Best Hand Forged Bowie Knife

If you are in a hurry and would like to know which Bowie knife was our top pick, then we would recommend this knife from Perkin.

I hope you can agree with me when I say:

A survival kit is not complete without a good Bowie knife.

Here is the problem. It is not easy to find a “Good” Bowie knife these days.

Best Hand Forged Bowie Knife

There is also a saying that handmade knives are better than other methods used for mass production. More effort was put into these handmade knives which will reflect the craftsmanship of the knife maker.

This is the reason why we have created a short list of the best hand-forged Bowie knives. We have filtered through a long list of over 40 Bowie knives that did not meet our quality criteria down to only 5.

Short Summary Of Some Awesome Bowie Knives

In this list, the Perkin Bowie knife was our favorite and also our top pick. The Wild Turkey Handmade was best for those that are on a tight budget, and the Moorhaus D2 was more expensive but of higher value.

(Top Pick)

Perkin Bowie Knife

  • Editors Rating: 10/10
  • Blade Length: 8.5”
  • Metal Used: Ball Bearing Steel

(Budget Friendly)

Wild Turkey Handmade

  • Editors Rating: 8/10
  • Blade Length: 11.25″
  • Metal Used: Stainless Steel High Carbon

(Highest Value)

Moorhaus D2

  • Editors Rating: 9/10
  • Blade length: 9.5″
  • Metal Used: D2 Steel

In this section, I am going to go deeper into each product that I have reviewed starting with the Perkin Bowie knife.

#1 Perkin Bowie Knife (Top Pick)

Best for: The Bowie knife from Perkin is made from high-quality steel and the handle from wood. It is also my top recommended product.

  • Editors Rating: 10/10
  • Blade Length: 8.5”
  • Metal Used: Ball Bearing Steel

The blade of this knife is made from ball bearing steel which can be referred to as 440C or SAE 52100. Both of these types of steel can be considered good quality steel and is high in carbon to make it extra hard. Ball bearing steel is also tough and can bring the knife to a hardness scale of 58-59 HRC.

The blade is 8.5” long while the overall length of the knife is 13.5”. The handle is made from Pakka Wood, which is a common wood used to make knife handles. The knife is also full tang meaning that the handle and blade is a solid piece. You will also get a leather sheath along with the knife.

#2 Wild Turkey Handmade (Budget Friendly)

Best for: This knife is ideal for those that are on a tight budget but still wants a high-quality Bowie knife.

  • Editors Rating: 8/10
  • Blade Length: 11.25″
  • Metal Used: Stainless Steel High Carbon

This Bowie knife from Wild Turkey Handmade is a good quality knife where you can use its long blade to slash through almost anything. The blade is a high carbon stainless steel blade and is 11.25” long, which is a very long blade compared to the Perkin. It also has the name “Wild Turkey Handmade” engraved on the blade.

The handle is made from two wooden slabs which are attached with rivets. The knife is also a full tang knife. The knife has a wide finger guard to protect your fingers. The handle has a prominent pommel at the back to prevent it from slipping out of your hand.

#3 Moorhaus D2 (Highest Value)

Best for: This knife is best for those that do not mind paying a higher price for a good quality knife.

  • Editors Rating: 9/10
  • Blade length: 9.5″
  • Metal Used: D2 Steel

The Moorhaus D2 Bowie knife is going to be the knife with the highest value and the higher price tag (for a good reason). The blade is made from D2 tool steel, which is very hard, tough and will retain the edge for a long time. The blade is also 9.5” long and has the Moorhaus name engraved on it. The knife has a hardness rating of 60-62HRC, which is high.

The manufacturers even polished the blade very well. The handle stood out for me, and you will soon see why. It is made from Micarta, which is a brand name for a combination of materials used together. The handle has stripes with multiple colors. This knife might not have the best grip, and it does not have a prominent pommel. You will also receive a leather sheath.

#4 Poshland REG 215

Best for: If you would like your Bowie knife to be made from Damascus steel, then the REG 215 is for you.

  • Editors Rating: 8/10
  • Blade Length: 9″
  • Metal Used: 1095/15N20 (Damascus Steel)

This knife from Poshland is one of the few high-quality Damascus steel blades that you will find. The blade is made from a combination of 1095 and 15N20 steel. This combination of two steel types are welded together and folded several times to give you around 176 layers. These layers are responsible for the beautiful Damascus pattern visible on the blade. The blade is also 9” long.

This knife has a hardness of around HRC 58-60, which is good. The handle is made from Marandi Wood along with brass spacers which will give you excellent grip. You will find a finger guard between the handle and the blade to protect your fingers. When the knife is not in use, you can also store in inside the leather sheath (which is included).

#5 Knife King

Best for: If you did not fancy the Poshland REG 215 but still want a Damascus steel Bowie knife.

  • Editors Rating: 9/10
  • Blade Length: 9.5″
  • Metal Used: 15N25/1075 (Damascus Steel)

This product from Knife King is also a Damascus steel blade which has more delicate patterns than that of the Poshland REG 215. One possible reason is that it has more layers than the previous mentioned Bowie knife. It is also made from different steel, which are the 15N25 and 1075 steel. The blade is also reasonably hard with a hardness of 58-60 HRC. The length of the blade is also 9.5” which is longer than the Poshland REG 215. The handle is made from Walnut wood which has a prominent brass finger guard and pommel at the back. This combination of features on the handle will give it a top-notch grip ideal for outdoor activities.

