*Spray-paint Your Rifle*
By: Arroyo
Original: April 2004
Updated: 28 November 2005

     After reading about lots of people spray-painting their rifles, I decided to give it a whirl myself. A 'field rifle' should be a tool, not a museum piece, so I wasn't too squeamish about markin' it up. But this definitely isn't something for the 'safe queens' in your collection.

     Materials needed:

    • Rifle (or anything you want to paint - could be a shovel if ya want! ;) )
    • Spray paint
    • Masking tape
    • Backdrop
    • Ventilated area
     I used what's known as 'Bow-flage'. It's by Hunter's Specialties (H.S. Camo), and the official name is 'Removable Camo Spray Paint'. It's supposed to be long-lasting and yet _removable_ if ya want, like to change the color, or sell it, or whatever. From the reports I've read on other forums, it seems to hold up pretty well. (Official web site)
     You can find it where archery supplies are sold, as opposed to regular spray paint. I went to G.I. Joe's (a big-box sporting goods chain) and they didn't have it in the paint section, , but in the archery section, it was right there.
     They sell it in individual 4.5 oz. cans, or a 'kit' of 4 cans of different colors. The cans were $3 when I got 'em, and the kit was $12, so there's not really a price break. The kit comes with a stencil, and maybe better instructions too.
     I really only wanted brown and green, so I just bought two individual cans. I got the 'Leaf Green' and 'Mud Brown' colors. Choose your colors depending on your particular Area of Operation.
     Another option for paint would be Krylon's line of 'Camouflage' paint. It is rated 'Ultra-Flat' and comes in colors like olive drab, tan, gray, and black. I will probably try these next time - the cans at Wal-Mart are only about $3, *but* they're 11 oz., which is more than _twice_ the paint of the Bow-flage cans. But, it's not 'removable' so therein lies the price difference. (Krylon's site)

     Okay, here's the naked rifle. I cleaned it, and gave it a bit of a wash with soapy water.

     Next I masked off the areas I didn't want to paint. I'm not really sure what needed to be covered, so if you know your rifle better you can probably do a better job. One other thing, you could cut the tape with an exacto-knife first to get cleaner lines. Since this was an experiment, I wasn't too concerned about being precise.

     Okay, first coat was of 'Leaf Green'. This came out a little lighter than I expected. Based on the foilage in my area, I probably should have gone with the 'Olive Drab', a darker color. Oh well - I'll see how this holds up and I can always paint it darker later.

 

     After painting both sides green, I let it dry for a little bit. Probably not as long as I should have, but I can be impatient. =) Then came time for the brown. I wasn't really sure what kind of pattern I wanted, so I decided to just do it randomly. I didn't want to mask it off again for a 'precise' pattern, so I just sprayed away. It turned out ok I think.

 

     I let it dry more, and then off came the masking tape. Here is the result. Not too professional looking, but I expected that. I figure 'in the bush' it will look decent enough.


 

     So there ya have it folks! Simple enough, I did it all in about an hour. You can get real fancy with it - clean masking lines, pattern layering, proper dry time, make sure it's not a windy day, etc. Just remember: it's just metal, and it's just paint. :)

 

FALL 2005 UPDATE:

     Just a little update: the 'spring green' color was a little bright for my AO, so I went with just some basic Krylon olive drab to darken it up a bit ... it's not the fancy removable paint, but heck, I'm not planning on selling it so I doubt I'll ever want to 'un'-paint it.
     Also, you can see where the Bowflage has worn away at the cheek weld point. Plus I've since added a ranger band to the grip and a paracord sling point.

     And just for kicks here is my FAL and Spyder paintball marker I also gave a quick spray job too ... just had to get rid of the basic black (and in the Spyder's case, anondized blue). ;)


Arroyo



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