This is a FINE to VERY FINE example of the rarely encountered US M-1900 Bayonet & Entrenching Tool, known to collectors simply as the Krag Bowie Bayonet. According to Paul Kiesling’s Bayonet’s of the World, a total of 2,800 of these combination bayonet / entrenching tools were produced at Springfield Armory in 1900, with 1,500 sent to the Philippines and 500 sent to Cuba for field testing. Most other sources place production at only 2,000 units “ all manufactured in 1900. The bayonet was a continuation in of the US Ordnance Department’s long-standing desire to combine multiple field implements into a single multi-use tool. The various M-1873 Trapdoor “Trowel” bayonets produced in the early 1870’s and the subsequent M-1874 combination entrenching tool and bayonet were early attempts to accomplish this goal. While the theory was the combination of the bayonet and entrenching tool would reduce the load a soldier carried while on campaign, the more likely rational was to save money and to only procure one item instead of two. The “Krag Bowie”, like the combination bayonets that preceded it, was a dismal failure in the field. It proved an awkward and cumbersome bayonet in use and a practically worthless entrenching tool. It was simply too small and too light to serve as an effective digging implement. Most of the bayonets saw more service as improvised machetes in the Philippine jungles than they did as bayonets or digging implements. This fact lead to the next major attempt to create a combination bayonet, the series of Krag Bolo Knife bayonets.
This Krag Bowie Bayonet is complete, correct and original in every way. The bayonet blade has a nice bright sheen to the blade, which appears to be the majority of the original arsenal bright finish. The ricasso is clearly marked on the obverse with US and on the reverse with the year of production, 1900. The 8 15/16” long Bowie style blade is completely smooth without any pitting or pinpricking present. The cutting edge of the blade has been lightly sharpened at some point in time, probably during the period of use. The bayonet has an overall length of 13 “. The standard Krag pattern grip is in fine condition with two lovely walnut grip panels that are free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. They show only light handling bumps and dings. The locking mechanism in the grip is in excellent mechanical condition and works as it should. The cross guard and muzzle ring are in fine condition and have a slightly duller pewter gray patina than the bright blade. The original metal scabbard is retained with the bayonet and is in FINE condition as well. It’s overall condition matches the bayonet very well and the scabbard is complete and fully functional. The original wire belt loop and swivel are in place and function smoothly and the original ball tip is in place on the scabbard. The blade tension spring inside the scabbard remains tight and holds the bayonet in the scabbard as it should. The scabbard retains about 20%-30% of its original blued finish, with only some scattered patches of light surface oxidation present, mostly on the reverse of the scabbard. The overall condition of the scabbard is quite commensurate with the bayonet and they match each other well.
Overall this is a really fantastic example of a very scarce bayonet from the era of the Philippine Insurrection and the Post-Spanish American War Cuban occupation. With nearly all of the bayonets produced being shipped to one of these two American outposts, the survival rate is quite low, making these bayonets very scarce. Their rarity has caused the price to escalate over the last decade to the point where $2,500 to $3,500 (or even higher) is not uncommon for very nice examples. The bayonet has a really great looking blade and wonderful scabbard, and would likely be priced at least $500 higher most other places. The bayonet and scabbard are fairly priced and are well below what many of these bayonets are priced at today. This is a great opportunity to add a truly scarce bayonet to your collection at a very fair price.SOLD