Painting Your Hunting Rifle: An Easy Camo Idea

I have been a big deer hunter since I was a kid in the great state of Wisconsin. Every year, it never fails that at least one deer will spot me to my surprise and bolt out of view. This last year it occurred to me that just maybe the deer can see the bright sun reflecting off of the blued stainless steel of my rifle barrel, or even off of the rifle’s scope. It makes sense the more I think about it, as deer isn’t stupid, unless they’re crossing a road, that “if it’s shiny, it doesn’t belong.”

We hunters spend so much time and money on camouflaged clothing, and face paint if you get that far into it, not to mention even going as far as spending a bunch of money for a quality deer blind. The clothing that we wear has all sorts of woodland shapes to break up our pattern in the woods, but we tend to forget one other thing.

Our rifles. As mentioned, I am pretty sure deer can see the sun reflecting on the steel, and there really isn’t anything there to break up the pattern. Turkey has much more keen eyesight. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see camouflaged turkey shotguns.

I had the wild idea to camo up my treasured Remington 700 30-06 bolt-action rifle last fall. I tried a “sock” of sorts to slip over the rifle. Problem was that it got on the way of the bolt, ejected cartridges, and my eye when looking through the scope. So, I thought that I would just paint it.

I left the rifle all together as there really isn’t any need to take it apart. I taped up the glass lenses of the scope, making sure that only the glass gets covered. I then closed the bolt and put enough tape over it in the open area to keep it from getting paint on it. Here’s why I didn’t paint that. The first time I did, then when trying to cycle the bolt open and closed, the paint wore off and gummed up the bolt tracks making it very stiff. So I just cleaned off only the portion that sits inside the receiver. For my project, I decided on a two-tone green scheme. Light green and Forest’s green.

Making sure that you are in a well-ventilated area, lay the rifle on one side and spray several coats of the (in my case) light green paint. This will ensure good coverage and dries evenly. To speed up the process a bit, I used a hair drier from about 3-4 feet away so that it didn’t get a too hot, but blow just enough warm air on it to dry quicker. When the rifle is thoroughly dry, I grabbed some ferns and tree leaves from the back yard and laid them over one side of the rifle. Don’t worry if they don’t lay completely flat. When you remove the leaves and branches, you’ll see that there will be some really cool depth to the areas that were raised slightly off the rifle.

Make sure that the leaves and branches overlap the edges of the rifle all the way around. This will help break up the pattern or outline, helping to blend in better to the environment. When you have everything right where you want it, hold your darker green spray can at least 3 feet away when you spray to avoid blowing your leaves off. I found that it is better to spray straight down so that the paint doesn’t work on the leaves excessively. A little it is ok. Again, lightly blow dry the side you just painted. Again, it’s not necessary, but I’m impatient. When dry, turn the rifle over and repeat the process on the other side.

I was very impressed with the looks of the paint job so much that I painted my Armalite AR-10A2 as well. Referring back to the bolt problem of my Remington 700, make sure that your dust cover is closed if you choose to paint your AR rifle.

Just the other day, I decided to sell my AR-10 for an AR-15 For as much as I want to shoot this summer, the “15” will fit my weekly allowance better, as a cost of shooting is cut in half. I returned to the shop about an hour after the sale, and already there were a couple of guys checking out the rifle with its new camo paint scheme. I must say that it really “stood out in the crowd” of other rifles!

Happy painting!

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