Best Bowie Knife
I am biased but here goes. The best Bowie knife, in my opinion, is the Western W49 Bowie Knife. If you are able to buy one of these you should. These aren't as easy to find anymore. The company that oringinally made them has been bought and sold a few times. As far as I can tell they aren't making new ones anymore. You can still find them on ebay for around $150 though. I bought mine back in like 2002 or 2003 at the Kittery Trading post in Maine. It cost me about $50.
The Western W49 is 1095 carbon steel. I'm not 100% sure if this varys for different years. The blade is over 9" and can vary slightly from year to year as far as I know.
The is a really solid knife. You can basically chop branches and stuff with it just like a hatchet. It is sharp, pointy, and heavy. It comes with a thick leather sheath.
More Bowie Knives
We can't really point you to anywhere to pick up our number one choice except to say "search Ebay". We are going to try to refer you to some of the other choices out there. Many of them are really good. It is always good to have options to choose from. There is a ton of variety among Bowie knives and you will want to pick what is right for you. Keep reading below or check our list HERE for some great options.
ConsiderationsFull tang - Make sure that whatever you get is full tang. You are going to need a lot of support for a big heavey knife like this. You are going to want to be able to chop with force. This is one knife where you really need it to be full tang. Keep this in mind when you see versions of this knife with hollow handles. You don't need that. It totally isn't worth it to criple the functionality of your knife just so that you can store a few bits of junk in the handle. Get a solid knife and use something else to store stuff in.
Good materials - Make sure that you select something solid. Your requirements will be different depending on they type of knife you are looking at. For Bowie knives, you are going to want to go for something big and heavy. You are going to want something that is sharp. It needs to be able to handle chopping all kinds of stuff while staying sharp. High carbon steel is the way to go. It is harder than stainless steel. It stays sharper longer and some people say that it is significantly easier to sharpen it when it gets dull. High carbon won't resist rust as much as stainless steel but in this case it is worth it. For a knife like this, just take good care of it. High carbon steel will tend to chip instead of dent as it isn't as soft. It is a trade off but in this case high carbon is the way to go.
Shaped right - If you are getting a Bowie knife, get one that is shaped right. It should have a clip point. It should look like basically a really large butcher knife with a clip point and crossguard. You can get saw teeth on the back if you want it to look like Rambo's knife. That is totally fine, not my thing but go for it if that is what you are into. Size is important. You are going to want something that is long, wide, and heavy. This is how a Bowie is meant to be. It needs to be sharp and pointy. It doesn't need to come sharp as you can easily sharpen it yourself.
Full size - Personally, I recommend getting something that is full size. It should be long, wide, thick, and heavy. That is just they way this type of knife is supposed to be.
Comfortable handle - Get something with a comfortable handle. If you are using something heavily and the handle ins't right, your hands may suffer. You won't notice this with light use but heavy chopping and carving can give you blisters. The discomfort can generally hold you back from getting stuff done as effectivly as possible. Get something smooth and comfortable with no edges to dig into your skin.
Good rating - One good measure of quality is what experiences other people have had with the item. Before aquiring something you generally want to see that others have had good luck with it. This means that you want to get something that is rated well. You want to see that many people have rated it well, not just a few people. For example, 20 people giving something a 100% good rating isn't as good as 500 people giving it a 90% good rating.
One thing I personally don't like about it is that it isn't wide enough (edge to edge, not thickness). A bowie should be wider. That is more a matter of personal preference but I tend to go for a wide, amost paddle like blade on a Bowie. It is still really nice though. It is functional and looks fancy. You could put it on display but I would feel kind of bad keeping something that is a usable tool on display where it isn't getting used at all. Also worth mentioning is that it is especially long. This is a major plus.
Note on TangsA hidden tang can be either full or partial. Full tang just means that it extends the full length of the handle and doesn't need to be visible. See Wikipedia for a bunch of good information about different tangs HERE
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