View Full Version : How to Multicam a Rifle in Duracoat (a step by step guide)

10-11-2007, 5:57 PM
I don't particulary know why I decided to attempt multicam on my rifle build. I don't even have any multicam clothes. In hindsight, something simpler would have been better for my 1st duracoat project. I guess I figured I do not know what kind of environment I'd find myself in in the very unlikely event I'd have to use this rifle in a real situation. I wanted something that worked in a variety of settings. Around here, we have predominantly dry semi-desert type terrain and of course, urban environments. When I looked around at different patterns, multicam seemed one of the better options.

When I decided I wanted to multicam my build in duracoat, I set out to find information on the internet to walk me through the process. I was surprised to find so little relavent information available on the subject because it's such a popular pattern. I am a complete newbie to duracoat, so the learning curve was steep, and the end result could have been better, but I think I've come close enough for all practical purposes. I hope others will be able to follow these instructions and get the same or better results and refine the process! Before I started, I dug around on the internet and found some clear pictures of the multicam pattern. After staring at the source material for days, I still got dizzy and confused trying to figure out a process and the closest duracoat colors to kindof replicate the pattern. This is what I figured to be the most direct procedure to get something functionally close. It is very possible that better duracoat colors can be chosen than these. At first, I wanted to do it without mixing colors for simplicity and repeatability, but after I got the colors in hand, I had to mix 2 custom colors to make it work.

If you read through this proceedure and decide that the project is way over your head, I'd have no problems sending a project like this out to Drew at www.armoryairbrush.com . He helped answer a lot of questions as I went along and would be able to produce a finish much better than I achieved here. Just don't expect it to be cheap. This kind of work takes time as I found out. It is an 8 color process, and that's more than double what most other camo jobs call for.

Here are the materials and tools you will need for the job:

1x large can of Denatured Alcohol
1x small can of MEK paint stripper
1x large can of Laquer thinner
several food service tins
a spool of wire to hang parts

1x quality airbrush of your choice (mine is Paasche single action external mix H-set with 3 tip sizes included) ~$50-$60 on the internet, but I had to pay about $80 because I broke my cheap brush and needed a replacement immediately from a "bricks and mortar" local store. Just order the good brush before you start for this project. There are too many color changes, and if you break a flimsy brush like I did, you'll have paid the same price as a good airbrush. If you're only going to spray 1 or 2 colors, the cheap airbrush will get you by, but for 8 colors, get a better brush and don't chance it.

1x air compressor (I used my big electric Craftsman with no other special attatchments)

1x roll of paper towels
1x roll of 1 1/2" 3M blue painter's tape
1x sharp utility knife
1x self-healing paper cutting board

Latex gloves
Quality filtered respirator
Eye protection
4x baby medicine syringes for measuring duracoat and hardener


1x 4oz. Duracoat Coyote Brown (can skip if needed and just use the Magpul flat dark earth)
1x 4oz. Duracoat Magpul Flat Dark Earth
1x 4oz. Duracoat Desert Mirage Tan
1x 4ox. Duracoat Woodland Green
1x 4oz. Duracoat Desert Mirage Mint
1x 4oz. Duracoat Woodland Brown
1x 4oz. Duracoat Urban mirage White
1x 4oz. Duracoat White

You will not use very much Woodland Brown and Urban Mirage white. If you can go 2oz on those from Lauer, I would.

With all of these materials in hand, let's get started!

10-11-2007, 6:01 PM
First, clean and degrease all of the parts thoroughly. I started with the rifle completely dis-assembled. Use brushes, compressed air, whatever means you have to run solvent over the parts and get the oil out. I started out by hitting everything with brake cleaner knowing it leaves a residue. Then, I used MEK to do the heavy lifting and denatured alcohol for the remainder of the cleaning. Thorough cleaning of the parts is essential as duracoat will literally peel right off of a part if it has oil on the surface. Parkerized and anodized parts may need to be cleaned several times to flow the oil out of the rough surface which was designed to retain oil.


Mask all parts you do not want to paint (gas ports, barrel crowns, inside the upper receiver, various pin holes, machine threads, lenses, etc.)

For parts that are impractical to dis-assemble, dunk in denatured alcohol and shake.

