7cr17MoV Steel is in the MoV or Cr series of Chinese manufactured stainless steel. This grade of stainless steel falls in midrange to high-range quality and is quite durable but is affordable and budget in terms of price. This makes it a great choice for different kinds of knives for outdoor activities (such as camping) as well as in the kitchen.
This makes 7cr17mov very versatile knife steel with good toughness and corrosion resistance. However, 7cr17mov is also known for being a softer knife compared to some of its counterparts. This means that it doesn’t have the best edge retention and can get dull quite fast. As long as you’re prepared to sharpen your knives often, 7cr17mov is one of the best out of all budget knives in the market.
What is 7cr17mov?
7cr17mov is a Chinese manufactured stainless steel. Like other stainless steels in the Cr and MoV series, 7cr17mov is martensitic. This means that 7cr17mov is tempered and quenched using heat treatment for a high level of hardness. Since 7cr17mov doesn’t have a high hardness on its own, quantities of molybdenum (Mo) and vanadium are added for higher hardness and edge resistance.
7cr17mov is commonly used in pocket knives, Swiss knives, kitchen knives, and even scissors because of its properties. You’ll also find 7cr17mov steel used for medical equipment since it’s corrosion-resistant and has a high-quality build.
What is the 7cr17mov Steel Composition?
It’s easy to understand what 7cr17mov has to offer once you look at the different steels that make up its composition. 7cr17mov is fortified with lots of other metals so that its properties improve. Let’s look at the detailed composition information of 7cr17mov stainless steel:
- Carbon 0.7% – You’ll find that 7cr17mov steel can have anywhere between 0.60 to 0.75 amounts of carbon in it. Of course, all stainless steel needs to have a considerable amount of carbon in it. But here the higher amount of carbon also means that the stainless steel blend isn’t that high on hardness.
- Chromium 17% – The 17mov in 7cr17mov stands for 17% of Chromium. However, for stainless steel to be categorized as 7cr17mov, it can have anywhere between 16-18% of Chromium. Chromium contributes towards the high corrosion resistance in the stainless steel, but also adds to the strength and hardness.
- Silicon 1% – A little bit of Silicon goes a long way. Having around 1% of Silicon can help the stainless steel with corrosion resistance, providing a protective layer against all kinds of rust and erosion.
- Manganese 1% – Manganese is an important component of 7cr17mov since it helps with hardness. Due to the higher amounts of carbon, 7cr17mov is not one of the hardest stainless steels, but manganese helps to improve the hardness and brittleness both.
- Phosphorus 0.04% – A tiny amount of phosphorus is generally added to stainless steel since this improves the machinability of the final product. Adding a bit of phosphorus makes it easier to cut 7cr17mov.
- Sulfur 0.03% – Sulfur also contributes towards the machinability of 7cr17mov.
- Molybdenum 0.75% – This amount of Molybdenum greatly boosts the hardness and brittle properties of 7cr17mov making it suitable for a variety of applications.
- Nickel 0.60% – Nickel improves the toughness of the stainless steel. Hardness and toughness are inversely proportional properties: so it’s important that a little bit of nickel is added to fortify 7cr17mov’s toughness without it being too brittle.
- Vanadium 0.15% – Vanadium, along with molybdenum is added to 7cr17mov so that it can be harder. However, the percentage of vanadium varies between 0.10% to 0.20% but serves the same purpose.
What is the Heat Treatment for 7cr17mov Stainless Steel?
The heat treatment that a grade of stainless steel goes through is what gives it its strength. However, not all stainless steel is made equally. Even if two stainless steels have the exact same composition, having a different heat treatment process will finally affect the end product and give you a much different knife.
That’s why we look into the standardized heat treatment for the Chinese martensitic steel 7cr17mov to better understand its performance and capabilities.
Even though 7cr17MoV is traditionally not a very hard stainless steel, through the fortification of molybdenum and vanadium, it can reach up to 60.0 HRC. This is quite hard as stainless steel and is more than enough for outdoor knives as well as kitchen knives.
The heat treatment involves two processes: quenching and tempering.
For the quenching, 7cr17mov undergoes heating and cooling in either oil or water at 1070 °C. Only then does the hardness reach up to 60.0 HRC. The second phase of the heat treatment is tempering.
In Tempering, the stainless steel is heated and cooled without the use of water or oil, or any other liquid. The tempering temperatures that 7cr17MoV is exposed to are 160-180℃. This improves the internal strength and makes it much more resilient to different kinds of situations and extreme weather conditions.
7cr17MoV Stainless Steel Properties
Now that we understand the composition and heat treatment of 7cr17MoV, let’s look at its different properties.
7cr17MoV is traditionally not very high on hardness, but with the addition of fortifying elements like Molybdenum and Vanadium, the hardness is further increased and improved. The hardness of 7cr17Mov is 60.0 HRC on the Rockwell Hardness Testing scale.
However, it is also common to find 7cr17MoV knives with a lower hardness rating. While the hardness isn’t standardized, it is commonly fortified with other elements. It’s rare to find a 7cr17MoV knife that hasn’t been fortified and has its original hardness.
Toughness and hardness are inversely proportional properties. A knife made out of stainless steel that is too hard can also be too brittle, which means that it’s not tough enough to handle difficult situations (such as being stuck in the wild and having to hack away at the wood!).
