Here is my story. I copied it from the post I made on the Chinese knife forum in response to a question from Old Hunter. Here's the copied portion.
OH, I think I can help you out here.
Disclaimer: I don't buy chicom knives or shotguns personally but I wound up with one anyway
Now that that's out of the way so I don't get flamed, let me explain. I don't know about the exact two that you mention, but I can tell you about the differences between the 301 USA stockman and the 371 China stockman. My wife gets me and the boys identical knives every year for Christmas. After hearing me talk about Buck quality and reading their company philosophy she decided that this past Christmas it would be Buck instead of Case as usual, fine by me. She didn't know that they had a chicom line so she bought what she thought was a good deal on a large stockman, the 371. I was a little disappointed at first, but since it was a gift and it was from the wife I decided to pack it edc for a while and give it an honest shakedown (I was curious too). Fit and finish were great, the springs were great, it was sharp right out of the box, and I couldn't knock the product at all. I carried it, I used it and it was a fine knife. The edge held up well for stainless and it resharpened easily. As a matter of fact it was so good that I thought the USA version had to be perfect so I bought one. Not so great.
The springs on the USA version were weak, the nail nicks looked like they had been chiseled out there were so many tool marks in them, and the blades just looked rough. I was far from impressed. Other than having slightly better metal the USA version was a looser all the way around. So I sent an email to Buck. I told them very politely point by point why the USA version was inferior to the chicom knife. I ended by telling them how saddened I was that this was the case that the USA version of their own knife wasn't as good as the communist Chinese version.
A couple of days later the head of US manufacturing for Buck emailed wanting to speak to me. I called him back and he addressed each issue point by point telling me where they had messed up on each item of my list. He had been to China to help set up Buck's plant over there and to teach them how to build knives to Buck's specifications. He told me that you are more likely to get an unsatisfactory US knife than a Chinese knife because they can afford to simply throw them away if they aren't perfect whereas in the US they cannot afford to do so unless they are really bad. He told me that he's seen them throw away knives that he would have to sell.
In the end they made me a new 301 special in his words just to show me what they could really build. He sent it to me no questions asked and simply told me to send him the bad one when I got around to it so they could study it. He also had me send in all my other Buck knives for their spa treatment at no charge too! My new 371 is one of the best quality knives I own and I don't even like stainless. It is an amazing knife.
Moral of the story, as a product the Chicom knife will probably be a very good one but not have as good metal as the USA version. The USA version will be a good knife as long as it wasn't made on Monday morning or Friday afternoon. If you do get one that is unsatisfactory, Buck will make it right. If the chicom version had the metal in it that the USA version has, they'd put the USA version out of business. And that hurts me to say that.
“There are things in the old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Robert E. Lee