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This is a large bowie type knife I rec'd for my B-day. It's made by Chipaway of Pakistan.

The fit and finish of all parts is quite impressive. The basket weave sheath is nicely made, too.

I typically use a much smaller drop point knife for skinning but thought I'd give this big knife a try. Truthfully, I found it too long for this deer skinning chore although job was completed neatly. But I found this long blade ideal for removing the shoulders quick and easy. Doubtful if I'll ever use this knife again for skinning a deer but it will remain in my Explorer for "general use".

There seems to be an abundance of large fixed blade knives on the market these days. But in my opinion, their usefulness to hunters is limited. Perhaps 150 years ago, these big knives had more use on the frontier than they do in 2010.

TR
 

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I don't usually carry big knives simply because of the added weight. Also, they can get caught in vines and such more when you're walking through thick stuff. I got a new skeletal knife made by Buck earlier this year that I'm hoping to try out in a few weeks :)
 

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The best "all around" knife I own is a buck skinner. This knife is like an extension of my hand. I can pretty much do any knife chore on game with it. I also have a Gerber coffin bowie. This knife is fixed to my pack frame. This knife works as knife, hatchet and machette while camping or setting up blinds. Yep, The big old Bowies still have a use in life. Combine that with a good 3 blade pocket knife and I have all the knives I need, But own lots more.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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That knife would probably be handy if you met a bad guy on a sandbar on the Mississippi River....:)
 

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That certainly is a very good looking knife, no doubt. I've always thought, actually, that the size of a knife a hunter carries while afield can give you an indication of their experience level. Seems a lot of young hunters or hunters just starting out carry a good sized fixed blade knife, while a good number of older, more experienced hunters will carry a much smaller blade afield. But, then again, maybe they (we) just don't want to have to carry those extra couple of ounces all day too! :D:D:D
 

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large knife

This is a matter of personal preference but I strongly prefer the 7" K-Bar. It has a taper on the blade that allows for a very fine edge, the long blade is great for cutting the windpipe and making the cut around the rectum to remove the intestines, etc. You can do it all with a much smaller blade but the longer blade is a better way to go. Every one of my friends who tried it became a believer. Joe S
 

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Like most, I prefer a small-to-medium-size knife for all-around field useNot too picky as to style as long as it can be made very sharp and holds an edge well.

I will say, though, that a big knife has many applications in a sure-enough wilderness/survival setting. I have a big modern Bowie-style knife from A.G. Russel that is a good example. It's not outrageously large or heavy, but it can clear a trail, chop and split kindling, serve as a sharp camp knife, and would be mighty handy as a fighting knife if it needed to be one.
 

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full tang or not?

Hi Pisgah, That's a neat photo, and you have your blade caught in the act, to boot. But, I'd hold off on calling it a Bowie. Does it have a full tang? Those blade scallops for fingers seem to make the guard almost superfluous. Also, the lanyard hole hollow rivet in the synthetic grip scales, cries out, "new design", for sure. It probably would make a real skinner, for a Buffalo, and that's something the Nineteenth Century boys dealt with regularly. Actually, I'd call it more of a retro 'scalper'. I don't think anyone ever really separated these two disciplines. In the book, " The Crow Killer", it was written that the "Liver Eater's'" Bowie, eventually morphed into one of these skinner-scalpers, after a life time of use, (sharpening). So just have fun!
Although, if it is from Pakistan, those folks still have plenty of their own historical fighting knife designs, to draw from.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I've got a fixed-blade Buck that came from a garage sale for the princely sum of about $10 or so. Probably about a 5" or 6" blade, haven't measured it.

The place it shines is cleaning out the pelvic tunnel. The short knives that I like to use for butchering just don't reach in far enough. Hmmm, that, and when you are trying to 'bend' the heavy hide/shield off of a pig as it is being skinned, the point reaches in a little farther and keeps cutting. If you haven't skinned a hog with a lot of fat then you may not understand that. Not an issue on deer.

It's worth keeping in the truck for those two things.
 

