Movie Bowie's and Manufactured Bowie's


Gold Member
Dec 23, 1998
My recent interest in bowies, has had me looking around at different types of heavy bowies.

Some mentioned, the Dixie gun works bowie. Is this bowie decent and were can a picture of it be seen. The Dixie site is near impossible to navigate.

The next is the Iron Mistress. What movie is that one from, and what site can it be seen at?

Of course you then have the the Rambo III, which can be seen anywere. This one is nice. It's just to bad that they used the typical 420J2 steel instead of something better.

Then, there is the Crocodile Dundee Bowie. Who made this one? That is easily a 9-10 inch blade or more.

The ontario marine raider, survival, and Bagwell styles are also some good stuff.

You then have Marbles larger hunting knives, one of which is near 10 inch blade length. These are made from 5160 steel and appear sturdy.

Oc course, you have the classic Trailmaster's, which are well known.

Then you have the large Gerber Bowie, another decent piece.

What about the Almar Bowie? Anyone have info on this one? It appears to be large and solid, but with a very low clip point.

What am I missing here guys? Are there more or are there places to see the ones mentioned above?
Hi Cobalt,
Lots of folks here will insist that most of the knives you list are not TRUE Bowies.
(For TRUE bowies, apparently Bill Bagwell be da man these days.)

Funny that you mention the AL Mar Bowie.
I assume you mean the Alaskan Bowie? Beautiful knife, but discontinued.

My only dislike about the knife, was that like so many of Al's knives, it had a very fine and delicate point on it. WAY too wasy to damage.
Bill Bagwell definitely makes the most authentic Bowie in the world, but truth to be told, the Devil's horns, and other such accoutrements keep me from buying one.
I'm sure they serve a purpose, and that's all well and good, but it's just too much "stuff" hanging off the knife for me to consider it practical for even back country carry. YMMV.
I'm VERY much thinking about a CS San Mai Trailmaster. I know, I know, there are better Bowies out there, but I'm not looking for a dueling knife, I'm looking for a VERY heavy duty general purpose back country blade that will serve me in camp and in the "gravest extreme" if necessary.
I think The San Mai trailmaster is the perfect knife for those purposes.
I wouldn't have the guts to use a Helle's Belle for whacking out a field expediant tent peg!

If memory serves, (sometimes it don't!)
The Iron Mistress, came from the movie,
"The Iron Mistress." Haven't seen it in ages, but would love to check it out again sometime.

RamboIII ? Sorry, as Sam Houston said,
"Discretion is sometimes the better part of Valor." I'm not gonna go there!

Croc Dundee? See above.

The Marbles knives are something I have always tried to avoid. Some good old fashioned blade designs there, but just don't like the steel.
Nice coffin grip, but otherwise, a clunky feeling knife in the hand.
The Trailmaster has a less than perfect balance, but it feels like it grew in you hand when compared with the Gerber. IMO,YMMV and WTHDIKA? (what the hell do I know anyway?)

Have a happy_____!

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

[This message has been edited by Ken Cook (edited 18 April 1999).]
Since the only Bagwell knife I know of is the Hell's Bells, I have no idea what his other design looks like. But just about all the knives I mentioned are definitelly classfied as bowies. One thing that I have noticed is that everyone has an opinion on what their perfect bowie looks like. But the truth is that there were as many styles many years ago as there is today. I saw pictures of old bowies that I would have called a dagger, so there you go. What I'm talking about the different styles of bowies and made by whom. I don't want to get into what someone thinks is the correct bowie or not. After all, I'm sure the blackcloud bowies and the persian fighter style knives being called bowies, didn't exist in the 1800's. So I am just talking bowie, wether it be from Blackcloud, Ontario, Dixie, etc.

Just reel off what you know about them and what other types and makes you have come across.

Another bowie that I did not mention are the SOG knives. Almost all their larger knives are a bowie style blade. Tigershark, Tech I & II, Bowie, Trident, 2000, etc.

