I want a large fixed blade knife-suggestions


July 15, 2010, 07:50 PM
In particular I want a large well made Bowie. I don't want to spend a ton of money so I think a custom is out of the picture for the moment. I am leaning really heavily toward the Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie. It has the shape that I like and is a very hefty knife. I want to start doing some hiking/backpacking so this will mainly be a camp knife. I do some cooking at Cowboy action matches as well and I would love it if were usefull in the kitchen as well. I know it is a little thick for much use cutting anything other than meat.

If you have one of these I would like your thoughts. If you have other alternative suggusetions around the $150 pricepoint I would be intersted in checking them out as well. If you have a large well made bowie like an ontario Bagwell bowie I would be interested in it as well.

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July 15, 2010, 08:30 PM

I've carried a Case Bowie like this one for years (mine has walnut grip) and it has stood up to everything I have thrown at it. Less than $150 at Knifeworks and I recommend it highly.

July 15, 2010, 08:37 PM
I have a Bowie made by Ontario (Spec Plus). It's well balanced, good ergos, decent steel, good edge, very grippy. Also very light, for a Bowie.

I also have a "traditional" Bowie made somewhere in Pakistan, with the usual thick stock, dramatic clip point, big-bellied edge, broad brass guard. It's not that bad, now that I've got an edge on it and had the handle scales replaced with decent, well-fitted wood. Only problem is that it's awfully heavy and poorly balanced. It's an awkward piece to handle for most ordinary tasks.

Further, I have a few Finnish Leuku knives, which have blades in about the same size range as a Bowie, but are really well suited to a wide range of tasks without the heaviness and poor balance.

What I found with Bowies in general is that they are a poor compromise between a hatchet and a biggish hunting knife, doing neither job particularly well -- at least in my hands.

For what it's worth, I also have a reproduction of the "original" Bowie design, which basically resembles an oversized chef's knife made from thicker stock. It doesn't balance too badly, but it's heavy enough to be clumsy in ordinary applications. (Of course, what you accept as "original" will depend on which account you read.)

Given what I now know about my requirements and the Bowies I've tried, if I were going to go Bowie shopping, I'd probably start with the Ontario (Spec Plus) Bowie designs (there are at least two), and widen out from there.

Or, I might remember that I like the leuku's heft and balance and get another one of those. :D

July 15, 2010, 08:42 PM
I will add that dairycreek's Case Bowie above is both pretty and well made.

If I really wanted the "traditional" look, I wouldn't hesitate in the least: the Case is a fine piece of cutlery.

July 15, 2010, 10:20 PM
Doesn't look like a traditional bowie (then again, neither does the Trailmaster), but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value on a really large knife than the Scrap Yard Knife Dog Father (http://www.scrapyardknives.com/images/Dogfather_med.jpg):

The Dog Father is the epitome of the "big chopper". Its 10 inch long blade with near full height grind and convex edge allow for enormous chopping and cutting power. The Resiprene C handle offers a high level of shock absorption under heavy impact. The Dog Father stands to redefine value and performance in the "big chopper" category.

This item will ship 7-14 days after receipt of your order.

Specs at a glance:

Steel: SR-77
Hardness: 58 - 60 Rc
Handle: Resiprene C
Thickness: .275 (Between 1/4" & 5/16")
Blade Length: 10"
Overall Length: 15"

Scrap Yard is part of the Busse knife family, so you should be very happy with the quality. And, oh yeah, it's a big honkin' knife. And Cold Steel would be one of the last knife companies I'd give money to, just on general principle.

July 15, 2010, 10:43 PM
Laredo is the better CS bowie if you're even thinking about showing up at cowboy events.

The Ontario Bagwells aren't in production any more so you'll pay a premium for them that puts them above your price limit, but they're excellent.

July 16, 2010, 12:03 PM
Check out the Bark River Rogue.


