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Old 12-31-2010, 21:19   #1
pleaforwar
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A Simple Guide to Painting Your AR-15

Disclaimer**: I am by no means an expert with painting AR's. I do, however, have some experience with the application of paint on rifles and figured I can help those who have less experience than I do. If you have anything productive to add to this thread, please feel free to do so.

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Over the years I have had a real attraction to rifles that blend in with their environment. I have owned and shot AR's for a couple of years now, but until recently never considered painting one like the rifles I have always been attracted to.

It isn't a difficult task to perform by any means. If anything it's the anxiety of painting a modestly expensive object that makes the task difficult.

First you need to get over the anxiety. Spray paint is by no means permanent nor difficult.

Second, you need to figure out what type of paint matches your surroundings. Desert colors are not the best idea for humid and temperate climates, nor is an arctic pattern great for arid areas like my own. In simple terms, if you live in a place like Maryland or Florida, don't use my patterns because they won't work as well for you. Also, you should pick paints that contrast well and distort the lines of the rifle. My first paint job utilized khaki, brown, and green. While these paints made a pattern that was nice up-close, the brown shading took over at farther distances and made the rifle appear brown rather than camouflaged. It's better than black, but does not effectively camouflage to the full potential.

Third, you need to pick the paint. People with much more experience than I have tend to use quality paint like Aervoe. I have chosen Krylon, as it is easily found and I have seen decent patterns created with it. If you can wait, get the Aervoe. If you are impartial or want to experiment, get the Krylon.

Now you need to setup for the process of painting the rifle.

First you will need to prep the AR with an alcohol pad. Make sure to clean off any dust, sand, grit, etc on the outside of the AR. Then you need to tape off anything that needs to be protected from the paint (i.e. optics, flashlight, magwell). Last, get a paper towel and roll it to where it fits through the muzzle device.
The SHOT ShowCase

Then you need to give the rifle a good base coat. I use Krylon khaki for my base coat. Give a good eight inches of distance between the can and the rifle. Use swift movements and make sure to cover all the crooks and crannies of the AR. Once finished allow to dry for 10-15 minutes and then flip and repeat.

Base coat:
The SHOT ShowCase

Now comes the part where you create the pattern. There are several ways you can create a pattern, too include camo netting, leaves, grass, cardboard, etc. I have used two techniques, one that used thin strips of grass and one that uses leaves. I have no photos of using the grass but I do have one for the leaf application.

Stencil:
The SHOT ShowCase

After spraying the portion not covered by leaves allow the paint to dry for 10-15 minutes.

After with leaf pattern:
The SHOT ShowCase

After with grass pattern:

The SHOT ShowCase

Following are some photos of what both patterns look like in my environment.

Leaf pattern in the environment:
The SHOT ShowCase
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Old 12-31-2010, 21:20   #2
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continued....

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

Grass pattern in the environment:
The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase


Please feel free to post your thoughts and/or paint applications as well.

Cheers,
Dan
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Old 12-31-2010, 21:24   #3
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Old 12-31-2010, 21:28   #4
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Excellent post. Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 12-31-2010, 22:31   #5
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Thanks, I've been waiting

I think I'm going to try it on my Noveske soon.
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Old 12-31-2010, 22:41   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverMore1701 View Post
Thanks, I've been waiting

I think I'm going to try it on my Noveske soon.
I promised you I would make one .

