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Western Bowie Knife, Vietnam?

Started by mayralphie , Apr 01 2010 11:23 PM

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#21 Still-A-Marine

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:17 AM

... Then the blade markings said "Western Bowie USA" on one side of the blade only, from 1966 till about 1974. ...


Here is a jpg of the marking on my Bowie. It has the 1966-1974 WESTERN / BOWIE / U.S.A. blade marking. Bill

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#22 Still-A-Marine

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:39 AM

... He also said the original sheath on Vietnam era Western Bowies should not have the rings on the leather. ...


Here is a copy of a 1968 Western Catalog. At least I was told it is 1968. I don't have the whole catalog - just a copy of the one page. It shows the bowie scabbard with the "D-ring flexible belt attachment". I don't know if the 1968 on the top of the page is correct or not but if so then the ring could be correct. Can anybody help to determine if this is the correct date for the catalog page? Bill

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#23 AK101

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:07 AM

I used to have a mint version of the bottom bowie on that catalog page, it appears that it has a synthetic jigged bone handle like mine did, FWIW the owner told me he bought it at a K-Mart in 1968......fwiw.....

#24 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 11:21 AM

Well I went to pick up the Kabar 1207 and boonie hat and got the oppertunity to visit the family of the deseased soldier who wore this knife in Vietnam. The family had the photo of him wearing the knife but would not part with it. it was framed and matted along with other pictures. The photo was not that good and was a side view. You could not see the front of the sheath but you could tell it was the same knife and sheath. The family stated that the sheath originally had a set of jump wings sewn on the front that were removed and the air assault was added by a member of the family who liked them better. They still had the jump wings which they gave to me and I have now placed on the sheath and removed the air assault. they also let me photograph one of his uniform shirts but made me cover the name. (see picture) Uniform shirt was not for sale. it would be great if everytime you found something like this you had background on the item.
http://yfrog.com/bf004egkj

#25 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 11:27 AM

Sent the wrong photo that was his brothers shirt here is his http://yfrog.com/a7003jj

#26 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 11:42 AM

Goes to show you there is no exact answer to this Western Bowie. I have been sent alot of variations. So far here is what we have; Markings

1) Western Boulder, colo. USA (On one side of blade). Bowie (On other side of blade).

2). Western Bowie USA on one side of blade.

3). Western USA (one side of crossguard) W49 (other side of crossbuard)

4). Western USA (one side of crossguard) Bowie (other side of crossguard)

5). Western USA W49 A (on one side of blade) (Post 1977 has letter code)

looks like the early knives had three small rivits holding handle on and later had three big rivits. The wood on the butt of the handle was beveled on early models with small rivits.
early sheaths had no rings but only a belt loop and strap. have seen one real early sheath with no strap onlt belt loop.

Exact dating these would be a best guess.

#27 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 02:39 PM

Another marking sent to me;

6). Western Boulder, Colo. USA (One side of guard) Bowie (other side of guard)

#28 Still-A-Marine

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 04:46 PM

Goes to show you there is no exact answer to this Western Bowie. I have been sent alot of variations. So far here is what we have; Markings

1) Western Boulder, colo. USA (On one side of blade). Bowie (On other side of blade).

2). Western Bowie USA on one side of blade.

3). Western USA (one side of crossguard) W49 (other side of crossbuard)

4). Western USA (one side of crossguard) Bowie (other side of crossguard)

5). Western USA W49 A (on one side of blade) (Post 1977 has letter code)

looks like the early knives had three small rivits holding handle on and later had three big rivits. The wood on the butt of the handle was beveled on early models with small rivits.
early sheaths had no rings but only a belt loop and strap. have seen one real early sheath with no strap onlt belt loop.

Exact dating these would be a best guess.


Variations is right. On the catalog page I posted the top knife has small rivets while the bottom knife has larger rivets. A lot of good info. Thanks for posting. Bill

Edited by Still-A-Marine, 03 April 2010 - 04:47 PM.


