Bowie knife. What it is good for?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Code of The West Survival, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Scout

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    One of my friends wants a Bowie knife.
    What it is good for?
    I mean the size, weight, guards...
    What Bowie knife is good for?
     
  2. mongo

    mongo Scout

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    Fights on the Sandbar...
     
  3. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Bowie knives tend to come in all shapes and sizes.

    What uses does your friend have in mind?
     
  4. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Scout

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    Ye... I forgot that
     
  5. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Scout

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    He wants Bowie knife... Like Dundee...
    I always give him hard time when I ask what it is good for... ha ha
    He says: "For everything".
     
  6. SkipJunkie

    SkipJunkie Scout

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    The VonTempsky Bowie by Svord has always appealed to me . But I must admit that's one style of blade I do not own .
     
  7. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Heed the call. Supporter

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    I thought the idea of the Bowie was to make you feel like you had a chance against a guy with a military saber... So it needs to be enough Mass to be able to displace a real thrust or cut from a larger blade.
     
  8. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

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  9. mongo

    mongo Scout

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    OK... I'll play nice this time. I have at least a half dozen knives that would qualify as a Bowie knife. They are quite versatile... I have used them for fire prep, which includes... chopping down/up wood, made feather sticks. I have used them as kitchen prep knives. And, if necessary... I'd use it as my last resort until my trip to Valhalla.
     
  10. L0NER

    L0NER -Gone Exploring- Supporter

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    I think they are mainly used now days for hunting butcher knifes. Back in the day I bet they were used like the tracker style knife is used today.
     
  11. 45Smashemflat

    45Smashemflat Scout

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    I'm sure the originals were utilitarian in nature for 90% of their use. However, a REAL Bowie, with a razor sharp back edge, is a superior fighting knife. Most current knives sold as Bowies have a false reverse edge. This "safer" shape still makes a decent woods blade.

    But for the real thing, you need the sharp reverse edge for thrusts and the back cut. Think Randall #1 or similar. Read a little James Keating or Bagwell on how to fight with that style blade.
     
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  12. Uncle Duke 520

    Uncle Duke 520 Scout

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    My Condor Hudson Bay gets little use, but I stubbornly refuse to give it up. Might need it to fight a bear, you know ?
     
  13. CamoDeafie82

    CamoDeafie82 Guide

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    I have a couple hunting knives with the Bowie/Ka-Bar blade profile, but they are 4.5 and 5 inches respectively. One is a Colonial Rhode Island, and the other is an old Imperial Providence RI... one of them has a carbon steel blade, the larger one has stainless... both have been pretty good general purpose/steak knives for me, as long as I keep their edges sharp :) the carbon one does good feathering, the other splits small wood well without batoning.
     
  14. L0NER

    L0NER -Gone Exploring- Supporter

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  15. haunted

    haunted Guide

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  16. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

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    They were all the rage in the 1830’s to 1860’s. Lots of CW soldiers brought them to battle only to throw them away when they learned how heavy they were. They did provide a last resort if you could not reload in time or your powder and shot were gone. The original Bowie is reported to have been thin, single edge and the blade only 9.5” long. I have a Bear and Son Damascus Bowie with a 9.5” blade as part of my Texas Militia accoutrements and I find it burdensome to wear. I much prefer a 3”-5” blade.
     
  17. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    Depends on the task at hand.

    What good is a leuku?

    What good is a 12" machete?

    How useful are goloks or parangs?

    They're all just big knives with the same benefits and limitations that all big knives share. Some are just a little better than others based on design and size. Are talking a Bowie knife with a 6" blade or a 14" blade? It makes a difference. You can still filet a trout with a 14" Bowie if you're careful.

    There's lots of folks here doing cool stuff with serechetes and Junglases and big Beckers. They may not be "Bowies", but they fill the same niche.
     
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  18. ACinSA

    ACinSA Bring it, don't sing it! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Like the Tracker/WSK/etc., the Bowie Knife CAN be a very versatile tool. It can do most things a smaller knife can do but a whole lot more than a small knife can do. The original Bowie knife (Mr Bowie's knife) was a long, thin french-knife styled blade. The Texas Clip was added later and was not sharpened. It was to aid in combat (if needed). The modern day Bowie, as mentioned above, has taken on so many variations, it comes down to personal preference anymore.

    I have several blades that fall into this category...no customs however. So, I guess mine fall into the category of the modern day hybrid Bowie. The OKC Marine Raider Bowie can be found all day long for < $50 and is a great way to see if the style even works for an individual. The BK-9 is labeled as a Bowie too and is a very capable knife. Of all the production-style Bowie's I own, the TOPS Prather Bowie is a favorite of mine.

    Not only can they chop, batton and split but they can give off an err of intimidation when displayed in a threatening manner...lol! "That's not knoife...."

