What is 7Cr17MoV?
7Cr17MoV is a popular steel commonly used to make affordable yet durable survival knives and some chef’s knives. The MoV (or Cr) series of steels derive from China and are rated as upper mid-range steel in terms of quality. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, 7Cr17MoV stands out as a superior option.
7Cr17MoV gets its name from specific chemicals the steel is partially composed of. 7Cr17MoV contains approximately 0.7% Carbon and 17% Chromium. The MoV indicates the addition of Molybdenum and Vanadium. You can find a more detailed breakdown of the steel’s composition below.
This particular type of steels is a specifically modified 440A stainless steel that is composed of a higher level of Vanadium than other steels. A higher level of Vanadium contributes to greater strength, durability, and wear resistance. Basically, 7Cr17MoV is a steel that is built to last.
7Cr17MoV steel is commonly used for:
- Survival/outdoor knives
- Hunting knives
- Budget knives
- Chef’s knives
Pros and Cons of 7Cr17MoV:
- Pros: Easy to sharpen, maintains good edge retention, budget-friendly
- Cons: Softer, less premium
The breakdown below reveals the chemicals included in the composition of 7Cr17MoV, as well as how each chemical plays an important role in the overall function of a 7Cr17MoV steel knife:
- 0.60-0.75% Carbon to improve hardness and make it more resistant to corrosion.
- 1% Silicon to improve strength.
- 1% Manganese to increase hardness and brittleness.
- 0.04% Phosphorous to increase strength.
- 0.03% Sulfur to improve machinability.
- 16-18.5% Chromium for tensile strength and edge retention. Also increases corrosion resistance.
- 0.75% Molybdenum to increase strength and machinability.
- 0.6% Nitrogen to improve strength and edge retention.
- 0.10-0.20% Vanadium to increase strength, durability, and wear resistance.
The most important takeaway from the breakdown above is that 7Cr17MoV is a high-Chromium and mid-Carbon steel for the significant corrosion resistance and hardness each chemical provides.
Properties of 7Cr17MoV Steel
By looking at the chemical composition of 7Cr17MoV, it can be determined that the steel has the following properties:
- Edge Retention: 7Cr17MoV isn’t the best in terms of edge retention, but it’s decent by comparison. By this, we mean that you shouldn’t expect 7Cr17MoV to hold its own against high-end steels, but for its price, you will be pleasantly surprised by its decent edge retention.
7Cr17MoV steel contains Sulphur and Phosphorous which make it more brittle and compromise edge retention, but the amounts of Carbon and Vanadium make up for it. Additionally, Carbon and Vanadium increase the hardness of the steel which further boosts edge retention.
- Corrosion Resistance: 7Cr17MoV contains high levels of chromium which prevents staining and offers good corrosion resistance. Its high corrosion resistance makes 7Cr17MoV steel great for survival and outdoor knives. By instilling a proper maintenance routine, you can expect 7Cr17MoV steel knives to remain stainless for a good while, even with a moderate level of abuse.
- Hardness: 7Cr17MoV contains high amounts of Carbon with the addition of Vanadium and Chromium, with the specific purpose of increasing the steel’s hardness. After 7Cr17MoV steel is heat-treated, it reaches a hardness of 60 HRC. What this means for you is that a 7Cr17MoV steel blade is hard enough to be reliable for both outdoor and general use.
- Wear Resistance: For low-end steel, 7Cr17MoV offers great wear resistance, which can be attributed to the amount of carbon present in its composition. Even with a moderate level of abuse, 7Cr17MoV steel knives remain in decent condition for a good amount of time.
- Toughness: We break this down a bit more below, but when it comes to steel, hardness and toughness are two entirely different things. Hardness refers to how well a metal can withstand abrasion, whereas toughness is determined by how well the steel can resist fracture.
7Cr17MoV is a low-end steel with good hardness and great corrosion resistance, which causes low toughness, but it’s not the worst out there. It doesn’t stand out for its toughness but it will hold up relatively well.
- Sharpness: 7Cr17MoV is relatively easy to sharpen, which is attributed to its relatively low hardness. However, because it is a softer steel, it tends to lose it sharpness more easily than other steels.
When compared to most other higher-quality steels, 7Cr17MoV is considered a softer steel. It is a 440A that has been modified to contain higher levels of vanadium, which can be attributed to its greater strength, toughness, wear resistance, and hardness.
The maximum Rockwell hardness of 7Cr17MoV is 60-63 HRC. If you are unfamiliar with Steel Rockwell hardness, it has to do with measuring the hardness of different types of steel. The test was first conducted by Hugh Rockwell and Stanley Rockwell in 1914. The brothers were metallurgists who created what is now called HRC or the Rockwell C that essentially presses a metal, such as steel, against a cone-shaped diamond tip to see how much force the steel can handle before it gets scratched or indented.
