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"Real world" 420HC vs S30V?

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by Dkarp1, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. Dkarp1

    Dkarp1

    13
    Nov 17, 2015
    New to the site, currently own a Bucklite 422. Was wanting a new EDC folder, as the Bucklite is just a little too bulky for pocket carry. Anyway, looking at the vantage series- is the S30 steel worth the extra money?
    As stated , knife will be edc, box and string cutting, occasional whittling, last resort self defense, etc. I don't mind touching up a blade now and then, but don't want constant resharpening either.

    What say you all?
     
  2. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Karp, welcome to the Buck Forum. You don't mind touching up your blade. On what? What are your stones? Do you have a strop? How are your sharpening skills? I'm trying to determine some things before I steer you in a direction. Your usage doesn't sound like much. DM
     
  3. lobo9er

    lobo9er

    606
    Jan 5, 2013
    420hc is a fine steel, S30v is "better". I use regularly a Buck Woodsman and a Buck folder (285 i think) in 420hc. They are great but don't hold an edge like S30v or other "new" steels. 420hc is a great affordable steel but you need to touch them up often if you want a razor sharp blade. The woodsman is one of my favorite small game knives, The folder gets used in the EDC knife rotation but if I use it a few times a day it gets touched up that night.
     
  4. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I don't obsess over mine like that. I'll use mine for a week or 2 before I'll consider touching it up. (that's 420HC) A month or 2 on S30V. DM
     
  5. pinnah

    pinnah

    Jul 28, 2011
    Overly simplistic, but I think of steels as being in 2 major groups: those with carbides and those without (or very few). Carbides are like rocks in concrete. Low carbide steels are more like cement, made with sand. Carbide rich steels resist wear and continue to cut through cardboard and rope even as they dull but those carbide "rocks" also make it harder to sharpen the blades.

    Sharpening tools with harder abrassives make sharpening carbide rich steels easier. But even with diamond stones, I find it easier to sharpen low carbide steels.

    So, in my mind, this is basic trade-off. Carbide rich steels: sharpen less often but work harder when you do. Low carbide steels: sharpen often but it's easier when you do.

    IMO, this is a personal preference thing sort of like preferences in beer or coffee. I prefer low carbide steel (like Buck's 420HC) for EDC use but I like carbide rich steel for hunting or the rare time I need to bust down a large quantity of cardboard.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. kyhunt

    kyhunt Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    I like Buks 420 a lot. I absolutely love Buck's s30v. Imho if you let the s30v get really dull you have to work on it more. Some folks say you have to use diamond stones. I disagree. My stones are just plain old Arkansas stones and a leather strop with sharpening compound.
     
  7. Gadsden

    Gadsden

    414
    Jul 19, 2014
    My Buck Vantage Pro with S30V is hands down the best folder I have ever carried. I agree with kyhunt about "having" to use diamond stones to keep it sharp. I use Norton waterstones and a leather strop with compound to maintain mine. I might put it on a stone every couple of weeks. But for the most part a quick stropping will bring back the hair popping edge.
     
  8. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Oh, my. Don't say that over in the Maintenance Forum as they'll have a conniption. DM
     
    afishhunter likes this.
  9. Dkarp1

    Dkarp1

    13
    Nov 17, 2015
    I have a Smith's medium and fine arkansas stone kit, also have a lansky kit (not the diamond one) but lately have found I only use the fine stone out of it unless I am cutting a whole new angle on a knife or repairing an abused edge. My dad used to use a bench grinder :eek: for his pocketknives, so back about 25-30 years ago I decided to find a better way.
    I started with the Smith's kit but never really mastered the "freehand" technique. Then I moved up to the Lansky kit a few years later and have been very happy with the consistency I can get with it.

    As far as usage, I am not a hunter or trapper, toughest thing I will probably ever cut would be sticks or pine wood for whittlin'. More of a collector, tinkerer, gadget guy. I just admire the engineering and science that goes into building and heat treating knives. I guess I also just want to see "how sharp can it get"?

    Hopefully that helps! :)
     
  10. Gadsden

    Gadsden

    414
    Jul 19, 2014
    Yes Sir Mr. Martin, my statement would probably be BLASPHEMY over there.
     
  11. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Gad, no doubt. I'll keep it quiet.
    Karp, I would go with the 420 blade steel. You'll find it easy to sharpen and it holds a decent edge. Plus, it's offered in most of Buck's models and it has good stainless properties. Later should a Limited Edition model come out that you like, get it. As those carry the up grade steel. DM
     
    Shorthairs likes this.
  12. lobo9er

    lobo9er

    606
    Jan 5, 2013
    I am glad 420hc is getting some love. I have said before, 420hc will be around longer and has already out lasted some of todays super steels. Phil Wilson I believe used to use it in custom blades. But you already have 420hc try out some s30v if you can afford it, you can always sell it off or trade it if you don't abuse it. either will serve you well with proper care.
     
  13. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yes, S30V will hold an edge twice as long as 420 but it is harder to sharpen. Besides we're not talking about giving them much use. So, do you need it? DM
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  14. lobo9er

    lobo9er

    606
    Jan 5, 2013
    Need, could need and want... :)
     
  15. bt93

    bt93 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 12, 2015
    Buck's 420 may not hold an edge as long as S30V, but I can sharpen the 420 on my 110 with any smooth rock on the ground. May not get it razor sharp like that, but if you totally waste your edge, I like 420. I use a sharpening steel to get a good razor edge on my knives. I have a Buck 110 and a Spitfire, both with 420. The more I read of the 'better' steels the more I distrust them. I consider the ability to sharpen to be as important as edge holding and buck's 420 could be the best by that standard.
     
    afishhunter likes this.
  16. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    "I consider the ability to sharpen to be as important as..."
    Yes, this knowledge in your tool box is good to have. We talk about steels a lot but to me blade shape and edge profile are higher on my decision list. DM
     
    afishhunter likes this.
  17. DocT

    DocT

    Mar 25, 2012
    For many users the 420HC is a good choice. For a good comparison, you can expect 420HC to perform about like AUS8 as they are in a similar class. You can expect S30V to hold an edge similar to (not exact) to CTS-XHP. This is only for a performance comparison between 420 and S30V as an example.

    You can watch this and see why people like these "super steels". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkZQpBqLF4Q&feature=youtu.be

    (note: this is not supporting another company, but only for steel comparison)
     
  18. Blacksprucy

    Blacksprucy

    24
    Dec 6, 2015
    If you go the S30V route, check out the Cabelas Alaska Guide Buck 110. You get the S30V steel plus the DLC blade coating.

    Basically, you get a lot of Buck custom shop features without the custom shop price.

    You can often get them on sale (like now).
     
  19. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    sprucy, Welcome to the Buck Forum. That's the way I think about it too. Many here like that package. It's a fine knife. DM
     
  20. arty

    arty

    Oct 18, 2003
    I don't care for the edge holding of 420HC. It requires a touch up more than I like. It is about .45 carbon, while AUS 8 is .7-.75 carbon. S30V is a very high carbon, high Vanadium steel and if done well, holds an edge for some time.
    The downside of edge holding is a loss of toughness, but S30V seems to do OK.
    I prefer S35V to the others.
     

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