    Good luck!

    Aaron
     
  19. Odie

    Odie Scout

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    I keep mine in the kitchen. It splits pumpkins and squash like nobody's business. It puts my cleaver to shame. I've used it for cutting up other things, too, but mainly pumpkins and squash.
     
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  20. x39

    x39 Hyperborean Supporter

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    When I was a kid, I was sure I needed one of these. My dad thought different.... :(... LOL!


    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    Intimidation for sure!

    Skip to 32:00 and listen for about 3 minutes if you can stand it!

    "We're just not having it here. You follow what I'm saying Dude?...............in fact, I think I'm gonna to go back and get a life coach and reevaluate my life altogether. Have a good night sir!"

    :)

     
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  22. Robert Highhawk

    Robert Highhawk Scout

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    I have excepted that the Randall Model 1 was one of the best "Bowie Knives". Enjoyed reading the story of Jim Bowie. My father was from Texas and drilled us full of Texas history. There are some great books out there. I've been lucky to carry a Bowie Knife and have used it for many tasks in the hunting and fishing field.
     
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  23. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    I have seen and held many different knives with varying designs called bowies. Sheffields, Vahalla designs, spear points, clip points, but they are all relatively large. Most with at least 7 inch blades. A few down to 5 and 6 inch blades.

    It seems to me that most any large bladed knife can be called a bowie these days and it is marketing that places the name rather than a specific design. But the kitchen style blades shown above are most likely the historically correct types. Some have double guards - some have no guard at all..........

    So for me about any large bladed knife can be called a bowie. It depends on the maker as to which is historically correct and many makers can not agree on which specific design it really was............

    But the story of Jim Bowie lives on.........it seems he was quite the scoundrel and a good knife fighter. I dont like him as a person. I like his story...........it has sold a lot of knives over the years..........
     
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  24. Dusty Tom

    Dusty Tom Scout

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    DSCN3864.JPG

    This Ontario SP5 has been good to me since '95. The SP5 has a 10 inch long, 1/4 inch thick blade and a krayton finger guard that is a molded part of the handle. I have used the SP5 as a machete, a froe, a hatchet and chef's knife. The only thing I would change with the SP5 would be to make the point more pointy and not so up swept.
     
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  25. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    A Natchez, a Sheffield and a "spear point" bowie........... 20190612_092642.jpg 20190612_092420.jpg
     
  26. JeffG

    JeffG Guide

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    Bowies are great trophy knives...."I always wanted one of those." Aside from the obvious proclivities to combat, Bowies chop and slice very nicely. Cutting thick rope with one chop is easier that sawing. Processing small to medium game is simplified with leverage to take off lower legs, and heads, they switch to a more surgical knife. As pointed out earlier, I agree the Bowie is a Tracker fom an era gone by.

    You might say I am a fan. :50:
     

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  27. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Western Bowie .
    I had a Case bowie , but it was not near as good as this one .
    This one by far represents what a Bowie knife is .IMO
     
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  28. Punisher

    Punisher Supporter Supporter

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    i would think having one of those strapped to your leg gives you a certain piece of mind if not armed with a bang. i'd like to get a good one, probably wouldn't use it tbt.
     
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  29. Bryan King

    Bryan King Supporter Supporter

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  30. Bryan King

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  31. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    A good Bowie is good for just about everything imo. Of course, there's a sliding scale - some are more useful than others.

    For a very general purpose combat-utility knife, suitable from bushcrafting to warfare to concealed carry, a randall-style or kabar style are excellent imo - kabar usmc, Randall model 1, blackjack 1-7, sog gov tac.

    For what I'd call a "true" Bowie, we are getting into choppers - cold steel Laredo, trailmaster, boker El gigante and Ontario sp5 and sp10 are a few I like. Don't let the "chopper" label fool you - they can be very nimble and do small knife tasks much better than a little knife does big knife tasks. Cold steel is now making a western Bowie copy that I have on order.

    If we are getting historical, there's a huge amount of variation - from machete thin to 5/16 or even 3/8 thick, with a whole variety of guards and blade types. I personally think that at least s couple of the Bowie brother knives were probably similar to what we might recognize as a Gaucho knife, rather than something like the Musso Bowie.
     
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  32. Enzo

    Enzo Supporter Supporter

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    Some Bowies, like the Buck 119, are excellent for general tasks.
     
  33. ReallyBigMonkey1

    ReallyBigMonkey1 Supporter Supporter

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    Let me guess, Sheriff Will "What do you hunt with a knife like that?"
     