Every knife steel is tested to determine its specific HRC (from 54 HRC to 64 HRC). While the higher the HRC, the harder the steel, a higher number doesn’t necessarily correlate to a better knife. The reality is that the harder the steel, the lower its toughness.
Knife makers pay close attention to the HRC of steel because, to craft a high-quality knife, they have to find a more balanced steel that doesn’t sacrifice toughness for greater hardness.
Proper Maintenance of Steel Knives
Even less expensive knives need proper care and maintenance to make sure they continue performing optimally and last for a long time. Follow the tips below on how to properly care for your 7Cr17MoV steel knife to ensure excellent performance.
Proper care and maintenance of knives:
- Keep your knife dry and clean whenever possible. Clean and dry your knife as soon as possible after each use.
- To clean your knife, wash by hand with warm, soapy water. Avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaning surfaces.
- Avoid putting your knife in the dishwasher and never leave it soaking in water.
- When drying your towel, be sure to do so completely with an absorbent, not abrasive drying material. Most people find that paper towels work the best to dry yCr17MoV knives.
- Store your knife in an area that cannot be accessed by small children or others who may intentionally or unintentionally harm themselves or others.
7Cr17MoV knives in particular require a few extra steps of care to maintain the steel blade:
- Because Carbon steel is particularly reactive to products that are high in acid, it is essential that you rinse your blade and wipe it completely dry after cutting anything acidic, such as citrus fruits. If your blade isn’t thoroughly rinsed after coming into contact with acid, the steel can start to corrode and the blade will become damaged.
- After you wash and dry your knife, it is a good idea to oil it using a food safe, neutral oil to protect the blade. The oil works as a barrier to prevent any potential damage from occurring during future exposure to moisture and acids. Camellia oil is commonly used for 7Cr17MoV blades because it’s odorless, doesn’t affect the flavor of the food your blade will come into contact with, and won’t dry out or build up on the steel as easily as some other oils will.
- To oil your blade, apply a pea-sized amount directly to the blade then evenly distribute a thin layer of the oil from spine to edge. Slowly and carefully oil the edge of the knife to help keep it sharper longer, but avoid directly touching the edge of the knife with your fingers. 7Cr17MoV blades are super sharp and if your skin comes into direct contact with the blade it can result in serious injury. To oil the edge of the blade, apply a small amount of oil to a thick towel and gently, slowly, and carefully run the oiled towel over the edge.
- Wipe off any excess oil and store your knife in a safe and secure location.
- Even if you routinely sharpen your own knives at home, it is recommended that you give your 7Cr17MoV steel knife a professional tune-up at least once a year. If your knife starts to become dull, have it sharpened as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, a dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp knife.
- In between sharpening, you can use a leather strop and honing rod to maintain and sharp and even edge. Honing rods won’t actually sharpen the blade, but instead will remove tiny, microscopic pieces of steel to allow it to function optimally.
- Belt or machine sharpening isn’t recommended because the techniques are usually too abrasive and don’t allow you to achieve as fine of an edge as other sharpening techniques. Additionally, belt or machine sharpening often removes too much steel and can heat up the blade which potentially damages the structure of the steel and compromising its durability.
The Best 7Cr17MoV Steel Knives
CIMA High Hardness Full Tang Fixed Edge Knife
If you consider yourself “outdoorsy” then a good knife is a must-have. CIMA’s High Hardness Full Tang Fixed Edge Knife is made of 7Cr17MoV steel and functions as the perfect outdoor hunting knife.
The surface of the CIMA blade is deeply heat treated, polished, and electroplated to ensure that it resists fading, corrosion, and oxidation, while increasing its life expectancy. The flax textured micarta handle allows for appropriate water absorption while adequately resisting high and low temperatures. The handle is also designed to be slip-resistant to make it safer to use in even the harshest environments.
- Dimensions: 8.46-inch overall length with a 3.34-inch blade length and a weight of 6.3 ounces. The blade is 4.5mm wide.
- The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV steel and is a Full-Tang outdoor hunting knife. It has undergone oil-hardening processing to meet a hardness of 58HRC.
- Plated black titanium processing on the surface of the blade makes it more durable and environmental.
- The flax handle surface features anti-slip and water-absorbing materials.
- The back of the blade features anti-slip serration that can function as a flintstone.
Schrade 182UH Uncle Henry Hunting Knife
Before you venture into the outback, you need to invest in a quality hunting knife. But that investment doesn’t have to require you to empty your pockets. The Uncle Henry SCH182UH is a full tang fixed blade that makes a great addition to your hunting collection without breaking the bank.
