Tim-I found out a long time ago, from returning Vietnam veterans, was that they gave away their knives to buddies or indig troops before they left. Back in the early, and late 70's, all the guys I approached for any type of knife, especially SOG knives, said they left them in Vietnam.

Very few guys that I can recall actually had theirs. In fact in 20 years of service, was never given a Vietnam carried knife. The ones brought home were kept, or given to some relative. How easy or difficult is it to come across a Western Bowie that actually looks like it may have seen use during the Vietnam War. Many of the examples of Vietnam War vintage Bowies do not appear to have traveled any further west than the California shoreline. Is it uncommon to come across a Bowie with that "been there and done that" look?


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I'd sure like to find one and would pay good money to acquire it. Posted 12 January - The only sure way to get one that was in Vietnam is from a vet that can document the knife. If your really lucky you might come across a presentation piece but that is still not a guarentee that it was in Vietnam. The one in the picture with the chrome plated blade came from a vet and I have the documentation and a photo of him wearing the knife in Vietnam. Posted 18 January - Posted 05 December - Community Forum Software by IP.

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Please log in to reply. I knew your research was fairly extensive and that you had more info than I could ever find in a short time Just when you think you have them figured out one turns up that does not fit the mold. I have always thought that the Western Bowie with the bigger handle bolts, thick handle, W49 guard marks and ringed sheath was post Vietnam but then came across this on ebay. It has alot of documentation and looks good. It still could be post Vietnam presentation item but who knows. Also has medal with his name and paper documents dated Charlie AH, I was unaware of this point.

This information will be very helpful in my search. Tim Tim, They come all sorts of ways. But you know that. Chrome is very hard and resist a lot of the normal scratching that would show on other knives. I have handled about five Western Bowies that were used in Vietnam. They all had really good documentation. Of the five two were chrome plated and three were not. The chrome plated ones were in really nice shape other then some chipping to the chrome and handle wear and maybe minor pitting.

The other three were heavly pitted from the jungle. Expect to see hard use and pitting on any knife used in Vietnam as the jungle destroyed them pretty good. When I see a Vietnam used knife for sale that is in mint condition I usually pass. If the knife has the original leather sheath I expect to see some pretty hard use on that leather.

The chrome one I own has a replacment sheath made of canvas.


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I have two other knives my cousin gave me in when he returned from Vietnam. They all have heavy use and both have the sheaths replaced after they rotted away. Bottom line if you want a western Bowie that was actully used in Vietnam you need good provinence on the knife. It should show jungle use. If you can located a chromed one I would say there was a good possibility that it was used in Vietnam. The marking are very important. If there is a letter on the blade under the Western name it is post The ones marked W49 with large handle bolts are questionable to me.

Western Knife Company W49 big Bowie Camillus vintage 1964-2007 history

It was also the last year they were made in Boulder, CO. The letters A through O can be seen on their knives depending upon the year of manufacture during the years '77 to ' Think it might be fake because every knife I've seen has stamping on the guard and the angles on the guard is very extreme. Yea i did look at some pictures and I thought the angles on the guard were strange.

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It still seems very old though and I just wanted more info. Thanks for the reply. That's a western w In they moved the stamp from the guard to the blade and added a letter code for the year.

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The guard has been bent by someone, you can see the original bends in it still. It looks like it will clean up nice, it will need a new handle. Western made a very nice knife before colemen bought them out. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

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how to identify a Vietnam Western Bowie Fighting Knife - EDGED WEAPONS - U.S. Militaria Forum

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Want to add to the discussion? I don't know enough to offer any opinion about it's authenticity beyond that. According to the C date code, it was probably made in