The development of chip morphology, critical cutting condition of adiabatic shear during serrated chip formation and cutting forces were observed and measured by high speed turning experiment for 30CrNi3MoV hardened steel. Results show that the cutting speed and rake angle are leading factors to influence chip morphology and cutting forces. With the increase of cutting speed, the continuous band chip transforms into serrated chip at a certain critical value. As the rake angle is changed from positive to negative, the critical cutting speed of adiabatic shear significantly decreases, the cutting forces abruptly reduces when the serrated chip forms. The results from predicting critical cutting speed using the critical cutting condition criterion of adiabatic shear in metal cutting process show that the leading reason of serrated chip formation is that the adiabatic shear fracture repeatedly occurs in the primary shear zone.