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How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

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Old 03-27-2010, 11:15 PM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

I was just browsing the website and noticed an AR with a "netting" type pattern mixed in with the camo. How did you do that so neatly and consistent? You do very nice work by the way.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:38 PM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

Thanks. That type of work takes a lot of time and patience to "tile the plain" well.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:17 PM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

I am a professional automotive painter and would like to share a few tips on painting plastic/rubber items.

As far as "roughing up" raw un-primed/ un-painted plastics, you need to be carefull about how coarse of a scuff pad you use. On raw plastics using a Red Scotch pad will often cause some deeper scratches than normal when used on raw plastic that will cause a type of burr on the edges of the deeper scratches. This can show up depending on how thick of a plastic primer surfacer you use. Grey scuff pads work fairly well with a much lower amount of deeper scratches standing up through the paint and clear coat. Gold works very very well in this regard, it will dull the surface of the raw plastic without causing any of the deeper "gouges" that will show through your paint. These gouges are not very visible unless you are using a metallic color paint. Solid colors hide these imperfections very well.

Most automotive paint company's or parts stores that carry automotive paint will carry a cleaning agent in the form of a paste designed to be used during the scuffing process and then cleaned off with water and a cloth after scuffing. These cleaning paste's are designed to be used on raw plastic bumpers,mouldings,side-view mirror's,cladding's,wheel opening mouldings etc.
Simply wet the part to be sanded with a spray bottle or water hose depending on how big of an item it is. This paste remove's any mold release agent that may be present on the raw plastic items. Simply squirt some paste on your scuff pad, moisten the pad and part to be scuffed/cleaned, and lightly abrade the surface while trying not to "dig in" too much causing un-needed deep scratches in the plastic. You are trying to scuff the piece not "scratch" it if that makes sense. This is especially important when you are trying to achieve a very high quality finish that is perfect with no flaws visible even when the item is clear coated after painting, and doubly critical if you are using paint with a high metallic content such as many automotive colors. The coarser the metallic the more sensitive to deep scratches the finish will be. When done rinse with water. And clean immediatly prior to painting with alchohol or acetone will work as well.

This can be mediated somewhat by using a proper plastic sealer that has some "build" to it. It functions like an "adhesion promoter" such as bulldog but has the added benefit of having a bit of build to it when applied in multiple coats. *usually no more than 2* This allows you to achieve a couple of mil's of build on an item and sort of hides some of the scratches or any minor imperfections that may be present in the raw plastic part from the factory. I use this on every single raw plastic item i paint. However perfection is the goal in my case and a single scratch showing up on a raw plastic part after painting means I have to re-sand and re-paint, not something I have time to do.

Using a plastic primer surfacer, the proper plastic cleaning paste, and proper wipe down procedure you can insure adhesion to pretty much any type of plastic for years upon years, and it will stick through much abuse. My paint has to endure bug's, slamming into car bumpers at 70 mph so I have to do it right. All those cars you see roaming the road with paint peeling off of the bumpers were not painted using the proper adhesion promoting material's. These steps will ensure your paint does'nt "peel" off when chipped. It will still chip off if struck hard enough by a pointed or hard object but that should be the extent of the damage, no paint peeling off in sheets .

P.S. You can also use a plasticiser additive in the clear coat you apply as well, it will make the clear a bit more *chip" resistant. However this will increase flash times and cure times. Watch out for them runs! Plasticising additives added to matte finish clears can change the final gloss level of the product as well so use caution.

P.S.S. If you go down to your local body shop and have them mix you a small amount of plastic primer be sure to get your tail in gear and spray it within 30 mins or so if it is a catalyzed product. If it is a 1k product *not activated with hardner* it can last for week's when properly stored but 1k products as a rule are not as durable, and are subject to "eating up" when another product is applied on top of them in too heavy of a fashion.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:12 AM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

Originally Posted by Len Backus View Post
This is the thread for discussion of the article: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle
By Greg Ballard

Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article. The author will have this thread automatically notify him of posts so he can join the discussion.
I had the same question all the way through your article, but it was partially answered at the end. I have a 770 that I got pretty cheap and I would like to go ahead and camo it up. Is there any special precautions that I should take with a bolt action? Being in the military, Ive painted a few m4's but there are a lot more open spaces(i.e. around the safety) on a bolt action. Thanks and happy hunting.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:06 AM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

There is really nothing that different with the rest of the bolt action rifle that is done than it is with the gas gun, but with the bolt part of the rifle, paint like Krylon is generally going to be too thick to put onto the bolt body itself as the tight tolerance on the action rails will just scrape the paint back off, if you can even get the bolt to close with the layers of paint on it. This even occurs many times with thinner coatings like DuraCoat. On many bolts I end up media blasting the bolt body to a dull gray matte finish and then I only clear coat it. I think the better option for the bolt body is to have it nitrided. CeraKote can also work where others can't if it is put on very thin. You can paint the hammer shrouds and bolt itself without many issues.

I tape off the recoil lug and also do not put paint onto the inside surface of the stock as many times the stock has been bedded and you don't want to increase the height of the stock in this area even by a few layers of paint. I also do not paint the inside of the action most times.

Greg ... OnTargetCustoms.net
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:43 PM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard


I have a Savage 116 in stainless, 24" barrel, with a Vortex viper 4x16x44hs lr. Would you be able to give me a quote on a 3 to 4 color predator type came job. Thanks, Jay
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:54 PM
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Re: How To Camouflage Paint Your Rifle By Greg Ballard

I will send you a PM with those details. You can see some more designs at OnTargetCustoms
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