Most of the Randal knives are bowie style also, but especially the number 12's. The #1 and #14 also look like bowies to me.
Dennis (Cobalt),

I applaud your thread on the original Bowie which has drawn the likes of Jerry Fisk into the discussion.

Then this one which for me is a bit of deja vu. I too had sought a great bowie for a variety of reasons, primarily field use. But over the years I've come to realize that aside from historical and sentimental display value, a traditional bowie is not necessarily the best field-survival piece (or fighter for that matter).

You and I among others have discussed the merits of the medium sized blade as one which can handle >90% of most tasks. Both of us have cited our favorite designs and materials in this size category. And in the chopper arena we both have found our Nepalese HI kukuris to be outstanding albiet for me somewhat inconvenient to carry.

I still have my CS Trailmaster, HI Ang Khola kukhri, Carl Scheipler Survival Companion, etc. but still have been seeking a modified or consolidated design that would bring the best of the big bowie and forward inclined big blades. So far the closest has been an old Becker Tool and Knife Brute. I continue to play with tweaking concepts and hope eventually to commission a big survival-chopper from Rob Simonich.

Maybe I've missed your reasons behind your thread by presuming that your recent interest in bowies was with field performance and not history, but given your HI Cobalt Special project and other stuff you've posted I don't think I'm too far off the mark. I will continue to follow this thread with keen interest as the isolation of key design parameters for both optimal bowie style blades as well as big field-survival-chopper knives are of prime interest to me.

Bob, there is no doubt that yourself, Cliff, Jim and myself share a common want: TOUGH.

However, I just was looking for what many different styles of bowies there are, tough or not. We all know that a 3/16 inch thick 10 inch bladed bowie is not going to be tough, but I'm just looking for all the different styles and looks and ideas. Not so much what is toughest.

Of course the "Cobalt Special" is going to be as tough as any straight blade could ever possibly be and probably more so. That's all.

You mentioned the Becker Brute. What is it and what others have you heard of.

Again, I'm not meaning this to be a thread of our dislikes or putting down someones choice of what a bowie is, just to log down all the different styles of bowies that there may be out there. descriptions would be nice, etc.
Check these out and tell me what you think:

The old BK&T Brute is rather hard to describe. Has the standard bolt on handle found on their matchax and companion. The 9.5" blade is canted about 10 degrees down and has a curve similar to the forward part of a khurki. The spline is wild too as it narrows as it approaches the point but the flairs to full 1/4" width and then narrows again. The flaired area is said to be there to drive nails with... go figure.
Lots of brute chopping power in a point heavy blade that is canted down from the handle's plane. Plenty of belly and control for other chores...even has a thumb recessed cutout forward of the handle to aid in control. Real interesting piece.

I concur about tough and appreciate your comments above. Should be interesting to see what folks post regardless.

Checked out that URL you gave. Interesting stuff...the Texas fighting and Alamo remind me of the Al Mar bowie. My preferences run to the Ames and Dahgren models... although a well executed D guard would be interesting. These replicas look a tad pricey unless very well made of good materials and not AUS6 crap.


I did NOT escape from the institution! They gave me a day pass!

[This message has been edited by bald1 (edited 18 April 1999).]
Yah, who knows if those replicas are any good, you would expect them to be so, just from their price, but this is not always the case.

The BK&T Brute, is there a picture of it anywere?

The other Bowies you mentioned, are they typical style like the Western Company Bowie or Ontario Marine Raider?

You can go to and find a number of modern bowies by some good makers. Some are historical in design some are of modern designs.
When designing a bowie I have to figure in the following. For speed/less power [as in self defense] use a straight handle. For more power/less speed [as in used for chopping] drop the handle. The more drop the more power [back to the kukhuri]. You can offer a knife with some of both but with a loss of both by dropping the handle, say about 1/2".
The straighter the back or even upswept slightly the better for chopping not as good for thrusting.
The dropped sharpened clip on center line of handle the better for thrust. Lower than that good for slash but not for wood etc.
Handle can be straight but drop down at the back of the handle gives good swing yet offers power. Butt swell gives good grip in hard swing as in cutting wood.
When I hit the woods hunting I do not carry a bowie. I carry a camp knife. Which is basically just a straight back bowie of which there were a number of old ones. I really like this design for overall use with the way I use one.
As to a knife of 3/16"x10" not being tough I disagree. Using 1084 full quenched drawn at the right temper and having the spine drawn once. You cannot break it by hand without a pipe. This is a very tough steel. If you draw the spine 3 times it is not as tough.
Jerry, good info on design. It makes a lot of sense.

