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Cerakote experiences and opinions?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by coloradokevin, Jun 14, 2017.

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  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Hey guys!

    I'm starting to look at some different options for finishing bare aluminum receivers, and/or steel barrels. What is your experience with Cerakote as a finish?

    The internet is full of mixed opinions on this finish, and I've heard everything from "it's just a crappy paint that will chip off" to "it's the most durable and indestructible finish ever created by man". Obviously the extremes rarely tell the truth! The manufacturer claims it is great, but manufacturers of other finishes try to tell you that their finishes are superior... marketing is what it is!

    I've seen and shot a number of Cerakoted guns, but I've yet to have one for myself. For those of you who have had guns finished in this manner:

    1) How do you feel the finish holds up to regular use / field abuse?

    2) How do you feel the finish compares to other popular methods of finishing firearms (ex: parkerizing, anodizing, bluing, etc)?

    3) How well do you feel the finish has protected the firearm from corrosion?
     
  2. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    I have one Cerakoted firearm currently: an RIA 1911 Lipsey's special order in FDE done by the factory. I briefly had a Mossberg 935 that had been Cerakoted, well I believe, by previous owner in a tan and olive drab pattern.

    Neither has seen any corrosion in my ownership and the Mossberg had significant salt-water exposure.

    Neither held up brilliantly cosmetically. Lots of little dings, chips and scratches. Both lightish colors tend to show the dings and scratches.

    Bluing is cosmetically better but does not protect as well from corrosion, in my opinion. Annodizing works well on aluminum but scratches in about the same level as Cerakote.

    All that said, for a firearms that will see hard outdoor use, Cerakoting is a good option. Hydrographics is another consideration.
     
  3. RPZ

    RPZ Member

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    I do not have any firearms coated with Cerakote. I will say though that I have only heard good things about it, to the extent that I would have no hesitation in using it. On bare aluminum it is probably all you would ever need. Uncoated aluminum oxidizes and the oxidized layer tends to protect the metal beneath sufficiently for a long life, so any nicks or wear on a Cerakoted aluminum part should not be a worry.
     
  4. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    I don't own any Cerakoted guns either but my buddy recently had his 300 Weatherby done and it certainly looks good. I'm sure he can't answer for sure how well it holds up to regular use / field abuse because so far its only been out to the range a couple times. As far as compared to other methods of finishing firearms I know he did his homework on Cerakote before he decided to have that rifle done. I'm sure corrosion protection was one of the reasons he chose it because he has plans for some hunts in areas that are notorious for moisture and he plans on using this rifle. So far all I know of it is that it has a good reputation as a quality finish so I'll let my buddies Weatherby be the test rifle to see how well I like it before I consider it. I shot it for the first time recently when we were chronographing some handloads and it was the first time I saw it outdoors in natural light since he had it done. IMHO it looks great and if it still holds up after some field use and his planned hunt I might just become a Cerakote fan.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    Cerakote is pretty popular in my circle of action pistol shooters. It holds up well to constant handling in practice and during matches

    It holds up better to showing scratches than bluing, parkerizing, or stainless steel . It is about as tough as Hard Anodizing, but not as tough as Ferritic Nitrocarburizing or Electroless Nickle...certainly not a tough as Hard Chrome

    A bit less well than electroless nickle, about the same as nitrocarburizing
     
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  6. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Thank you for the information! I like the look and colors available in Cerakote, and the fact that it seems reasonably practical to do it at home if I choose. But, I definitely wanted some idea of how well it held up in real field use!
     
  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't realize you were looking at DIY.

    Be warned that surface prep is the great determinate of not only how the final product will look but also how well it will hold up. I've seen some applications that did indeed fit the description of "it's just a crappy paint that will chip off". The descriptions that I've cited of how well it holds up was based on professionally done applications.

    The curing process is also very important. Cutting corners anywhere compromises the wear qualities.
     
  8. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    My buddy had his Weatherby done professionally because he said something about how that surface prep stuff is critical, along with the application process and he didn't feel that it would be a D.I.Y. project for someone like him. I forgot what he said it cost him but I'll have to ask. I've heard of guys doing it themselves but my only exposure to the whole Cerakote process has only been that one rifle of his.
     
  9. VinnAY

    VinnAY Member

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    I dont like it, multiple experiences with it from a "factory Certified" applicator who's work wore right to bare metal within 10x in/out of a Kydex holster, that's not an exaggeration either. Next, A Garage Ninja did a great job redoing this 1911 but I say unequivocally that I've not seen it hold up or live up to it claims. This is my carry gun and it see's a lot of holster in/out. Plenty of shiny bare metal to seen, just doesn't live up to what it claims as far as I'm concerned. The ONLY good thing I'll say about it is I got it locally for $125. I have no illusion about holster wear, I'm quite realistic about that my only gripe is the false advertising.
     
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  10. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Cerokote: a way to spend $100 and turn a $500 gun into a $300 gun.
     
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  11. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    I paid to have a gun Ceracoated once. An Israeli BHP. Looked good but as others posters said the finish developed chips and dings.

