If you are looking for steel that you can use for making large-sized blades, then it is the 65Mn steel that you need. Kershaw is a well-known knife company that owns a camp knife series that includes machetes as well which has a large size blade. The company uses the 65Mn steel for making these machete blades. There are more fascinating details of the steel that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

What is 65Mn steel?

65Mn is a Chinese steel that you can say is spring steel as it is capable of gaining back its edge after it has been twisted or deflected. 65Mn is infamous to be one of the toughest metals that China has manufactured. The reason the steel possesses a high level of toughness with amazing resilience is because of the presence of a high percentage of manganese and a medium-high percentage of carbon.

Because of the combination of manganese and carbon present in the 65Mn steel, a lot of hot working properties of the steel are enhanced. All of these facts make 65Mn an ideal steel for making large blades of swords and machetes. It is also used for manufacturing round springs, brake springs, valve springs, flat springs, shock absorbers, and clutch reeds.

Mn mentioned beside 65 is to signify the presence of manganese that works for the hardenability of the steel. Compared to normal 65# sheets of steel in the marketplace, 65Mn has a high level of elasticity, hardness, hardenability and strength as well.

Chemical Composition of 65Mn steel:

65Mn steel is also recognised as manganese steel because of the presence of a high amount of manganese. There are different elements present in the steel which includes carbon, manganese and chromium. The amount of chromium is very low which unfortunately makes the steel not stainless. Check out the percentage of various other elements present and the work they do.

  • 62-0.70% of Carbon: Increases hardness and enhances resistance of the steel to corrosion and wear.
  • 9-1.20% Manganese: Improves hardness level of the steel.
  • Less than 0.25% of Chromium: Improves edge retention, resistance to corrosion and tensile strength of the steel.
  • 17-0.37% of Silicon: Increases the strength of the metal.
  • 03% of Phosphorus: Brings improvement to hardness, strength, and machinability of the steel.
  • 03% of Sulfur: Increases machinability.
  • Less than 0.35% of Nickel: Improves toughness of the steel.
  • 25% of Copper: Prevents oxidation of the steel surface and helps improve corrosion resistance.


The closest type that matches the level of 65Mn steel in terms of chemical composition is 5160 steel. Both of these steels have a combination of carbon, chromium and manganese present in them. The combination of these elements increases the strength and hardness of both the steels. You will get both the steels at the same cost.

The hardness of the steel:

According to the hardness grade on the scale of Rockwell C, the hardness of 65Mn steel ranges between 28 to 34 HRC. Indeed the grade is low as most steels have a rating that is above 50 HRC. Yet, surprisingly 65Mn steel is considered to be sturdy and durable steel because of the huge amount of manganese present in the steel.

Properties of 65Mn steel:

  • Excellent Toughness: As you already know that the toughness of the steel is indirectly proportional to its hardness of steel. With this, you can deduce that the toughness of 65Mn steel is at a great level because the hardness is low. The great toughness is because of the presence of elements like carbon, chromium, and manganese in the steel. Great toughness also means that the edge of the knife is resistant to chipping and breakage.
  • Fair Wear Resistance: The capacity of resisting wear is directly proportional to the level of hardness of steel. So, as the hardness degree of the steel is very low you cannot expect much wear resistance capacity like other stainless steel that you know. Yet, you will see some resistance to wear because of the presence of carbon content in the chemical composition.
  • Fair Edge Retention: Like wear resistance, edge retention is also directly proportional to the hardness level of the steel. The edge retention potential of 65Mn steel is poor even if the hardness rating is 34 HRC. You will need to resharpen the edge of the steel frequently.
  • Weak Corrosion Resistance: As the presence of Chromium in 65Mn steel is low it is not stainless. For that reason, you will see the steel performing poorly while resisting rust and corrosion. Knife manufacturers use a corrosion coating on the steel to ensure corrosion resistance.
  • Ease of Sharpening: It is easy like the breeze to sharpen 65Mn steel because of such a low level of hardness.


Comparing 65Mn steel with other steel grades:


65Mn vs. 1095:

Both of the steels are alloys of carbon, with different manufacturing countries. The manufacturing of 1095 steel is in the U.S on the other hand the manufacturing of 65Mn steel is in China. The presence of carbon is higher in 1095, yet 65Mn steel is the tougher one. The edge retention capacity of 1095 steel is better than 65Mn because of greater carbon content. You will find 65Mn steel easier to sharpen.


There is no chromium content present in 1095 steel which makes it weak in resisting corrosion compared to 65Mn steel. However, the wear resistance capacity of 1095 steel is better.


65Mn vs. 8Cr13MoV:

8Cr13MoV is stainless steel because of the high amount of chromium content present in it which is about 13%. This means that it is better at resisting corrosion compared to 65Mn steel. The carbon content in 8Cr13MoV is also higher than 65Mn steel which means it has a greater hardness level than 65Mn. However, in terms of toughness 65Mn steel is the better one.






So, is 65Mn steel good for your knives?


Yes, 65Mn steel is an ideal knife if you are wishing to use it for the manufacturing of knives that requires large blades, also for machetes and swords because the knife possesses a great level of toughness. Also, because that steel is easy to sharpen this makes it a great knife for a lot of users.


The negative sides of the 65Mn steel make it unsuitable for the manufacturing of kitchen, diving and EDC knives. This is because the steel is incapable of resisting corrosion and retaining the edge for a long time. So, you cannot use the steel in wet conditions unless it has an anti-corrosion coating.




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