Recommendation? 420 steel heat treatment?

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Now I know what you all are thinking, why should 420 stainless steel be even mentioned on this forum page, well it’s one I’m going to mention today, anyway my question is this, is 420 steel durable at a good heat treat, I personally believe that every steel serves a purpose for something, we all know 420 is not super steel but rather a budget steel, there’s one purpose there, but could 420 steel be better with a good heat treat? I know gerber has made a few knives with 420 steel, obviously they were budget knives, but I have heard of some so called cheaper steels 420, 440c, Aus 8, outperforming 150$ knives with higher steels, I just think sometimes it comes down to the heat treat of the steel and craftsmanship/quality of the knife overall, those are things I look for. Again this is my own opinion, there are so many other steels in which are so called better but I don’t like to say better I would rather say they would serve other purposes for many different things 420 steel is used in dive knives too it may not hold an edge at all but if it can cut then I will take it ...440 steels such as 440 C are actually really good if they have good heat treatment...but I want to hear your opinion? Also let’s not forget 420 is highly corrosion resistant while other steels are not...then again 440 c is similar....but let’s hear it,
 

19-3ben

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Two words.

Paul. Bos.

If you want to see 420hc at its best, get a Buck in 420hc with the Bos HT. It’s a joy to sharpen, takes a great fine edge, and depending on whether you prefer a very thin edge for fine slicing or a thicker edge for harder work, it’ll accommodate. It won’t compete with “super steels” for edge retention but it’s one of my favorite all-around steels when it has the Bos HT.
 
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David Martin

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Buck's American 420 is given a cryogenic treatment this helps it make 58 on the Rockwell 'C' scale. Which really helps this steel preform. Right, it has good stainless properties and easy to sharpen. DM
 

knarfeng

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Aside from the alloy and the hardness, and overshadowing them in impact on cutting performance, is the geometry of the blade. It's hard to compare steels when the blades are shaped differently. I can be done if enough variables are controlled in the cutting test. But it makes for very specific testing.

Agree that Buck, using the Paul Bos heat treat, likely gets the most out of 420HC. But it won't outperform higher end alloys.
 
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Two words.

Paul. Bos.

If you want to see 420hc at its best, get a Buck in 42hc with the Bos HT. It’s a joy to sharpen, takes a great fine edge, and depending on whether you prefer a very thin edge for fine slicing or a thicker edge for harder work, it’ll accommodate. It won’t compete with “super steels” for edge retention but it’s one of my favorite all-around steels when it has the Bos HT.
I totally agree I know they make good 420hc, but I was wondering as 420 overall.
 

Hickory n steel

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Now I know what you all are thinking, why should 420 stainless steel be even mentioned on this forum page, well it’s one I’m going to mention today, anyway my question is this, is 420 steel durable at a good heat treat, I personally believe that every steel serves a purpose for something, we all know 420 is not super steel but rather a budget steel, there’s one purpose there, but could 420 steel be better with a good heat treat? I know gerber has made a few knives with 420 steel, obviously they were budget knives, but I have heard of some so called cheaper steels 420, 440c, Aus 8, outperforming 150$ knives with higher steels, I just think sometimes it comes down to the heat treat of the steel and craftsmanship/quality of the knife overall, those are things I look for. Again this is my own opinion, there are so many other steels in which are so called better but I don’t like to say better I would rather say they would serve other purposes for many different things 420 steel is used in dive knives too it may not hold an edge at all but if it can cut then I will take it ...440 steels such as 440 C are actually really good if they have good heat treatment...but I want to hear your opinion? Also let’s not forget 420 is highly corrosion resistant while other steels are not...then again 440 c is similar....but let’s hear it,
Actually you don't know, you have made a huge oversight.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with 420 for light daily use, and you should have asked this over on the porch or in the Buck section instead.
First of all, Bucks Paul boss treated 420hc is the best 420 steel you can get. It's probably one of the best stainless steel there is for the average non knife person user.

