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I was reading through a previous discussion about "Who Produces Stockman's Today?" and I now I'm curious about who uses the best steel?  Lots of companies make pretty knives, but if I want a Stockman that is going to be my every day workhorse, that can "take a licking and keep on ticking", that will take a great edge and hold a great edge - who uses the best steel in a production Stockman today?

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Not sure if they have "the best steel" but the 420HC used by Buck sure has the best heat treat.
I've carried a 301 (or a 371) daily for a few years now, and have never had to do more than a couple swipes on a strop to keep them arm hair shaving sharp.

Heat treat can be the ultimate "equalizer" in the steels.  It makes or breaks many companies, even those using quality steel.

Very true, Jan.
Come to that, it seems Rough Rider does a better job with their 440A than most. The old Taylor Schrade and Schrade USA did too. I saw on another forum a comparison between Case stockman with "True Sharp", a Taylor Scharde stockman, I think it was a 8OT, with 440A, and a Schrade USA stockman of the same model with 440A.
The test was cutting manila rope.
Both of the Schrades kept their edge noticeably longer than the Case.
All 3 were easy to resharpen.
I know I've not seen any difference in holding an edge or ease of sharpening between my Schrade USA 7OT, 6OT and Taylor Schrade 7OT or LB7.
I don't know how the BTI Schrade knives would compare, since they use the Chinese equivalent of 440A and 440C (depending on model. I know the 858OTB has the 9CR18MoV(?) with the 858OT using 7CR17MoV now.) I would guess they still do the heat treat right, though.

Steve,

In another discussion I recently talked about how RR amazes me with its heat treat.  I realize they are all made in the same factory but face it rough rider uses many different steels.  It does not seem to matter, they heat treat correctly.  Although they are the offshore company that comes to mind for most, AG Russel always comes to mind for me also.  I know that he and his wife and manager made many trips and worked hard at making sure HT and steels were done top notch before making the decision to go offshore with some production.  They still, years down the line, hand inspect every knife before it is sold.

Offshore no longer has to be a death sentence for knife companies but managing QC from here can be challenging

Agree. I don't know how many Rough Rider/SMKW, AG Russell or Buck offshore knives are rejected, but I know they are all inspected before being packaged and sent to the dealers and distributors, or put on the shelf.
To do otherwise would be foolish.

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