Painting Rifles - How To
So, I was asked to post this on m4carbine and figured it may benefit some here as well. Reasons for painting rifles will vary, but in almost all cases, there is a benefit. Black is one of the biggest target indicators out there and will show up against most environments and under night vision more so than almost any other standard color.
Aside from that, it also keeps your rifle cooler in the heat and is a benefit for some when hunting. I don't paint my work rifles, so for me it comes down to hunting and keeping them cool the South Texas heat.
Here's what I posted - keep in mind this was written for m4carbine and showing one member's rifle that I panted the other day as an example.
I'll start again by saying everything I do started by talking to Lightfighter forum members GTF425, AShooter and Pat Rogers' thread "Painting Your Carbine - from the Book of Pat". Everything is just a variation of what I learned from them.
The colors I use the most are Aervoe Sand, Marine Corps Green (which is the large dark patches of green you see), Dark Green (which is more like grass), Field Drab, Highland, Light Coyote and OD Green - Post WWII. For the accents I use Aervoe Sand or Krylon Tan with Krylon Brown. I don't use all of these colors on each rifle, it's just the ones I use for everything. I have plenty more, but these are the ones I prefer.
I'll use SOWT's 700 to explain the process. (SOWT is a member on Lightfighter and m4carbine and I painted his hog rifle, a Remington 700. The picture is below with my 14.5" AR as well).
For prep, I just clean the rifle and wipe it dry. I leave everything in place, especially the optics. I stick a foam earplug inside the barrel and use tape over the front and rear of the optics. I just press the tape on like a lens cover, no need to get too precise. I tape off the trigger and bolt as well, or close the dust cover on an AR. I also tape of the rubber on the stock. Not for any reason other than in my experience, like with the Benelli, it takes considerably longer to dry.
I usually let the rifle sit in the sun for a good 15 to 30 minutes before painting so there's no moisture on the surface.
• The first thing I do is put down a base coat of Aervoe Sand. It doesn't have to be perfect as we're painting over a good portion of it anyway. I hold the can about 12" to 18" away and do long passes, starting to spray before I get to the rifle and continuing to spray just past it, this way there's no build up.
You'll notice the paint barely goes on and it's a very light dusting at first, that's a good thing. I'd rather pass over an area ten times with very light coats than once with a heavy coat. There's no instant gratification here, but trust me, it'll come together in no time.
• Once I have a good base coat down, I start with the large splotches of color. I use Marine Corps Green first and for the largest sections. I use a piece of cardboard that I cut a waves pattern into on the edge (idea from AShooter). I hold this near the rifle and spray the MC Green. I dust it on similar to the Sand. What will happen here is there will be a solid separation where the pattern shows, the you can fade it out slightly on the other side.
You can see in the pics that I use palm size section of MC Green and leave as much, or slightly more, Sand showing through. There's no set way that I do this, I just add it and make it larger if needed.
• Now, I'll use the Field Drab and Dark Green and dust just a light amount into the areas where the Sand and MC Green meet. To give you an idea of how little, I've been through three or four cans of Sand and a little less than two of OD Green on all these rifles, *but I'm still on the first can of all the accent colors and you can barely tell a difference in weight from when they were new.
• Once that is done, I'll take the OD Green and dust it over the entire rifle, basically putting down a very light coat over everything that is almost unnoticeable as its happening, but can quickly get away from you and cover everything you just did. So always err on the side of caution here. I'll go a little heavier in some areas and hardly dust others, this is usually decided as I'm spraying.
• Accents - I took a few manilla folders and traced/drew Multicam style patterns on them using Multicam I have here. I then cut them out with Of the folders. Well, I had my wife do it. She thought I was a little retarded but she did it anyway...
I then just held the patterns next to the rifle and sprayed directly through them, not the normal sweeping motion. Go very light, especially with the Brown, but don't go too light where you have to do it again as it might not be in the same place exactly.
What I've found works really well here is using the tan accents over darker areas of the rifle and using the brown accents over the lighter areas of the rifle. The accents are much more noticeable and give that separation we need for a truly effective camo.
• Finally, I might give a light dusting of OD Green again once the accents are done, but too much will quickly subdue the accents to a point where they'll be less effective.
One thing I've noticed is that many people will try to use subtle fades and blend everything together and when viewed from a distance it's just one blob of color. That's better than black, but still not what we're looking for. For camo to truly be effective, we need to break up the pattern. The best way to do this is with contrast and sharp separation with no straight lines.
The accents I use are not a must. They double the painting time and though they help, solid blotches of paint will work pretty much just as well for most people's needs. The 14.5" rifle I painted is not my work rifle and it's primary use is trainng and occasional hog and coyote hunting. I'm not trying to disappear from the enemy, i just want my gun to blend a bit better. Another benefit to painting the rifles is they don't get nearly as hot in the Aouth Texas sun. I'd say that's one of my main reasons now for painting.
This is obviously not as durable as other coatings out there, but I just don't care. I'm not trying to make them look pretty though I can't help myself at times and do try to do it right. Over time, they get the beat up look I prefer. Obviously, that's not for everyone.
- I'll edit this with a little more info and pics shortly, but this is all you need to get it done... Feel free to PM with any questions.
Again, I did not figure this out on my own, I learned it all from Lightfighter members AShooter, Pat Rogers and GTF425.... Plus others bits I've picked up from others along the way.
Here are a bunch of pics. Near the bottom you'll see a little bit of the process on the VZ58. Ill pick the ones that matter and post them in this thread later today.
All the painted rifle pics are in this set and not grouped together, though most are in the middle or end. there are pics of the Vz58 before the accents and final dusting. You'll see I dusted it too heavy and removed most of the other colors.
