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How About a Makeover for Your Gun

David Freeman

Customizing or renovating guns is often one of those things we dream about but put off because we don’t have the knowledge or skills to do it ourselves or the money to hire it done by an expert. I have encouraging news. Aside from replacing worn-out parts, the biggest hurdle in gun refurbishing is the finish. Even with new guns, especially AR pattern rifles, we often want to change the finish just to make the gun uniquely ours. Especially, since, like the Model T Ford, ARs for the most part come in one color, either basic black or some form of Desert Tan or Flat Dark Earth. The ones that really catch my eye have either some type of camouflage pattern or a tasteful combination of colors.

If the idea of a customer-colored gun or getting an old one refinished at a reasonable price, you’re luck.  DuraCoat® Firearm Finishes by Lauer Custom Weaponry finishes that include so much variety you can create a firearm with as distinctive finish as you like. Many of their products are excellent DIY products, while others require a bit of finesse and patience that you or I may not have. That’s where Brandon Allred of Kentucky Windage comes in. Brandon’s photo gallery of finished products speaks volumes of the kind of services Kentucky Windage offers at very reasonable prices. If you’d like a custom handgun or rifle that you can proudly brag on as your own, discuss your project with Brandon and see what you can come up with.

If you have a well-worn pistol or rifle that just needs a new life, DuraCoat’s new DuraBlue® spray on bluing may be just the answer for you. I’ve used DuraBlue® on two of my handguns, a Ruger 357 Maximum Blackhawk and a Remington R1 1911 Commander. The Blackhawk needed touch-up on the bluing because I had cut the barrel down a few years ago and touched up with cold bluing. It didn’t ever really match the rest of the gun and it didn’t hold up. When a second gun really need a bluing job, but I didn’t have the funds to hire a gunsmith to do a traditional hot bluing job on the guns, I turned to DuraBlue® for a solution.  The process wasn’t that difficult. It involved disassembly of the firearm, cleaning with a solution that came with the kit, followed by a process akin to painting with a spray can. DuraBlue® is offered in several finishes. I selected Polished Blue Black which most closely matched the original colors on the two guns I wanted to refinish.

Another finish you’ll read about is Cerakote. Although Cerakote makes a variety of finishes, including a product line they call Air Dry, the jobs I’ve seen have been bake-on finishes. They turn out nice, but I wouldn’t classify them as a do it at home project unless you are very patient, skilled with your hands, and have a lot of time available to dedicate to the task. Here are a couple of Cerakote jobs done for a friend of mine by a professional Cerakote applicator.

Having looked at some of Brandon’s work, I seriously don’t see myself doing another at home job, even with the spray on DuraBlue®. It was kind of fun, but as I look at my jobs compared to his, I see some thin areas and a run or two on mine that you simply don’t find on Brandon’s excellent work. When you look at his gallery, pay attention to the differences in patterns on some of the ARs and the restoration work on the lever-actions and the different patterns and hues on the handguns.