Painting Primer

28 September 2001
By Buk

There are many reasons to take a perfectly handsome rifle and go 'an mess it up by pouring multicolored splotches all over its exterior. But the primary reasons are: 1, camouflage/concealment; 2, you can't leave well enough alone; and 3, you can't afford to have it professionally finished. I for one fall into all those categories, but mainly #2.

Disclaimer: I am not a duty slotted sniper. I am not a duty slotted paint-and-body man either. Due to some encouragement from some SC hogs I am, however, training to become a Gunsmith. In the process I have tinkered with all of my own personal weapons, which includes painting my Remington 700 VSSFP (could they have more d%$n letters?) for the fifth time now. I don't claim that this process is the only way, nor even the best. I am just passing on what has worked well for me in the hopes that someone else who fits the above 3 categories will get a little out of it.

This is very similar to reloading in that you can be as meticulous or as sloppy as you want, and you can spend from a few dollars to a lot.

I will offer this in a few basic steps.

Get It Clean

I degrease all of the surfaces that I want primer and paint to adhere to by first using acetone, drying, then using alcohol (the non-drinking type), and finally washing with soap and water.

Keep It Clean

Use gloves or clean towels when handling the cleaned rifle.

Tape It Up

Anywhere you don't want paint, use masking tape. For larger or odd shaped areas use aluminum foil, then tape the edges.

Use Good Primer/Paint

In the past I have always used a zinc oxide primer and either Krylon or Rust-oleum flat paints. Both brands have worked well for me.

(The next paint job will be with Brownell's lacquer paint.)

Light Coats

First lay a coat of primer, waiting a full day for it to dry. Then, after the entire area is covered and dry, apply the paint, waiting for it to dry well before handling.

That's pretty much all there is to it. Nope, it's not rocket science. It's not magic. It's not a $150 professional hi-tech coating. But it is mine and I did it my way. (Don't make me start singing.)

Below are a few photos of the process:

These are the before shots. The last time I painted I taped off the grip and forearm areas, went over them with thick coat of paint and regular sand, then painted over the sand.

Note: If you are married, before using HER kitchen make a range card of the KP area so you can replace everything EXACTLY as it was...
Self-explanatory washing and taping. (Since I'm just prepping for deer season, I opted to keep the turrets, trigger, and bipod clean... for now.)

It's easy to create something that looks like the above using simple cut-outs and branches. Here is your chance to be creative and personalize your stick. I've found it helps to subdue the stark contrasts by laying a light coat of OD Green over the "bright" areas.

Stick MK 5.0 (for now)

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