Bowie Knife Buying Guide

Bowie knife buying guide

In the buying guide, you become familiar with all of the information related to Bowie knives. You will learn which type of steel was used to make these knives. These knives also come in different lengths, and you will also learn more about the Rockwell hardness scale.

What is a Bowie knife?

The Bowie knife is a knife with a unique appearance that can be easily identified. Initially, the knife was created for Jim Bowie, who was involved in the very popular sandbar fight which occurred in 1827.

What about the appearance of the Bowie knife?

This knife was created for knife fighting purposes and have some combat elements embedded in its design. First of all, it is a fixed blade knife where the blade can range anywhere from 8” up to 12” in length. The shape of the blade is that of a clip point knife but an oversized version.

A third of the blade from the tip is clipped off so that the tip of the blade is centered. The part that is clipped can be either straight or concave in shape. Another prominent feature is that of the crossguard.

The crossguard (also called finger guard) is the part between the blade and the handle which will protect your hand. You will be very familiar with the role that the crossguard play in swords. This part of the knife can also assist in better grip.

Which type of steel was used to make the blade

Most blacksmiths have evolved they recipes for forging the best steel to make Bowie knives. There are many features to look for when choosing the best steel. You need to select a steel that will not bend once a lot of pressure is applied to it.

You also do not want the blade of the knife to be brittle. You want to choose a knife that is right in between. There is a high correlation between the carbon content and the strength of the blade. If the carbon content is too low, the steel will bend. If the carbon content of the steel is too high, it will be too brittle.

In this review of the best Bowie knife, four types of steel were used.

  • 440C Steel. This steel falls into the stainless steel category that has the highest form of carbon content. It has a hardness rating of 58–60 HRC and can also be used to make ball bearings. The Perkin Bowie Knife could be made from this steel.
  • SAE 52100 Steel. This steel is also high in carbon and contains other elements as well. It contains Carbon, Silicon, Manganese, and even Chromium. It has a hardness rating of around 62-66 HRC. It is highly possible that the Perkin Bowie Knife is made from this steel.
  • D2 Steel. D2 steel is mostly used to make tools and can also be referred to as “tool steel.” It is very hard with a rating of 55-62 HRC and has both a high Carbon and Chromium content. The Moorhaus Bowie knife is made from this steel.
  • Damascus Steel. Modern Damascus steel (also called pattern welded steel) is a combination of two types of steel. Two different steel types are welded together, heat treated and then folded. This process gives the knife a very attractive “Damascus” like pattern on the blade. Both the Poshland REG 215 and the Knife King are of Damascus steel.

If you want to become more familiar on Damascus steel blades, then you can read this article.

The blade length

As a standard, Bowie knives can range from 8” up to 12” in length. The knife with the shortest blade is the Perkin Bowie Knife which is 8.5” in length. Bowie knives that are shorter can be easier to control and carried.

However, if you want a very long Bowie knife, then I would recommend the Wild Turkey Handmade Bowie knife as its blade is a whopping 11.25” in length. The length of the blade is all depended on the user’s preference.

Hardness scales (Rockwell Hardness Scale)

If you have ever bought a knife in your knife, then you might have come across the HRC or RC which can be referred to as the Rockwell Hardness measured on the “C” scale. For the use of knives, a good Rockwell score will always range from 50 up to just over 60.

It is measured by an indenter machine that will penetrate the blade of a knife with a diamond-tipped indenter. A preload and a heavier load will be used to apply the force needed for the penetration. The values are then compared to determine the HRC score.

Look at it this way.

The higher the HRC score, the longer it will retain the cutting edge, but it will lack some of the toughness. If the HRC score is lower, the tougher it will be, but it will not retain the edge for very long.

So which score is the best?

It depends on the use of the knife. If you want to use your Bowie knife for survival purposes, then I would recommend a lower HRC score. The blade needs to be tougher because of the amount of rigorous work it will do. Your Bowie knife will also not retain the edge for too long, but it is less likely to chip.

For kitchen knives, a higher HRC score is required. Kitchen knives need to be sharp all the time, which means it needs to retain the edge for a long time. You also do not want to use your kitchen knives for hard outdoor work.

Here is a summary on the HRC score for each knife:

  • Perkin Bowie Knife: 58-59 HRC
  • Moorhaus D2: 60-62HRC
  • Poshland REG 215: HRC 58-60
  • Knife King: 58-60 HRC

The Moorhuas D2 might be on the harder side of the scale, but not too hard.

Bowie Knife Comparison

Product Name Blade LengthMetal UsedEditors Rating
1. Perkin Bowie Knife (Top Pick)8.5”Ball Bearing Steel10/10
2. Wild Turkey Handmade (Budget Friendly)11.25″High Carbon Stainless Steel 8/10
3. Moorhaus D2 (Highest Value)9.5″D2 Steel9/10
4. Poshland REG 2159″1095/15N20 (Damascus Steel)8/10
5. Knife King9.5″1075/15N25 (Damascus Steel)9/10

Final Word

Choosing the right Bowie knife can be complicated. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before purchasing such a knife. We hope that this guide has helped you choose the best Bowie knife for your needs.

After reading this article, you will be more familiar with some of the features which include the type of metal used to make the blade, its length, and also the hardness scale of the blade. I hope you are more confident in what you want and how to choose the best one.

Now it is up to you. Which Bowie knife was your favorite, and why? Click here if you want to learn more about the knives that we have reviewed.

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