Painting an AR


December 9, 2007, 08:38 PM
Ok, I have seen posts about people painting bolt guns and AR's on this forum, but I ahve a question about the AR's. What should I cover and not paint? I would assume the dust cover and the lens of the optics, but what else? Should I remove the BCG? I am going to use Duracoat and it is my understanding that it is thicker then Krylon. My searches showed some good work, but is there a link for step by step directions? Thanks...

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December 11, 2007, 05:25 PM
Nobody has done this with an AR? Any advice?

Henry Bowman
December 11, 2007, 05:36 PM
Good question. I have zero experience in this are and would like an answer also.

I have a parkerized stripped lower (much simpler issue that for the upper or a completed lower) that I would like to paint with Duracoat. I figured that I would cover the threads (where the buttstock mounts) by "screwing" in a 1" (or so) wooden dowel. That would protect the threads and give me something to hold onto and a way to prop it up to dry.

Duracoat's website has a lot of good information, but doesn't answer this question. I have not yet searched arfcom ( where there are likely to many 9different) answers to this question.


I don't know about which of the other openings are of such close tolerance that even a thin layer of Duracoat would be too much for roll pins and other parts to fit properly.

December 11, 2007, 10:34 PM
Go here.

December 12, 2007, 09:40 AM
By those directions it states that everything needs to be taken apart and painted as individualt pieces. That is interesting. I always thought they did them as a complete unit.

December 13, 2007, 09:32 PM
If you want a high quality finish, every part (That's getting finished) needs to be abrasive blasted and the steel should be Parkerized. The Aluminum should be at least chemically Anodized. The firearm needs to be 100% disassembled for this. The only exception is that the barrel does not need to be removed.

Duracoat will not work on internal or close tolerance moving parts for two reasons:
1...It's to thick and takes up to much clearance.
2...It will not burnish and will/may ball up close tolerance moving parts.

I use only the molly Gunkote as the resin coat. It has the best (By far!) resistance to hostile environments and chemicals but is not the easiest to apply properly. It can be used on all metal firearm parts, internal and external. It burnishes very nicely and moving parts just keep getting smoother with use. Hope this helps. (No, I do not own stock in the company!) Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
Tuff-Gun Finishes. The Name Says It All
Mac's Shootin' Irons

December 15, 2007, 08:20 PM
Thanks for the information. I am tossed between the gunkote and the dura coat. The only reason for going with durakote would be I have plastic funiture on this AR ad it still needs to be painted. Any other options besides krylon paint? I want this job to be a long lasting paint job and krylon just does not hold up as well. I might be wrong, but I know how it has held up on some other metal that I have painted.

December 16, 2007, 06:44 PM
Take a look at my new thread on Ceramic base paint. It only cost about $6. It gives excellent results. Much better than Duracoat or Gun-Kote. You can buy a can at your local auto parts store and test it out on some metal and bake it in the oven and see the results. You will be very pleased. I use it all the time.

I don't believe you can't use it on plastic. The Aluma-Hyde II from Brownells is good for plastic. You may find some paint at the auto parts store that will be good for plastic.


Zak Smith
December 16, 2007, 07:00 PM
I just closed the dustcover and painted-- (
............... Larger version of above photo. (

December 16, 2007, 07:05 PM
Zak looks nice! What stock is that on your AR. I haven't seen one.


Zak Smith
December 16, 2007, 07:08 PM
It's a Magpul UBR prototype.

December 16, 2007, 07:21 PM
Hopefully they will put it into production after they remove any bugs, if it has any. I like it. It would look good and work will on a shotgun also.


December 16, 2007, 10:31 PM
The problem with dura-cote is it is too thick 2 part mix. Ceramic coating cures at 800 deg. and than it is too brittle, if not cured it's not strong or tough and than not a ceramic.
Gun-kote goes on at 3 mils, and with the correct prep can be used on stocks and other parts, cured or not.
Thats the 2400 mix, the 1200 mix is air cured but the 2400 will still work after it has air cured for 48 hours to be resistant to most solvents.
You don't have to bake in between coats if you do several as in a camo pattern, just let it air dry for 20 minutes.
Patterens can be made with anything, if you use the same patteren for the whole gun, let it dry before you set it down on the gun for the next run or just clean it off with MEK to avoid smearing the patteren.
For coating stocks, clean with MEK and than coat, the MEK will add teeth to the plastic so it holds and on scopes, the gun-kote will air cure to 80% hardness without oven curing, you can alu. oxide blast the scope(cover the optics) for a tougher finish without baking.
I also do not own stock, i have just used this for 12 years with lotts of help from Joe Fazio and his crew.

December 16, 2007, 11:26 PM
Mac's is right, generally paint will not adhere well to aluminium without first annodizing, used to do it all the time with a "conversion coat" of Zinc Chromate.

December 16, 2007, 11:30 PM
The Dupli-Color with ceramic added is excellent. I have used it on many firearms and it is very durable. It cures at 400 degrees in 1.5 hours. The finish is not to thick. It only cost $6. Try it out on some metal and bake it and test it's durability. You won't be disappointed.