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I made a nice hunter for a friend who is a guide. He requested a 6" blade and has used it to field dress several animals now. He has decided it is about an inch and a half too long. I also made him a 2.5 inch caper. He used that just last week to dress out a little blacktail spike. According to him it was a perfect size for that animal. A large knife can do the job and will very well. A properly made knife will make the job easier and much more enjoyable.
 

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Usefullness of Large Bowie Knives

History of the Bowie knife from here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowie_knife#History

The Sandbar Fight

A coffin handled Bowie Knife.


Main article: Sandbar Fight
The first knife, with which Bowie became famous, allegedly was designed by Jim Bowie's brother Rezin in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana and smithed by blacksmith Jesse Cleft out of an old file.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-7 class=reference>[4]</SUP> Period court documents indicate that Rezin Bowie and Cleft were well acquainted with one another. Rezin's granddaughter claimed in an 1885 letter to Louisiana State University that she personally witnessed Cleft make the knife for her grandfather.
This knife became famous as the knife used by Bowie at the Sandbar Fight, which was the famous 1827 duel between Bowie and several men including a Major Norris Wright of Alexandria, Louisiana.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-8 class=reference>[4]</SUP> The fight took place on a sandbar in the Mississippi River across from Natchez, Mississippi. In this battle Bowie was stabbed, shot, and beaten half to death but managed to win the fight using the large knife.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-9 class=reference>[4]</SUP>
Jim Bowie's older brother John claimed that the knife at the Sandbar Fight was not Cleft's knife, but a knife specifically made for Bowie by a blacksmith named Snowden.

James Black's Bowie Knife

The most famous version of the Bowie knife was designed by Jim Bowie and presented to Arkansas blacksmith James Black in the form of a carved wooden model in December 1830.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-10 class=reference>[4]</SUP> Black produced the knife ordered by Bowie, and at the same time created another based on Bowie's original design but with a sharpened edge on the curved top edge of the blade. Black offered Bowie his choice and Bowie chose the modified version.<SUP id=cite_ref-RJ_6-1 class=reference>[7]</SUP> Knives like that one, with a blade shaped like that of the Bowie knife, but with a pronounced false edge, are today called "Sheffield Bowie" knives, because this blade shape became so popular that cutlery factories in Sheffield, England were mass-producing such knives for export to the U.S. by 1850, usually with a handle made from either hardwood, deer antler, or bone, and sometimes with a guard and other fittings of sterling silver.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-11 class=reference>[4]</SUP>
Bowie returned, with the Black-made knife, to Texas and was involved in a knife fight with three men who had been hired to kill him.<SUP id=cite_ref-PG_7-0 class=reference>[8]</SUP> Bowie killed the three would-be assassins with his new knife and the fame of the knife grew.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-12 class=reference>[4]</SUP> Legend holds that one man was almost decapitated, the second was disemboweled, and the third had his skull split open.<SUP id=cite_ref-MC_3-13 class=reference>[4]</SUP> Bowie died at the Battle of the Alamo five years later and both he and his knife became more famous. The fate of the original Bowie knife is unknown; however, a knife bearing the engraving "Bowie No. 1" has been acquired by the Historic Arkansas Museum from a Texas collector and has been attributed to Black through scientific analysis.
Black soon did a booming business making and selling these knives out of his shop in Washington, Arkansas. Black continued to refine his technique and improve the quality of the knife as he went. In 1839, shortly after his wife's death, Black was nearly blinded when, while he was in bed with illness, his father-in-law and former partner broke into his home and attacked him with a club, having objected to his daughter having married Black years earlier. Black was no longer able to continue in his trade.
Black's knives were known to be exceedingly tough, yet flexible, and his technique has not been duplicated. Black kept his technique secret and did all of his work behind a leather curtain. Many claim that Black rediscovered the secret of producing true Damascus steel.<SUP id=cite_ref-RJ_6-2 class=reference>[7]</SUP>
In 1870, at the age of 70, Black attempted to pass on his secret to the son of the family that had cared for him in his old age, Daniel Webster Jones. However, Black had been retired for many years and found that he himself had forgotten the secret. Jones would later become Governor of Arkansas.
The birthplace of the Bowie knife is now part of the Old Washington Historic State Park which has over 40 restored historical buildings and other facilities including Black's shop. The park is known as "The Colonial Williamsburg of Arkansas". The American Bladesmith Society established the William F. Moran School of Bladesmithing at this site to instruct new apprentices as well as journeyman, and mastersmiths in the art of bladesmithing.
 

