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Thread: Buck high end/ super steels and good ol 420 HC

  1. #1
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    Buck high end/ super steels and good ol 420 HC


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    I have spent the money for the steel. I have bought several Vantages with the "super Steels", both 13c26, and S30V. I was under the impression that the "super Steel" were SUPER. I thought they were supposed to be the high end. I use my Vantage every day for some reason or another. I use it several times a day while fishing, something I love as much as Buck Knives. Something I've noticed is my Pro (S30V) and my Avid (13C26) both come back from a day on the ocean with rust on the blade, while the liner maintains its rust resistance. I bought a select and had Carbon Fiber scales made for it. I used it out on the ocean yesterday and knowing that I had to clean my blade and remove rust as usual I pulled it out and to my surprise there was no rust at all. So, my complaint is that we spend the money for Super Steel and there isn't much that is SUPER.
    In addition the 420HC stays sharp almost just as long as the others...
    BCCI LIFE MEMBER #2113

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." --Patrick Henry

  2. #2
    My thoughts exactly

  3. #3
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    Yes, I've been saying for years that S30V is super only in that it's a super profitable steel because it's good for mass production.

    Buck is pretty honest about not charging much extra for it (to check this, just note the prices on steels for knives from the Custom Shoppe) so I have to give them credit.

    It's not worth much more than 420HC and they seem to recognize that by not charging much for the debatable "privilege" of having S30V.

    I don't think they have openly presented the 13C26 as a super steel, have they? I got the impression they'd like people to think that, but they haven't actually called it a premium or super steel.

    Basically, Buck does not now offer a premium steel.

    I wish they would offer a really good one and charge significantly above the price of 420HC.

    For now, I only buy 420HC in new knives and I'm glad to get it......it's close to premium in performance anyway.

  4. #4
    My 110s with 420hc will cut cardboard almost as long as my benchmades with m390 and d2. It also takes about a fourth of the time to sharpen. I know the steel snobs are going to flame me for saying that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG42EDGE View Post
    Buck is pretty honest about not charging much extra for it (to check this, just note the prices on steels for knives from the Custom Shoppe) so I have to give them credit.
    I am going to have to disagree with the charging price. They may not charge in the custom shop but lets look at some of the other knives. To keep apples to apples, the Vantage select with diamond wood is considerably less than the Vantage Avid (13c26), with a price difference of $20 or more.

    With the words listed in the BUCK KNIVES Inc. catalog, 440hc GOOD, 13C26 BETTER, S30V BEST. They do represent 13c26 as an upgraded or premium steel, and they charge for in regardless of how it performs.

    Don't get me wrong its great to have options but when it comes down to it the options don't meet up to the tasks or the price tag.
    BCCI LIFE MEMBER #2113

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." --Patrick Henry

  6. #6
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    I think S30V is overrated and mediocre on some other production knives; however my custom 110 in S30V is probably the best S30V blade I've seen/used. Buck's 420HC is really quite impressive, especially when considering the cost of the knives.

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    13C26 is not considered a super steel, though it's edge holding potential is a little higher than 420HC. It's rust resistance is consequently a little lower. Are the blades you mentioned bead blasted by chance? It's one of the oddities of the knife world that blasted finishes are considered a final finish, where in every other industry, its prep for the final finish. In use, you'd have to push the hardness of 13C26 up to 60 HRc or so to see it's real benefit over 420HC as Buck runs it. All my Buck blades have 425M steel. You new fangled users are fun to watch though.

  8. #8
    i own all the makes of vantages and have used them. I dont think the the sandvik steel holds a edge any longer than 420hc. My s30 does but i dont think its worth the trade off of how harder it is to sharpen.
    Last edited by jim guy; 04-24-2012 at 05:00 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbjannusch View Post
    I am going to have to disagree with the charging price. They may not charge in the custom shop but lets look at some of the other knives. To keep apples to apples, the Vantage select with diamond wood is considerably less than the Vantage Avid (13c26), with a price difference of $20 or more.

    With the words listed in the BUCK KNIVES Inc. catalog, 440hc GOOD, 13C26 BETTER, S30V BEST. They do represent 13c26 as an upgraded or premium steel, and they charge for in regardless of how it performs.

    Don't get me wrong its great to have options but when it comes down to it the options don't meet up to the tasks or the price tag.
    Hmmmm..........yes, I see what you mean.