Hang the parts on some sort of rack to organize and allow for proper undisturbed drying while spraying.


10-11-2007, 6:20 PM
Prepare to spray by making sure you are either outside, or have positive forced airflow from the inside the room to outside of the structure. This is important because Duracoat atomizes into fine particles and dries quickly in the air leaving toxic dust floating wherever you spray until the paint fully reacts and neutralizes. A fan placed in front of a window for me was adequate to move air and along with it the fine dust from inside the room outside.

The 1st step is to put a base coat of Coyote Tan on the entire rifle.

Use a proper respirator with good filters and latex gloves.

Set a food-service tin or a can next to your work area and fill it with a generous amount of laquer thinner. Any screw-ups can be dunked in there, and it'll strip the duracoat right off if it's not dry yet. You can dunk the airbrush in the can if you get a clog. You can dip your hands in the can if you get gooey duracoat on your hands. After the spraying, you can use this can of laquer thinner to clean your equipment.

Once all fo this is set, connect the airbrush and set the compressor to between 25 and 35 PSI. I used the number 3 tip of the Paasche airbrush.

Take one syringe and pull the plunger all the way out the back. Put the cap on the tip. Pour duracoat hardener into it from the back side until fairly full. Carefully push the plunger back in while holding the tip on so the pressure does not shoot the tip off and get hardener everywhere. Flip the syringe over so the tip is facing upwards. Carefully remove the cap and push the air out of the syringe. When the air is gone, direct the tip of the syringe towards the original hardener container and sqeeze out the liquid until the markings on the syringe line up with a whole mL number (ie 9 mL). For this project, I found myself using the hardener 1 mL at a time, or sometimes .5 mL if I mix a half batch. One syringe with 9 mL of hardener goes a long way without refilling from the back.

Remove the 4 oz Duracoat bottle cap and replace it with the included press-fit syringe filler cap. Shake well. Insert syringe, turn bottle upside down, and pull down on the syringe to fill. Mix 12 mL Duracoat to 1 mL hardener.

Connect your airbrush bottle to your airbrush and spray on 1 coat of Coyote Tan.


Go slowly. . . better too thin than too thick. Allow the duracoat to flash on the part before going back over it even if it does not fully hide the black on the 1st pass. The stuff dries rather quickly so you can go back over it a couple of times if needs be in one sitting. Better slow. You'll have plenty of layers later to make up for thin spots.

10-11-2007, 6:24 PM
I let the parts dry for a couple of weeks before assembling. If you are in a bit more of a hurry, on a camo job like this, you can fix scratches on subsequent layers. Hit the whole thing w/ a hair drying or bake some of the smaller parts as per the Duracoat instructions in the oven, and put it together. Remember to de-grease after you assemble the rifle. It's somewhat easier because you have a base coat of duracoat that does not suck up the oil like parkerizing or anodizing, but harder because you have to try and get in those cracks and crevices. Luckily, if a small section of duracoat does not adhere now, you have a base color of Coyote Brown that's already on there.




I used some "fake pins" made out of rolled masking tape to temporarily assemble some parts.


10-11-2007, 6:36 PM
With the rifle assembled, apply the 1st fade.

Mix one bottle of Magpul Flat Dark Earth (dark tan) and one bottle of Desert Mirage Tan (light tan), and we'll apply smoothe, large-sweeping fades to the entire rifle. Figure out in your mind portions you want darker or lighter and mist the duracoat on lightly to get the colors to blend into each other. Make sure to leave some of the under-lying Coyote Brown exposed too!




10-11-2007, 6:43 PM
You can purchase pre-made masks. I bought several sets from www.bulldogarms.com . They work in some parts of the rifle, but I found them to be not flexible or sticky enough to adhere well to the rough or textured parts of the rifle. 3M painter's tape ended up working very well for me. I cut them by taping large overlaping sections onto my self-healing paper cutting surface, drawing some patterns w/ a pen (multicam reference material or in my case pictures from the internet helped here). And carefully cutting them out with a sharp utility knife. Change blades often. The cutting process is much easier when the blade is fresh, and you can cut and control the curves with light finger pressure.