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I have used a Buck 119 for years. Not really a Bowie type but close. This is a 6” fixed blade knife made of 420HC Stainless.

For deer I always use it to bust the pelvic girdle at the end of field dressing. I do that so I can spread the legs further apart when hanging the deer on a gambrel.
I will sometime use the same knife when breaking down the carcass - removing the head, shoulders, and hips.

Otherwise a 2.5” to 3” knife gets the most of the cutting done for me.
 

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I have, (and love), a Cold Steel Trailmaster. It's big, and I don't very often carry it on me, but it goes with me when heading off into the brush....mostly stays in the truck until needed....great camp knife, and my goto for serious encounters of the close up kind. I prefer a fixed blade knife, and really love the Bark River Knives. I have several, and the "Southern Skinner" (discontinued) is one of my favorites. the "Fox River" is what goes on my belt, with a Kershaw folder as backup inna pocket. I do most of my field dressing with the Kershaw folder, preferring to keep the Fox River for skinnin'. most of the Bark River Knives are made out of A-2 Tool Steel, and are a dream to sharpen......and they stay sharp longer than most 440 stainless blades. found them about 5 years ago, and wouldn't have anything else now......

here's a link to Bark River if you would like to look :

http://www.barkriverknifetool.com/aboutus.asp
 

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I have a couple old Bowie knives, think they were my Dads. Well made German Solingen model 441 with some kind of stag handles. Buy em' all day long for about 20, 25 bucks I think. Sheaths certainly aren't much to brag about. As far as hunting, don't see much use for them. A few years ago I started carrying a Kershaw combo thingy with three interchangable blades. A BIG (as in fat) skinning blade with gut hook, a kind of a drop point blade about 4" and a saw blade about 6". Sharpest da#$ knive I ever used. First deer I skinned with it was with that big fat blade with the gut hook, (first time I ever field dressed a deer with gut hook, worked better than I thought it would) when I got back to the house, hung the deer on the bucket of my tractor and went to work. When I was finished found I had cut my right index finger 4 times, not deep, but enough to bleed, never felt one of them. Don't know if it was from getting a little to close to my work or swatting at all the yellow jackets that were buzzin around. Like I said these blades are sharp. {side note} I also carry a big, really old, back when they were good, double bladed Case folder in my coat pocket. Long darn post, but I will highly recommend that Kershaw combo, whatever it's called. Just don't try to skin a Bee with it, you'll cut yourself....
 

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On my first tour to Vietnam I carried a Gerber fighting knife. It was a dagger with an inclined blade, intended to slip between ribs. The first time I used it in combat a rib broke it off and I ended up throwning it away. From that point on I carried a Marine Corps K-Bar issue knife (I was Army). I had a machinist cut saw teeth into the back of the knife. The K-Bar is made of terrible steel, simply will not hold and edge, but it also will not break easily. It is truly a utility item. I still have mine, I value it as much as I value Randal and my custom made knifes. If I could have only one, it would be my modified K-bar. Recently came into a Puma White Hunter, another signature knife...
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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My favorite, and most handy fixed blade is a Muela colibri, 4" drop point



It's handy, holds a great edge, and is full tang.
It was around $50 bucks.
 

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My favorite, and most handy fixed blade is a Muela colibri, 4" drop point
It's handy, holds a great edge, and is full tang.
It was around $50 bucks.
I had this same model , but with stag scales. I purchased it when stag was just another handle material, and it run me $29.00. I was amazed at the fit and finish of the stag. It had a heavy leather pouch sheath and to me was just about the perfect skinning knife...wish i would have kept that one.
 

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I like others when i the gren carried the Randall no-1 and others when we could get them,never really thought about how usefull a big knife could be for hunting type untill I got to the jungle school in Panama, the guys running the school use 12 and 14" bush busters for every thing,watch one guy sking out a python with just the front section o the blade worked like a charm
 
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