80CrV2 Steel Review: How good is 80CrV2 steel?
If you haven’t had a personal experience with 80CrV2 carbon steel before, whether you’re a bladesmith or just a knife user, we have prepared this 80CrV2 steel review for you.
Like many other users new to this steel, you might be desperately looking for info on how strong the 80CrV2 steel is, how easy it is to work with, its rust resistance performance, how it holds its edge, and whether it’s generally good steel for knives.
Luckily, this 80CrV2 carbon steel review is going to answer ALL your questions about 80CrV2 steel performance and help you decide whether it will make a good knife that fits your unique needs and requirements.
What is 80CrV2 steel?
80CrV2 is a high carbon low alloy steel popular among knife makers and manufacturers. The steel gets its name from its high concentrations of elements Carbon, C (.85), chromium, Cr (0.60), and Vanadium, V (0.25). This mixture of elements is responsible for the steel’s high toughness and good edge retention performance.
Due to its “tough as nails workhorse” nature, 80CrV2 high carbon steel is often used to make knives that require exceptional strength to handle tough applications like tactical knives and hunting knives. It also makes great kitchen knives, tomahawks pocket knives, and swords.
And unlike what most people believe, 80CrV2 steel is NOT made in china. Instead, it’s produced in Germany. It has also been around for quite a long time and has a nickname—the “Swedish saw steel.”
80CrV2 steel chemical composition
80CrV2 is high in carbon (0.85%) which makes it high carbon steel. It also features a mixture of various other elements as outlined in the following 80CrV2 steel composition table:
Percentage composition (%)
0.85% 80CrV2 steel Carbon content increases tensile strength. It also increases the hardness and wear/abrasion resistance of this steel.
0.60% Chromium enhances tensile strength, edge retention, and wear resistance. This amount of chromium is way too low to makes this steel stainless. This means the steel has poor corrosion resistance properties and will need extra care to keep off the rust.
0.50% Manganese increases tensile strength, hardenability, and wear resistance.
0.10% Molybdenum increases the steel hardenability, hardness, and toughness. It also raises its strength.
0.25% Vanadium increases strength, toughness, and wear resistance.
0.40% Nickel adds to the steel toughness. It also improves corrosion resistance.
0.30% Silicon improves the overall strength of this steel.
0.025% Phosphorous works to improve the steel strength, hardness, and machinability. High concentrations of this element can, however, make the steel brittle.
0.30% Sulfur improves the machinability of this steel when used in small amounts.
What is 80CrV2 steel hardness?
80CrV2 steel registers a maximum hardness of 57-58 HRC. However, you might come across different Rockwell hardness values for this steel. this is because the hardness can vary depending on the 80CrV2 steel heat treat process.
While 57 HRC doesn’t present the hardest knife steel, it’s still within a good range to offer you 80CrV2 steel knife with great wear resistance and edge retention performance.
80CrV2 steel properties
Studying the properties of this steel will give you a clue into the 80CrV2 steel blade performance and whether it will meet your needs. This is how the steel performs in various categories:
80CrV2 steel wear resistance
The steel delivers average wear resistance due to the presence of carbon, vanadium, and silicon in its structure. It doesn’t offer you high wear resistance like harder steels with 60plus HRC, but it offers much better performance than the steels on the softer side of the Rockwell hardness scale.
80CrV2 steel edge retention
An 80CrV2 steel blade will deliver great edge retention with proper heat treatment. The steel’s ability to holds its sharpness for long has a lot to do with its hardness. And looking at this steel, it has a great hardness level, not too low and not too high, enabling it to hold its sharpness for long enough to let you complete your cutting jobs without sharpening your knife.
80CrV2 steel corrosion resistance
The 80CrV2 steel rust performance is poor. This is because it’s a non-stainless steel that contains way too low chromium volume (0.60%) which is responsible for keeping off corrosion. As such, it will easily rust if exposed to harsh elements.
But proper anti-rust practices like cleaning and oiling the blade can help prevent rust attack. Additionally, manufacturers are now coating their 80CrV2 blades with anti-rust coatings which go a long way in keeping your knife rust-free.
80CrV2 steel toughness
Toughness describes the steel’s ability to resist chipping, fracturing, or breaking under impact. This steel offers high toughness with the right tempering. The chromium volume in its chemical composition enables it to resist bending and chipping due to impact or stress.
The steel is said to offer even better toughness than 5160, O1, and 1095 steels—enabling it to hold up to a lot of abuse and hard use like chopping, carving, and so on. In other words, 80CrV2 steel will make reliable knives for field use.
80CrV2 steel Sharpenability
This indicates the blade’s ability to be sharpened without difficulty. For this particular, the sharpening part is quite easy. It doesn’t feature high wear resistance which makes sharpening steels a nightmare.
Instead, it has average wear resistance and you can easily sharpen it using simple equipment like wet stones and sharpeners. This is how the steel pays back for not holding keeping a keen edge for long.
