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Vietnam era - Puma #6377 White Hunter

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by rcmodel, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I bought this one in an Army base PX in 1968.
    Puma date code 71607 on guard indicates it was made in the first quarter of 1967.

    It’s odd design didn’t especially appeal to me.
    But it, or a giant Western Bowie were all that ever seemed to be in stock at the PX, and I needed a utility knife right then.

    I don’t remember what I paid for it, but it couldn’t have been more than $40 or so, or I couldn’t have afforded it on E6 pay.
    I see they sell for $430.00 bucks now! :what:


    As it turned out, it was about as ideal a utility knife as an infantryman could ask for.
    Its weight foreword balance proved ideal for chopping limbs for camo, clearing brush for gun positions, etc..

    And you sure didn’t need to worry about breaking the point off prying on something, because it doesn’t have one!




    The 5.9” carbon steel blade is sharpened on the back for chopping, and there is a short section of fine serrations on the main edge for cutting through things that don’t want to be cut, like popping steel ammo crate bands.
    The blade holds an edge really well, and it is easy to sharpen.

    In all, it’s been a very good & often used knife for 44 years.

  2. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    I had one that a woman I knew was threatened with by a room mate...I took it away from him and tossed it in a drawer...where it sat for 10 yrs.
    Later, sold it cheap. Now I kick myself when I see what they sell for.
  3. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    I had one of those "NIB" a few years back and thought it was just a nice over built German sporting knife. I tossed it in a case at the Reno show and a regular customer comes by, doesn't have time to talk and asks me to put it under the table for him. When he comes back later it turns out he doesn't want it but didn't have time to tell me I had it a couple hundred dollars too low.

    So, I raised the price on his advice and still sold it at "asking" to the next guy that came along. That was on Friday and I had folk coming back through Sunday to se if I had more as I had still undersold it as far as the fellas who considered it a "grail" knife were concerned.

    Even as much as I appreciated that knife, I had no idea they were that sought after. Great knife, that.

    Too cool that you actually carried it as a "PX knife".

    As far as the tip breaking - really, more of a sharpened spade than a knife tip.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  4. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    I used one of those good carbon steel ones for a "hunting knife" from 64-77 when I went to South Africa for my first safari I left it with the tracker as part of his tip.
    The flat shown in the 3rd picture down was very handy for light hammering BTW.
    I replaced this knife with a Loveless drop point hunter and a Wyoming skinner for more than 20 years before I went to Mad Dog customs.
  5. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member


    By some chance did you ever serve in the 2/4 INF as a Brave Warrior? If so when?

    Your comment on cutting the strapping on "bundles" of ammo cans and this knife jarred something loose.

  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    I spent 4 years with 69th Infantry division KNG, then two years on the 5th. Army AMU pistol team.

    I was supposed to be an Anti-Tank platoon Sargent, (106MM R/R, and ENTAC anti-tank missile) and was a week away from going to Vietnam in 1968.
    But I got waylaid along the way by the post commanding officer, and reassigned as a gunsmith & shooter for Ft. Carson's AMU unit first, then later the dang 5th Army AMU pistol / rifle team until I got out in early 1971.

    In the mean time, we ran the ranges at Ft. Carson & qualified everybody in the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) on the M-16, 1911, and M-79 as that unit was going to Vietnam.

    The rest of the time, I was TDY, living out of the trunk of my car two summers and traveling all over the country to all the big service matches.
    Then spent the winters building match guns at Ft Riley KS.

    It was a fun time, and sure beat trying to stay alive in the mud & bugs, I guess!

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  7. heron

    heron Well-Known Member

    Wow, looks like a real monster! Very interesting.

    351 WINCHESTER Well-Known Member

    That knife should have been marked W. Germany. My Dad was station at Riley during WWII. Back then it was a horse/mule outfit. They did a lot of testing of different equipment packed out on mules to see how it held up. Why Ft. Riley? Due to the differences in climate between winter and summer.
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Vintage White Hunters go for quite a bit these days.
  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Good radius for skinning. Great looking knife.
  11. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your service. It was an interesting design, I eventually found the bowie clip version in well used condition. Someone had sharpened it on a bench grinder, which of course ruined the edge profile. I discovered these blades were chrome plated trying to reprofile it.