Apply a roughly 50% mask to the rifle and parts that we are painting. The yellow templates in the picture below are the ones purchased from www.bulldogarms.com . They work very well on smooth surfaces but don't stick too well on textured surfaces. I was able to use them on the Clark carbon fiber FF tube, but not so much on the JP V-tac one. When you can use them, the masking process (which takes by far the most time), goes much faster. But, I ended up liking the patters I generated by cutting the templates myself better.


10-11-2007, 6:48 PM
After masking, apply another fade to the rifle with Magpul Flat Dark Earth, Coyote Brown, and Desert Mirage Tan. . . or, just Magpul Flat Dark Earth to Desert Mirage Tan.

We want some parts of the rifle to remain the same color, some parts to abruptly change colors at the mask line, and other parts to just ever so slightly shift colors. I found it best to mist lightly when in doubt, and to make faster fades on this layer than the base layer, but remember to still make the fades smooth. Very lightly touching a section with a different shade makes for some cool results. Don't over think it. . . just go softly if in doubt. Subtle is good.

remove the masks a couple of minutes after painting being careful not to scratch what you just painted. You can run a clean finger over the lines to knock down the ridges some or lightly scrape w/ your fingernails to smoothe out the mask lines while the paint is tack dry, but still soft and not completely hardened.



You find out a lot after the masks come off. . .. on the 2nd rifle, I went more subtle and I like the effect a lot better on the base tan layer. Your milage may vary.


10-11-2007, 6:58 PM
Your base tan layer is now complete. Now, let's go and cover up half of it :)

I waited about 4-6 hours before beginning to mask again for the green layer. Mask ~60%


And then mix 2 bottles of color.

1. Desert Mirage Mint (light green)

2. (4 parts Magpul Flat Dark Earth, 8 parts Woodland Green) dark green

With the syringes, you can go 4 mL Dark Earth and 8 mL Woodland Green or cut that in half depending on how much surface you need to cover. Make sure to remember 1 part hardener to 12 parts duracoat. With the Syringes, you can accurately meter out the fluids.

Fade the 2 colors. You'll have to completely hide the tan on this layer, so you may have to go heavy with one of the colors and then fade it back out with another color. I feel I applied just a bit too much dark green on mine personally, but I didn't know until the masks came off. Take a look at your sample multicam and observe how much true dark green is present and use your judgement. There's lots of room for error. I noticed on multicam that the green layer sometimes fades much more quickly from light to dark than the tan layers. Play with it. The light green that we are using (Desert Mirage Mint) really helps blend into the tan layers

If I wanted to really replicate what I saw in the multicam pattern exactly, I would not remove the masks at this point, but mask again over the top of the masks that are on the rifle and fade again to create a 2-step green layer just like on the tan layer. I did not do this because I felt there might be too much bleed on the layers of mask. . . and because I was pretty tired of masking at this point :)


If you happen to have an S.O. and happen to want her to shoot with you more, and have built 2 rifles, substitute your colors at this step for her rifle. Instead of mixing light and dark greens, mix light and dark Pink

1. Pink Lady
2. (2 parts Pink Lady, 10 parts White)

And fade the same way. The pink darkens a bit as it dries so watch out for that. When you take off your masks on the pink layer, you'll be surprised at how "green" the tan layer looks.


10-11-2007, 7:06 PM
Now we get to the fun part of the process. . . the accent dots.

In multicam, we have blotches of Dark Brown and White that do not cover very much of the surface.

I made negative masks for these 2 colors. I found it helpful to mask the entire rifle for the initial attack, strip the masks off, and then come back w/ some patches to make some extra "spots" to touch up without masking the entire rifle again. Don't spread them out too evening on the rifle. These splotches seem to clump together and then not appear in other large portions. Even is not random :)


Sorry I don't have more pictures of the negative masks. . . I was feeling so close to being done I forgot to document.

Mix Woodland Brown, and spray it solid on the exposed portions. GO SLOW. Resist the temptation to pile it on in one shot. Allow the paint to flash w/ multiple thin passes. It will take a couple of passes for the color to completely hide what's underneath. If the paint bleeds under the mask at this point, you'll have some ugly runs on the important accent marks. Do it with light passes while letting the paint flash, and yours will turn out better than mine :)

10-11-2007, 7:10 PM
After you have sprayed, peeled off the tape, re-masked in spots as needed, and sprayed those, repeat the process, but this time use white instead of dark brown.