December 20, 2007, 01:55 PM
So this Gun-kote can be applied without baking and will work on plastic? It seems that with most paints out there you get one or the other, but not both. I have read so much on dura coat that I belived it was the next best thing to sliced bread. Tells you how much I know... Zak, what is yours painted with? Do you have any issues with the dust cover of the chargin handle sticking? I was told by someone else to compeltely disassemble the gun to the lowest component then put the upper (with barrel,FSB, and gas tube still attached) with the lower together. Paint and then re-install the bolt,trigger, grips, pins, dust cover, and everything else back on. I was really worried about things binding up and not working correctly. I know must people want the gun to look "pretty", but mine is goign to be a hunting rifle and looks don't count if the game sees the gun. Thanks for the great advice...

Zak Smith
December 20, 2007, 02:22 PM
The "camo" layers on that one were Aluma-Hyde II, but I have done the same with Duracoat. I works fine.


Henry Bowman
December 20, 2007, 02:49 PM
Back to the original question... So if I'm going to spray a (propery cleaned and prepared) stripped lower, do I need to cover any areas (inside of holes, etc.), or do I just generally spray the exterior (cosmetic paint job) and avoid trying to coverevery bit, including the interior, as I would for a protective coating?

December 20, 2007, 03:57 PM
While in A-stan we just laid our weapon down outside and took a can of krylon to it, even if the finish starts to wear how hard is it to just touch it up? Granted it might not look as nice or get a perfect even finish as all of these bake on purpose made products, but it did what was required for us. Just my .02

December 20, 2007, 11:26 PM

What did you use for your "pattern" to get the scale look? Some sort of webbing?

Zak Smith
December 20, 2007, 11:47 PM
I used some type of stiff material with a bunch of holes in it that I found at the local craft store.

December 21, 2007, 02:10 PM
So there is no problems when spraying dura coat on the dust cover operation, take down pins, or the selector? They operate without binding up? I am goign to paint my AR right after christmas and will be ordering the paint shortly. I am still in the air about what types. Gun-Kote or duracoat. I don't want to switch between two different paints. I need something durable since I am pretty harsh on my toys. Thanks...

Zak Smith
December 21, 2007, 02:11 PM
I didn't have any problems.

December 21, 2007, 02:22 PM
Duracoat is not as durable as the bake on Gun-Kote finish.


Zak Smith
December 21, 2007, 02:24 PM
Maybe, but I'm not going to bake plastic parts or optics at 325F.

December 21, 2007, 03:03 PM
Me either, that is why I take them off of the gun first and do them with another finish. The Aluma Hyde II is good for plastic and low cost and easy to apply. I would be more interested in protecting the metal parts with a very durable finish than the plastic. Plastic is more durable in most cases and is easy and low cost to replace compared to metal ones. Duracoat is the way to go if you want a durable nice looking design pattern on your gun, like the gun in the pic, which looks very nice. It is also good if you don't have a way or can't bake your gun. Duracoat can be hard to apply if you don't have the right equipment and more costly compared to Gun-Kote. If you want just a Black gun and have a way to bake it Gun-Kote is more durable and the way to go or the Ceramic paint finish I suggested earlier.


December 21, 2007, 07:55 PM
I need something that I can camo. The Yotes where I hunt can spot you with a black rifle from over a mile away. I ahve tried tape and such, but with no luck. Thank you MAX, ZAC, and all the others who have provided me with all this great information. Now I just have to digest and figure out the colors for my pattern. It should be something in a brown brush type of camo. I was thinking a brown base with a lighter brown and OD breakup pattern. Then a really light finish with some black for shadows. Should be interesting. I ahve a old BB gun that I will try it out on first though... I think...LOL

December 21, 2007, 08:09 PM
Post some pictures after you finish. I would like to see it.


December 21, 2007, 08:31 PM
I will. It is still a bit hard to go out and just paint a perfectly good looking gun. I mean after all AR's look good black!

December 30, 2007, 03:49 PM
I read that the alumahyde2 is good stuff and requires no special tools or mixing to apply. They recommend that the parts be heated. Then they say it can be used on plastics and optics. Are they suggesting heating these as well?

December 30, 2007, 05:22 PM
Some of the spray on finishes recommend that you heat the part to around 100 degrees before you start. That can be done in an oven or with a hair dryer. Scopes and plastic included.


December 30, 2007, 05:49 PM
I guess that 100 is not going to hurt anything. It gets hotter in the field. So is this alumahyde2 good as a complete finish? It seems easier then duracoat and by the sounds of it just as durable. Any takes?

December 30, 2007, 10:43 PM
I have no experience with it but here is a picture of an AK painted with it.

AK painted with alumahyde 2 Link:


December 30, 2007, 11:25 PM
I gun-kote all my ARs.

Wait for wife to leave for the day (or catch hell for the smell).
Clean well with brake cleaner and MEK.
Handle parts with white gloves to prevent finger oil contamination.
Pre heat to 100F.
Spray thin coats.
Place directly in 305F oven (solvent has flashed because of pre-heating).
After an hour, remove from oven and let cool.

December 31, 2007, 08:36 AM
DNPRK: How do you paint the plastic parts and the optics? I don't think I am going to place my scope in the oven.

December 31, 2007, 12:24 PM
How do you paint the plastic parts and the optics? I don't think I am going to place my scope in the oven.I use Aluma-hyde epoxy that comes close to matching the Gun-kote. That is why I disassemble before painting. Clean plastic and optics with isopropyl alcohol before painting.

December 31, 2007, 01:42 PM
The rpoblem with doing that is that I plan on putting acamo patter on the gun. I am goign to try soemthing like Zak did. If that does not work I will go back to the stick and twig method of painting...

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