In the field a knife is essential. It can be used for a thousand things, but of course, its main task is field dressing your game. Without the right knife, everything about the hunt is harder, and takes longer. Taking the time to understand the components that make up your knife can be helpful. One key component is the steel your knife is made of. If you wisely choose a quality steel in your knife you can save critical time and effort. Better steel will keep an edge sharper longer. A sharper edge, results in your harvest being field dressed quicker and more accurately, therefore being better preserved and safer from quickly growing bacteria.
Let’s take a look at the steel of Benchmade’s Hunt series. The Hunt Series from Benchmade Knife Company is constructed from premium steel designed for prolonged and heavy use in the field.
The Hunt Series blades are crafted from extremely hard steel and built for extended use. The steel used in this series is called CPM S30V which was developed specifically for superior quality knife blades and is graded as premium stainless steel. S30V is widely considered in the industry to be the absolute finest steel for blade use in multiple conditions.
Hardness is one of the measurable characteristics steel possesses. The measurement is basically a rating of the steel’s ability to resist de-forming. How do we measure hardness? Steel hardness is measured using the Rockwell scale. The Rockwell scale determines the indentation hardness of a material by measuring the depth that a diamond will penetrate under a given force. Steel used in tools can be hard and brittle while lesser quality blades made of softer steel will lose their edge in the first few cuts. With a Rockwell value of 58-60, the Hunt Series knives are up to any task a hunter can dream of. The addition of Vanadium to the stainless mix increases the hardness of these blades. Be aware of the Rockwell value of your knife, to avoid buying a blade that will be prone to deforming.
We need our tools to work on command, when we need them. One way to ensure this, is understanding the structure of the metal in your knife. Steel is essentially a combination of iron and carbon. But going a level deeper, we can learn about the materials that make up our blades. For example, the Hunt Series from Benchmade are made with CPM S30V. CPM S30V is a powder-made steel which means is starts as powder and is hot isostaticaly pressed together (HIP) to produce an amazingly uniform structure to the metal. This prevents any alloys in the metal from separating. This eliminates weak points that less premium metals can have in their structure. If viewed under a microscope the fine graining of the S30V steel creates a sharper more uniform edge. This level of hardness and uniformity of the steel’s structure in Benchmade’s Hunt Series translates to an edge that stays sharper longer.
Knives are put to all sorts of tests in the field. You’ve likely seen a buddy with a low-quality knife snap the blade clean in half while using it to pry something open. We measure toughness through characteristics like Strength, Ductility and Toughness. These characteristics look at the steel’s ability to resist force, to flex or bend without breaking, and to absorb energy. When we look at the Hunt Series for example, the even graining CPM S30V steel means that the blades have no weak points, and won’t chip or break when put to the test.
When you’re not on the hunt, you want to make sure that the investment you made in a quality knife is secure. Here, the steel is important. What is protecting your knife from the prolonged use in and out of weather & different climates? A cheap knife won’t last more than a season or two. The S30V steel has a higher level of chromium giving these blades an extremely high resistance to corrosion. With attention to corrosion resistance properties of your knives, you can be sure that they will last a lifetime for every hunt and the times in-between.
The Hunter’s Choice
Investing in a high quality knife is something that every hunter should take the time to consider. Finding the right manufacturer, who is using the right materials makes all the difference. Visit your local retailer, research online, and find the right fit for your needs. We looked at the Benchmade Hunt Series while preparing this article, and clearly it’s a decision you can’t go wrong with. The premium quality S30V steel means your knife can handle anything that comes your way.