Do the “Ten Black Kings” Exist?

by
posted on October 16, 2013
bs_2015_fs.jpg (15)

The Background
Author Stephen Hunter is a “gun guy” who has written several great novels that co-star some fantastic firearms. Hunter’s 1993 book "Point of Impact" (adapted to the motion picture “Shooter” in 2007) is the first of his novels featuring fictional USMC Scout-Sniper Bob Lee Swagger as the main character. In the book, Hunter describes a special set of pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 rifles called “The Ten Black Kings.” These custom rifles were said to have had American Black Walnut stocks so dark that they appeared black.  These extremely rare rifles were given to VIPs by Winchester and never offered for sale.  The rifles also play a prominent role in Hunter’s novel, "The Third Bullet."

The Big Question
Do the “Ten Black Kings” exist or are they a figment of Mr. Hunter’s imagination? If these rifles were real, they would be the “Holy Grail” of Model 70s- wouldn’t I have heard of them?

The Expert Deferral
Do an Internet search on this topic and you’ll come up with more questions than answers. I reached-out to the experts at the Winchester Collectors Association figuring that if anyone knew about the “Ten Black Kings” it would be them. After a polling of their collectors, they couldn’t find a soul who’d heard of these rifles. I’m no Winchester expert, so there’s a chance that I wouldn’t know about them, but these are the people who know the serial numbers of every Rifleman’s Rifle out there- if they were unaware of these rifles, it stands to reason that they were never made.

The Double-Check
Finally, just so we didn’t put out bad information, Jeff and I consulted with our friend Phil Schreier, Senior Curator of the National Firearms Museum and co-host of the “Guns & Gold” television show. Phil confirmed what I strongly suspected: that the “Ten Black Kings” were never made; they don’t exist. In fact, Phil informed us that in one of Hunter’s books one of the “Kings” was on display in the National Firearms Museum. Trust me, if anyone knows what’s in that museum, it’s Phil.

The Ruling
As much as I wish it were true so that I could spend my life trying to find one for my own gun safe, the “Ten Black Kings” are pure fiction. My hat is off to Stephen Hunter for his excellent books, and creating “guns of legend” out of thin air. Maybe Winchester will make them now?

Latest

Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen New Models Lead
Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen New Models Lead

Browning Introduces New A5 Sweet Sixteen Shotguns

Browning’s A5 Sweet Sixteen lineup grows with several new models for designed for upland and waterfowl hunting.

New for 2022: Ruger-Made Marlin 1895 SBL

The first Marlin to be produced at Ruger’s factory, the new 1895 SBL, with its classic style and rugged reliability, lives up to the hype.

First Look: Realtree Max-7 Camouflage

Realtree has designed Max-7 to conceal hunters in virtually every scenario and any waterfowl environment.

First Look: Leica Geovid Pro 32 Rangefinding Binocular

Leica launches its iconic Geovid rangefinding binocular in new compact, lightweight size with added functionality.

First Look: Winchester Blind Side 2 Waterfowl Ammunition

Winchester Ammunition has introduced Blind Side 2 waterfowl shotshells. Similar to their predecessors, they utilize hex-shaped shot, but are differentiated by a nickel-plated head and Drylok wad system

First Look: Legacy Pointer Acrius Cerakote Over/Under Series

Legacy Sports Int’l and Pointer Shotguns have collaborated to create the Acrius Cerakote Over/Under series.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.