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I subscribed to "Buckmasters" whitetail magazine a few years ago and got a 2 knife set for joining. I thought that the knife couldn't possibly be any good if I got it for free. But, I think I might try to use it this year in the deer woods. The set has two sheaths sewn together with a knife in each, both fixed blades. One is about 3 1/2 inches and the other about 4 1/2 with a gut hook. The blades say "Western" stamped into the steel near the handle with a number next to that. One says R2 the other R18. I searched the internet and one place showed that it was made by Camillus. I had never heard of them. Does anyone know if this is true and if so, are they good?

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I sort of figured it'd be that stuff. 420HC is a manufacturer's name; in other words it's not a formal AISI steel classification. There are roughly 10 versions of 420 out there, of which a good number(most) don't even classify as martensetic(heat treatable) steels due to their carbon levels being below .40%. The #10 version does have sufficient carbon and may be what is being called 420HC. It's actually quite similar to the old 425M steel that Buck(who started this whole 420HC thing) used for years. While I don't have a knife in 420HC, I do have an older Buck in 425M. I haven't used it in years, but I did do a few deer with it, and the edge lasted long enough to gut and skin a deer. It would stay sharp long enough to also partially butcher it out, but lost it's usable edge about halfway through. In other words, it'll do a deer, but it's simply not in the same class as far as edge holding goes with many of the other stainless steels I've used; which would be 440A, 440C, BG-42, ats-34, 154CM and S-30V. It's used because it's cheap and easy to work compared to the better steels, and when it comes to factory knives that is most usually the bottom line.
 

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Thanks for the great info! I'll try it this season and see what happens. If I put off a nice knife purchase until next year, I'll consider that it did its job.

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BRL said:
I subscribed to "Buckmasters" whitetail magazine a few years ago and got a 2 knife set for joining. I thought that the knife couldn't possibly be any good if I got it for free. But, I think I might try to use it this year in the deer woods. The set has two sheaths sewn together with a knife in each, both fixed blades. One is about 3 1/2 inches and the other about 4 1/2 with a gut hook. The blades say "Western" stamped into the steel near the handle with a number next to that. One says R2 the other R18. I searched the internet and one place showed that it was made by Camillus. I had never heard of them. Does anyone know if this is true and if so, are they good?

Thanks!!
Camillus knives were generally cheap quality knives used for promotional items, advertising, and gifts in their early years. Since then, they have bought up several good old Chevy quality knife companies. The quality of these old knife companies is still fairly good. Camillus has even brought up its own quality over the years due using the same steels and bolsters formally used by their competitors. I have no objections to using a Camillus knife currently. I just have to sharpen it a bit more frequently to keep a good edge.
 
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