Firearm Coatings–Cerakote and DuraCoat

Jack Landiswith Jack Landis
AGI Technical Services Manager

 

There are many different options for putting a protective or decorative coating on firearms. Some are essentially a controlled corrosion of the metal while other are actual coatings. In this video extract from the GCA GunTech Volume 75, Jack Landis shows you some interesting and educational information about Cerakote firearms coatings.

The second video I found on YouTube and is a great demonstration of the do-it-yourself aerosol cans of another product, DuraCoat. No special tools or skills needed to get a great long-lasting finish on all kinds of firearms, tools, etc.


32 Responses to Firearm Coatings–Cerakote and DuraCoat

  1. Had my eye on the DuraCoat Shake n’ Spray aerosol formula for a long time now. Only thing stopping me is the darned Canadian dollar is so poor it’s not worth the price by the time it get from the USA to a Canadian residence to. To get the $40 US aerosol Shake n’ Spray kit it would cost minimum $100 CA to $115 CA by the time exchange, duties and brokerage fees are totaled in.

    Had to explain that to a customer who wanted some DuraCoat done so he said forget it for now because of the price. Too bad. The stuff looks great and is convenient/practical to use. Anyhow, thanks for the video. Cheers

    • Dana, a small hobby compressor kit, one suitable for model makers works fine for spraying duracoat. Not sure how this affects your issue but it does remove the propellant portion of the product.

      You can also get propellant spray kits that are available in hobby shops that would give you another option.

      This would allow you to only require the color/hardener and cleaner. Like any coating, surface prep is key. I sandblast when possible, sand, chemical strip or at very least steel wool the surface. De grease, and if there are attached parts, barreled receiver with sights, etc. Heat the parts to get the grease/oil from the joints. Then clean with simple green, acetone or similar then, final wipe down with their cleaner. (Gloves worn and changed at each cleaning step).

      My original spray booth was a Stetson cardboard hat box, outside on a warm still day. The box allowed parts to be hung on bits of coat hanger, paper clips and dowel. Any strong box will do, just insure you walk through the entire process before you start. Where the part will hang, how you will hold it during spraying etc.

      Tools I use are dentist/Doctor clamps, paper clips, wire, dowels, bamboo skewers, clamps and I have a curtain rod on the ceiling of the shop to hang drying parts on.

      Been doing this for a number of years. works fine!

      • The comments are very much appreciate Charles – thank you kindly for sharing them!

        “You can also get propellant spray kits that are available in hobby shops that would give you another option.” – That’s right, and I actually found places in Canada (even locally) that sell the same aerosol sprayer (Preval) DuraCoat has in the Shake n’ Spray finishing kit. They are about $12 CA.

        Again, thank-you for everything Charles. Cheers

    • Thanks for the info Joey, it looks interesting. Not sure if it is available in Canada though from what I have seen so far when googling it last night. Final cost to door would be the same as ordering anything from the USA: 250% of the product price.

      Again, thanks. Cheers

  2. I’ve DuraCoated a lot of 1911s. What I have found is that the coating stays fairly soft for some time (months). It takes about a year for the coating to get really hard.

    Cerakote Elite is worth looking at.

    • depends on how it is done. done right it takes a sand blaster to get off. i have it on a race gun and even on the comp it did not come off. even on the webs

    • James, up the hardener in your mix a bit. You can also heat the part a day or two after you spray and it will aid in drying. Heating is not recommended for grips or plastic parts.

    • This reminds me of a stock crack I fixed using bedding compound (a two part epoxy kit). It was the first time I used this stuff. I eyeballed the mix and applied it to the inside of the crack and used some on the exterior to build up the tongue slightly. After the recommended cure time I checked it, then checked it daily for 3 weeks because it never dried hard – it was always tacky and soft to the touch.

      Three months or so later I checked it and it had hardened. The next time I used the same bedding compound I used measuring spoons and got equal parts, which in 24 hours the mix cured hard (was not at all soft or tacky).

    • I would agree, cerakote coating really are the best. Ive been using them for years and I use a used household oven and the HVLP spray set up, but the real difference is; most all the coating look good when applied, but cerekote, in my humble opinion, is the only coating that will last the longest. I sure would love to be able to afford their class though, but Im just a poor humble gunsmith in the middle of no where LOL.

  3. I have had about 10 guns come in in the last two years that were ceracoated and the customer could not get them reassembled. I had to grind off the ceracoat at critical points to get enough clearance to reassemble the firearm. I have had no problems with duracoat.