    Well, I suspect people will live and learn on this stuff. I hope they learn quickly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by me2 View Post
    13C26 is not considered a super steel, though it's edge holding potential is a little higher than 420HC. It's rust resistance is consequently a little lower. Are the blades you mentioned bead blasted by chance? It's one of the oddities of the knife world that blasted finishes are considered a final finish, where in every other industry, its prep for the final finish. In use, you'd have to push the hardness of 13C26 up to 60 HRc or so to see it's real benefit over 420HC as Buck runs it. All my Buck blades have 425M steel. You new fangled users are fun to watch though.
    Super steel, premium steel, up graded steel it all means more money so in my eyes it the same. I don't think there is a definition in the dictionary for super steel, I'm sure that will be refuted, but never the less you pay money for it over the cost of a knife with the standard 440HC. Besides how long ago did buck stop using 425m, '96? I do believe they harden their steels in the neighborhood of which you mentioned (58-60) so I dont think that is a valid point, if there was a point.
    BCCI LIFE MEMBER #2113

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  11. #11
    I have several Bucks in 420HC, and I like it. I think Buck's implementation of it is an excellent compromise for the properties you need in a knife. I also have an Odyssy in 12C27, a steel I like in EKA knives, and I don't like it as much in the Buck knife. I wouldn't pay extra for upgraded steel again.

  12. #12
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    I'd heard their target was 58. If they're regularly getting 60, then to see the advantage 13c26 could have you'd have to push it to 63ish, which is tricky. Like I said, it has more potential, but that may not be realized. No factory I know would willing push outdoor blades to 62-63. I wouldn't expect any noticable difference if they are within a point of hardness. I have compared my 425M Buck to a 12c27 blade, and the 12c27 took a much sharper edge with the same effort. I didn't get to do any long term test, as it was a loaner for repair, and I had to give it back soon after sharpening (and regrinding the tip).

    I don't know when they stopped with 425M. Both mine are from the late 80's, maybe 1990.

    Super steel is generally applied to the very high carbide steels that are even more wear resistant than S30V, but it's not a hard and fast definition. How much more expensive are the 13c26 blades?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by me2 View Post
    How much more expensive are the 13c26 blades?
    The price difference is not a deal breaker, But for an extra $20-$30 you should have a marketable difference, IMO. I believe the 425M was phased out in 1996. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, which is not uncommon. As for the 425M taking a better edge I have no opinion. All of the knives I have with 425M are in displays.
    BCCI LIFE MEMBER #2113

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." --Patrick Henry

  14. #14
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    They went to 420HC in late 92 to early 93.

    The reason was simply that 425M was a special order and 420HC was regular production for the steel supplier.

    The two steels are almost the same and I suspect individual knives in one steel will outperform individual knives in the other......slight variations in the steel, the heat treat and production process are inevitable.......but it's all good steel.

    Rockwell of 59 is plenty good......higher and you flirt with chipping.

  15. #15
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    Have you had the opportunity to use one higher than 59, or are you speaking of just the steels Buck uses? That's good info about the switch from 425M to 420HC. I always wondered why they switched, since they are quite close and I always had good results from my 425M knives. Well, that one chipped, but I hit a hidden nail.

  16. #16
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    Well, I have used D2 and ATS-34 and BG-42 and S30V and some others, I guess, so I suppose I've used higher than 59 at some point, but I don't test them.



    These were all Buck knives except for one Knives of Alaska knife. I never had any problems, but I'm pretty careful with my blades.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by me2 View Post
    Well, that one chipped, but I hit a hidden nail.
    That's what happens when you use a knife to chop wood.
    BCCI LIFE MEMBER #2113

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." --Patrick Henry

  18. #18
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    Oh, ok. I'm just saying if you've never batoned a scandi-vex blade between 64.5 and 66 HRc with a hammer, you're missing out. No chipping, and when I dug a hole in the board, no tip snappage.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbjannusch View Post
    I have spent the money for the steel. I have bought several Vantages with the "super Steels", both 13c26, and S30V. I was under the impression that the "super Steel" were SUPER. I thought they were supposed to be the high end. I use my Vantage every day for some reason or another. I use it several times a day while fishing, something I love as much as Buck Knives. Something I've noticed is my Pro (S30V) and my Avid (13C26) both come back from a day on the ocean with rust on the blade, while the liner maintains its rust resistance. I bought a select and had Carbon Fiber scales made for it. I used it out on the ocean yesterday and knowing that I had to clean my blade and remove rust as usual I pulled it out and to my surprise there was no rust at all. So, my complaint is that we spend the money for Super Steel and there isn't much that is SUPER.
    In addition the 420HC stays sharp almost just as long as the others...
    Steel of the day=gimic steels=feel good steels,until you really use them.They sound and look good in a safe but don't use them in the field=WASTE of good $$$

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbjannusch View Post
    That's what happens when you use a knife to chop wood.
    Yep. Those pencil sized branches are hell on an edge.

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