July 16, 2010, 12:27 PM
Another option is one of the bowies (http://www.atlantacutlery.com/c-131-bowie-knives.aspx) offered by Windlass Steelcrafts in the Atlanta Cutlery catalog. They have a wide selection, all of them under $100, all of carbon steel rather than stainless steel, so they will take a patina just like a Bowie of old times. They're made in India but don't let that discourage you, they are good quality for the price point. My favorite is probably the 1850 Bowie, which is a big, Iron Mistress sort of knife:


July 16, 2010, 12:58 PM
If you want a large knife I highly recomend the old buck 120 its my camp knife and it was bought in 1973 I think they are around 60.00

July 16, 2010, 01:09 PM
Hello friends and neighbors // If you can find them I like the Buck 185 Buckmaster lite or if you are willing to carry something a little heavier the Colt CT26.

The lighter Buck 185 has rope cutting serrations on the back blade and the Colt CT26 has small Serrations near the base of the blade edge.

My Colt has had the tip reshaped and is a fairly recent purchase. It has already proven to be versatile and maintains an edge better than the Buck 185 I have carred since late 1986 or 87.
124249 :D 124250

Good luck finding the one that works for you.

I'm not really up on newer styles but that Dog Father looks functional.

July 16, 2010, 01:59 PM
The puma bowie is well priced(around $100.00) with a stag handle.

July 16, 2010, 02:53 PM

This is the BOKER Magnum Safari. BOKER is the largest sportsman and pocket knife maker in the world. They offer high quality for bargain pricing because of the international way they conduct business:

- steel made in Germany and Spain

- handle materials from Argentina and Asian countries

- Magnum product line final assembly in China

- Tree Brand product line final assembly in Germany and Spain

I own a three blade stockman pocket knife from their Magnum line and it's a genuine lifetime of use type of knife!

BOKER makes many cutlery product names for other knife companies such as COLT and others.

This Safari typically sells for about $27. plus shipping.


This is KaBar model 1205 that was produced in late 1960's and early 1970's. Good used ones can be found for less that $40. New KaBar bowie knives are available for about $50.

KaBar still builds a very good American made knife.

I agree that BUCK is another name with long reputation for quality.

CHIPAWAY sells good knives from their Pakistan factory for very competitive price. Handles are typically made with exotic mat'ls. But they're not always easy to find.

Hope this is helpful.


July 16, 2010, 08:17 PM
Good suggestions. If you can stand a non-bowie knife, take a look at the Ka-Bar Kukri. I bought mine with your intended uses in mind (camping, hiking, bushwhacking) and it has excelled. It is a much better chopper than any conventional/bowie style big knife that I've ever used.

July 16, 2010, 09:58 PM
One of my favorites right now is the AG Russell 1862 Bowie.
It is very light in the hand and extremely well balanced near to guard. AUS-10 blade, so it takes a good edge and holds it extremely well. I have found the Rucarta (I think, maybe Micarta) handle to actually be very comfortable and easy to hold on to, even with wet hands. If you are looking for an excellent camping, survival, and all purpose knife, I can surely recommend this knife: http://www.agrussell.com/ag-russell-1862-pattern-bowie/p/RUhhhT712BR/ and at just under $200, it is slightly more than you stated you were looking for, but I believe very worth it. Plus, they will discount it 25% if you are military or LE.

They also just came out with an interesting field knife, more of a combat style that is slightly less expensive, and looks to be a good knife.

July 16, 2010, 11:20 PM
I am going to back up T.R.'s recommendation with a caveat. I have a U.S.M.C. style Ka-Bar and a simple, black powder style sheath, where the belt holds the sheath against your body. The KA-BAR in that leather looks like it belongs, and very traditional.

A KA-BAR would also be a sight more useful for cooking, I think. I will try to get a picture up to show.

