Everybody has probably had a firearm at some point that needed a little retouching on its finish, right? We gave Duracoat a try in the Aerosol version produced by Lauer Custom Weaponry. Frankly it offers the DIY’er everything they could ask for with regard to a firearms finish. An easy application by using a traditional aerosol can to spray the finish on makes the process simple and familiar. At the same time you get benefits of a finish designed for firearms and with additional hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion you would not get with a can of spray paint. How easy was it? How did it turn out? Read on!
The Duracoat Aerosol
There are a number of firearms finishes available these days that claim additional hardness, resistance to wear and corrosion, and overall awesomesauce over traditional spray paint. The downsides, in my eyes, have been cost and time. A baked on Cerakote job will run into triple digits, and the turnaround time will vary depending who does the job. That brings forth a couple headaches like shipping the firearm and working more overtime to pay for the nifty paint job! Don’t get me wrong. Cerakote has a stellar reputation for a reason, its very tough and if its applied by a skilled painter or gunsmith it looks fantastic.
I’ve always been a DIY (Do It Yourself) kind of guy. I also have to be honest and say upfront that I kinda loathe sending my firearms off. I like keeping my stuff handy and accessible and anything you send off carries the risk of being lost by incompetent shipping people. Not to mention stolen, broken, etc. I’ve not had that happen but I’ve read the stories of those who have. My pet peeve has been the wait. I don’t like sending my stuff off and having it gone for a month or two at a time for work that I might be capable of doing myself.
The attractive feature of Duracoat in an Aerosol can should be obvious. You get the benefits of a tough finish designed for firearms in an application form we’re all familiar with, the spray can! I’ve done some spray painting of firearms in the past and while it’s easy to get them looking good the spray can paint doesn’t hold up very well or very long. Muzzle blast can send stones and grit flying and even small debris can start to remove spray paint from a barrel, stock, or whatever. So when it came time to paint up several components for my new match gun, I wanted something tougher than regular spray paint.
Duracoat Aerosol Benefits
Over other finishes, Duracoat offers the following advantages:
- Rust Protection
- Corrosion Protection
- Can be applied to wood, plastic, and metal
- Can be applied to bare metal, anodizing, bluing, and parkerizing
- No baking or preheating required
Process for applying Duracoat
The procedure for applying Duracoat Aerosol is about the same as any spray paint. The old adage is true, it’s all in the prep work. You need to do two things ideally to ensure a good grip and adhesion for the paint. You need to prep the surface a bit with some sandpaper. Lauer Custom Weaponry recommends roughing up the surfaces to be painted with 600 grit sandpaper. I didn’t have any of that handy or available at the local hardware store so I went with 800. It’s scary how little rubbing on the outside of the Remington 700 will remove and destroy the factory finish. It doesn’t take much, trust me!
I recommend you rough everything up with sandpaper first. Then you need to thoroughly degrease all the surfaces to be painted. You can get a good degreaser right from Lauer Custom Weaponry. They package and sell TruStrip which also comes in aerosol form. You spray down the surfaces to be degreased. You want them wet before you take a soft brush or old toothbrush to the surfaces to scrub a bit. You want to make sure any previous lube, grease, oil, etc. is thoroughly removed because it will inhibit the bonding process of the paint. Don’t skimp on this, trust me. I had a little of the finish flake off in a high contact area because I didn’t get it degreased properly. It probably would have worn down and off anyway so it’s nothing I lost sleep over but the point is, degrease, degrease, and when you think you’re done, degrease again!
Lastly you need to spray the Duracoat Aerosol onto the surfaces you want painted. I recommend using old wire coat hangers for this. Bend and cut them to the lengths and shapes necessary to give you something to hold the parts up in front of you with, and also a way to hang them for drying. You want to spray in thin, even coats. Having used Duracoat Aerosol now I’m going to recommend you go over the same area until it starts to show a wet shiny look. That’s the stopping point. You don’t want to spray Duracoat on so thick that it starts to run. Just get it to start showing the wet appearance and then stop. Wait the recommended 5 minute minimum for drying and then hit it again. Repeat the process as many times as necessary to get a good even coat on the surfaces to be painted.
Wrapping Up Duracoat Aerosol
If any of the parts fit together tightly or move past each other, be sure to run them manually a bit after the first night’s drying. I suggest checking this early before everything cures and hardens to maximum in case you paint a slide or a bolt and action that fit together and slide past each other. Run them a few times slowly back and forth to help work everything in since the paint may actually decrease the tolerances between the parts. You don’t want malfunctions so be sure to verify that everything moves freely as it needs to for proper function. We will update this post with some comments over the next few months to check back in with how well the Duracoat holds up over time and with field use. We’ve got a good feeling about it though, it’s already showing great resistance to wear and it looks great! If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!