife's tang nut isn't likely going anywhere, but the incomplete coverage also is another reason why it was only $39.04 shipped.


Overall, the Ramster knife is way better constructed than the cheap knock-off I owned years ago, but as I mentioned before it is no Buckmaster. Dimensionally, it is similar, with the same blade length and overall length, and handle diameter. The spikes even use the same thread pitch. However it falls short by not using stainless steel throughout, and by using thinner steel than the real Buck 184. A quick test with a sheet of paper reveals that while sharp enough to cut things, it will need some attention and refinement to be "just right". I will try with a stop but I suspect it will need a fine stone first before stropping to get it truly sharp.

This first looks shows that the build quality appears to be "good enough" to pursue some field testing. If it holds up to some general camp chores it might be a good choice for folks who want to try out the design to see if pursuing a real Buck 184 for field use is something they want to do. Or, for folks who might want a cheap copy to beat on to preserve their collectible 184.

Here are some parting shots...




Thanks for looking! :)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 04:22:03 PM by PetrifiedWood »

Offline kanukkarhu

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Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2013, 04:21:27 PM »
Hmmm... Interesting stuff. Thanks for the ree-view.

Not my cuppa, but I do remember once as a kid thinking that would be a cool knife to have!

(Btw, I love the names these companies use. Do you think RAMster is a play on "Rambo" in an effort to capitalize on that market/80's era?)


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Offline wolfy

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2013, 04:27:15 PM »
Hmmm... Interesting stuff. Thanks for the ree-view.

Not my cuppa, but I do remember once as a kid thinking that would be a cool knife to have!

(Btw, I love the names these companies use. Do you think RAMster is a play on "Rambo" in an effort to capitalize on that market/80's era?)


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Offline kanukkarhu

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Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 04:38:05 PM »
Hmmm... Interesting stuff. Thanks for the ree-view.

Not my cuppa, but I do remember once as a kid thinking that would be a cool knife to have!

(Btw, I love the names these companies use. Do you think RAMster is a play on "Rambo" in an effort to capitalize on that market/80's era?)


Tapatalked from my batphone.

It ain't no Grohmann is it, KK? 8)
Did some say "Grohmann"?!?

:crazy:


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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 12:10:12 PM »
Thanks for the review, PW.  I've always wondered what the spikes were for 'cuz I ain't gotta clue.  They just look like something that would hurt like hell if you happened to jam your hand down on'em in a fall or something that would possibly jam in your side if ya took a tumble.  So.........what the heck are they for?
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 01:28:10 PM »
On the original knife, they are supposed to be used for anchoring seal team's gear underwater so it wouldn't float away, if my research is correct. A lot of people think they are for use as a grappling hook, but they were not designed to support that kind of weight.

It seemed like a very limited single application feature to use on a knife, but it must have been a pretty important application for its intended use, otherwise why include the feature?

Offline BUSHYBEARD

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 02:45:04 PM »
If your ever in Hope, BC , Canada be sure to visit the "RAMBO" pic board :P

"http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3025/2960602436_108ab66f7b.jpg"

 :rofl:
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 02:47:18 PM »
Is that where they filmed it? :D

Offline BUSHYBEARD

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 03:16:38 PM »
Is that where they filmed it? :D

Yup, hope and mission bc  8)
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 03:26:09 PM »
Is that where they filmed it? :D

Yeah, it was.....I remember that, because I was there once when coming back from a canoe trip up in Bowron Lakes Provincial Park.  Beautiful country!
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 05:55:42 PM »
Nice review PW. 

It looks like a company in China bought a Buckmaster and just copied it.  I just looked up the price of a genuine Buckmaster and  :doh: why did I sell the one my brother bought me for Christmas the year they came out? 
On Ebay they are going from $450 to $900 for early ones.  The spikes alone are $85 for a pair. 

 
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Offline Draco

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 07:02:32 PM »
I always wondered what those anchor spikes were supposed to be used for.  Thanks for the review.

Offline Red

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 11:19:30 PM »
nice review man :) you are getting as bad as me with Bayley knives :P
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 02:48:44 AM »
nice review man :) you are getting as bad as me with Bayley knives :P

You know I actually thought about that! I do like the idea of being able to wring out a design using a replica before choosing to use (or not)  the real deal. Though given the choice I think the Bailey design is a better all around design for bushcraft. Nevertheless, there is much to be said for nostalgia and if the goal is to get out and enjoy oneself then I might be inclined to choose a knife because it's fun more than because it is better suited to a particular task.

Buck 184 is a fun knife! :D

Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 11:04:17 AM »
PW: If you ever get rid of the clone, let me know.
 ;)
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 11:21:43 AM »
PW: If you ever get rid of the clone, let me know.
 ;)


You will get first shot at it if I decide to cut it loose. :)

Offline Wounded Thumb

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2013, 01:24:16 PM »
Are the ricassos the same size on both?  I always wonder on a knife with a guard why have sunch a long ricasso.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 03:57:32 PM »
Are the ricassos the same size on both?  I always wonder on a knife with a guard why have sunch a long ricasso.

They are about the same give or take a mm or two. I don't know about the ricasso thing either. But the shape of the guard requires at least half of the ricasso to give proper access to sharpen it.

Offline bigwolf

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2013, 07:46:43 PM »
nice review man :) you are getting as bad as me with Bayley knives :P

You know I actually thought about that! I do like the idea of being able to wring out a design using a replica before choosing to use (or not)  the real deal. Though given the choice I think the Bailey design is a better all around design for bushcraft. Nevertheless, there is much to be said for nostalgia and if the goal is to get out and enjoy oneself then I might be inclined to choose a knife because it's fun more than because it is better suited to a particular task.

Buck 184 is a fun knife! :D

If it gets the job done, and its fun, then it's a win win. Thanks for the review.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2015, 07:26:39 AM »
So.......what ever became of this knife?    :shrug:    Was it PW APPROVED! or did it come up short in the field test? ???
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2015, 08:20:21 AM »
It is still in one piece, but it hasn't taken a beating. When I head outside to do something that requires a knife, it hasn't been the one I grab. I have been using my modified Gerber steadfast and that has worked out well so far.

I will try to remember to use this one next time I make a fire.

Offline zammer

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2015, 09:39:43 AM »
Here I was thinking this was a new thread....lol

Anyways, it was a real good side by side comparison Pdubs...I had also wondered about those spike.
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Offline ceraphym

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2016, 04:10:23 PM »
Awesome thread!

I have a black 184 and am looking for a pair of black anchors in my restoration. Any help would be welcome.

Love the site.

Offline wolverine_173

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Re: Review: Ramster Survival Knife - Buck 184 Buckmaster clone
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2016, 08:56:16 PM »
nice overview