July 17, 2010, 11:35 PM
Check out www.bladeforums.com. Lots of custom and production stuff offered there. You can get a look and see what prices people are asking/paying. There are some top notch makers on that forum that can deliver an excellent handmade knife in the size and style you want for $250.00 and under. Also used customs are always for sale and usually priced right if you can get them when first posted, because the really great deals go fast. You do not have to be a paying member to buy on that site, just register for free. You can look without registering.

July 17, 2010, 11:47 PM
My only bowie is made by Muela. I really like it a lot.

July 17, 2010, 11:51 PM

We have some top notch custom makes here as well that our friend could buy from.

July 29, 2010, 07:43 AM
Sorry to get off topic but what is the purpose of a bowie knife? It would seem to me that someone tried to crossbreed a machete and a skinning knife and ended up with this thing. It does not have any real purpose as far as I can tell. anything a Bowie knife can do a Ka-bar would do equally well or better.

I could see it coming in handy fighting off a Bear, but again a Ka-bar could too (and in fact it is where the name derives "Kill a bar" (bear) = Ka-bar)

July 29, 2010, 08:58 AM
A "Ka-bar" is a bowie pattern.

July 29, 2010, 09:24 AM
I have to disagree, John. A "Ka-Bar" is just a clip point fixed blade patterned after the venerable Mables "Ideal".

The problem with the term "bowie" is that it means different things to different people. Some think of it as the big "Iron Mistress" style with the large blade and big sweeping clip (a style that isn't considered to have been anything like early bowies others think it's the near scimitar looking monsters made by Case or Western. Heck, the Searls Bowie, considered to be one of the bowie knives that Jim Bowie actually owned after becoming infamous isn't usually recognized as a "bowie" by the general public. Here's images of the Searls and the movie Iron Mistress and Case and Western and antique Sheffield bowies to give folks just some idea of the range of shapes the word is attached to.

July 29, 2010, 09:57 AM
Of course it is. But most people associate Bowies with large clipped points: "One characteristic of Bowie knives is the "Clip-point" at the top of the blade..." (wiki)

July 29, 2010, 10:07 AM
Also check out ESEE (formerly Randall's Adventure Training RAT) knives and Ranger Knives- the Ready Detachment series. Both have large 9" blade bowies out of 5160 or 1095 for about a hundred bucks. Both have a awesome customer service. And they are both MADE IN USA.

Check them out here:


July 29, 2010, 10:12 AM
The presence of a clip doesn't automatically make a knife a bowie, though. Also, Wiki is both correct and incorrect. Correct, in that the common perception of a bowie is that it has a clip. Incorrect in that actual bowies of Jim Bowie's era may or may not have had a clip and the clips may have been flat clips as the Sheffields or the curved clips.

It may be that I've spent too much time with bowie collectors and bowie makers and the distinction I'm making is too picky for a general discussion.

July 29, 2010, 10:32 AM
hso, of course I know that. I'm just saying that most people associate the term "bowie" with a large clip point.

And then we have members that pipe up, saying that anything a bowie can do, a Kabar- which is the general blade shape most Americans might call a bowie- can do better. But which bowie, tcsnake? Machetes are made to have light-for-length, thin blades which can cut through foliage. Rather unlike the fighting and general-purpose knives most people have come to call bowies.

July 30, 2010, 12:43 AM
Check out Ken Richardsons Custom knives


July 30, 2010, 03:42 PM
Sorry for the extras, but the RAT/now ESEE RC-5 and the KaBar are the points of interest below:


They both are CS - great edge-keeping & resharpening capability. Both are US-made, too. I carried my late Dad's old WWII KaBar, his companion of the So. Pacific, on many a camping trip - great brush clearer and camp furniture maker. A bit large for most camp food prep. A Buck 110 - or a SAK - took care of much of those duties.

The RC-5 is dedicated to my next camping trip - when/if there is one. My wife thinks of a motel as 'camping' now. It is stout - .250" thick. Great 'survival' knife, if a bit heavy.


PS That's a very recent production KaBar - The old one doesn't look quite so good!

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