I’ve received a fair number of requests for a tutorial or explanation as to how I painted the rifle you see at the top of this page. I have to say, I’m a little surprised, but thankful. I’m no artist – I used Krylon.
Well, it’s easy to do. You can paint a rifle in 15 minutes or less. You can also remove it fairly easily with common chemicals and a brush if you get tired of a brown or green rifle. You can paint over it if you need to. It’s also cheap – $15-20 max, depending on the number of colors you want to use.
Why should you not use Krylon on your rifle?
Well, if you want a durable, protective finish, Krylon is not what you’re looking for. It’s going to wear pretty fast if you use the rifle continuously. It won’t protect the rifle from anything but the weakest of scratches. It may help prevent rust, but if you’re worried about rust, have the steel parts of your rifle properly refinished with manganese phosphate, IonBond, etc etc. If you want to do a pattern with leaves, straw, or netting, you can definitely do that with Krylon, but when it gets worn, it’ll be difficult to “repair” the worn areas. Obviously, you could just redo the entire thing – but I’m throwing this out there so that you can make an educated decision.
So, now that I’ve covered that, here’s the how to. For this, I used my trusty – and very well used – S&W 5.45×39 upper on a Bravo Company lower receiver assembly.
First, and most important, degrease the rifle. I use a can of brake cleaner and some paper towels. Also, get some paint! I use “ultra-flat” camouflage spray paint – dark brown, dark green, light green, light tan.
After that, cover up anything that shouldn’t be painted – optics, flashlight lenses, night sights – and ensure that the ejection port cover is closed. You might want to paint a mag at the same time, this will kill two birds with one stone. I found some electrical tape to cover the optic lenses on this rifle.
Next, find a safe place to paint the weapon. I use the lid of my garbage can inside my garage. Remember to give yourself enough breathing room that you don’t pass out from the fumes and die.
Next, start with a single solid coat of a dark color. I use dark brown. I contemplated stopping after this step and just calling the rifle “Chocolate.” If you haven’t painted anything before, don’t go too heavy; spray from 8-12″ away and roll your wrist as you spray in short bursts. This will help avoid runs.
Since this is a solid coat, let it dry for 10-15 minutes before turning it over and doing the other side.
I then use dark green. Not a solid coat – just what I’d call “misting”. Split-second hits from various angles and at least a foot away. I wanted to avoid the impression of any one solid color.
“Misting” dries almost instantly and you can turn the rifle over moments later with little to no consequence, or continue on to another color right away if you want.
After that, I move to light green. Again, misting.
Finally, I use the tan spray paint. You guessed it – misting. This is where you fine-tune the shade you want. Here you can see a comparison of the “new” paint job with the one seen above.
Here they are on the wall. Warning, it’s a big picture!