Mix 2 parts Urban Mirage White and 10 parts White for the Multicam.

for the pink, just use straight up white.

Spray on your white "spots" Be particularly careful not to go on too heavy in one pass with the white. It takes a bit of paint to cover over the darker layers underneath. Spray lightly in one section of the rifle and then move on to another section and come back to it. Scan the entire rifle before you put the paint away so you remember to adequately cover inside all of your masks.

This is the final layer. If your experience is like mine, I was competely pooped and had blue tape all over my shirts and pants by this time, but it felt really good, and when those masks came off, Wow! I was a happy guy. When the wife came home from work, she flipped out when she saw the Pink one w/ white spots applied.



Well, that's it . . . hope someone out there is able to benefit from this and do some great looking Multicam paintjobs. Please post pics when you do and let me know how it turns out.

Now that the rifles are all nice and pretty, I'm going to go beat the snot out of them and get 'em nice and warm.


10-11-2007, 8:53 PM
wow! nice write up. it makes me want to tackle such a job.

10-12-2007, 4:48 AM
Have to add this thread to my subscribe folders.... I think im ALMOST ready try it myself :D

10-12-2007, 5:42 AM
Man that looks like a lot of work.

Great write up and photos.

10-12-2007, 6:23 AM
I showed the woman the end results, and she wants to do her 10/22!!! She has 2 demands
1. no pink :p
2. to hurry up and get it done

Well.. the boss has spoken.

Dont know much about Duracote. Will it work on the stainless finish of the 22 barrel?

10-12-2007, 11:29 AM
It should stick to stainless no problem. Lauer is very responsive to technical questions.

10-12-2007, 12:54 PM
It should stick to stainless no problem. Lauer is very responsive to technical questions.

Im in trouble now :D
I really did like how they came out when you had first posted those pics. Thanks fror the step-by-step ...

12-22-2007, 6:10 PM
Has anyone else tried the multi?

12-23-2007, 4:18 AM
Chunger, thanks for the excellent report. The guns look great.

I would love to take on a project like this, but with a two and four year old running around trying to find a secure location to use such chemicals is pretty tough.

12-23-2007, 1:13 PM
Very nice man!

12-28-2007, 3:41 AM
wow dude, that is a sick *** job :cool:

01-01-2008, 6:40 AM
dude, you need a garage...but awesome write-up, I'm looking to duracoat my hunting rifle soon, thanks!

02-03-2008, 6:41 PM
Amazing! That was your first effort?
I want to do my next DH mtn bike frame in Multicam!! Thanks for the information.

West coast
07-18-2008, 9:18 AM
SWEET JOB....Love the paint.....

07-18-2008, 9:22 AM
looks great

07-18-2008, 10:27 AM
Good post / pictures and a very nice result. Thanks.

07-18-2008, 12:24 PM
OutStanding!! You were in the House? Outstanding!! I did a Cold Reblue in the house once, wife said she would leave me if I did Anything like that again!"
After seeing your post I just gotta try! the wife? Guess she'll be.... Outstanding! He! He! He! Great Job:)

07-18-2008, 12:32 PM
How much would you charge to get a U15 stock mulitcammed? :D

07-18-2008, 10:08 PM
How much would you charge to get a U15 stock mulitcammed? :D

I'd 1st check with drew and armoy airbrush:


He helped me significantly with sound advise. He does this for a living, and can knock something like this out while I have to putz around and make mistakes and live with the results :)

All of the details of my camo job are right here down to color combinations and ratios. He can give you a quote for replicating this exactly. I may be interested in selling my complete rifle, but I figured most people wouldn't go for it 'cause everyone thinks hey can build the same thing for less :) with or without optic $$$. Plus, I think the camo looks cooler if you do the entire rifle all at once. PM me if you're really interested in something like that.

07-19-2008, 1:23 AM
Awesome post, Thank You so very much for putng the time in to share with everyone. This is very helpfull and great pics to boot. Both rifles look great!

P.S. shouldn't this be an outside(well ventalated) project?
Don't the fumes make you want to :puke:

One Shot, One Dropped
07-21-2008, 5:24 PM
And, now he's selling both rifles...

