Is the “Black King” Featured in the Movie Shooter a Real Rifle?

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Yes and no. The black king rifle used by the main protagonist in the movie shooter is a fictitious gun. 

Let’s start with the original writer who created the Black King rifle, alongside Bob Lee Swagger, a US marine sniper character. 

Shooter, a 2007 American Legend

The rifles featured in Shooter and its off-shoot TV series of the same name can be termed collectively as the Black Kings. We first saw these long-range weapons in the 2007 action thriller, Shooter, written by Jonathan Lemkin and directed by Antoine Fuqua.  

Beyond what every movie buff knows, the script for Shooter was based entirely on a 1993 novel called Point of Impact. This book, amongst other ‘rifle glory’ novels, was the work of Stephen hunter, an avid gun enthusiast.

Point of impact was the first of the author’s novels that features USMC gunnery sergeant Bob Lee Swagger, a scout sniper. In this novel, Hunter describes the Ten Black Kings as a set of Winchester model 70s from pre-1964. 

These custom made set of guns had walnut stocks so dark they appeared as though black. The rifles were rare, never offered for sale, but only gifted to a select few by Winchester.

A Sneak Peek

In Stephen Hunter’s novel The Third Bullet, the Black King rifles play a prominent role. Shooter was released by Paramount Pictures on March 23rd, 2007 in the US. 

In this Di Bonaventura picture production, the Shooter, Bob Lee Swagger, is played by Mark Wahlberg as a semi-retired force recon vet. He is framed for murder by shady private military types after they trick him into participating in stopping an assassination attempt on POTUS.

When the shot is taken, it’s not by Bob Lee Swagger. He’s double-crossed and shot but manages to get away. 

It also appears as though the Shooter missed the US president and killed an Ethiopian dignitary instead. Swagger plays vigilante from there on, and many people lose their lives.

He finds the ones responsible, uncovering in the process an oil consortium plot that had targeted the Ethiopian archbishop all along. The final confrontation involves his dry firing a black king rifle at the leader of the private military guys, a US army colonel.

Finally, Bob Lee Swagger is exonerated and gets away with the girl. 

The Mythical Shooter Black King Stand-Ins

Under the guidance of Patrick Garrity, an ex-US marines scout sniper, Mark Wahlberg was trained for various sniper weapons and tactics. The movie uses an array of long-range sniper rifles, including a CheyTac Intervention, a Barrett M82, and the definitive USMC M40A3.

Weapons and Tactics in Shooters 

Several tactics can be discerned in Shooter, some involving switch shooting techniques from right hand to left. This was mainly because Wahlberg is left-handed and accommodated the injuries sustained by his character, Bob Lee Swagger.

Training for mark involved wind judging and scoping, rapid bolt manipulations, and special breathing skills. Garrity, the shooter’s military technical advisor, taught him extreme distance sniping and the use of ghillie camouflage suits.

There is also an extensive array of weapons used throughout Shooter by Swagger, his comrades, and those looking to kill him. The framed large-caliber rifle, which Swagger owns, can be counted as black king number one.

Cheyenne Tactical M200 Intervention

The CheyTAC M200 is a long-range rifle, chambered in proprietary calibers including .375 Chey TAC or .408 Chey TAC from Cheyenne tactical. In a time when marketplace offerings include .50 BMG, the M200 was designed to fill the gap for large caliber sniping rifles. 

The CheyTAC M200 intervention fires an accurate grouping at over six thousand feet, and it broke the world record in 2006 for 2,321 yards. This black king is integrated with long-range rifle systems. These consist of mag scope, laser range finder, and night vision and weather probe.

Alongside the rifle, these components make up the LRRS or CheyTac Long Range Sniper System, which links on a ballistic PDA. A shooter or the spotter can make calculations and read all the necessary data for a more accurate long-range sniping with the M200.

A shot in the mountains shows bob lee swagger shooting at a stew can from a mile away on the Cheyenne tactical M200 intervention. You can see a ballistic computer on his shooting hand side on the rock next to him. 