The perfect knife made out of 7cr17MoV will have great hardness but still won’t compromise on the toughness.
7cr17MoV has a decent toughness scale but is still lower than the average stainless steel knife since it is on the higher side.
7cr17MoV Edge Retention
You’ll find that the edge retention of the 7cr17MoV is pretty decent, and will last you a relatively long time. This doesn’t mean that you can sharpen your knife once and completely forget about it!
It is still important to sharpen your knife every once in a while. How often you need to sharpen your knife completely depends on the usage and applications, but when we compare the 7cr17MoV edge retention to other knives in the same price category, it performs on average.
7cr17MoV Corrosion Resistance
Like other knives in the MoV and Cr range, there is great corrosion resistance with the 7cr17MoV knife. That’s because of the very high level of chromium present in it. Chromium is directly responsible for corrosion resistance.
In fact, you’ll find chromium on kitchen utensils that are non-stick since it provides a protective coating against rust, corrosion, and grease. The added bits of Silicon in the 7cr17MoV also contribute towards corrosion resistance.
7cr17MoV Ease of Sharpening
Since the 7cr17MoV is a very hard stainless steel with a lower toughness property, it’s easy to sharpen it. This means that you don’t need to spend too much time sharpening the knife and you can quickly brush it against your knife sharpener to get it right back to new!
Is 7cr17MoV Good for Knives?
7cr17MoV is the stainless steel of choice for a lot of knives because of its composition and properties. 7cr17MoV Knives are known for being high on hardness and brittleness and also corrosion-resistant. Because of this, 7cr17MoV is more commonly used for Kitchen knives for chopping and carving purposes.
You will still find 7cr17MoV used for outdoor pocket knives, but they cannot hold up to any kind of challenge, and run the risk of breaking if you attempt to cut a substance much harder or thicker than the knife (such as trying to cut wood).
Does 7cr17MoV Form Rust?
One of the best things about knives made from 7cr17MoV is that they are highly corrosion resistant. This is because they are made with a very high percentage of chromium in them, which makes them completely resistant to rust and corrosion.
Of course, it’s still recommended that you carefully protect your knives from extreme weather conditions and always store them dry whenever possible, but 7cr17MoV still has a great corrosion-resistant capability.
The added silicon inside 7cr17MoV also contributes towards the property of corrosion resistance, particularly if you happen to bring your knife in contact with Sulfur.
How Does 7cr17MoV Compare to Other Steels?
While 7cr17MoV is a popular choice for budget-friendly knives, there are a few other common choices for stainless steel knives in the same price range. Let’s take a look at what some of your other options are.
You might find that 7cr17MoV is exactly what you’re looking for, or another stainless steel from the Cr or MoV series can meet your requirements better. The bottom line is that 7cr17MoV is high-quality stainless steel for its price point.
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The 8cr13MoV is a much tougher stainless steel and can be a better option for someone looking for an outdoor knife. However, the 7cr17MoV has higher Chromium and offers better corrosion resistance.
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While both the 420c and 7cr17MoV are affordable options for stainless steel knives, the 420c is lower hardness and higher toughness. Since 7cr17MoV has more Chromium, it is more corrosion resistant than the 420c. The 420c also has less carbon and is less hard with less edge retention.
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S30V is a premium steel that doesn’t compare to the 7cr17MoV in terms of price and performance since it is a much more expensive stainless steel and is higher in performance and capabilities. The 7cr17MoV performs really well for a budget knife but you will undoubtedly receive a much higher performance with the S30V.
Best 7cr17MoV Knives in the Market
There are two aspects of what makes a good knife: the composition of the material, and the geometry of the knife design. Even if you use the best stainless steel in the world, the cut of your knife’s geometry needs to be top-notch for good performance and durability.
We’ve looked for the top 7cr17MoV knives in the market and compiled the highest quality and best knife design products for you to choose from. This steel is also suited for a hunting knife due to the resistance and hardness that a hunting knife calls for.
Best Outdoor Knife: Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife Outdoor, Survival
Smith & Wesson Outdoor Survival Knife makes the perfect outdoor knife since the 7cr17MoV is one of the hardest stainless steel out there. Survival knives are often made out of this steel. This fixed blade will be crucial for your protection, while also being useful for any cutting or hacking purposes. The handle is made out of micarta with a flax coating and this is a non-slip design, as well as with partial serration that can prove very useful in different situations.
If you’re looking for an affordable survival knife that can accompany you on your outdoor adventures, this can prove especially useful with a length of 8.46 inches that can be carried around easily.
Best Kitchen Knife: Dalstrong Meat Cleaver
This kitchen knife isn’t for your dainty vegetables and herbs: the 7cr17mov provides incredible strength and hardness to this huge meat cleaver. It’s perfect for the cook who is serious about his meat: and needs that heavy rectangular piece of metal to hack at bones and thick slabs of meat. This high carbon stainless steel fixed blade knife works perfectly and has enough wear resistance to keep going.
We have to give the design a special mention — the knife is beautiful and will no doubt be the pride and joy of your kitchen knife collection.
7cr17mov steel is one of the best options out there for knives. If you’ve been on the lookout for a knife with high hardness and fortified strength, then this is one of the best options in a budget price range. We recommend that you go ahead and get yourself one of the many 7cr17mov steel knives, it won’t let you down, and will last you a long time.