Sorry it took a while, I just wanted to put some decent effort into it.
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Old 12-31-2010, 23:28   #7
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You also sprayed the FDE MIAD?
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Old 12-31-2010, 23:39   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawman800 View Post
You also sprayed the FDE MIAD?
It is a Tango Down Battlegrip, and yes, I did paint it. The TD color does not match any of the other colors I use and I wanted the grip to match the colors of the rest of the rifle.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:12   #9
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great post. thanks. i have painted my grip and stock and XMT rail panel covers with coyote aluma-hyde, but have always wondered if anything/everything needed to be stripped to paint a whole rifle at once. have you ever had any issues with anything mechanical on the rifle sticking at all, like the mag release, knobs on your optic, flip up irons, etc?
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyblooshoes View Post
have you ever had any issues with anything mechanical on the rifle sticking at all, like the mag release, knobs on your optic, flip up irons, etc?
Not to any extent that renders the part inoperable. The mag release sticks at first, but stops after some time.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:28   #11
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Well I'm going to pick up some Krylon camo paints at walmart today, next time we have a still day I'm gonna go for it! I'm a little nervous about painting a $1k+ rifle, but I don't ever intend to sell it, and I figure I can just strip and re-paint if it doesn't turn out well
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverMore1701 View Post
Well I'm going to pick up some Krylon camo paints at walmart today, next time we have a still day I'm gonna go for it! I'm a little nervous about painting a $1k+ rifle, but I don't ever intend to sell it, and I figure I can just strip and re-paint if it doesn't turn out well
Best of luck Brother. Don't forget the mags
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Old 01-01-2011, 13:24   #13
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How durable is that finish?
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Old 01-01-2011, 13:49   #14
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Pleaforwar,

Thanks for this,.......I just may get the nards to do it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 13:54   #15
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I hope everybody posts photos of the their finished work. Start to Finish progress photos would really be interesting. Good luck to everyone.
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Old 01-01-2011, 14:04   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Reid View Post
How durable is that finish?
Krylon will wear with time, especially at contact points. Following are some photos of my first AR that was painted (job was done by another individual).

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

Use of FDE, FG, etc furniture will help mitigate the effect of the wear.

If you are looking for a camo job that is aesthetically pleasing (not saying you are) I recommend cerakote or duracoat. My style of camo is purely functional and nothing else.

Keep in mind, Aervoe gets great reviews for its ability to last for a long time. If you are looking for something tougher I would go that route.

FAA- Thanks for the compliment. I'm sure you will do it in time.

Ted- That is definitely part of the intent of this thread. I know someone here has done a better job than I have, I would love to see their process.
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Old 01-01-2011, 15:42   #17
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I am definitely going to paint my AK build when finished.

The SHOT ShowCase
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Old 01-01-2011, 17:13   #18
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I did a Rem 700 hunting rifle freehand by holding objects over the rifle in various spots, shooting the paint, and changing colors, spots, and objects to get the desired effect.

Used some textured paint to add a little grip to the rifle. Add a coat or two of matte clearcoat at the end to take the sheen off if you aren't using matte paint.

Taped off the action and hit a base coat.
The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

I left the tip of the barrel unpainted in case I thread it later on, and the scope was just for completed looks for the picture. I am replacing it with something else at some point.
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Old 01-01-2011, 17:17   #19
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I wanted this all in one post but too many pictures I guess. I don't have any in progress shots of the AR I did, but here's the final product.

The SHOT ShowCase

The SHOT ShowCase

Did the Bushmaster first as I figured it was my least expensive AR. Planning to do another AR or two at some point with a little more time put into it. It's got the cheap centerpoint scope off the Rem700 in the pictures above in case it had to be sacrificed. Turns out it's no big deal like the OP said.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:05   #20
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Heres my current Colt in Khaki clothes, these are extra accesories I painted for coyote hunting. I havent been able to bring my self to paint an AR yet. I have painted a lot of bolt guns and even handguns useing krylon camo or rustoleum textured paint then clear coating over it and they hold up pretty good. I have a new set of HG's on order, I may spray them and go with it, or spray the whole rifle? I think it looks cool 2 tone though. Thats all I do is wipe with alcohol, paint 2 coats, clear and install, or camo like the OP on the bolts I have done.


The SHOT ShowCase


Here is my previous AR, a guy in CO camod before I had it (some on here may recognize). It looked good.

The SHOT ShowCase
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