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 Painting an AR 
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I've never painted one so my question is (kinda) simple.

If it is not assembled, would you paint the parts separately or build first then paint?
I'm talking rattle can stuff.

Also, this is NOT going to be a safe queen.

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:45 am
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Pretty much your choice. Depends if you want your pins, bolt catch, mag release black or painted as well.

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:47 am
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Someone posted the military painting guide not long ago. It provides instruction for painting an assembled AR and what NOT to paint. Maybe search? I'm on mobile or I'd try to find it.

I think the direction depends on what you want. Just a quick coat for camo or color??

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:50 am
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If you're going to rattle can it, assemble, shoot it up. Get her running good. Then, clean it, scrub it, SCRUB x 1,000. Don't lube. Scrub it up with Simple Green. Flush it clean with water. Even distilled water if you've got some steel parts so you don't start rusting. After you're sure oils have been removed and it's dry, spray paint until your heart is content. Be sure to wear proper PPE.

Painting individual parts is very time consuming due to prep. And since you're not going to safe queen it, there's no need to do it all separate.

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:50 am
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Kgbsucka wrote:
Someone posted the military painting guide not long ago. It provides instruction for painting an assembled AR and what NOT to paint. Maybe search? I'm on mobile or I'd try to find it.
I think the direction depends on what you want. Just a quick coat for camo or color??

https://www.peosoldier.army.mil/docs/bl ... ing101.pdf

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:53 am
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surevaliance wrote:
Kgbsucka wrote:
Someone posted the military painting guide not long ago. It provides instruction for painting an assembled AR and what NOT to paint. Maybe search? I'm on mobile or I'd try to find it.
I think the direction depends on what you want. Just a quick coat for camo or color??

https://www.peosoldier.army.mil/docs/bl ... ing101.pdf

"GSA" numbers are actually Rust-Oleum mfg numbers.

Good information, just too much work. :wink05:

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:07 pm
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dreadi wrote:
If you're going to rattle can it, assemble, shoot it up. Get her running good. Then, clean it, scrub it, SCRUB x 1,000. Don't lube. Scrub it up with Simple Green. Flush it clean with water. Even distilled water if you've got some steel parts so you don't start rusting. After you're sure oils have been removed and it's dry, spray paint until your heart is content. Be sure to wear proper PPE.

Painting individual parts is very time consuming due to prep. And since you're not going to safe queen it, there's no need to do it all separate.

The more I thought about, the more I agree with you.
The cleaning thing, :thumbsup2:

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:09 pm
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Use aervoe paint, they have a camo line. On my ar I just wiped it down and sprayed the whole thing, I didnt mask anything off. I used krylon and didnt like how shiney it was so I got paint stripper and laid it dont in a car wash bay, you couldnt tell I painted it

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Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:25 pm
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Aervoe is supposed to be the best, haven't tried it. I use Krylon, good enough.

I assemble all but the rail/forend, then paint barrel. Then install rail, paint the whole thing. That way everything under the rail is painted and protected.

Use the gun alot, gotta redo it once every year or two (not the barrel under the rail, just the outer stuff). Safe queen, it'll last forever.

So yeah, no reason to paint each individual part. That would suck.

ETA: just mask off optic lenses, lights, or any area you don't want paint on.


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Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:56 pm
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Well...did you spray or what? I generally do a partial disassembly at least. The only real mistake you can make is to use a spray finish thats harder than the gun parts. High temp rattle can works great on an upper, but that same hard finish will flake away from an aluminum lower.

Here's a 6 month old krylon job on an abused pistol.


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Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:11 am
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FWIW I used Brake Clean and/or Electrical parts cleaner. No water. No simple green.

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Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:15 am
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jukk0u wrote:
FWIW I used Brake Clean and/or Electrical parts cleaner. No water. No simple green.

I like that idea and I've got extra cans left over from something I needed them for a long time ago.

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Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:29 pm
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