M40A3 Sniper Rifle

Several ground targets are engaged by ex-USMC sniper bob lee swagger with an M40A3 rifle from the onset of Shooter. During the final mountain confrontation, one of the mercenaries is sniping with what appears to be an M40A3 in custom camouflage.

I however, discovered it to be a Remington 700 7.62 that’s been blueprinted and trued by a gunsmith. This rifle was fitted with a Harris bipod, McMillan A4 stock, and an MST-100 scope from US optics.

At the start of Shooter, bob lee swagger is seen chambering a round into an M40A3 rifle. He’s wearing a full sniper camo, but for some reason, his is army UCP in the place of marine MARPAT.

Barrett M82A1M

The next black king rifle in terms of appearance on Shooter was the Barrett M82A1. This sniper rifle was fitted with a monopod socket, lengthened rail and rear grip. 

The Barrett M82A is different from a later version, the M107 that features a muzzle brake for suppressor integration. This variant is also called the Light Fifty, widely used by provisional Irish Republican Army snipers in the early 90s. 

Though no longer in production, the M82A1 and 2 have a successor in the XM50. It features a barrel made of titanium. 

In a scene purported by Shooter to be in Ethiopia, bob lee swagger is seen firing an M40A2 and the Barrett M82A1M sniper rifles. These applications are probably a stand-in for the regular USMC Barrett variant that features a removed rear grip.  

In the real world scenario, the Barrett M82 sniper rifle has a semi-automatic action. However, in shooter swagger is seen using a charging handle like it’s a non-blank adapted gun. 

Another weapons coordinator for the film claims it was a real Barrett firing blanks that was used. There were multiple cuts with the rifle, which jammed twice and was edited to look like he was cocking it.

In another instance, Swagger is seen firing a .50BMG M82A1M at an approaching enemy helicopter. This shot makes the rear sight that welded to the receiver visible, whereas there should be a rail-mounted rear sight had it been the later Barrett M107.

Swagger takes another shot, and the rifle appears to jam. He clears the jam, but the editing has the scene looking as though he’s racking a bolt action after firing. The folded front sight visible in this shot wouldn’t be there in the later M107 as its full-length top rail conceals the sight.

Barrett M82A1

There’s a famous shot in Shooter where a remote weapons platform is seen zooming in on the dignitary speaking on the dais at the Philadelphia scene. This contraption is known as a TRAP or Precision Remotes Telepresent Rapid-Aiming Platform, a computerized weapons system designed to hold a standard rifle. 

When the scene pans in on the remote scopes readout, the mounted weapon appears to be a Barrett M82A1 fitted with a suppressor.

Remington 700 PSS

This is a heavy barreled model of the tactical Remington 700 model. The Remington 700 PSS appeared twice in shooters.First, it was the secret service’s choice of sniper weapon during the archbishop’s assassination. 

During their time on the run, bob lee swagger and nick Memphis acquire two Remington’s from a hunting supplies shop. These were fitted with fixed Leupold M1 magnification scopes. The two fugitives had a custom camouflage job done on them.

Swagger is pressure trained by Memphis to shoot using the 700 PSS, as a prelude to their infiltrating the Virginia ranch.  The Remington is seen later with an arctic camo theme and features on both sides during the mountainside confrontation. 

Called the PSS-700 by many gun writers, it was developed as a police precision sniper rifle in 1986. The PSS features a lightweight H-S Precision synthetic stock alongside the heavy profile barrel. 

There is also a varmint edition of this rifle, the 700 VS, which has a tapered, thin barrel. The 700 PSS is chambered in .308 Winchester and 5.56×45 mm in short receiver action. 

Due to being barreled for .308 or 7.62×51 mm NATO, you have the option to switch to a larger caliber. Sales for the Remington 700 PSS were stopped in 1999 without any reason for the decision. 

After much ado, the 700 PSS was reintroduced in the early 2000s as the Remington 700P. The P here stands for Parkerized as opposed to the previous Police designation, aimed at the general public and law enforcement.

While the barrel in this new version isn’t as heavy as the one used by Swagger, other details are almost identical.

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