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Ty Murch

5160 Tempering

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Standard metallurgist answer - it depends. But assuming a fully quenched structure, the hardness will be HRC 57 at 475F, HRC56 at 500F, and HRC55 at 525.....But there is some variation on chemistry, tester calibration, etc. I would expect that the hardness will in the range of 54-58. Differences of one HRC are not really statistically measureable or significant. Even using a calibrated test block of impecable quality, it is stil accurate to +/- 1 HRC - and most machines are +/- 1.5 the test block tolerance......


Hope I didn't cause you too many questions...



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As a guy who uses 5160 almost exclusively now I would add that acccording to my tests and experience Scott has nailed it. I temper my 5160 at between 350 and 475 depending on how it has been quenched and what I want. The standard that I had lab tested was to fully harden and temper at 475f and we called it 57-58 HRC.



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Brian and Scott hit it on the head.

Not that I'm echoing their thoughts, but I can only stress what they are saying.

Although alot of guides from steel companies can show a temp, remember this is a mean temperture for larger stock as it is rolled off the lines.

Smaller stock (like knives, small parts etc..) can be as much as 50-100 degree difference in my experience.

Also, as Brian pointed out, depending on how you harden can effect it (clay, full harden, edge harden).

Try tempering at 375 and raise it 25 degrees until you get the desired effect.

Everyones technique is different as well as what YOU want as a final result.

Experiment until you get it and "thats how you do it..".. :D

Good luck.



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