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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am looking at a couple of different knives now and noticed the more expensive one is made from surgical stainless while the less expensive one has a high carbon stainless blade. The one with the surgical blade is one I had before and lost and it was an awesome knife. But there are some things I like about the less expensive one. Will the high carbon blade hold up as well as the surgical blade for gutting deer etc? Same brand of knives, so I believe I am looking at two different blade materials, not just a description discrepancy between two different knife makers...

Its not like these are $200 knives, I just want to know what I'm getting for my money, be better educated about knives.

...maybe I will just buy both...

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Those are extremely vague and relative steel descriptions, and in my experience normally only used by low quality knife manufacturers.

There are many different types of stainless with various amounts of carbon in them. Generally speaking, the more carbon in them, the hrder and tougher you can make them. But as the carbon content goes up the rust (stain) resistance goes down, and vice versa.

There is no real standard for "surgical" stainless. Pretty much a marketing game description. Many manufacturers using the term are using a relatively soft stainless with little carbon giving it better rust resistance but poorer edge holding ability.

Knife makers are always searching for that 'perfect' stainless that is the best compromise between toughness and rust resistance, but it will always be a give / take relationship. Most custom makers can give their customer some options and advice on which steel would be a good fit for their application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I did notice that other manufacturers go as far to say what grade of steel the knife is made of whether it is something like 440a or 420j, etc. The knives I was looking at were the Bear Gryllis Scout knife by Gerber and the Gerber AR 3.0. I had the 3.0 and it was hands down the best knife I ever owned thus far. I liked the rubber orange handle of the Bear knife though. I ended up buying the Bear Scout knife, but once I got home, I found the AR 3.0 on ebay for half the cost Gander Mountain had it for, so I ordered that one as well. That AR 3.0 seems to have a better blade than the Scout knife. I never had a sharpness problem at any time with the 3.0. I have had some Buck knives that weren't very good or sharp as well as a Kershaw that couldn't seem to hold an edge very long. I know many folks swear by Kershaw though. Like I said though, these knives weren't expensive. Each of them were less than $30. I may grab another brand down the road and am open to suggestions.
 

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I was always a big Gerber fan and when the AR 3.0 came out I remember wanting one in a bad way. Not sure why I never bought one. :confused: Shortly after that time, Gerber started moving more and more of their stuff to China, so I've been leaning away from them, but that's just my personal hangup.

The AR 3.0 is supposed to be made from 440A stainless. The Bear Grylls knife is supposed to be made from 7Cr17MoV----which they say is practically the same as 440A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yeah, the Bear knife is made in China, the AR 3.0 in Taiwan. One thing for sure is that the blade on the 3.0 is thicker and the coating is of much better quality. The 3.0 handle is also all aluminum where the Bear knife is mostly rubber and plastic with some type of steel support along the back for the lockback mechanism. I also get leery about low cost products that have endorsement names on them...often they skimp on quality to cover the cost of paying royalties on the endorsement.

Thanks for the input, it's always nice to learn a few things.

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There really is no such thing as high carbon stainless because as carbon content goes up up stain resistance goes down.

Of the 440 series the 440a is the toughest to put an edge on and lowest quality.

I'm not familar with the those knives but if they're bush craft type knives I would want high carbon for its toughnest. For a skinner in stainless I would want 440c or better.
 

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"Surgical stainless" is code for cheapest stainless available. "High carbon" without disclosing what level it is means lowest possible to be called high carbon (or higher than what). The steel used and processing defines the quality of the knife. I would not purchase a knife without knowing what I was buying even at $20 let alone $200. Actually, you can buy some pretty fair knives for $20.
 

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i prefer carbon myself. but i'm from the age when folks would tell you if a knife won't rust, its not worth havin.
i prefer the way carbon takes an edge:fish:
 

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I don't hunt much, but I do fish quite a lot. I have some great Dexter Russell filet knives that take and hold a fantastic edge. Rapalas are junk by comparison. My favorite knife is a 12 inch cimetre butcher knife made by Forschner. It takes a wicked edge, and holds it longer than any other knife I own. I can filet the sides off a 25# King Salmon in about 60 seconds with it.


Here is a link to a site that sells that blade. I got mine for quite a bit less on Craigslist - $10. Not sure the guy knew what he had, but I wasn't going to tell him. You can find these on Ebay most of the time, too. Smaller Forschner butcher knives are great for processing deer.

http://www.excaliburcutlery.com/forschner-12-inch-cimeter-knife

Here is an older version (nice handle) real cheap
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VTG-16-R-H-...417?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e6e98e7a9

Here is a set that would be perfect for a deer camp. Put a great edge on these, and they will serve you well.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Forschner-V...871?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3376ddbad7
 
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