Which Bowie knives are best?

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Mar 23, 2001
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I'm looking for a bowie knife with a 9-12 inch blade for under 175 dollars. Does anyone have suggestions?
 

Cliff Stamp

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Allen Blade mades large bowie styled blades in that price range last time I checked. He would be worth talking to.

-Cliff
 
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Have you checked out the Camillus-Becker Knife and Tool (Fisk designed)Magnum Camp.
Great knife with a GOOD price!
 
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djbcqc,

You might want to look at Newt Livesay's Sandbar Bowie. The basic model is $150.00, and Newt makes a mean knife as well.

Hank
 
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I think the Western bowie W49 is the best looking bowie I have ever laid my eyes on.
 
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I gotta second Allen Blade in this price range. I have a 10" Combat Patrol Bowie soon to arrive. Differential heat treated 5160 blade with temper line, black micarta handle and single stainless guard. The Kydex sheaths of Allen's kick ass as well. All this from a custom maker for exactly a whopping $175. Can't beat it (oh, but I will sure as hell try to
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I suggest the Busse Basic #9. Best price is around $175. This is a great performer. Do a search on it; I think you'll like it.
 
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If Allen Blade will do a flat ground, distal tapered, differentially tempered (zone tempered he says) Bowie in 5160 or 1095 for $175 or under, I think you hit the jackpot on a recommendation... as long as you know you are getting a carbon steel and not stainless piece.

The Cold Steel Trailmaster is in this price range, but the thing is a monstrosity at 5/16" thick...heavy heavy heavy.

Allen says he'll do 1/4" or 3/16" stock. Until you hold a nice distally tapered Bowie and see how light a big, tough knife can really be for any reasonable big knife task, don't go buy a big behemoth knife that is heavy to carry around UNLESS chopping is your very primary task. Look hard at the 3/16" stock distally tapered Allen Blade.

Close call on 5160 or 1095, think I'd go 1095 for a slight edge holding benefit, but 5160 is in theory a tougher material for bending and impacts on hard stuff (e.g. knots).

Maybe Cliff Stamp will post a link to some comments he can offer between the two.

One thing on Allen Blade's Combat Patrol Bowie handle... there is no flare at the butt, a straight handle. I would try to talk him into an alternative handle...some kind of flare or drop, as the straight handles aren't very fun to chop with. Too thin. They aren't very ergonomic, tend to want to slip away from your hand and go flying, not very secure. You can remedy the "flying" problem with a lanyard to some degree, but not the ergonomics issue.

 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JOCKO:
Have you checked out the Camillus-Becker Knife and Tool (Fisk designed)Magnum Camp.
Great knife with a GOOD price!
</font>


I like this knife for what it is. A slightly upswept camp knife in 0170-6 with a fairly ergonomic handle.

It is pretty light. Not long or heavy enough to use for chopping very often. More of a very light chopper and a slicer, like for shaving kindling, and then cutting up meat and veggies. It is closer to a 8" Chef's knife than a big 12" chopper Bowie. And that's fine, that is just how this knife's niche seems to have come about.

(fine backup weapon for wild pig hunting!).
 
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Check out Newt Livesay's stuff also. His web page is an absolute litter filled mess, but if you dig around you'll read he also differentially tempers his 1095 knives.

The HKR at $200 is a nifty looking "camp knife" in the vein of the BKT Magnum Camp.

The #133 WASP is a 10" short machete of sorts.

The RTAK is a nice looking working knife, especially if you could get Newt to completely cover the exposed metal tang in the rear for ergonomics/comfort in chopping.

See also the 121 Recon Combat Machete (likely thicker than a regular machete, and at $150 I gotta wonder why I wouldn't buy the RTAK and an 18" or 22" machete).
 

Cliff Stamp

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rdangerer:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The Cold Steel Trailmaster is in this price range, but the thing is a monstrosity at 5/16" thick...heavy heavy heavy. </font>

With a weak tip, uncomfortable, insecure and low durabilty handle, and a brittle steel that rusts easily. The sheath is also far inferior to a well made custom kydex one and the guard loosens quickly. On the positive side it throws really well, until it breaks anyway.

In regards to 1095 vs 5160, 1095 is much cheaper for the maker to work with. It costs much less, grinds *much* easier, and has a simpler heat treat. As for the user, it rusts easier, the edge will wear quicker, and it is not as strong so the edge will roll/dent easier and the blade will be easier to break.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">One thing on Allen Blade's Combat Patrol Bowie handle... there is no flare at the butt, a straight handle.</font>

I think the handle has a swell in the middle to address security issues. Have never used one, but there are several reviews on them in the reviews forum, the handle security and comfort has generally recieved positive comments.

-Cliff
 
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