07-27-2008, 8:06 PM
I'm not to into Camo jobs, but the rifle looks GOOD!! Great job and write up.

11-11-2009, 6:07 PM
Bump. . . sorry to resurrect a post from the dead, but someone PM'ed a few questions about this camo pattern, and it was hell trying to find the thread. . . plus, it's been so long I had to go re-read my own post to answer the question.

11-11-2009, 6:17 PM
Looks good. I just Multicam'ed a gun last night....too bad I didn't see this first.
Good job!

11-11-2009, 9:06 PM
Great write up very nice camo job

11-12-2009, 8:19 AM
Great job. I've been thinking of doing the same especially since I have templates that I've had for the past year... Still haven't had the time to do it since it'll take a lot of time.

11-13-2009, 5:29 PM
Are you able to divulge your source for multicam-ish templates? If I had vinyl templates that would actually stick to the curves of a rifle, I might be inclined to paint more rifles like this, but hand-cutting painters tape was the biggest time consumer on this project.

Here's someone else's slightly different take on the process:


03-03-2010, 2:49 PM
Freaking fantastic!

03-09-2010, 1:59 AM

03-09-2010, 6:41 PM
i vote for best necro ever!

03-09-2010, 6:48 PM
very nicely done.

04-26-2010, 1:55 PM
Outstanding! Also when it starts to wear, it will even look better!

04-26-2010, 2:10 PM
Whoah. . . my thread got bumped again. The rifles are running just fine. The wife and I like to go for training every year, and the rifles tend to get beat on a lot during high round-count classes.

They are running well and still looking good. The Dura does not hold up so good on the muzzle brakes though. Little chips here and there, but the overall look is still excellent.

04-26-2010, 2:28 PM
Tagged for later reading.

05-23-2010, 4:57 PM
thank you so much! you have no idea how long i have looked around for these types of write ups! great job!

Colfax Tactical
05-25-2010, 5:38 AM
Hi Chunger

PM sent to you. Thanks

Larry Myers
Colfax Tactical

05-25-2010, 10:41 AM
thats damn good. great job.

05-25-2010, 10:44 AM
Looks good. I just Multicam'ed a gun last night....too bad I didn't see this first.
Good job!

Lets see tech.

05-25-2010, 11:19 AM
Looks spectacular! In the future I would love to do this to a rifle or two.

05-27-2010, 11:40 AM
Great camo jobs.

09-13-2010, 2:28 PM
Great write up Chunger,
Here's the buttstock one of the M1A stocks I did using your write up. Have any pics of yours after some use??

09-13-2010, 7:45 PM
Using Krylon... about a 2 week paint job...allowing the paint to cure


Dark Sky Solutions
07-18-2011, 8:49 AM
Very Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great Write up. Thanks for the inspiration.

07-18-2011, 11:15 PM
i vote for best necro ever!

its good but i still think the necro thread in the c&r section trumps all

07-19-2011, 8:53 AM
Any chance of getting a step by step with pics?

07-20-2011, 7:23 AM
Nevermind I was having issues with my computer. I can see them on my iPhone. Thanks for this post......great info here.

Bobby Hated
07-16-2012, 4:54 AM
just found this gem off a google search. man the instructions and dvd duracoat provides are WORTHLESS! this is the best written instructions ive found. so its worth a bump for 2012.

would love to see current pics of the rifles after a few years of wear though...

07-16-2012, 9:20 AM
Wow. . . I was surprised to see activity on this old thread. What great timing because I had a daughter and am gearing up to paint another pair of rifles for her so when she's ready, they will be there for her and I can teach her to run a rifle effectively.

As for the paint, we have not been easy on these rifles. They have been across the country and in several multi-day courses that involved a lot of on-the-ground, transition to handgun, and obstacle work. Yes, the paint has chipped in spots (magwell and grip areas). Some of the muzzle brake areas are permanently darkened by heat and blast gasses, but in broad strokes, these both still look GREAT!

12-16-2014, 9:11 AM
I'm glad I found this thread years later.. man the internet is awesome. Using techniques from this thread and templates from Ahab Tactical, here is my finished rifle.

12-18-2014, 6:50 AM
This was done with spray paint!!