Here's the paints that I use, but not all on one rifle, and the cutouts below. This is all very simple and easy to do, hopefully I didn't make it sound complicated n any way.
Painted suppressor and Nightforce 2.5-10. I know it's hard to see, but the can shows how well the paint holds up to heat and countless days pushing through brush and limbs. There are better pics in the Flickr link above.
Perfect timing as my new Boyds Tacticool laminated stock for my Savage Mark II FVSR 22 rimfire just arrived. I plan to use some kind of textured paint on the forearm and grip the cover it with a flat black paint. Any recommendations regarding a base coat, textured paint and final paint? Types and brands? Where to get them?
This is going to be my back yard varmint rifle.
Nice! I'm not into the camo so much (never had a deer spook and run while bawling "Rifle, rifle!" but who knows). I'm too in love with wood stocks to paint them.
An interesting sidenote, I just finished working with some UAV projects, and I saw that once a burst or two is fired from an M4 or whatever, it looks like a flare in one's hands--from over 10,000 feet! Can't camo that without a bucket of cold water.
I wouldn't use black if you'll be out in the heat, but if it's already black, it won't make it any worse. I'd highly recommend Aervoe for everything but the textured paint. Aervoe is available through DSG Arms for less than $7 a can.
Then, for the grip area, there's a company that makes a textured paint. I'd spray that over a base coat of Aervoe. Hang tight and I'll get the manufacturer info for you.
EDIT - Rustoleum Textured Sandstone is the one that I found being used, but I'm not sure if they offer different levels of texture or not.
Absolutely. Camo is only good when the guns aren't firing, but there are many reports of rifles being the give-away for many soldiers and contractors. It got to a point where a specific unit ordered multicam Safariland holsters as they were getting shot in the belt area from a couple hundreds yards away +. It's an intersting report.
Originally Posted by OldVet
Under nods, the difference is amazing from black to even a solid coat of Aervoe Sand. I'll link to sme pics of that. But, this isn't just about fighting, it's about keeping the rifle cool, giving it a different look or just blending in when coyote hunting.
As for muzzle flash, though this isn't 10,000 feet, it's certainly noticeable...
Military Videos - DRAMATIC AMBUSH BY US SPECIAL FORCES ON TALIBAN BOMB MAKERS
This picture belongs to kdcgrohl on Lightfighter and shows the difference a little paint can accomplish.
And this one shows the difference under night vision. This was taken by Victor from TNVC. The one on the left is completely painted and the one on the right is black. Again, this will not matter to most, but to some it might so I figured I'd add it.
This thread definitely has me thinking. My AK is OD metal and tan on the furniture, but I think painting the metal might be an even better move. Thank you for the great information.
If you want to change the color of the rifle, and break up the outline, there is also the old trick of wrapping it in burlap or other materials to camo it up. Of course, you need to pay attention to not interfering with the weapon's operation - but you have the advantage of easily going back to "stock." I imagine it might also help mask the heat signature some - if you care about that.
Wow. I'm so going to do this. Jon, you are my hero!
It would take quite a bit of paint directly on the bolt catch or bolt itself to cause any issues. Not that it's impossible, but if you do it as I outlined, you'll never lay down enough paint to cause issue.
Some acetone, a rag and a toothbrush and you'll be right back to where you started.
So, BLACK is no longer tacticool. So much for Evil BLack Rifles! Interesting. Did I read correctly, there is no "top coat?" How well does the paint stick on external moving parts like the lever action hinge, or say a pump shotgun? Perhaps you could share a video of your next project?
That's correct, I don't use any top coat. There is a matte clear coat that a few have used, but it doesn't make it that much more durable. Also, the Aervoe is extremely flat and non-reflective, even a matte clear coat will add some sheen to it, which I personally want to avoid.
Originally Posted by paramedic70002
I painted the Henry Mare's Leg, but I don't use it enough to say how it'll hold up on a hinge. It has held up surprisingly well on my daily carry M&P and the other rifles, but it won't hold up as well as Cerakote, for example.
One thing that really helps is getting the weapon in the sun and not using it for a week or so, that way it can cure. Still, it'll chip and wear on edges and other high contact areas. It will be ready to go by the next day, but it doesn't cure that quick. But, for me, I actually like the way it looks once if wears a good bit, though that look is certainly not for everyone.
For $6 a can and 30 minutes of work, you can have it right away for very little money. Aervoe holds up better than Krylon and other paints as well. Plus, once it wears too much, you can easily top it off with another dusting like I do in the final step or easily wipe it off with Acetone, a rag and a toothbrush then change the look entirely. This isn't recommended for those wanting a pretty rifle that won't show wear!
As for the video, the guy who owns the 700 asked if he can bring another rifle down and video the process. So, that should happen in the next few months unless I paint another rifle sooner and think to get the video camera out. I'll post it when I do another rifle.
Thank you for passing on the info Jon. Nice work as always.
I've been pondering doing up mine for a while. I've decided that I am going to try to match my A-TACS AU pattern Attachment 62466
One question - How do you handle the holes/vents in the railed hand guards in respect to the barrel? Just have a bunch of soft circles on the barrel?
You've done some really nice work on these! I've been seriously considering a job on the Bushy AR for coyotes. The notion of committing kind of keeps me on hold. Your pics have me thinking about it again. I don't know if I could ever do the Weatherby. Ouch.
I found a website by The Coyote Man, or something like it. He used leaves and pine twigs for overspray and the effects were pretty nice.
Thanks for the step by step. Really helpful.
Do the Aervoe and Rustoleum paints work on wood stocks? Need a primer coat maybe?
Think I will go with the gray stock. I have a bit of that sumtimers disease going on and if I forget where I laid my rifle down camouflage would make it that much harder to find.