Over my hunting lifetime I’ve gone back and forth as to whether my firearms are works of art to be revered as such or simply tools just like shovels and wrenches to get a job done. That’s why I own both kinds, but in the field they are all tools. They’re part of a system meant to help me get as close to game as possible and ultimately make a clean, one-shot kill. In every case where I’m trying to get the game to come to me it’s imperative that the gun be camouflaged to match the surroundings and prevent shine.
There are many ways to accomplish this and I’ve tried most including taking the dull-finish duck boat spray paint to shiny guns that fell soundly on the tool side of the dividing line. Those days are over now that I’ve discovered MossyOakGraphics.com. For less than $25, you can order one of their pre-cut kits and put a camouflage finish on any gun. It will look great and stay in place as long as you want it to.
So here’s how you can camo up any gun in about three-quarters of an hour if you sweat the details and in about 20 minutes if you simply need to cover up a shiny tool!
Order a kit from mossyoakgraphics.com. You can choose from a dozen different Mossy Oak patterns for any terrain, situation or even just personal taste (one of the options is even BreakUp Pink!)
Watch the installation video on-line. It’s about 10 minutes long and very detailed. By using what you see in this video, you’ll be able to cover your gun like a pro. The first one will take you some time to get just right, but you’ll gain speed as you gain experience.
- Safety first. Be certain your gun is unloaded.
- Disassemble your gun as much as you feel comfortable doing. The farther you can take it down the easier the job will be.
- Degrease all surfaces to which you’ll be applying the vinyl. Use rubbing alcohol or a product like Outers Crud Cutter. Pour the chemical onto a cloth or paper towel and thoroughly rub all areas to be covered. Wipe dry and allow some time to air dry, too.
- Cut apart and dry position the pre-cut pieces to the corresponding parts of the firearm. This will give you an idea of how to best position the vinyl when you actually apply it.
- Remove backing from vinyl and lightly lay it down. This is the beauty of the 3M technology Mossy Oak Graphics uses. You can lay down the camo and pull it up as many times as you need to. You can even fold it over onto itself and pull it apart again if you mess up. It will still adhere to the gun.
- Use a razor knife to precisely trim the vinyl as necessary. Be careful not to mar the surfaces of the gun with the knife. Save the scraps you trim off as “fillers” in case the precut pieces don’t precisely align with the contours of your gun.
- Finally, use the squeegee that comes with the kit to apply pressure to the vinyl only when it’s positioned to your liking. The pressure activates the adhesion that sticks until you want it to come off. I’ve hauled my guns with Mossy Oak Graphics vinyl in place through all kinds of conditions and temperatures and it stays put.
Should you want to remove the camouflage simply use a blow dryer to heat up a seam or corner, get your knife blade under the vinyl and pull away. There’s no residue and the surface of your gun looks exactly as when you put the camo on it!
Though it wasn’t built with the purpose of reusing the removed camo cover material, it can be done! When we were doing a TV hunt, I showed up with a black shotgun covered in Mossy Oak Graphics vinyl. Our guest showed up with a shotgun dipped in a competitor’s pattern. We couldn’t let him use his gun on camera, so I had the bright idea to remove the film from my gun and put it on his. With the help of a hair dryer we found at the lodge, I removed the vinyl from my gun and put it on his. It looked like a professional job, and there was no sign of the material letting loose from his gun over 4 hard days of hunting in mud, grit and water. This stuff works, and it seems to last long enough to qualify it as lifetime gear!