    • Sounds like the Cerakote was applied to thick. I use Cerakote exclusively for 1911 builds. These guns have high tolerances. Slides need a quick refitting after coating. Bushings takes a few “break-in” turns, as well. The Cerakote should only be about .0005″ thick. It actually adds lubricity. Duracoat doesn’t even come close to the durability of Cerakote, when applied properly. No, I’m not a troll for Cerakote; not even one of their “certified applicators”, as they charge and arm and a leg to attend the program.

  4. Our shop coats over 200+ firearms a month for customers. We use duracoat, cerakote, and gun kote from KG Industries. One of our specialities is hydro graphics. If you are dipping a firearm, duracoat works best as you are going to add a clear to protect the dipping. As the clear and duracoat harden together, a super strong base is created that becomes rock hard. Cerakote is what it is, it hardens well and is a great product, as long as it is baked properly. If you want a great hard coating that can tolerate a serious amount of abuse it is worth looking at gun kote by KG. after baking it’s tough as nails. The aerosol gun coatings are good short term coatings but do not hold up like a 2part manual system. The secret to any coating is surface prep. Any coating worth it’s soul will have a blasted surface using an alum oxide mix. With low pressure it is safe to blast metal and plastic providing a base that all three coating types will adhere too and become the toughest versions of themselves. our shop SAF is releasing a how to manual next month on all types of coatings including hydro graphics specifically for firearms, thanks to AGi we have created a great firearms custom shop… We are most grateful!!!

  5. Being a newbie to all these products I would like to try a simple to apply product (a non-bake-on finish such Aluma-Hyde, DuraCoat) on a knife or some kind of inexpensive tool before trying the process on a firearm. This will give a better idea of the processes involved before going all-out on a more expensive tool such as a firearm. Put the coated product to work in the elements and see how the product stands up. Try a second product doing the same thing then pick the one(s) you prefer.

    Thanks for the comments everyone, it helps. Cheers

    • Dana, I have a belt knife I use daily, it is old and pitted. I had some left over duracoat and just ignored most of my normal prep, just light steel wool, alcohol prep pad as final degrease. Only gave it a couple days to dry/harden. It has been used to open paint cans, assist in backing out deck screws, removing cactus spines, cut wood, plastic, aluminum cans, strip wire, all that just this week. It has been hammered into wood, dropped on rocks, basically used daily.

      A day or so after I sprayed it, I used a file to remove the coating on the edge of the blade. Sharpened it on a stone using oil the same day. Things that I would not recommend during the cure process.

      It has issues, email me at charles0143@hotmail.com I will send a picture of how it looks. I have also done some mugs that I can show you. Or anyone who wants to see.

    • I went out and bought an old destroyed( bent barrel/warped action) 22 rifle for about 25 dollars and do all my test runs for new products or techniques on that. Saves the worry and head ache of damaging or messing up a customer’s gun

  6. I’ve been cerakoting in my shop for about 2 yrs now. This is the best, IMO, bake on coating out there. Super thin, requires little to no fitting afterward, unless the it’s super tight to begin with, and extremely durable. The main thing is: Follow NICs instructions, to a T. Use the grit and type of media (120 Al Oxide, is what we use), de-grease properly, etc.

  7. The product is great but their class is highway robbery. As long as you follow their instructions perfectly, you will have good results. I’m willing to bet that the majority of their sales are to non-certified applicators who do good work. I built a commercial grade oven from a Stack On gun safe. It keeps temps to within a degree or two and works great. Much nicer to work with than the kitchen oven. Cost for materials and safe was about $500 and it’s comparable to one that would cost a few thousand. Brownells is over $2K and not as nice.

  8. jacks talk on H-B spray gun, cheap guns usually sprays pretty good just cheap made,top loaded is best for using all of the paint where siphon feed leave some behind and that can get expensive when using a catalysis,guns has two adjustments fan is the with- fluid is amount going threw the nozzle, 1 M-M is a reference to how much fluid will pass threw the nozzle and that is adjustable with the fluid adjustment by choking it down,the best way to do this is to hang a piece of paper or cardboard up set estimated air pressure set fan adjustment for with, then open fluid control fully open with trigger pulled back turn control knob in clockwise to you feel it hit the trigger that is fully open,then make a pass across the paper, then turn knob clockwise 1/4 to 1/2 turn then a pass- you will see the amount of fluid slowing down to you get the amount you like,the thinner the fluid is the more you can choke it down, it takes practice! another good practice is when you are in a tight place where you can easy get a run is to double the air line with your hand to close the airway off and release just enough air to spray that hard to get to place, your in and out fast and don,t have to play with regular,not as hard as you think!

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