#29 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:23 PM

Ok here is what I think are all the variations :http://img188.imageshack.us/g/bgi8hcgbwkkgrhqyokjerzs.jpg/

#30 doyler

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:27 PM

I have a stainles bowie with the picked stag handles.No scabbard.(S-G49)

RD

#31 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:34 PM

try this again: http://img402.imageshack.us/g/bgi8dgb2kkgrhqeokjeeryl.jpg/

#32 mayralphie

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:47 PM

This is what I think the order is from early to late:
Blade Marked
1). "Western Boulder, Colo. USA" "Bowie"

2). " Western Bowie USA"

Guard marked
1). "Western Boulder Colo. USA" "Bowie"

2). " Western USA" "W49"



Blade Marked
1). "Western USA w49"
"A"

#33 TrentRock

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:36 PM

Reason markings look light is because the whole knife has been chrome plated. it looks factory done because it was chromed under the grips before the grips were rivited on. as far as the air assault badge from what i read it was authorized in 1974 but was in use with the 101st airborne before that date and worn unofficialy in vietnam. All markings are on the blade no guard marlings at all. This is definately a Western knife not pakistan copy.

Posted Image

Western knives are hard to date
The above chart is not 100% accurate..IMHO
Sometimes they are marked on the guard
Sometimes on the tang
Sometimes not marked at all
I've seen a variety of W49 pins sizes as well
The ones you call "chrome plated" are the later models
The earlier models are carbon steel
The later models are more of a staineless steel composition
The W49's are really popular with the "bushcraft" crowd
They modify them by cutting down the guard
The best way to try and date them, I think, is by the sheath, and or the box

I don't think they were issued in Vieatnam War???
Frank T. would be the guy to ask about that...

#34 mayralphie

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 08:05 PM

Never said they were issued in the Vietnam war. they were private purchase by alot of soldiers leaving for Vietnam. There were some that were ordered for 5th special forces during the Vietnam war that are illustrated in Cole's book. The one I have does not have chrome pins. the entire knife has been chrome plated for what reason I do not know. I do think that more research into these knives will show that you can tell earlier ones from later models by the markings, handle and pins or rivits that were used.

#35 mayralphie

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:11 AM

Here is a reference from Cole's book on the Western Bowie made for Special Forces in 1965. Notice early blade marked logo
"WESTERN BOULDER, COLO. USA" "BOWIE"

http://yfrog.com/jc002ienj

#36 mayralphie

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:13 AM

Also the knife has the small handle pins, smaller handle with beveling of the wood on the butt end. Smaller cross guard and early sheath with no rings or strap attached.

#37 mayralphie

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 09:36 PM

Found this great photo of soldier in Vietnam wearing the Western Bowie.

http://yfrog.com/5b1stcavbyrdj

#38 mayralphie

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:42 PM

Just when I think I have the Western Bowie figured out a new variation shows up. This one is guard marked :"Western Boulder Colo. USA and W49". It has the early features on the handle and the sheath has ring.

http://img576.imageshack.us/g/btzde2gbwkkgrhqqokjevpq.jpg/

#39 sactroop

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:11 AM

Another marking sent to me;

6). Western Boulder, Colo. USA (One side of guard) Bowie (other side of guard)


Forgive me for arriving late to the party. But I may have some useful information.
The 1986 Western Catalog states that the W49 Bowie was introduced in 1964.
Also in my own search in trying to ID W49's I've seen multiple examples of 4 variations of the guard marked W49's;

1 Western,Boulder Colo USA/ Bowie, early handle with small pins
2 Western, Boulder Colo USA/ W49, early handle with small pins
3 Western, Boulder Colo USA/ W49, late handle with large (IMHO) rivets
4 Western, USA/ W49, late handle with large rivets

It may turn out that there are other combinations of guard markings and handle types that eventually show up. But until then IMHO the above is likely the order in which these knives appeared on the seen.

Also I've seen and handled one example of a W49 with the following blade markings;
Western
USA W49
No Date Code

Until that knife all examples I had seen marked as above included a date code. A thru O represent the years 1977-1991. That would be the last eight years that the original company made the knife and all the years that Coleman made the knife.
I've written former employee's of the Camillus Co trying to get information. They have told me that Camillus NEVER DATE MARKED THE W49. The knives that I've been able to confirm where Camillus made have all been blade marked;
Western
W49 USA (reversing the order of the USA/W49 on the second line as appeared on the earlier versions)
I've made inquiries as to whether Camillus may have also marked the knives in a different way. As of yet I haven't received a reply one way or the another.
When you include the two early blade marked W49's that have been mentioned earlier in this thread we have a lot of knives in what appears to be a 13 year period to choose from. The W49 maybe more interesting than it first appears.

#40 gunbarrel

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:22 AM

It's never too late! Good info--thank you.

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