    I learned to Duracoat. I think it runs me around $5 to do a pistol. Never done a rifle.

    I got a $10 airbrush at Harbor Freight. Got a can of propellant at hobby store. Just needed to take the gun apart, ( I have only done CZ75's ) Clean it, rough up the surface. Clean it again, then spray.

    Seems to hold up as well as Ceracoat.

    If it chips or scratches I touch it up myself.
     
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  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    On my carry Al-alloy for several years without any sign of wear.
     
  13. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    Almost all of my firearms are cerakoted and honestly I can't say enough good things about it. It looks very good, is super good at keeping any corrosion at bay, cleans up real nice, I can go on. I can tell you that it all has to do with proper application tho. If you get someone that doesn't know what they are doing then yes it's possible it might not hold up well. One way to tell a good application vs a bad one is to look at how smooth the finish is. A properly applied cerakote will be really really hard and have a smooth appearance, not like car clearcoat paint smooth but like a smooth satin finish. If it has a lot of texture to it then it's probably not a good cerakote job. And heating the application is paramount for it to cure correctly. Otherwise, you might as well have spray paint.

    In the end, do you homework and decide what's best for you. If you decide to go with it then make sure to get a good person to do it for you. Do your homework.

    On yeah, forgot to add depending on what type of firearm it is, do not let them cerakote the inside of the action. I mean you can and it will wear in but on some bolt actions for example it can cause some issues.'
     
  14. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    I have engraved dozens (or hundreds) of Cerakoted barrels. I can tell you that it is HARD and thin, compared to Duracoat which is gummy. It engraves beautifully in all colors, but I don't know how it holds up. However, my gunsmith friend who does it is a hunter, so he uses his product, and he takes great pride in his work and does guarantee it. PM me if you want his number, he's probably within a two hour drive from you.
     
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  15. Vernon1

    Vernon1 Member

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    Warning: This paint/coating is extremely TOXIC. Please do not DIY. Pay someone knowledgeable to do this for you.
     
  16. stchman

    stchman Member

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    Reason why I prefer to get stainless guns with no finish.
     
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  17. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Applied appropriately, it's very difficult to chip cerakote, and impacts which do chip it would have gouged basically any finish or treatment. I have yet to see a well prepped piece take holster wear, it usually takes on a black smear where it chews on the plastic, in my experience.

    Applied poorly, it's about as effective as enamel spray paint on a balloon.

    I like it for a lot of applications, don't like it for many others. Different horses for different courses.
     
  18. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I have a decent HVLP and am pretty proficient spraying various stains, varnishes and paints. That being said I would not consider Cerakote DIY. There is much more to it than just the application.

    I picked up the card of a local "professional" at my range and am probably going to give them a try. Considering the cost of the materials and the rest of the process $80 for a pistol slide seems like a bargain.

    Going to give them an old beater slide and see what they do with it. If it turns out positive I've got several more I'll be sending their way.
     
  19. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Well, where's the fun in that? Seriously though, aside from normal precautions like wearing a respirator, what's so bad about this stuff?

    I kind of enjoy some of the do-it-yourself gun projects, so I was really interested in doing home Cerakoting. But, I'd take precautions like wearing a respirator when applying the product. Aside from those precautions, how is this any more dangerous than other similar products?
     
  20. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    What is it about the process that would steer you away from doing it? I've watched their training videos, and read their manual, and it didn't really seem like anything was "out of reach" for a do-it-yourselfer.

    For me, I do think the hardest part would be the sandblasting part of the prep... I'd need to use a friend's blasting cabinet since I don't have one. The other preparation steps seemed pretty straightforward, and the temperature requirements for the curing process were well within the range of a conventional oven.

    Am I missing something here, or are you mostly just suggesting that the prep is a big pain in the butt compared to doing a rattle-can paint job?
     
  21. Demi-human

    Demi-human maybe likes firearms a little bit…

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    I have a Smith and Wesson Air weight that is Ceracoated from the factory. The threads of the leather holster I wear it with chewed right through it. I belive it caught some dirt particles and ground them into the surface. But nylon is very tough also. Pressure and friction play a huge role. I wore this one inside my belt. Since it is silver it does not look too terrible. I feel other colors may not be as forgiving.

    An anodized Sig-Sauer nine thirty eight has held up much better. Though where the holster holds this one is where it is stainless steel. The grip and frame remain unscratched even when in the glove box, sans holster.
     
  22. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Chips off aluminum way to easy, stays on steel kinda better.
     
  23. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Just a follow-up on my own thread since one or more people mentioned the health hazards of Cerakote... I just read through the SDS pages on both Cerakote H, Part A and Cerakote H, Part B. It seems evident that the catalyst/hardener is the worse of the two chemicals, though I think it's worth noting that both of these appear safer (according to their respective SDS sheets) than the first spray oven cleaner I read an SDS for, and about comparable to Brakleen (not healthy, but hasn't killed me yet).

    So, other concerns aside (like the bountiful prep work, and pros/cons vs other coatings) it doesn't seem like this stuff will probably kill you if you take some reasonable precautions when applying it.
     
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