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American Handgunner March/April 2011 - Page 30

Mike “Duke” Venturino For their 20th wedding anniversary, Yvonne surprised Duke with this Damascus Bowie knife by custom maker Steve Brooks. SHOOTINGIRON TM Photos: Yvonne Venturino THUMB BUSTIN’ MUSINGS FROM THE DUKE Our Editorship gave Duke this K-bar years before Duke became a staffer here at Handgunner. SHARP EDGES ecently there was a letter printed in these pages bemoaning the fact Handgunner sometimes prints knife articles. That caused me to give a moment’s thought to my own sharp edges. I said to myself, “I’m not much of a knife guy: I’m a gun guy. That is except for my Spyderco folder and my Steve Brooks Damascus Bowie. And except for a couple of Damascus hunting knives. And except for the British Commando dagger I stumbled onto. And except for that big box full of bayonets that go with my military rifle collection. And except for my replica US Model 1860 cavalry saber and oh yeah, I can’t forget the newest one: a genuine Japanese World War II officer’s saber.” Well, I guess the bottom line is I do have a lot of sharp edges. Some of them, like the hunting knives, have seen their share of use. Others, like the replica US cavalry saber, are used only as photo props. Steve Brooks is a Montana based custom knife and bullet R mould maker and a friend for over 20 years. His beautifully crafted Damascus knives bring hefty prices, but about 15 years back I finally afforded one for myself — a modest sized hunting knife. Then for our 20th wedding anniversary Yvonne knocked my socks off. She surprised me with a beautiful Brooks’ Damascus Bowie knife. It has an 8" blade and a handle made of buffalo horn. Bowie knives are not the most practical of items nowadays but I treasure mine for obvious reasons. Two of my knives have my name on them. One is a Damascus hunting knife with deer antler handle that has my name scrimshawed on its base. It simply arrived in the mail one day with a letter. Its West Virginia maker is a reader and since I was born and raised in that state he said he made that knife for me as a friendly gesture. The other one carries my nickname “Duke” engraved on its blade and was a birthday present from a friend. Again for obvious reasons I treasure them too. USELESS EDGES T SWORD SILLINESS A o a civilian bayonets are just about as useless as swords, which today are perhaps the most useless of all edged weapons. Still when I began assembling a collection of military rifles it seemed natural to obtain bayonets to go with them. I have a couple of the triangular type bayonets going with late 1800s rifle/muskets, a similar one fitting a Winchester 1873 .44-40 musket and other bladetype bayonets fitting Krags, Garands, Springfields, Enfields, Mausers, Arisakas and more. Another rather useless edged weapon of military origin was one I found on one of my numerous road trips in a pawnshop in Fort Collins, Co. It’s a dagger of the type the British issued to their Commandos in World War II. I believe they are called Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives. This one has a 6" blade and grooved hilt of some sort of non-ferrous metal. Its only markings are “England” on the handguard and the numeral “1” near the end of the hilt. Besides dressing up an occasional photo with it, the only purpose it sees is in opening boxes. Its edges aren’t that sharp but that point is wickedly so. Uh-Oh, here we go again. Duke with a helmet and weapons! This time he’s showing off a genuine Japanese World War II officer’s sword recently given to him by a friend, and a Nambu. If you don’t laugh at this, there’s something wrong with you! This replica cavalry saber is good for one thing — as a photo prop! nd lastly there are the swords. I say they’re the most useless of all edged weapons today because swords have absolutely no other practical use than in fighting. Guns serve much better for that. The replica cavalry saber is inexpensive and came from Dixie Gun Works. Except as a photo prop the only thing I’ve ever done with it is to tie a long piece of ribbon from the hilt. Then I’ve jammed it in the ground at the firing line of a silhouette match to serve as a wind-flag. That got laughs from my buddies. The Japanese officer’s sword is special to me. A few months back when I arrived at one of our Montana BPCR Silhouette events a friend walked up and handed me this “Samurai sword.” He said, “Here add this to your World War II collection.” It had Japanese writing under the hilt, which turned out to indicate it was handmade by a rather well known sword maker during World War II. That one will be with me forever. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Years before our editor Roy was my boss, I was visiting at his home. He gave me a K-bar like the US Marine Corps has issued for decades. It’s not going anywhere either. I guess I am sort of a knife guy too. * 30 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2011

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