I had been wanting to try Duracoat products for quite a while but didn't want to invest in the the air brush equipment and I had heard a lot of complaints about the air brush DIY kit with canned propellant that Duracoat ships. Many people complained that the propellant would freeze up after very little use causing delays and frustration with their products. Recently I started seeing the Duracoat Shake N' Spray kits at Midway USA and decided it was time to take the plunge and try out the new kit and spray system. I was not disappointed.
The kit comes as pictured below:
It includes the following:
- 4oz of your selected Duracoat color.
- TruStrip degreaser
- Duracoat hardener
- Mixing and spray jar
- Abrasive prep pad
- Preval spray system
Things to Consider
There are a few things you'll want to keep in mind before you get started spraying
- Go over the directions very carefully. There aren't many included. You are basically given three steps printed on the back of the kit. It is pretty much just that easy but I would highly recommend that you take some time to look over the Duracoat website and read the FAQ.
- FUMES!! Did I mention the FUMES? Honestly they are pretty strong. They are far worse than you average rattle can. Please use an area to work that has good ventilation. I used my basement with windows open on each end on a windy day and a box fan. I had a lot of cross flow and I still wished I could have setup outside. I was ok and plenty of fresh air was coming through but things were still pretty smelly.
- Over spray is also something to watch out for. This stuff does seem to travel just a bit. Again worse than your average rattle can. You will end up with little Duracoat dots on your stuff if it is sitting too close. Just ask my camera! Even sitting a few feet away it got a couple blotches. Thank goodness for automatic lens covers.
- PREP! PREP! PREP! You really need to have a plan for the project from start to finish. You have got to have a way to hang your parts for painting and be able to leave them there for at least an overnight stay. You might be able to move them around a bit in about an hour after application but why take the chance of put a nice big smudge on your newly Duracoated project. The last thing you want is to have to scramble around finding a way to arrange everything in the middle of spraying. Also be ready for the worst case scenario. What if you get a run in one of the coats you apply. Be ready to deal with a few mistakes.
The first thing you'll want to do is get your project rifle torn down and ready for application. Have some making tape on standby in case you need it to protect screw threads or areas of the firearm you just don't want to coat. Make sure you plug the chamber and muzzle of your barrel. Foam ear plugs work great for this or simple stuff some cleaning patches in. You'll also want a few pairs of latex or similar gloves to protect your clean parts from yourself. This is also the last chance to make sure you know how everything goes back together. If you aren't 100% sure you know exactly how that trigger or mag catch spring, or cross pins go back in TAKE A PICTURE!
Here is my 260 Rem in the process of getting everything removed. I chose to leave barrel and action attached. This all depends on you. I don't switch barrels so I didn't feel the need to coat the nut, lug, and barrel separately so that they would look ok when switching to another barrel.
Once you have everything broken down and you have decided on which parts you want to coat you'll want to give them a good rub down with the abrasive pad sent with the kit. Now the directions say to clean and degrease before you use the pad. That didn't seem like a great idea to me. You don't want to leave any dust and crud on the parts when you start to spray. At the least if you use the TruStrip before you use the abrasive plan on hitting the parts up again before you begin to spray. As to the use of the TruStrip just start from the top and go down so everything runs off the part and drips off. No different than taking your car to the wash boys. I didn't have any issues with running out of TruStrip on my parts there is more there than you might think.
I found the spray system to work pretty well. I didn't really get any globs of DuraCoat coming out and everything went on pretty even. Having said that please please please take a minute and do a couple of passes on a chunk of cardboard or something so you can get a feel for it. You have plenty of DuraCoat with this kit. You will save yourself from having to deal with some runs in the coat if you will simply get a feel for the distance you need to hold the spray system from you parts before you jump in. You may also notice as I did that the first instant of spray will be a little light until it picks up to normal amounts. Start your coats a little off target so the coat is even when you move into your part. It is just like shooting offhand fellas. Time those shots as you swing into the bull. lol Don't expect full coverage on the first pass either. Remember you are going to do a few coats so don't target a little spot it didn't cover and over do it. You'll give yourself the runs this way. lol
I hung my action and barrel from a bungie hook through the slot in the action where the safety slides. This way I didn't have to move anything around or touch the part during spraying. Any place the hook prevented coverage didn't matter since you can't see down in there anyway. I applied three coats to all parts roughly five minutes apart.
Most of my other parts I coated in a cardboard tray or put sections of rod through then hung across the corners of a box. This allowed me a good way to hold the part for spraying and it was easy to put aside to hang between coats
You can gently move the smaller parts around for coating after a few minutes if you are gentle. I didn't have any issues with smearing or sticking since very little pressure is use to handle them.
After about 12 hours of drying I put everything back together. The longer you wait the better off you will be however. I didn't have any issues but remember this stuff takes weeks to completely harden so don't go crazy shoving stuff back together or you'll be starting over.
These new Shake N' Spray kits are just the ticket for those of us who are just doing one color on an odd job once in a while. You don't have the expense of getting airbrush equipment or a large investment in time getting everything setup. Plenty of DuraCoat is supplied with the kit as well. I had just around 2oz left when I was done coating all my parts. I honestly think I could have done another rifle depending on how much TruStrip I had left. I have heard some people have had luck using certain carb cleaners as a substitute for that though. Perhaps best of all you have no need to measure out your DuraCoat to hardener ratio. You simply dump and mix.
I selected coyote brown for my rig. There is perhaps a little more sheen than I had thought there would be but the look is still great. I think next time I'll look into the tactical flat line of colors available. Time will tell how resistant the finish will be to cleaners, scratching and chips.