Secondly, there are far more popular and respected traditional knives made with 420 steel than there are modern folders.
Basically the only well loved and respected modern folders in 420 steel are made by Buck and it's because of their excellent treatment on their 420hc.
 
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Aside from the alloy and the hardness, and overshadowing them in impact on cutting performance, is the geometry of the blade. It's hard to compare steels when the blades are shaped differently. I can be done if enough variables are controlled in the cutting test. But it makes for very specific testing.

Agree that Buck, using the Paul Bos heat treat, likely gets the most out of 420HC. But it won't outperform higher end alloys.

I have read that Bucks 420HC is on par or even in some cases outperforms 8cr13mov steel. If heat treated properly a lower grade steel can make a good performer. I am actually a fan of Bucks 420HC.
 

knarfeng

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I have read that Bucks 420HC is on par or even in some cases outperforms 8cr13mov steel. If heat treated properly a lower grade steel can make a good performer. I am actually a fan of Bucks 420HC.

Not in any test that I have run. And I have run controlled testing on knives in both alloys. But my tests are designed to remove the factor of blade geometry.

Again. Geometry outweighs alloy. Buck has superb cutting geometry. A Buck might outperform a knife in 8Cr13MoV in the field. But that would be because of the geometry, not because 420HC outperforms 8Cr13MoV.
 

knarfeng

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What about 420 being hardened to 50 hrc is that good enough for use?

Won't hold an edge long, but it will still cut.
Case hardens theirs to 55
Buck hardens theirs to ~58-59
 
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I have seen blades in 420j and 420hc. I prefer 420hc. Currently i have a kershaw link in 420hc and it holds and edge quite well for light tasks. There’s nothing wrong with it, sharpens easily too.
 
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Actually you don't know, you have made a huge oversight.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with 420 for light daily use, and you should have asked this over on the porch or in the Buck section instead.
First of all, Bucks Paul boss treated 420hc is the best 420 steel you can get. It's probably one of the best stainless steel there is for the average non knife person user.

Why should he have asked it there? While the Paul Bos (its "Bos" btw, nor "Boss") treated 420HC used by Buck is highly regarded for its price point, the answers in the Buck forum are going to be skewed toward it, because the Buck forum is full of Buck fans.

"General" would give a "wider" and less skewed view on the subject.

Back to the OPs question, Paul Bos heat treated 420HC is good. Not Paul Bos heat treated 420HC, let along something labeled as 420? Sure, it will cut things, it's probably fine, but hardly "high performance." Which is fine too...no need to go full steel snob and "pooh pooh" it...hey, I love AUS-8. :thumbsup:
 
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What about 420 being hardened to 50 hrc is that good enough for use?

I occasionally carry (and have actually used to open/break down boxes at work :eek::D) a CRKT Hole In One. It's 420J2 that's supposed to be somewhere around 50hrc. It works okay. Like marcinek said, not "high performance," but it'll cut stuff just fine. When it finally starts hanging up on stuff instead of cutting, I give it a couple swipes on crock sticks and it's fine again, just like knives in any other steel. I don't have any particular interest in specifically seeking out 420, 420J2, etc. knives, but when I come across something I like that's well made (like the Hole In One), it doesn't keep me from buying it. :thumbsup:
 
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Not in any test that I have run. And I have run controlled testing on knives in both alloys. But my tests are designed to remove the factor of blade geometry.

Again. Geometry outweighs alloy. Buck has superb cutting geometry. A Buck might outperform a knife in 8Cr13MoV in the field. But that would be because of the geometry, not because 420HC outperforms 8Cr13MoV.

I have not done any testing in a controlled environment, but as an avid user of both 420hc and 8cr13mov and I would generally agree with this. 8cr13mov has higher wear resistance, and 420hc seems to be best for cutting less abrasive materials requiring high sharpness or rough work due to how easily it sharpens. Just because it doesn't have the best edge retention, that doesn't make it a bad steel, just good for a different purpose.

