What is 7Cr17MoV stainless steel?

7Cr17MoV stainless steel is a steel grade 440A modification made in China. Do not assume that this steel is of poor quality, it has added vanadium in its composition, increasing its wear resistance and hardness.

7Cr17MoV stainless steel has been in the lead in the production of survival knives, hunting knives, cleavers, and large chef knives.

In addition to the desirable features exhibited by knives made from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel they are pocket-friendly and offer the best value for money.

Therefore, if you are looking for a good steel knife without breaking the bank, 7Cr17MoV steel varieties are your go-to.

7Cr17MoV Steel Composition

  • Carbon C 0.75%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion. The .7% Carbon content gives the 7Cr17MoV its characteristic name starting with 7.
  • Chromium Cr 18.00%: More than 11% of Chromium is what makes 7Cr17MoV “stainless” steel. Chromium increases the hardness, tensile strength, and toughness of the blade.
  • Molybdenum Mo 1.30%: Improves machinability and corrosion resistance.
  • Vanadium V 0.12%: Forms hard vanadium carbide in combination with other elements that improve wear resistance.
  • Manganese Mn 0.80%:  improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
  • Nickel Ni 0.60%: improves strength and toughness. It increases hardenability but not as much as some of the other alloying elements in steel. It can enhance corrosion resistance in significant amounts
  • Silicon Si 0.80%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Phosphorus P 0.04%: Improves machinability and hardness.
  • Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability.

Properties of 7Cr17MoV steel

7Cr17MoV Steel Hardness

7Cr17MoV steel has a hardness of 60 HRC, which is considered high as per Rockwell hardness ratings. Other common steels that match this Rockwell Hardness include the CPM S30V and 8Cr13MoV steel. Unlike other low-end steel that offers low hardness, 7Cr17MoV steel offers high hardness than most budget steel.

The high hardness of 7Cr17MoV carbon steel is associated with high levels of carbon, vanadium, and chromium in its composition.

With this hardness, you can confidently pack your 7Cr17MoV knife for demanding outdoor applications.

7Cr17MoV Steel Toughness

7Cr17MoV steel has a decent toughness, there are other tougher steels out there. However, being low-end steel, its toughness is considered reasonable compared to other steels in that category.

Also, in the world of steel, you cannot get both hardness and toughness in one basket. And since 7Cr17MoV steel hardness is good, the slack in toughness is expected.

7Cr17MoV Steel Edge retention

The ability of 7Cr17MoV stainless steel to keep a good edge is considered decent. You will not have to sharpen the knife daily, but we cannot brag about its edge retention capabilities compared to high-end knives.

The high amounts of carbon and vanadium increase its hardness and ability to resist abrasion but it also contains sulfur and phosphorus. The sulfur and phosphorus in their composition make this steel easy to break and fracture hence the decent edge retention. It is considered soft steel.

On the flip side, knives made from 7Cr17MoV offer you decent edge retention for their budget prices.

7Cr17MoV Steel Corrosion Resistance

7Cr17MoV steel passes with flying colors in the corrosion resistance test. This is associated with the high amounts of chromium in its composition.

This property makes knives made from this steel from China very versatile.

You can use it in the kitchen on moist ingredients or outdoor in the rain and not worry about corrosion, staining, or rusting.

7Cr17MoV Steel Sharpness

Sharpening 7Cr17MoV steel is easy and fast because it is soft steel. You can achieve razor edge sharpness on 7Cr17MoV knives with or without knife sharpening knowledge using simple sharpening tools. However, because it is decent edge retention, you will need to sharpen it often.

You will, however, need to take care when sharpening 7Cr17MoV steel, Avoid using a belt or machine sharpening as these are too abrasive and might ruin the blade profile.

7cr17MoV equivalent steels

7Cr17MoV vs 440A

As already mentioned, 7cr17MoV Chinese stainless steel is a modification of AISI 440A steel, and this makes them very similar. 440A is considered 7Cr17MoV equivalent.

