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Camouflage Painting Your Rifle

I bought a new Savage 12FV in .308, fully intent on buying an aftermarket stock, and other accessories in order to build a mid-range sniper rifle. Savage of course has a propensity for randomly changing details on their rifles from year to year. Thus the take-down screw holes on the new 12FV did not match up with the holes on the Bell & Carlson tactical stock I had shipped to me before the rifle arrived. (You know... the one that did fit last year's 12FV).

So, after firing off a letter to Savage outlining my opinion of their simultaneous alienation of customers and aftermarket manufacturers, I decided to use the OEM stock for a first-time foray into camouflage painting.

With masking tape (1" and 2-1/2"), Krylon Camo paint, I dove in. First, I painted the entire stock in several light layers of Khaki until it was well covered. I then masked off large geometric shapes and angles, covering alittle more than half of the stock. I then shot the stock with Olive Green. When I pulled off the tape this is what I had. It resembles the Dazzle camo of WWI, not an affective camo pattern for other than extremely long distances, (and on battleships) ...so I pressed on.

I then re-masked the stock, leaving smaller open areas, about half of which were placed on the borders between green and tan areas, the rest free-floating. I then shot the stock with Dark Brown.

This left the following pattern.
I was happy overall, but thought I had been a bit too conservative with the brown. I also did not like a couple of intersecting shapes, so I spot shot here and there to fix what I did not like.

I then started to soften and blend the pattern to something more effective as camo. Some people use netting, or pine needles, or leaves and sticks, but I found this kids beach sifter toy, and thought it might work. So I masked off all but one pie-slice of the sifter, and used it like a stencil. Holding the sifter close to the stock, I shot the paint from 12-18" away in very short bursts, alternating brown and green over large tan areas, and tan over large green or brown areas. I really liked how it worked. The trick was doing it in short limited steps, waiting, and evaluating after each. This seems like something that could be easily overdone. Be patient.

I then stood back and looked for areas where the stencil shots, or even main backing shapes still looked a bit too strong. I misted paint from a distance, and in very short bursts at those areas (tan over brown stencils, green over tan stencils, etc.). The idea was to get a softer, even pattern. It seemed to work quite well.

When satisfied, I stopped, pulled the tape off the parts I wanted no paint on, and judged it to be a respectable job for a first-time attempt.

Next, the barrel, bolt handle and trigger guard. As I want to be able to use this scope on other non-camo rifles, I painted some cotton/poly fabric in the same pattern, and wrapped the scope. The winage large tactical knob/turret holds the flap out far enough that it is easy to reach underneath to load rounds, and then "catches" the ejected shells so that they land within easy reach.

 

I was happy enough with the final product to give it a name...
V2 Tactical - Three-Season Pattern


Range Report:
Winchester brass and primers, 175 gr SMK over 42 gr Reloader 15. Avg MV of 2615 fps. COL 2.8"

Fired @100 yards Wind 15mph N (perpendicular left-right)

First target: After shot one (off bench), I clicked 4 right, then fired four shots. Three went through the same hole.

Second target: Three shots prone. Two through the same hole.

I had intendd another 5 shot group on the second target, but the fourth was waaaaaay right, indicateing the scope base had (yet again) come loose. Time for the Locktite. Still, an off the shelf shooter for sure.