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DIY Camouflage for a Shotgun
by StumpJumper

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Disclaimer:  This article is for entertainment only and is not to be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.  Please defer all firearms work to a qualified gunsmith.  Any loads mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have been carefully worked up using established guidelines and special tools.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of these loads, or use or misuse of this article.  Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith, just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a tinkerer.  This article explains work that I performed to my guns without the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.  Some procedures described in this article require special tools and cannot/should not be performed without them.

Warning:  Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may void the warranty.  I claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.  Again, this article is for entertainment purposes only!

Tools and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark of their respective manufacturers.

[Note:  While researching how to camouflage a gun on the Internet I found a forum called Duck Hunting Chat.  One member, StumpJumper, posted complete instructions on how to paint a camouflage reed pattern onto a shotgun.  These are his instructions along with his photos, all used with his permission.  Thanks Stump!]

Steps to Painting a Shotgun
Ok guys, after posting pics of the guns that Iíve painted, Iíve received a lot of requests on a step by step process.  I have taken in a gun from Fowl Wishes here at DHC to see how someone other than me, family, and friends like it.  He will post up when itís returned and let you boys know what he thinks.  Until then here is a detailed account of what I do.

First here is a before pic of the victim.  She is a Remington SP 10 duck killing machine.


Pretty ainít she

Step 1.     The gun was completely disassembled and cleaned internally. 


Step 2.     All wood was sanded to remove the clear coat and stain if any.  If you're painting a composite stock and forearm, ruff it up with some 120 grit so that it holds paint.  Any rust on the metal was sanded to prevent future rusting.  This part is extremely important!  Any areas not to be painted were taped off.  Finally the entire gun was wiped down with thinner to remove any dust or foreign particles.  Also make sure to wear thin rubber gloves when youíre cleaning all of the parts.  If not you run the chance of leaving oil from your hands on the parts and it WILL rust under the paint.

Step 3.     The paint used for the primer, base and overspray are

a.      Rust-oleum gray auto primer
b.      Krylon reed brown ultra flat
c.      Krylon OD green ultra flat
d.      Krylon black ultra flat (also there is a dark brown that Krylon offers.  You can use it instead of black.  Personally I think it looks better with the dark brown.  I call it the chocolate pattern.)


Step 4.     I hung the gun parts using thin hemp purchased at Wally world in the craft department. 

Step 5.     Next I sprayed 2 coats of primer and allowed it to dry between coats.  Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies.  Go light until you get the feel of it or youíll end up with the runs!    Do not apply too much paint.  If you apply too much it will crack due to build up.  Just enough to cover the parts completely.  After this dries it may be necessary to run some 400 grit sand paper over composite or wood pieces.  Some of these products absorb the paint and swell causing the surface to be rough.  After you re-sand them make sure to hit them with the primer again.

Step 6.     After the primer is dry, I apply 2 coats of the Krylon reed brown.  Again take your time.  (Just enough to fully cover all parts )


Step 7.     After everything is good and dry, remove all of the pieces and place them on a flat area covered in newspaper.  I went into my field and picked some dead weeds for the over spray.  For the first color, OD green, I usually choose a thicker diameter weed such as Johnson grass.  This way you will leave some of the reed brown showing thru.  Grasp the reeds in one hand and hold them against the surface of the gun.  Spray slowly over the weeds, make sure not to move or they will be fuzzy.  Keep the spray can about 6" from the parts and lightly spray until you get the desired color.  Then move to another area of the gun and repeat.  Make sure to rotate the weeds to create varying patterns (rotate left/right/up/down) Remember this is the back ground.  Do one side of one piece at a time.  Let it COMPLETELY dry before turning it over to do the other side.  One thing to always check is to make sure that you keep the darkness or lightness of each piece roughly the same.  If not it will look like a calico cat when assembled.

Step 8.     After you have finished the OD green the black is next.  Go and pick you some more weeds.  But this time they should be as thin as you can find.  Do the same process as before but watch it with the black.  Too much here and she will be TOO dark.  Go light; youíre just adding a small amount of detail to the background to give it depth.


Step 9.     Now I bring the gun inside and assemble the barrel, receiver, trigger, and the butt stock.  This is done so that when you paint the reeds you allow them to transfer seamlessly from piece to piece.  Also you need to make sure that the background is even throughout the entire gun.


Step 10. Here is a list of paints that I use to do the reeds in the order that they are applied.

a.      American accents taupe
b.      American accents nutmeg
c.      American accents hunters club green
d.      Rust-oleum flat black


Step 11. And here are the brushes that I used.  They can be found at any art store.

a.      1/4" angled medium bristle
b.      3/8" angled medium bristle


Step 12. To paint the reeds, place the brush on the surface so that the angle is against the gun with the long end of the angle farthest away from you.  Try to start at an area of the gun that has an edge so that the reeds appear to be coming out of that spot.  As you draw the brush away from the starting point decrease the amount of pressure that you are applying and try to flick your wrist slowly to create the thin tips of the reeds.  Change the way the reeds flow to create a varying pattern.  Move down the side of the gun and fill in the reeds as dense as you want.  This first process is done with the color taupe only.

Step 13. Now for the fun part.  For the next process you will use the nutmeg only.  Youíre going to do this step the same as the last, but the twist is you will be going OVER the reeds you painted the first time.  Donít cover the whole reed only part of it.  This is adding the detail of varying colors of the reeds.  This is where most people make mistakes.  It is difficult to make the brush go over the same area youíve already painted.  Practice first.


Step 14. Now you will use the green.  Only place a few green reeds to the gun.  If you add too many it will not blend in as well.  The green gives it a realistic look.  These are done separately from the other reeds.

Step 15. The final color is black.  You will use this to place a small amount to 85% of the total reeds including the green ones.  This will really bring out the detail in your reeds and set them apart from the background.  Remember only 85% of the reeds.  That way in will appear as two different layers of reeds.  Those close and those a little further away.  One thing to remember about the black is go small.  Donít cover your other colors.  Youíre only adding fine detail.


Step 16. Let the paint dry overnight in a warm place.  The last process is the clear matte finish.  This will help to protect the paint in inclement weather.  I use a clear acrylic sealer personally but a clear in matte finish will work (try Krylon matte finish as well )


Step 17. Hang the gun back up and apply the sealer.  I personally do three coats.  If possible place the gun in the sun while drying.  The sun's heat will practically bake the stuff on hard as a rock.  Or you can buy a heat lamp bulb and place it in an aluminium drop light.  Hang it near the parts in a barn or someplace to let it heat up and bake in. 


Here is the finished project all assembled.  Iíll let her dry for at least another 24 hours just to make sure itís good to go.


This is a fun project for others to try.  If you mess up, start over again.  Take your time and have fun with it.

[Thanks again Stump for sharing your knowledge with others and allowing me to post these on my web site.]



   © Copyright 2014 Roy Seifert.