Their chemical composition is similar except for the additional vanadium in 7cr17MoV steel, making it tougher and more wear-resistant. The additional Vanadium forms hard carbide improving the strength of the blade.

7Cr17MoV vs 440C

7Cr17MoV stainless steel is better knife steel than 440C stainless steel in corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. 440C blade steel, on the other hand, is better than 7Cr17MoV blade steel in terms of edge retention. They both share an almost identical level of toughness.

7Cr17MoV stainless steel beats 440C stainless steel in corrosion resistance. It contains Nickel elements in its alloys that significantly improve the corrosion resistance and oxidation of steel even when hardened at high temperatures.

440C blade steel offers better edge retention when compared to 7Cr17MoV as it contains a higher amount of carbon elements in its alloy composition, enabling the formation of a lot more carbides than 7Cr17MoV steel.

Both AISI 440C and 7Cr17Mov offer similar level toughness, and most knives with these two types of steel will perform in an equal manner when it comes to toughness. Their toughness is not that good, they both perform similar to 154CM stainless steel and premium M390 steel.

Both steels are easy to sharpen and can be sharpened by common abrasive tools containing aluminum oxide. 

7Cr17MoV vs 420HC

7Cr17MoV stainless steel outperforms 420HC stainless steel in corrosion resistance and edge retention. 420HC stainless steel however outshines 7Cr17MoV stainless steel in toughness and ease of sharpening. 420HC stainless steel offers an incredible amount of toughness and is among the best in knife stainless steel.

7Cr17MoV knife steel gives better corrosion resistance than 420HC knife steel as it contains a high amount of chromium elements (0.18%) in its composition. Apart from Chromium,7Cr17MoV steel also features additional nickel elements which 420HC knife steel lacks.

In terms of edge retention, 7Cr17MoV blade steel marginally outshine 420HC blade steel as it’s able to achieve a higher Rockwell hardness. The higher Rockwell hardness can be attributed to the high percentage of carbon in its alloy composition over that of 420HC.

Where Latrobe 420HC steel shines over 7Cr17MoV steel and most other blade steels is in toughness. 420HC toughness is comparable to that of 14C28N stainless steel, AEB-L stainless steel, and crucible’s 3V steel. This makes 420HC a suitable option for long blades, bushcraft knives, and camp knives.

7Cr17MoV vs VG 10 Steel

7Cr17MoV blade steel offers better corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening over Japanese VG 10 blade steel. VG 10 stainless steel meanwhile gives better edge retention and toughness over Chinese 7Cr17MoV  steel.

7Cr17MoV stainless steel offers better corrosion resistance over Japanese VG 10 stainless steel as it contains a high amount of chromium elements in its composition, so despite the formation of chromium carbides, some chromium elements will be left to improve its stainless steel properties.

Japanese VG 10 steel composition is focused on offering great hardness, edge retention, and wear resistance while still maintaining stainless steel property. It is due to VG 10 steel’s higher Rockwell hardness over 7Cr17MoV  that gives it better edge retention.

VG10 steel also offers better toughness than 7Cr17MoV knife steel despite achieving a higher Rockwell hardness. This can be attributed to its alloy composition which contains more elements like molybdenum and tungsten.

VG 10 steel offers great wear resistance over 7Cr17MoV.  Hence sharpening a 7Cr17MoV stainless steel knife will be much easier than sharpening a VG10 stainless steel knife. 

7Cr17MoV vs S30V Steel

7Cr17MoV steel gives better corrosion resistance over S30V. However, CPM S30V stainless steel is a premium and better knife steel than 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. It offers better toughness, edge retention, and wear resistance. 

CPM S30V steel powder metallurgy production process allows it to achieve incredibly fine grain structure. This in turn gives it better Rockwell hardness and allows the formation of vanadium carbides that are critical in edge retention.

7Cr17MoV stainless steel only offers better corrosion resistance than S30V steel due to the high percentage of chromium elements in its alloy composition. You will thus get a more rust resistant knife with 7Cr17MoV blade steel compared to S30V blade steel.

