Duracoat is a 2-part chemical spray finish that is designed to be used on firearms specifically. While the process of actually applying the paint is not complicated, the preparation work needs to be done meticulously to ensure an even, flawless finish.
That being said, you need to follow several steps if you are going to be applying Duracoat to your firearm. Understanding how Duracoat is applied will help you understand what needs to be done to remove it. So let’s go through that first.
How To Apply Duracoat Step-By-Step
- Cover the surface you are working on with newspaper
- Dis-assemble the firearm and clean all pieces thoroughly, making sure there are no traces of oil left on any piece
- Apply denatured alcohol for a second wipe down
- Use painter’s tape to cover any parts that you do not want to be painted
- Use wire to make hooks to hang the pieces
- Keep lacquer thinner close by in case of painting mistakes
- Set up the air sprayer and set the compressor to 30 psi
- Mix/prepare your paint to get your desired color
- Combine 1 part Duracoat hardener to 12 parts Duracoat paint
- Spray pieces from 4 to 8 inches away in a sweeping motion
- Let all the parts dry
- Add another coat or two if necessary
Duracoat is notoriously tricky to remove, which is kind of implied by the name (durable coat). Many removal methods have possible downsides that can damage the firearm, while others don’t work as well as you would want them to.
Either way, this article will take you through several options that you can try to remove Duracoat from your gun. More than anything, it becomes a trial and error process and depends on what kind of risks you are willing to take to remove the paint.
If you desperately want it completely gone, you might have to compromise with possible damage to the weapon’s materials. If you made a mistake on color and just want to re-paint it, you have a better chance of protecting the firearm.
It is important to note that removing it will be nearly impossible if you blasted the metal before you applied Duracoat. Blasting beforehand gives the Duracoat a surface to bind to, much more than just clean, oil-free metal.
How To Remove Duracoat
Acetone is a great product to try before any others. This chemical will not damage the anodizing or parkerizing done to the metal originally, so it does not hurt to give it a shot.
Note that your best chance of acetone working is if the Duracoat was applied only hours to up to a week prior to removal. If the Duracoat was given more than a week to set, acetone might not do the trick.
- The first thing you will want to do is take apart your weapon.
- Then, in a tank filled with acetone, submerge the painted parts and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
- You will notice the Duracoat will start to wrinkle up, and you should be able to peel it off with your fingernail.
- This method, although simple, is slow going and works best if the Duracoat is fresher.
This method is less common because most people do not have a blasting cabinet or sandblaster lying around in their garage. Also, if you choose this method, it is best to bring your firearm to a qualified individual to make sure it is done correctly.
Due to Duracoat’s elastic nature, it is generally resistant to blasting. But again, a qualified individual with the proper blast media can safely remove Duracoat without damaging the firearm’s surface.
In most cases, it is recommended to blast the Duracoat lightly—just enough to break it up. This will give the surface some grit, allowing your new coat of Duracoat or other paint to adhere properly.
To use this method yourself, first, hang your weapon in a well-ventilated area or outside.
The fine particles and dust created can be harmful to you if you breathe it in, so make sure you cover your nose and mouth with a respirator. Eye protection is also a good idea to avoid any health complications.
Next, using a hopper, hose, and special nozzle, spray the surface of your weapon with abrasive media. Aluminum oxide media works best for firearms.
Patience is key when using this method. Although it is relatively quick, making sure all the paint is removed requires your full attention.
You also want to make sure you do not damage the surface of your gun by over-blasting. The risk of damage increases exponentially the more the original surface is exposed.
A heavy-duty paint stripper seems to be another go-to method for many people trying to remove Duracoat from their firearms. These can be found at your local hardware store—the heavier duty, the better!
Make sure the label says it removes epoxy-based paint. Aircraft remover is a good one.
- Once you have your heavy-duty paint stripper, apply it to the painted surfaces of your firearm. They usually come in a spray can or something you can brush on.
- Next, it is essential to let it sit so that the chemicals can do the work. It will start to bubble, so you will know it is working.
- Once it has sat for a while, wipe the pieces down and wash with soap and water.
- Be sure to be in a well-ventilated area if you are not outdoors, as the fumes can be harmful.
This last method is sort of an unorthodox one, but many people have said it works—especially if the Duracoat is not fresh.
Brake cleaner contains harsh chemicals, so you must do this outside with the wind blowing away from you. You can use brake cleaner because it is meant to remove oil coatings on rotors, so it will not damage the gun itself.
While this is not guaranteed to work, due to the sheer strength of chemicals in brake cleaner, there is a chance it can break up the Duracoat paint.
- Using the same method as the previous techniques, you will first want to dis-assemble the gun and submerge the Duracoat-painted pieces in the brake cleaner.
- Next, let the chemicals do the work. Be patient. As previously mentioned, Duracoat is not meant to come off quickly.
- After letting it sit in the brake cleaner, take it out carefully and wipe it down.
- Be sure to cover your nose and mouth to prevent inhaling any fumes.
Duracoat is a pain to remove—no doubt about that, especially if it has been on your firearm for a long time. The fresher the coat of Duracoat is, the better chance you have at removing it.
Acetone is a great first chemical to try as it will not damage the gun’s original metal surface. Blasting is probably the most successful of the methods since that is what professionals do to remove paint like this.
A heavy-duty paint stripper or even brake cleaner may also do the trick, but now you are getting into more potent chemicals, so proper ventilation and some experience are crucial.
Either way, no method is guaranteed, so trial and error is your best bet. If you are not sure about what you are doing, take it to a professional! There is no use damaging your expensive firearm (or yourself) to save a buck.