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A Miracle in a Can: DuraCoat Aerosol

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It seems a bit ironic that a product that is soon to take over the custom gun finishing world would bear such a simple, if not benign, moniker. The name "DuraCoat Aerosol can" doesn't exactly make you jump out of your chair and sprint to your nearest gun dealer. Nonetheless, the brand new DuraCoat Aerosol spray can is an idea that is going to set the gun and accessory refinishing world on fire in the very near future. For those unfamiliar with the DuraCoat product, let me quote from their website: DuraCoat is a two part chemical coating. Unlike other firearm finishes, DuraCoat was created specifically for firearms. Other firearm finishes are "spin-off's" from other industries. Also, DuraCoat is permanent. With normal use, a firearm finished with DuraCoat will last several lifetimes.

The Idea

My first introduction to the idea came during the NRA Annual Meeting in the spring of 2013. The show had just opened and the foot traffic was low. I was standing with my friend, Steve Lauer, President of Lauer Custom Weaponry, the owner of DuraCoat Firearms Finishes. We were discussing the success of the "Shake N Spray" kit that Steve had released a couple years earlier. Steve looked left and then right like he was about to share a closely guarded secret. "We have something coming that is going to be even better than the kits." Steve told me in a hushed voice. I was most definitely intrigued.  

Steve went on to explain that during a recent trip to Europe he was introduced to the "can in a can" technology. Not having an actual unit with him, he mimed what it was all about. "You have what looks like a standard spray paint can on the outside, but on the inside is a separate, smaller can. Both cans are pressurized but the contents of each can are separated until you depress a small button at the bottom of the can. He continued with a gleam in his eye like a kid who had just just found the Christmas presents his parents had been hiding. "What we are going to do is put the hardener in the small can and the color in the outer can. When the user is ready, they just push the button on the bottom of the can. Shake it well until it's all mixed together and then apply it."  

Promises Kept

After Steve explained the can in can concept to me I was pretty excited about it myself. Before I left the DuraCoat booth I made him promise to keep me in the loop and let me know when the final product was available. A couple of weeks ago that promise came true as the UPS driver delivered a medium sized box with three cans of DuraCoat Aerosol in MagPul Flat Dark Earth color.

My first project was easy. I had recently assembled a Red Jacket Firearms ZK22 (Ruger 10/22 action with RJF aftermarket stock). This space-age looking stock is made from flat black polymer. I knew from the outset I wanted to color it somehow. With the two stock halves supported by thin metal hangers, I read the directions on the can thoroughly and began. The DuraCoat Aerosol cans are the Cadillac of spray cans. The applicator nozzle can be adjusted from vertical to horizontal and it produces a fine, flat spray pattern. From the first spray to the very last one the can provides a consistent pattern with no splatter.  

At press time DuraCoat had nine colors listed for their DuraCoat Aerosol cans. These colors include: Matte Black, Parker, White, OD Green,  Woodland Green, Pink Lady, Combat Gray, MagPul Flat Dark Earth, and Blackhawk Coyote Tan. DuraCoat finish can be applied to any material; wood, steel, aluminum and polymer. Just be sure that every last bit of gun oil or lubricant has been stripped from the gun. You want the surface clean, dry and oil free. Each aerosol can holds four ounces of DuraCoat color, enough to completely refinish a large shotgun or rifle.

End Results

While the ZK22 was my very first project, I must say it turned out very well, despite my freshman efforts. No, you don't need to bake the coating on. Simply let it hang in a dry environment for a day. I left mine hanging over night and reassembled the gun the next day. DuraCoat does recommend that you allow the coat to "cure" for a week or two before hard field use. 

I was so excited after my first project that I ordered a can of OD green and their "#6 Parker". The next project was an AAC Micro 7 rifle chambered in .300 Blackout. Like the ZK22, the AAC rifle was completely black with black polymer stock. I new that a little bit of color and contrast would really make the rifle look good. If I do say so myself, the new project turned out better than the first. My spray technique and level of patience had improved.

b2ap3_thumbnail_AAC-Micro-7.jpg

The Miracle

What Steve Lauer has done is to provide every gun owner in America the opportunity to apply a custom color and refinish their guns in the privacy of their home shop or garage. Think about it, how many times have you seen a custom finished gun in a magazine and thought, "Man, I'd like to do that" but then you talk yourself out of it because you don't want to ship the gun off to someone or you didn't want to spend one to two hundred dollars for the job. You might be like a lot of folks and thought, I'm not a pro, I couldn't do it myself. Friends, if I can do it in my shop and not screw it up, so can you.

The DuraCoat Aerosol cans will allow every gun owner with a $200 shotgun or $300 rifle to add a custom color finish that is tough as nails. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot. As the ink dries on this page DuraCoat Aerosol cans are available directly from the maker, just click on this link: DuraCoat Aerosol and place your order. Happy gun coating!

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©2013 Paul G. Markel
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