And when you sharpen it correctly, your 80CrV2 carbon steel knife will attain a hair-splitting edge.
80CrV2 steel equivalent
The AISI L2 steel is the US equivalent steel to 80CrV2. Just like this German steel, the US-made steel is also a low alloy tool steel featuring the same list of alloying elements with a slight difference in volumes. The only element you’ll find in L2 and not in 80CrV2 composition is Copper (Cu).
80CrV2 steel comparison
In this part, we look at how 80CrV2 stacks up compared to other steels used for producing knives.
80CrV2 steel vs 1095
1095 is a popular high carbon steel used in knife production. 1095 is more brittle than 80CrV2 steel and can break easily. However, it offers better edge retention and sharpens quite easily. Both steels suffer from poor corrosion resistance and qualify as budget, beginner-friendly knife steels.
80CrV2 steel vs D2
D2 is a tool steel that’s also popular with knife production. That said, 80crv2 offers better toughness than d2. However, d2 will beat this 80CrV2 in edge retention and corrosion resistance (it’s semi-stainless steel). D2 also features higher wear resistance than 80CrV2, so sharpening it would be a bit demanding.
80CrV2 steel vs CPM3V
3V is one of the high-end steels available and offers excellent performance in all categories. But how does it “weigh” against 80CrV2 high carbon steel? Firstly, 3V offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance than 80CrV2. 3V is also one of the toughest steels available, just like 80CrV2 (there aren’t significant differences in their toughness levels). But when it comes to sharpenability, 80CrV2 will sharpen easier than this US 3V steel.
80CrV2 steel vs 5160
5160 tends to rust more easily compared to 80CrV2 steel. It also offers poor edge retention, meaning you’ll have to sharpen it more often. The steel toughness level also falls below that of 80CrV2. Overall, 80crv2 beats 5160 in many categories, making it a better choice for making knives.
How good is 80CrV2 steel for knives?
This is why 80CrV2 carbon steel will make good knives: it is one of the toughest steels available today and will not get chippy, fracture, or break easily under hard use. This makes it ideal for making tactical or field knives for tough tasks like batoning, carving, and so on.
Another quality of the 80CrV2 steel blade that makes it good for knives is its good edge holding ability. This means you can finish your job without your knife dulling down. Resharpening isn’t an issue with this issue and you can easily bring its sharpness back up in case it gets dull.
The main problem with choosing 80CrV2 steel for making knives is that it’s highly susceptible to rusting. If you take good care of your 80CrV2 steel knife, however, you can stop rust from attacking it.
Best 80CrV2 steel knife:
1. Winkler Knives II WK001 Belt Knife
This is a must-have knife for the avid outdoorsman. Featuring a full-tang design, quality materials, and exceptional craftsmanship, this knife is designed to handle efficiently the hardest outdoor tasks.
The blade is made from 80CRV2 High Carbon Steel for maximum toughness and great sharpness retention. It comes factory sharp and you can touch it up to make it crazy sharp. The blade is also thick and features a no-glare finish to keep off light reflections and improves rust resistance.
With its clip-point design, the knife offers you excellent puncturing/piercing performance while giving you a more controlled cutting experience.
When you order this knife, you’ll also get a rugged Kydex sheath with good retention to securely hold your blade in there until you draw it out. The sheath also features an ambidextrous leather belt loop to let you easily hook it to your belt, whether you’re a leftie or right-handed.
The ergonomics of this knife are also amazing! It boasts a sculpted maple wood handle that offers you a perfect grip. The grip feels really great for small to medium hands. A lanyard is included in the handle for versatile carrying options.
2. Winkler Knives II Blue Ridge Hunter
If you’re looking for a high-performance hunting knife, you’d want to consider this Winkler Knives Blue Ridge Hunter. Like its cousin above, this knife also carries the Winkler Knives’ excellent craftsmanship and choice of quality materials from blade steel to the handle.
It features a 4-inch long blade made from 80CrV2 carbon steel whose excellent toughness and great edge retention make it suitable for hunting applications. The blade is finished with a non-reflective black oxide coat to enhances its rust resistance and at the same time eliminate glare and give the knife an overall sleek appearance.
The knife handle is black micarta, known for excellent durability and comfort. The thumb index on the blade gives you extra grip and cutting power.
The knife has a full-skeletonized-tang design to keep the overall weight low while still offering it the extra strength needed for hunting-related tasks.
Just like the other knife from Winkler, this Blue Ridge Hunter also comes with a Kydex sheath with a leather cover for added ruggedness and durability. This sheath can be configured for multiple carry options and features a great retention system to let you securely carry your knife outdoors.
Now that you have read through this 80CrV2 steel performance guide, you have obtained important information on this steel and how good it is for knives. The biggest benefit of this steel lies in its extreme toughness levels. It also offers great edge retention, unlike the low-end steels. But the steel can catch rust easily and requires regular care. If you’re looking for a reliable tactical knife, hunting knife, tomahawk, or everyday carry knife, 80CrV2 steel will meet your needs.