It will also be much easier to sharpen a 7Cr17MoV steel knife over S30V as it is a bit soft and does not contain a high amount of Vanadium carbides that offer superior wear resistance properties.

7Cr17MoV vs D2 steel

7Cr17MoV steel is stainless steel while D2 steel is a tool steel that is not stainless. 7Cr17MoV steel also gives better toughness than the D2 steel blade due to its low Rockwell hardness. D2 steel, however, excels over 7Cr17MoV in edge retention and wear resistance.

D2 steel is tool steel designed to offer excellent wear resistance and edge retention over other performance properties like toughness and corrosion resistance. 

Both D2 blade steel and 7Cr17MoV blade steel offer the same level of toughness. It will be much easier to sharpen a 7Cr17MoV steel knife.

If you’d like a stainless steel blade with similar properties to D2 steel and better performance than 7Cr17MoV look at varieties of S35VN and S45VN from Crucible.

7Cr17MoV vs AUS 8

7Cr17MoV stainless steel offers better corrosion resistance and edge retention compared to Japanese AUS 8 stainless steel. However, AUS 8 stainless steel is much tougher steel. Japanese AUS 8 blade steel offers twice the toughness of 7Cr17MoV blade steel.

Both 7Cr17MoV stainless and AUS 8 stainless are considered budget steel. However, AUS 8 is a preferred choice due to its excellent toughness. Japanese AUS 8 steel is more 440B stainless steel equivalent while 7Cr17MoV  is considered a 440A steel equivalent.

Sharpening 7Cr17MoV steel is much easier than sharpening AUS 8 steel due to lower Rockwell hardness. 

7Cr17MoV vs 8Cr13MoV Steel

The main difference between 7Cr17MoV steel and 8Cr13MoV steel is that 7Cr17MoV gives better corrosion resistance and rust resistance as it contains about 17% chromium elements compared to 13-14.5% chromium elements in 8Cr13MoV Steel alloy.

8cr13mov steel offers better edge retention because it contains more carbon, while 7Cr17MoV is easy to sharpen because it is softer.

8Cr13MoV stainless steel is a better choice for knives over 7Cr17MoV stainless steel due to the optimal balance between toughness and corrosion resistance. 8Cr13MoV stainless steel is considered a copy of Japanese AUS 8 stainless steel.

7Cr17MoV vs 9Cr18MoV

Both 7Cr17MoV and  9Cr18MoV steel exhibit high levels of corrosion resistance. They offer an almost similar chemical composition, with the most significant difference being in the carbon content.

However, 9Cr18MoV is tougher with better edge retention. Sharpening 9Cr18MoV is more challenging compared to 7Cr17MoV as it offers better wear resistance due to increased hardness. 

7Cr17MoV vs 7Cr17

Both 7Cr17MoV and 7Cr17 are low-end, budget stainless steel. They are both Chinese grade and offer a great price to performance value. The biggest difference between the two is that 7Cr17MoV contains Molybdenum and Vanadium elements that increase its wear resistance and hardness.

See also: 10Cr15CoMoV Steel Review, Chinese steel comparable to Japanese VG10 Steel

Is 7Cr17MoV stainless steel good for knives?

7Cr17MoV stainless steel is good for knives, especially if you are on a budget. You will love the corrosion-resistant feature that makes 7Cr17MoV stainless steel knives perfect for both indoor and outdoor tough applications. 

You will mostly find 7Cr17MoV stainless steel in a pocket knife, folding knife, chef knife, kitchen knife, survival knife, and most budget knives.

Conclusion

7Cr17MoV stainless steel is Chinese steel, but it is not mediocre like you would assume though it falls under the budget steel of the Cr series. A 7Cr17MoV steel knife will be easy to sharpen, maintain a decent edge and most importantly resist corrosion. This blade material is pocket-friendly and offers you desirable features compared to other steels in the low-end category.

Since Carbon steel is easily reactive to products that cause corrosion, it is particularly important to always take proper care of your 7Cr17MoV blade by cleaning it, oiling it, and wiping it dry after use.

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