As for tough at 3/16 inch in a 10 inch blade. Tell me how they are tested for toughness? I have not met a 3/16 inch blade that I could not break or permanently bend bare handed without the help of a breaker bar. But I have to admit that I have not tried to break any hand forged master smith blades. Not to many people are willing to take a chance on having one end up looking like a pretzel. Chris at WSI tweaked a custom that was supposedly built and marketed as super tough. If someone tweaks, breaks or permanently bends one of yours, what then.
Jerry, I still have one of the the Blackjack camp knives that you helped design. Talk about a knife that comes alive in your hand!
I think this knife would sell if it were around now. Not too heavy but big enough to chop well. Though not designed specifically as a fighter,would probably do well in that role if needed.
By the way, congrats on the National Treasure award! Good to see a fellow Arky get some notice.
Cobalt, to answer your question about the Iron Mistress blade, it was used in the movie of that name which starred Alan Ladd as Jim Bowie. It was then used in the TV show, "Jim Bowie" in the mid-50s. The last time that I saw it was the John Wayne production, "The Alamo", where it was carried by Richard Widmark who played Bowie. Beyond that, I do not know, but as Jerry Fisk noted, it turned a whole generation on to knives and to Bowie knives in particular.

As to what to call a Randall Mod. 1, IMHO, it is a modified form of the Bowie, and not that modified except for the false edge. You could call it a modern evolution. But that is my opinion and you already know me to be partial to Randall-made knives.

Walk in the Light,

[This message has been edited by FullerH (edited 19 April 1999).]
Jerry :

As to a knife of 3/16"x10" not being tough I disagree. Using 1084 full quenched drawn at the right temper and having the spine drawn once. You cannot break it by hand without a pipe. This is a very tough steel.

That I would definately like to see. While I like the toughness of the HI khukuris very much the excessive thickness does make them awkward to use on slicing tasks as you have to push the masive 3/8" + thickness through whatever you are cutting. A 3/16" Bowie with the level of toughness you describe would be very, very, very attractive.

Speaking of Bowie knives -

The bowie used in the movie "Unforgiven" is a pretty impressive piece. It was made by J.P. Moss. You can see it and several other Moss bowies at:

Things are more like they are today
than they have ever been before.

Whitebear, that looks like a very well designed bowie by Moss. It's probably in Clints collection now.
On toughness with the forged knife.

Every knifemaker must give up something to get something. All choices are tradeoffs. With what I prefer to deliver I choose to give up some hardness in favor of more toughness. With the loss of hardness I give up a small bit of edge holding ability. But with the tougher blade that is drawn back a bit more than normal I gain the aggessive edge I prefer. The harder the edge the smaller the "teeth" this gives the slicker type edge some people prefer. I have found I have to cut less if it cuts really well so I am not really losing anything with the softer draw and the tougher blade.
Tough blades can be achieved by several methods. Choices of steel. Temper of the knife. Methods of heat treating.
Some smiths prefer a tempered line. Some fully quench.
Ask your maker the advantages and disadvantages in the steels he is using. He should be able to tell you. If not ask around with some other makers.
There is no perfect steel that will give you all of the advantages you need to preform all types of cutting that never needs to be sharpened and that you can use to pry up a locomotive with. To hear some makers talk their steels are all advantage and no drawbacks to it. Ask around.
Jerry, your knowledge in knife making is quite apparent. My question is, then, if you have a choice of any steel in a big bowie, which is your choice in toughness. Carbon and Stainless options.