    "Breaking steel ammo crate bands" is an interesting point of discussion in some circles. I was Infantry early in my career, then switched to Ammo Handler, and finally MP when I was deployed in 2002. In all that time, mostly Reserves in the Midwest, whether training troops at OSUT stations CONUS, firing my own qualifications, in schools, or deployed, I never saw ammo banded on pallets. The crates themselves, especially ammo for individual or crew served weapons, had malleable wires stapled to the pieces making up the box, which were easily undone with finger pressure only. I never had to cut a band, even to inventory a bunker.

    Apparently that practice no longer existed a few years after the war was over, as only that era of veteran claims the need to break them. One tool frequently mentioned being used is the bird cage flash hider on the M16, something else that disappeared nearly simultaneously.

    But, I'm not a Nam vet. Things do change. Those soldiers who served prior to that conflict don't seem to claim doing it either. Since the size of the average ammo crate is limited to the weight one man can carry, the boxes are small, and the bands would be numerous, if used.

    Interesting point of discussion in some circles.

    By the way, how do you break a flat steel band wrapped on a pallet and tensioned under pressure? The normal tool used is a pair of sheet metal shears, which are in the Pioneer tool kit. After all, you certainly can't start chopping on them. It's ammo - an explosive.

    Another interesting point of discussion is how some soldiers have very different experiences in the service. There is certainly no guarantee what one did is a blanket description for everyone.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    In the 60's our 4.2" mortar (2 rounds) and 106mm recoilless rifle ammo (1 round) came in wood boxes, with a steel band on each end.
    I can't remember what the 81mm mortar ammo came in but it seems like maybe it was 4 rounds?.

    They also had the wire holding the lid down as you mentioned, but were easily unbent and pried off once the bands were cut.
    I never saw a pallet, as the guys in the ammo storage bunkers dealt with that before it ever got to us.

    You could stick a sturdy knife, such as the White Hunter under the band, rotate it 90 degrees, and yank upward hard enough to pop the straps if you didn't have anything else to do it with.
    And we usually didn't.

    My best friend was awarded a bronze star in Vietnam for actions during which his fire base was being over run.

    I had made him a knife (out of a Nicholson file BTW) and he has told me on more then one occasion that if it hadn't been for that knife cutting 4.2" ammo crate bands all that night, he wouldn't be here to tell me about it.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  13. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy Well-Known Member

    Good Find and a great knife.
  14. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Well-Known Member

    Three round wooden crates were std in RVN in 1970. I was the RTO for our mortar platoon and don't remember any bands or wire on the crates other than a twisted metal wire seal on the latch.
    'course that was 42 years ago so don't hold me to the wire/band thing.
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    3 rounds on 81mm it is then.
    Sounds right to me.

    I was never in mortars, but cross-trained enough with them to remember the Korean war vintage ammo we were using in 1964-65 going off overhead when the fuse armed.
    And sprinkling everyone in the tube holes with shrapnel several times a day!

    That was some scary dodo right there!
    None of the old heads doing the training seemed to be too concerned though.
    They just said Hang it, Fire, and then Make yourself Small!

  16. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    In the early 1970s M-60 MG ammo was two bandolers in a can and IIRC four cans banded together. Also C rats were several cases banded together. I saw bands broken with the linemans tool pliers and a couple of NCOs had three prong flash suppresors on M-16 A1s that they had picked up somewhere and threatened the very life of our armorer if he replaced them. They used two rifles so equiped to cut bands. I also saw the barrels of two M-16 A1 rifles used as pry bars to break such bands.....and then heard folks complain about the pour accuracy of their rifles and inability to hold zero.....go figure.

    Had in NCO insist I hand him my ( one of two in the platoon) cap crimping tool for cutting a steel band. A discussion insued where in I was not polite to a supperior NCO not in my direct chain of command. Other folks wanted to borrow it for the flat head screw driver leag and got told off as well.

  17. Jaxondog

    Jaxondog Well-Known Member

    RCmodel; Nice knife. Sort of wish mine was stag

  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Wow, nice!

    Looks like you had more sense then I often did in your knife collecting!

    How & when did you get into Puma's??

  19. Jaxondog

    Jaxondog Well-Known Member

    I got my first one back in '68 and it just started from there. My Dad gave me a few, my Brother a couple. Now this is all that's left. I just like the way they feel, they are very balanced and are made like a tank. I carried an Emperor for year's. It was one tuff knife. The one's in the picture are old but still NIB. Usually the white hunter is one I would show off first. That's the reason for the wear look. But they are just a very well made knife. Do you have more?
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    Just that one White Hunter I bought in an Army PX in 1968.

    It never really dawned on me they were that good, until I couldn't afford them anymore.


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