Quick and Dirty Painting

I’d been meaning to get around to painting the rifle for a while.  I was waiting to get scope caps, but there don’t seem to be any that meet my criteria: 1. Don’t be Chinese junk, and 2.  Don’t break.  Oh well.

The method I use to paint my rifles is not meant to come out looking like a beautiful work of art.  That’s why the article says “quick and dirty”.  It’s just meant to be an expedient way to break up the outline of the rifle a bit.

The first thing I do is prep the surface.  That means remove the grease and tape any areas that don’t need paint.  I don’t like paint on or in the bolt body, the scope turrets and magnification ring, the lenses (I tested both ways, just trust me on this one), and the bore.  You can go full exacto when applying tape, but I like to make it easy on myself and an asymmetric pattern will be more effective anyway.  Here are some of the things I used.  If you’re a real man, forego the cardboard and just do it on the living room floor.  If you’re married, this could be dangerous (using the living room in the first place was questionable, but it was cold outside, and I didn’t want to wait a long time for drying).



I thought that I had plenty of each Krylon camo color (there are only 3 colors for crying out loud), but it turns out that I only had multiple cans of 2 colors.  I think that someone other than me really likes OD green.  I would be tempted to say that there’s not much green in my environment this time of year, but we got this GLOBAL WARMING thing going on, which I guess means that there’s still some green and that we need to surrender total control to the Government to keep us SAFE.

The first thing I like to do after prep is to paint the entire thing with a uniform coat of tan, what Krylon calls “Khaki”.  Fight the urge to make it look all tan in one pass.  Keep the can at the recommended distance and make multiple passes to avoid runs.


Once I get that uniform tan coat, I would apply sparing amounts of brown and green (if I had green, did I mention that I don’t?) to break up the rifle’s outline.  It’s important to avoid symmetry and uniformity.  There are a few ways to keep the randomness of the pattern.  Some use netting to give the colors a snakeskin look.  I prefer to go outside and collect a few twigs and branches.


What seems to be a key, and what I tend to forget until I get going is to be very sparing with the colors.  Decide on a spot, hold the template material close so that the paint won’t just go around it, and make a small pass with sufficient volume of paint on the small area to make effective use of the template.  If you just mist it on, it won’t show the template, but if you make a large pass you’ll end up with huge ugly blotches.


The first pass.  It was a little too big.


I don’t know how well the paint will adhere to the Hogue stock.  I suspect it will come off pretty quickly.  Then I will finally get some green in the pattern.  The nice thing about Krylon is that it’s easy, quick, and adaptable to different seasons and terrain.

Have fun.  I’ll probably do my car next.

8 thoughts on “Quick and Dirty Painting

  1. Letting the paint cure for a full 30 days can make a huge difference. I recently tried that and it seems worth the wait. I took the bolt out and locked it up, put tissue in the chamber and magwell area to keep out dust, and leaned it up behind the dryer out of sight for a few weeks. Used the time to dry fire other tools and practice my tactical headbutts and liver punches, your mileage may vary.

    P.s. After curing i realized that the underside got missed completely, maybe hanging it from bent coat hangers would allow access next time… and instead of risking painting the scope lenses I bagged and taped them during spraying then came back with a brush to touch up after removing the bags from the scope ends.

  2. I can’t believe that Mrs. Rifleslinger gave her consent to doing this in the house. You really are a high risk taker. I have used Krylon before, and so long as everything is clean it seems to adhere. I hang things up in the shop on wires that I attach to places that won’t be seen. Multiple (base) coats are a good idea. Dry and cure time are a plus if you are patient. I used Rustoleum camo color once, and it didn’t seem to adhere as well, rubbing off particularly at the comb and other contact areas. I’d like to try DuraCoat, but don’t have the incentive (or expendable funds)to do so presently.

  3. Amazing! Just this last day or so I have been thinking of painting some of the metal work of one of my rifles, though with a slightly different goal in mind. Tell me, how effective is this Krylon stuff at reducing glare off the barrel?

    (I am finally getting around to attaching a light to my rifle and have been playing with different mounting positions using zip-ties before I make any permanent mods. The Surefire G2X is AWESOME [thanks RS] but I am getting some wicked glare/reflection off the banded front sight assembly)

    I had thought maybe Rustoleum or stove/engine black but don’t really know. Opinions/comments? Other options? Anybody?

    thanks and regards,

  4. I have done this for years. I also let it sit a while to cure. For me it has held up fine, but a touch here and there is ok too. Heck, the scratches and such add character and lets people know you just don’t leave it in the safe. I don’t believe it will hold too good on that Hogue stock. Let us know how it does.

  5. I used a primer and then paint (Rem 700 sps) worked great on metal ,the stock which near as I can tell is industrial licorice wore through in handling areas quickly,but even liquid steel won;t stick to it ,I bet yours works out .I finally got fed up with licorice whip and bolted a H-S precision stock on yesterday ,what a difference,aluminum bed,rigid and comes up for snap shot really well,does not change POI with RS sling,only down side if that is it redirected and increased felt recoil just comes straight back and felt impact to cheek. Sorry we were talking about paint and I took a rabbit trail

  6. Well, I gave it about 2 or 3 hours of cure time before dragging it through mud and crud. Let’s just say it looks “seasoned” now. Not bad. A little wear spot at the tip of the comb, others here and there. It gives it that green it was missing. It will be easy to touch up anyway.

  7. Shooting with the paint fresh adds to the camo effect. Your cheek, hands, and cartridges all start to fade into the background

  8. Nice work. I’ve been camo painting my rifles & shotguns for years.I have found the more ‘wear’ the better they look. Most of my rifles have been painted and repainted several times.
    I have simplified the job, just using a base all over desert tan or OD green, with a few offset passes of the other color working fine.
    A nice addition to any camo job is a coat of Testor’s [the model paint company] Lusterless flat, its a nice clear coat that dries flat and adds some strength to the paint. Also the local hobby [models and such]store will have a nice selection of military color paints for you, you can duplicate the Duracoat colors if you wish for much less coin.

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