Jump to content


Western Bowie Knife, Vietnam?

Started by mayralphie , Apr 01 2010 11:23 PM

  • Please log in to reply
53 replies to this topic

#26 mayralphie

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

Still-A-Marine
  • Members
    • Member ID: 4,347
  • 1,576 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

doyler
  • Members
    • Member ID: 342
  • 23,670 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:27 PM

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

RD

#31 mayralphie

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:34 PM

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

#32 mayralphie

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

TrentRock
  • Members
    • Member ID: 2,590
  • 141 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Antonito, CO

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

mayralphie

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 7,038
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:none

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

sactroop
  • Members
    • Member ID: 17,422
  • 1,254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cascadia Fault

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

gunbarrel
  • Members
    • Member ID: 70
  • 6,213 posts

Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:22 AM

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

Welcome to the Forum! :thumbsup:

#41 MANVRG

MANVRG
  • New Members
    • Member ID: 109,238
  • 8 posts

Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:17 PM

The photos here are of the Bowie knife my father carried as a paratrooper in Vietnam. His unit was 1st brigade 502nd 101st ABN DIV. He stated that his entire unit purchased these knives with their own money before they left for Vietnam. Whether they purchased them at Fort Campbell or Oakland, CA where they left i don't know. But i do know the ship they were on(WW2 troop ship General Eltridge) arrived in Vietnam July 29 1965. The knife in your photos has the same markings exactly like mine so i'm thinking they are from the same time period. The sheath in my photos is original but in bad shape. The color was a light brown color and got dark after applying oil. My father stated the sheath came with no clasps and they used the leg tie to hold the knife in place(see photo). I hope this info helps you out even though its two years later.
http://i1278.photobucket.com/albums/y516/urika69/IMG_0851_zpsbe09a667.jpg
http://i1278.photobucket.com/albums/y516/urika69/IMG_0850_zpse52f58ed.jpg
http://i1278.photobucket.com/albums/y516/urika69/IMG_0829_zps369e7a8c.jpg
http://i1278.photobucket.com/albums/y516/urika69/IMG_0826_zpsf76f19e4.jpg

#42 sactroop

sactroop
  • Members
    • Member ID: 17,422
  • 1,254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cascadia Fault

Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:09 PM

MANVRG, Great knife along with your Dad's provenance. Everything looks like I'd expect in a W49 from 65.
I noticed a couple of years ago that the handle is a little longer on the earliest, (like your Dad's), W49's.
I'm wondering if you'd mind taking an accurate measurement of the length of the wood handle.

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/599f84ee-97cd-4a3e-b6af-76372594359f_zps553cf941.jpg

I'm interested to see if this handle measures out to about 5 1/8th inches. Thanks.

#43 MANVRG

MANVRG
  • New Members
    • Member ID: 109,238
  • 8 posts

Posted 14 February 2013 - 06:45 AM

@ sactroop Measuring the handle as per diagram above 5 and 1/8 inches exactly.

#44 sactroop

sactroop
  • Members
    • Member ID: 17,422
  • 1,254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cascadia Fault

Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

Thanks for the information. So far all ,(what I call), the first version W49’s have a handle that is 1/8” longer than the rest. I’m still looking to see if the handle gets shortened during the first of second version knives. So far all the first version handles are 5 1/8 and all the versions up until the early 70’s, (I’ve concentrated on the Vietnam Era knives), have 5 inch handles.

Thought you might like to see what your Dad’s looked like when he first got it.
http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file_zps8d94fd75.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file_zps886ed69d.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file_zps38ed380a.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file_zpsa3de9c1e.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file_zps5c06aa01.jpg

#45 MANVRG

MANVRG
  • New Members
    • Member ID: 109,238
  • 8 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

Great photos, beautiful knife. I've never seen what the box it came in looked like. Thanks for views.

#46 25a1eeda

25a1eeda
  • Members
    • Member ID: 124,041
  • 66 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:03 PM

I had one with a slightly different sheath, had a silver ring, so one could sit with it.



#47 sactroop

sactroop
  • Members
    • Member ID: 17,422
  • 1,254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cascadia Fault

Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:31 AM

25a1eeda,

 I'm thinking that right about now you're in visual overload.  Regarding all the previous threads you've been replying too.  First let me say Welcome Aboard!

Yes the earliest sheath made for the W49 was pretty much just a pocket to hold the knife.  Not even a keeper provided to attach to the knife.

This seems to have changed during the production of the first version of the W49, (blade marked "BOWIE" on the reverse side of the blade).  

The second version of the sheath just had two slits cut in it to provide for the keeper strap.  It was held in just by friction.  So not uncommon for the original strap to disappear. 

The "D ring" or swing sheath shows up in 1967 and they continued to use that feature on the sheath from that point forward.  However a lot of owners removed the D-ring for personal preference.



#48 Jack's Son

Jack's Son

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 8,213
  • 19,660 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:40 AM

Original Topic......

image.jpg

#49 Jack's Son

Jack's Son

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 8,213
  • 19,660 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:41 AM

image.jpg

#50 Jack's Son

Jack's Son

    BANNED

  • Banned
    • Member ID: 8,213
  • 19,660 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:41 AM

image.jpg


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


In Memory of Co-Founder GREG MILLS ROBINSON, a.k.a. "Marine-KaBar"
(February 17, 1949 - March 5, 2011)