By Pete Rogers
If ever there was a time my heart raced, and palms were sweating, it was the first time I took a spray paint can to one of my prized rifles.
Yes, you read that right. I paint my rifles. I must admit though that it still causes me to pause every time I bring a paint can to the bench with a prized rifle taped and ready for conversion.
Why not just buy a rifle already camouflaged? Well, contrary to shotguns, finding a fully camouflaged rifle is difficult for some reason.
Rifle manufacturers have not jumped onto the bandwagon of dipping rifles, there are just not a lot available.
It started with my predator rifle, a Remington 700 in .22-250. It was black with parkerized action and stock and optics. I never liked how it looked.
After some head scratching for a while, I took the plunge. And after I did, I felt like I did when I began dating. I wondered what took me so long to give it a try.
Camouflaging a rifle with paint is an easy process. For this story we will discuss painting the entire rifle. If you want to paint just the stock, simply remove the action from the stock and follow the same procedure.
It begins with prep. Clean your rifle thoroughly to remove any oil and dirt from the rifle.
To do this, take the gun apart – completely. Remove the stock from the action. Remove the bolt if you have one. And clean it all – thoroughly with a good paint thinner or mineral spirits used sparingly will get all dirt, oil and residue off of your gun.
Using painter’s tape, cover the safety, and both lenses of the scope. Remove the bolt and tape the action and chamber. Then using a foam earplug, insert a foam earplug into the muzzle.
Once this is done, you are ready to paint.
The first decision is, do you want your rifle dark or light camouflage? I use Rust-O-leum camouflage spray paint from your local hardware store. It comes in four colors: black, tan, olive and dark olive.
Starting with the dark olive, spray the entire rifle on one side and let dry. Turn rifle over and repeat.
Once the entire rifle is covered, now is the time to add the camouflage. Using some stencils of leaves, spray leaves in random places with the black paint.
You are only limited by your imagination. Do this on both sides. Then using the light olive, lay a straw on the rifle and spray lightly over the straw and this will leave an image of the straw on the rifle.
Do this in random places. Repeat this with the tan last. Moving from darkest to lightest. The shadows need to be in the background, not foreground.
One of the advantages of painting the rifle is that if you don’t like the result, you can just repaint it.
On a recent project of a Weatherby Mark V I was painting the stock only and tried some different combinations to try and get the look I wanted. Each time it didn’t look how I wanted it to.
So, I simply started over. Covering the whole stock again with a different color to get it as I wanted, I painted the rifle four times until finally reaching the look I was after.
Once done, the rifle is transformed, weatherproof and hidden. Plus, it is uniquely yours. No two paint jobs are the same.
Camouflaging a rifle is really simple once you get past the anxiety of taking paint to a gun. But it protects it and makes it uniquely yours.