I need advice on painting my rifle. I don't konw if I should do it myself, or get it done professionally (I don't want to mess up my expensive rifle and VERY expensive scope).
What is the simplest method for applying a fairly simple cammo pattern to a rifle without messing up the moving parts?
Get it done by a pro. There are LOTS of reasons.
1. Paint will not (permanently) stick to most surfaces till they are preped right.
2. How will you remove all the oil? That the paint will not stick to.
3. How will you scuff the surface? That the paint will not stick to.
4. What kind of paint will you use? Experimentation will be costly.
5. Do you have any (again costly) spraying equipment?
6. Will the paint you choose be cleaner/ lubricant/heat/cold/shock proof? Only one way to find out....test it. Again costly.
You can do what I did. Get some of Brownell's AlumahideII. I used this on my Robar. It sticks like glue, and is tough as nails.
What I did was this. I pulled the scope off, and left the rings and mount on. I pulled the bolt out. and jammed as much news paper into the action, and muzzle as I could possibly fit. I then took the action out of the stock, and suspended it from the rear action bolt hole with thin "string". I then sprayed the whole action/barrel with a very thin coat. Let it dry, and repeated. Note, when using this stuff make sure you have PLENTY of ventilation. Also, wait a sold 2 hours between coats. After you achieve your desired results, let the thing dry for at least a good 5 days. That's right, 5 days. 7 would be even better. It gives the paint time to cure. Pull the paper out of the muzzle and action as soon as you're finished with the spraying. Do it CAREFULLY. you don't want that paper stuck in the action while the paint is drying. It's a PIA to get out. My rifle turned out great, and the finish is very tough. I even took some gel paint stripper to it to test the solvent resistance. After an hour of it sitting on there, it didn't even make a dent in the finish. It's good stuff, just make sure what ever you DON'T want painted is either removed, or well covered.
As for the scope, I'd leave it alone. If you have buttler Creek caps on it, paint them inside and out. You can use camo tape for the actual scope body. That'll help if you ever decide to sell the scope.
Both of these guns were done with Bowflage,
Bad thing about the bowflage, it's not incredibly durable.
Good thing about the bowflage, it's easy enough to remove so that you can repaint if you want to do another color scheme or pattern depending on season and not have the paint build up.
I've used Alumahyde II in the past and it is a very durable finish, problem with it is that Brownells DOES NOT offer a sand brown. Probably the two most useful colors of Alumahyde II are the OD Green and the Earth Brown. If you had a base coat of OD Green or Earth Brown and then used variations of bowflage over the top of that, there would be a lot of versatility in patterns that you could make from desert colors to woodland colors and if the bowflage wears off it will just wear down to the base finish.
And what was said about Alumahyde II needing a long time to cure, 100% correct. I did my stuff during the summer and left it outside for 4-5 days, after it's reached full cure it's tough as nails but if you mess with it before them you can screw it up. In winter, I'd almost be tempted to leave it for 2 weeks without touching it or build some type of heated inclosure out of cinder blocks with a heating coil in it.
If I could post I'd show you my desert camo Krylon jobber. (Not sure if I like it)