|By Eric Kiesler
We recently added the Hunter’s Specialties Removable Camouflage paints to our growing line of gun finishing products. The removable camo paints have appeal for several reasons. Only true aficionados appreciate a camo gun; but if you do it yourself, it will detract from its Blue Book/collector value, until now… Also, the removable paint system is a boon for those of us who hunt varied seasons and or terrain with the same piece. The H.S. Camo paints are offered in individual rattle cans or in a multiple color kit. We have a Brown Kit (#100-001-246) generally recommended for the autumn and a Green Kit (#100-001-274) typically used for spring and summer hunting, as well as individual cans in different colors. The kits include 4 different colors, 1 can of paint remover, a “fern stencil”, and instructions.
The paint is enamel based, and according to the manufacturer they will not harm any gun or bow finish. In general it is recommended that the parts be lightly sanded prior to application. As this is not my truck gun I decided to skip the sanding step and just thoroughly degrease all of the parts. The instructions also describe a technique for applying the coatings using the included stencil. I will not be using their technique, but that is not to say it is a bad one. My initial test subject is a T.C. Encore that has been accompanying me on a lot of hunts recently. It has been in it stock matte stainless finish since I bought it; on a recent Bear Hunt my guide scolded me for not having a camo gun! I didn’t get a bear, so this year my pistol will be camo.
I decided not to remove my scope, it was sighted in and deer season was coming up quickly. I considered just spraying the assembled receiver but it was obvious that oil leaching out around the pin holes was going to give me trouble so I completely dissembled the receiver and degreased it with TCE (#083-060-024). I masked off the objective and ocular lenses, and plugged the bore of the Bbl. I then degreased the Bbl with TCE and thoroughly wiped the scope down with a TCE soaked rag. The Brown Kit contains Marsh Grass, Mud Brown, Flat Black, and O.D. Green spray cans. Of those colors, I decided to go with the Marsh Grass and Mud Brown as they best match the local terrain in the fall and winter months. I painted all the metal parts that show with the Marsh Grass which is a light tan I really like. The instructions recommend spraying light coats, 10 to 12 inches away from the piece you’re working on. If you get a run or an imperfection, it’s easily fixed. Simply remove the bad spot and recoat the area. I went back and made a few passes with the Mud Brown. It turned out rather well, and I can still see through my scope!
After the successful conclusion of deer season I removed the previously applied finish. The removable camouflage paints lack the durability of permanent coatings and the finish on my Encore was worse for wear. It was still mostly camouflaged but there were places where it had scraped off. But, it did perform well for me during the season. Also I did not lightly sand my parts, which would have helped adhesion.
Initially, I planned to simply hose the camo off with the camo remover much the way I use TCE to chase grease off of gun parts. Unfortunately, the remover does not work quite that well. Once applied, you wait a minute or so than physically wipe the camo off. To do a thorough job I had to completely disassemble the Encore, spray all parts and wipe. It was fairly easy, and the Spray-A-Way remover didn’t hurt my scope or any other parts.
With spring in mind, I grabbed the Green Camo Kit. Both the brown and green kits contain 4 different colors, for both of my camo jobs I decided to use only 2 colors and keep things simple. I just wanted to subdue my stainless piece and break up its outline a bit. I went with forest green and leaf green.
I used the lighter colored shades intentionally; the other colors in the kit would allow one to create a darker camo if necessary.