The blade of the 182UH is made from 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel. It is a drop point blade measuring 3.83 inches in length with a thickness of 0.13 inches. The handle is Staglon, which is a material similar to plastic but that looks like stag. The handle features a brass finger guard and pommel.
The knife comes with a premium brown leather belt sheath.
- Dimensions: 8.41 inches (21.36 cm) overall length with a 3.83-inch blade length, a 4.58-inch (11.63 centimeters) handle length, and a weight of 9.5 ounces.
- The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel and the handle is made of Staglon.
Santoku Knife — Imarku 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp
If you are a knife connoisseur in need of an ultra-sharp, durable kitchen knife, look no further than the Imarku Santoku. This knife was designed for professionals and ordinary people alike. It is a multipurpose knife that makes various culinary tasks a breeze; from slicing, cutting, dicing, and chopping to scooping up edible remnants to drop into your cooking vessel of choice.
Whether you’re taking the blade to meat or vegetables, you will find that the Santoku slices and handles with ease. The Imarku Santoku knife blade is made from razor-sharp high carbon 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. The blade is rust-proof and wear, stain, and corrosion-resistant. The handle was engineered to widen where it meets the blade to help protect your fingers and prevent slipping. The ergonomic pakkawood handle allows for balanced movements, maximum comfort, and optimal manipulation.
The Santoku chef’s knife combines the best qualities of a cleaver with a chef’s knife. Its unique shape allows you to easily scoop up whatever you are mincing or dicing.
- Dimensions: 12 inches (30.4 centimeters) overall length with a 7-inch blade length and a weight of 6.7 ounces. The blade is 1.7 inches wide and 2.5mm thick. The hand-polished edge is 15-18 degrees per side, making it sturdy for rigorous use.
- The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV steel that maintains functionality for a long time.
- The 7-inch santoku chef’s knife features a scalloped hollow edge that allows air to flow between the blade and the material being cut, to prevent the item from sticking while slicing, dicing, mincing, and more.
- The santoku knife blade is ultra-sharp and has been proven to withstand tough restaurant use.
- The advanced Pakkawood handle is designed to minimize wrist tension and provide a more secure, comfortable grip.
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1-inch Folding Knife
Another high-quality yet budget-friendly 7Cr17MoV steel knife worth considering is the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1-inch Folding Knife (a.k.a. Extreme Ops Liner Lock Folding Knife). This is a knife that is made ready for just about any situation, whether you are a collector, a first responder, or a survivalist.
Notably, the SWA24S has a comfortable handle that allows you to have a solid and secure grip thanks to the finger indentations and the textured material of the handle. The thumb knots allow you to easily and quickly open the knife with a quick movement of your hand.
What knife connoisseurs particularly like about the SWA24S is its size. It is small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket but the blade is sizeable enough to function as needed. The blade is made from top-quality 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel and the handle is made from aluminum. The blade features a liner lock security to prevent slipping.
The SWA24S is durable, reliable, convenient, and sharp. One common complaint is that there is no spring assist, but users have regularly raved about the SWA24S, making it an ideal knife for all kinds of purposes.
- Dimensions: 7.1-inch (18 centimeters) overall length with a 3.1-inch blade length and a weight of 3.5 ounces
- The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV black oxide high carbon stainless steel with a black, aluminum handle
- Access is quick and easy with the pocket clip, finger flipper, and ambidextrous thumb knots
- Liner lock helps to prevent slipping
Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife
Smith & Wesson designed the SWHRT9B to fit snugly and securely in your boot so that no one has to even know it’s there. H.R.T. stands for Hostage Rescue Team and this Tactical Boot Knife is a great choice if you find yourself in need of a last-ditch weapon.
The double-edged fixed blade is made of 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel, making it tough enough to withstand even the most brutal conditions. The steel is coated with black Teflon to remove its reflective qualities and also ensures that pulling out the weapon will be practically effortless.
When designing the handle of the SWHRT9B, Smith & Wesson focused on making sure it not only feels comfortable and natural when held, but provides an outstanding grip. Regardless of the conditions you face, you can rest assured that the SWHRT9B will remain firmly in your hand. For additional peace of mind, the crossguard will keep your hand from sliding toward the blade while in use.
- Dimensions: 9-inch (22.9 centimeters) overall length with a 4.7-inch (12.1 centimeters) blade and a weight of 7.7 ounces
- The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel with a black rubber wrapped handle
- Spear point
- Hand guard provides security and helps to prevent slipping
- Features a lanyard hole and belt/boot sheath