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  34. IzaWildman

    IzaWildman Grey Owl Supporter

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    Besides doing all kinds of bushcrafty things, like:
    C8EB0213-BA43-4CA3-BDD9-11C288B3DC55.jpeg
    Batoning and splitting firewood,

    C6B8F20F-1549-4362-8AFA-B6BC5A8D466B.jpeg 27984E30-A0CF-4481-8CB5-28314F4DB53E.jpeg
    Making shavings and feathers,

    32E44251-6ECD-491A-AA07-0F7318875CA0.jpeg
    Scraping bark for birds nests,

    5FCCEB82-DB26-45B6-B255-68CBB6F5E5CC.jpeg

    And all manner of other knife chores, they look good doing it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 4:13 PM
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  35. Coyote Charlie

    Coyote Charlie Roughian #88 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I'm a fan of them too. Got a BRK one and have been loving the bolt knife (to me very similar). I have found my bolt knife is pretty universal in doing what my other "bushcraft" knives can do.

    2019-06-12-12-15-31.jpg
     
  36. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Supporter Supporter

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    not sure if that Buck Hooligan passes for a Bowie-style..but man, i wanted one. zero reasoning besides, "cool"!

    but like all things, the feeling passed. hehe.

    EDIT: i googled it.. the knife is called the HOODLUM..not Hooligan. still available.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019 at 11:48 AM
  37. rmorgan736

    rmorgan736 Scout

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    got a few i like them big...........the bigger the better nothing fancy nothing custom just a few schrade..........remington and the like you can beat the hell out of them and they just keep going if it brakes or gets lost no big deal they are cheap easy to find and can do all sorts of things...........
     
  38. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Supporter Supporter

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    I have several big blades from Thailand that could qualify. Especially the Hmong hilltribe knives. Like some of these:

    [​IMG]

    I have one like the second from left that was used to kill and butcher a hog. These are all a somewhat flat/convex grind.

    One of my favorites on the left. It is a formidable slicer/chopper. I've had it for over 40 years.

    [​IMG]
     
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  39. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    When does a "Bowie" knife become a gladius?

    I think the days of the classic Bowie are over - except, perhaps, for collectors....
     
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  40. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter

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    Sgt Mac's Hudson Bay camp knife by Wolf Creek Forge.


    Ben's HBC Knife and Blanket.JPG
     
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  41. CamoDeafie82

    CamoDeafie82 Guide

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    when it gets to 20+ inches blade with double edge?
     
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  42. slysir

    slysir Supporter Supporter

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    If you don't have at least one, you should!! Why?? Because!! :dblthumb::cool:

    [​IMG]

    -John
     
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  43. Odie

    Odie Scout

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    I have a Cold Steel Bushman Bowie. It's thin, springy, makes a good spear, and you can cork up the handle to be able to store stuff in it, but absolutely not a chopper. You could make an extended handle which might improve leverage for chopping. It was my first fixed blade. Probably a better yardwork knife than an outdoors knife.

    After I scratched the Hudson Bay knife itch a few years ago, I ended up getting an ESEE Laser Strike... And then a DPx Gear HEST... And then a couple Mora knives. All fun, but my favorite is probably still my Victorinox Farmer because it's always there. It's a big knife in a small size.
     
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  44. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    Yuuup
     
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  45. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    A duel fought on a sandbar on the Brazos River!

    Regards,

    ezra

    Edit: Missed Mongo's post...he beat me to it!
     
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  46. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    I thought the sandbar fight was after another duel that Jim was involved with as anothers' second man. Then he got into with the cane swords after the first duel..............a big mess and he was lucky to survive it. Surgeons were on site or he would have bled out pretty quick I bet...............

    I could be wrong tho. Bowies, or blades called bowies, wont be going out of style no time soon.

    yo
     
  47. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Somebody from Texas chime in on the Bowie sandbar fight, please! I sat through all the Texas history requirements for graduation and went on the bus trips to the missions but I just can't remember the particulars after all the years...

    Regards,

    ezra
     
  48. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    It becomes a gladius whenever you want (in your own mind). That spear point I show above is essentially a mini-gladius. It looks like a gladius to me also...............
     
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  49. Wapitilo

    Wapitilo Supporter Supporter

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    I totally understand the question. Never understood the allure.
     
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  50. riokid87

    riokid87 Scout

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    To me a Bowie knife has at least a 6" long blade, clip point, sharpened swedg, and full hand guard (edge and spine side).

    I think they evolved from swords that got shorter and shorter as handguns became more common. That's why the full guard.

    I normally don't sharpen the swedge because that makes leverage ing the tip with my thumb difficult.

    I've made 8" blades w sharpened swedge for friends who wanted them that way. The last bowieish knife I made weighed 1 pound w/o sheath. But it was sharp enough to hold a single page from a phonebook by one corner and strike it and slice right thru. No back guard or sharpened swedge so not really a true bowie by my definition.
     
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