If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m a big fan of METACOL for firearms finishing. I use it heavily, and while I can do all of the others, i’ve found that METACOL outperforms and outlasts them all.
You can learn more about the technical aspects of METACOL, here.
And, if you’d rather get right to the nitty-gritty, pricing for METCOL refinishing can be found here. Otherwise, read below for more detail on the background behind how I’ve come to use METACOL finishes in several different ways.
METACOL III™ Satin Black
METACOL III™ is the best firearm coating available and has made all other coatings obsolete. METACOL III™ is a bonded, solid-film lubricant. Unlike paint, it will not chip, peel, bubble, or crack and is thin enough (.0003″ to .0007″) to coat most delicate internal components. When thermally cured, it chemically bonds at the molecular level with the base metal. It is unbelievably tough, impervious to rust, and the molybdenum disulfide content makes it self-lubricating. METACOL III™ is the ideal coating for modern weapons and can be applied to carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, brass, “pot metal,” and some high-temperature plastics (like HK™ collapsible stocks)
I specially adapted METACOL III™ Satin Black to match the factory finish on Heckler and Koch rifles, and I have been the authorized refinishing center for Heckler and Koch, USA, for over 13 years. It is also an excellent match for the Uzi, Galil, L1A1 and Belgium FAL factory finishes, as well as matching the “Black Stoving Lacquer” found on many Commonwealth military arms. Satin is the middle of a sheen scale that includes flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. I have selected satin as it has the best lubricity, wear properties, and cosmetic appeal. Flat finishes are obtained by adding a talc powder to the finish. This coarser finish reflects less light, but at the cost of decreased lubricity and wear resistance.
METACOL III™ Gray
I developed METACOL III™ Gray to match the color of METACOL IV™ manganese phosphate for non-ferric metals, such as aluminum and stainless steel. My target was to match both the gray of Parkerizing, and an older Colt™ AR-15 anodized aluminum receiver.
METACOL III™ Classic Patina™
METACOL III™ Classic Patina™ is a color I developed to match the finished of aged Parkerizing. Manganese phosphate is a dark gray, but long-term exposure to Cosmolene, oil, and cleaning solvents will give it a greenish-brown hue. Classic Patina™ results from a special curing process and closely duplicates this “old Parkerizing” color. This special process has the added advantage of being an even color throughout and hiding areas of different hardness that standard Parkerizing would highlight, such as weld marks. It is beautiful on M1 Garands, M1As, Springfield 1903s, M1 Carbines, Israeli FALs, and similar firearms.
METACOL IV™ Manganese Phosphate
METACOL IV™ is a specially-applied manganese phosphate coating that yields a beautiful charcoal gray color. The shade of gray depends on the hardness of the metal: usually softer metals yield a medium gray, while harder metals yield a charcoal-gray color. Phosphating will often reveal heat-treated areas as well as weld marks from manufacture or repair. Phosphating involves chemicals precipitating out of solution and adhering to metal. This coating acts as a physical barrier against abrasion, has anti-galling properties, and provides additional corrosion resistance through its ability to retain oil. Phosphates are common on military arms, and METACOL IV™ manganese phosphate is the best “Parkerizing” for your guns. Phosphates do not adhere to stainless steel or aluminum, however METACOL III™ gray is a close match to METACOL IV™ and can be used if your firearm has a few aluminum or stainless parts.
Metacol Special Projects
While METACOL III™ is the best firearm coating available, it does have its limitations in certain applications. As a thermally-cured coating, the part in question must be able to handle the curing temperature (same temperature as hot bluing). Some items like wood and some types of fiberglass rifle stocks (such as the H&S Precision, McMillan, and Bell & Carlson) will not safely handle the temperatures. The same applies to some plastic components like on the SCAR.
I am constantly striving to attain the perfect multi-environment camouflage. I’ve hesitantly named it “Geckoflage,” as the Sonoran Desert Gecko has been part of my inspiration. And it sounds better than “flounderflage”, as the spotted flounder has influenced the contrasting dots.
For this type of application, I use Sherwin Williams Industrial Polane-T™ catalyst-cured epoxy. Sherwin Williams Industrial handles the military CARC (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating) used on our nation’s military vehicles. I use the same military CARC colors in the Polane-T™ line of coatings.
I’ve also experimented with off-the-shelf colors from Krylon™and Rustoleum™, balancing their inferior durability with the ease of application.