Buck's 420HC steel, does anyone know what it is?

Cobalt

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1998
Messages
17,261
Guys, I know this is a high carbon version of 420, but does anyone have actuall information on it? Just wondering, because someone on another forum was asking about this stuff for his Buck Nighthawk.
 
Yeah....i have been trying to determine this for some time.
I suspect (hope) that the "HC" stands for "high carbon" and means that it is a modified (improved) 420J2.
I kinda recall an advert in AG Russel's cattledog which referred to the Nighthawk as being of 425. Joe Hauser of Buck Knives said, on rec.knives , that it is 420HC. Maybe 420 HC is similar to 425 ??



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Brian W E
ICQ #21525343


 
Cobalt, I wondered what their steel was for a long time, too since I really like high quality Bucks. I found this on their FAQ section on their web site:

420 HC stainless steel contains...Element Percent Effect
Chromium 12.0% - 14.0% Corrosion resistance, Hardness, Tensile Strength
Nickel .50% max Toughness, Corrosion Resistance
Carbon .40% - .44% Hardness
Manganese 1.00% max. Hardness, Tensile Strength
Silicon 100% max Toughness
Phosphorus .05% max Hardness, Machineability
Sulfur .03% max Machineability
Molybdenum Trace Hardness, Toughness, Machineability


Elements such as Carbon (C), although not an alloying element, Chromium (Ch), Molybdenum (Mo) and Phosphorus (P) provide hardenablility of our steel, which gives resistance to abrasion and dulling. Manganese (Mn), and Silicon (Si), increase the toughness properties of our blades, for a strong and durable blade. Our steel is rust-resistant due to the inclusion of Chromium (Cr) and Nickel (Ni).

Molybdenum (Mo) and Sulfur (S) are mixed with steels to improve machineability during fabrication processing, and may add ease of resharpening.

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I hope this helps


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~Greg~


[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 24 January 1999).]
 
Thanks, Greg, but that now leaves me wondering what the difference is between that420 and 420 modified or J2 since all the components are the same. This stuff holds an edge longer than the typical 420 modified so They either did something during heat treating or there is more carbon there, than they are admitting to.
 
Hi Cobalt,
Is it possible that the trace moly in the 420HC is the difference since 420 mod doesn't have Mo listed in my steel chart? My other question is that 420HC lists sulfur, phosphorus and silicon additives. Does that make a difference?

These knives really do seem to hold a good edge. Perhaps the avg amount of Carbon is higher than modified 420.

Maybe we'll never know.
smile.gif


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~Greg~

 
According to Ag Russell's chart, "420" has from 0.15 to 0.35 % carbon. If 420HC has 0.40% -0.44%, it seems the "HC" just might stand for "high carbon".
Thanks, fellas......questioned is answered as far as I am concerned. And makes me feel a little better about my Bucks
smile.gif
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Brian W E
ICQ #21525343


 
The only reason I question the makeup of that steel is because another custom knife maker asked Buck about the steel and they would not say, so there seems to be more going on than meets the eye.

I don't know what they did, maybe the moly or the other trace components add something to the mix, but that carbon content is still fairly low, I would bet it's closer to 0.6-0.7. This steel behaves a lot like the steel used on the stainless next generation Kabar which is about 0.6 or so Carbon content. But you are right, we may never know for sure.
 
Good thread....glad to know that I wasn't the only one wondering about this.


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~Greg~

 
The HC stands for High Carbon..
.40-.45 is the correct range.
The heat treat process is where we pick up the advantage in my mind. I'll check around here to see what the prevailing opinion is...

Jeff
 
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