As stated above, heat treatment makes a difference as well. I find that good 8cr13mov does slightly outperform the best 420hc. I also have a couple of knives with thin geometry in 8cr13mov with questionable heat treatments that my 420hc Bucks match or outperform. There are a ton of factors that go into blade performance, and sometimes it's easy to get too hung up on one detail.
 

oldtymer

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I have not heard in 40 years of hunting that any deer ever complained about being dressed with a
buck knife:p
 
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I have not heard in 40 years of hunting that any deer ever complained about being dressed with a
buck knife:p
Amen to that. I have carried Bucks and Cases with 420 steel since the sixties and they always got the job done. Premium steels certainly hold their edge better, and I own many knives with the super steels, but 420 was a top of the line steel in times past that people used hard and swore by.
 
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I have not done any testing in a controlled environment, but as an avid user of both 420hc and 8cr13mov and I would generally agree with this. 8cr13mov has higher wear resistance, and 420hc seems to be best for cutting less abrasive materials requiring high sharpness or rough work due to how easily it sharpens. Just because it doesn't have the best edge retention, that doesn't make it a bad steel, just good for a different purpose.

As stated above, heat treatment makes a difference as well. I find that good 8cr13mov does slightly outperform the best 420hc. I also have a couple of knives with thin geometry in 8cr13mov with questionable heat treatments that my 420hc Bucks match or outperform. There are a ton of factors that go into blade performance, and sometimes it's easy to get too hung up on one detail.

In my own use, having used a Kershaw Antelope Hunter II (8cr13mov) for 6 deer and 4 antelope, and a Buck 110 (Bos 420 HC) on 4 deer; I feel the Buck outperformed the Kershaw in both cutting and edge retention. I think the Kershaw is a little soft, it's easy to sharpen to a very fine edge.

As an aside, having also used Carbon V Cold Steel SRK to dress at least 2 deer, I have to say I liked that very much. The SRK is rather thick for that work, but it cut well and made opening the ribs ridiculously easy. My least favorite steel for field dressing deer is 4116 (from a cheapy Cold Steel something or other lite). It chipped, it rolled, it didn't hold an edge worth beans.

All that said, I think Bucks 420HC is good enough for pretty much anything I need a knife to do. As far as other maufacturer's 420? Whatevs, I know how to sharpen a knife and I'm not using them so much that I can't stop to sharpen once in a while. I use a couple of tru-sharp Case knives for cleaning rabbits, ducks, birds, whatever (and once a deer) and just gave it a couple of swipes across a diamond stone when I got back to the cabin that evening.
 
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In my own use, having used a Kershaw Antelope Hunter II (8cr13mov) for 6 deer and 4 antelope, and a Buck 110 (Bos 420 HC) on 4 deer; I feel the Buck outperformed the Kershaw in both cutting and edge retention. I think the Kershaw is a little soft, it's easy to sharpen to a very fine edge.

As an aside, having also used Carbon V Cold Steel SRK to dress at least 2 deer, I have to say I liked that very much. The SRK is rather thick for that work, but it cut well and made opening the ribs ridiculously easy. My least favorite steel for field dressing deer is 4116 (from a cheapy Cold Steel something or other lite). It chipped, it rolled, it didn't hold an edge worth beans.

All that said, I think Bucks 420HC is good enough for pretty much anything I need a knife to do. As far as other maufacturer's 420? Whatevs, I know how to sharpen a knife and I'm not using them so much that I can't stop to sharpen once in a while. I use a couple of tru-sharp Case knives for cleaning rabbits, ducks, birds, whatever (and once a deer) and just gave it a couple of swipes across a diamond stone when I got back to the cabin that evening.

dear God ... what you did with those miserable animals ... dress or raped them.... that is a hunting story:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
 
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I will gladly buy a Buck knife with 420, but I can't think of another maker I would say that about.
I wouldn't really even consider a fixed blade with
8cr13mov,
 
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