I figured a good thing for my site would be a few product reviews. I have the experience so I may as well share my experiences with anyone who wishes to know. My first review will be something in which I have a lot of experience with Duracoat. Duracoat is made by a company called Lauer Custom Weaponry ( we'll call them LCW for now) and is a firearm finish available in almost any color you can think of. Duracoat can be applied on woods, metals and plastics; so far I haven't found any part of a firearm that it couldn't be applied on. This finish is meant for average joes without expensive equipment, time or experience in coating application; not only that but it is inexpensive compared to other methods of firearm finishing and a heck of a lot less expensive than sending you firearm in to the shop for a finish job. It can and must be applied by an airbrush, conventional spray gun, preval sprayer or HVLP sprayer; or course most hobby shops carry airbrushes pretty cheap. Application is a breeze, and with the reducer or lacquer thinner cleanup is a breeze. This is a permanent finish however and once it cures the only thing you can really do is apply more. I use it pretty much every time I need a firearm finish and recommend it to my friends. It can be bought in most firearm catalogues and online at several websites that cater to gunsmithing.
The preparation before application is as critical as the application itself. First thing you need to do is remove all rust and then clean and degrease the firearm, remember to use rubber gloves and a respirator and also make sure you are in a well ventilated area. For rust removal it is almost bettor off to do this step in a garage or outside as the chemicals let of noxious fumes. Several manufacturers have a blue and rust remover commercially available, LCW has one as well, remember your gloves and respirator and follow manufacturers instructions until the rust has been removed. At this time you can bead blast the firearm but stay away from glass beads, I think the recommended is alumina oxide for blasting however I don't usually blast prior to application. For wood parts you will need to take the extra step to lightly sand the surfaces, if you sand down to bare wood you may have to sand and repeats as the grains tend to rise. Next step is to clean and degrease the entire firearm, even though it isn't necessary to disassemble the firearm (I always do) you need to make sure and get into all the little nook and crannies and make sure the firearm is free of any grease or debris (even a fingerprint can cause a spot application failure). Hang it up, let it dry and prepare for spraying.
As I mentioned before you need an airbrush, conventional spray gun, preval sprayer or HVLP sprayer (high volume low pressure) to apply this coating. This is a two part chemical coating so you must add a hardener to the color or else it won't work, measurements aren't exact as it varies according to humidity, temperature and etc.. Mix your two parts and go, that easy. If you have problems with your spray gun sputtering or application you can add some Duracoat reducer to help thin it out (in fact I would recommend adding some reducer to your order as it makes cleanup easier as well as easier application of the Duracoat). Once you have applied your finish to the firearm hang it up and let it cure. Duracoat dries to the touch in about 20 minutes and can be handled in about an hour, it can be used overnight but takes three to four weeks to acheive full cure. It'll be worth the wait, trust me.
Time for the dreaded cleanup. It's actually not that bad, run lacquer thinner through your sprayer onto anything else you may have used for mixing or whatever until everything looks clean, you may have to repeat this a few times, I even use a shoptowel to help cleanup a bit. Once everything looks clean run some Duracoat reducer through your sprayer and everything should be fine. Cleanup is a snap.
I always wait until full cure before I reassemble the parts, but all that is up to you. Enjoy your new finish. If you can handle that and want to go for a little more gusto there are templates available to camouflage or tigerstripe your favorite firearm, or you can make your own template. If I was giving out stars for this product and I was scoring out of a possible five then I would probably give this a 4 3/4 but it's the best finish I have ever encountered bar-none. Good luck with your new finish!!