Duracoat has figured out how to package their polymeric guns coatings in a single aerosol can. This will make it much simpler to apply, but it’s time to revisit how Dura-ble that Dura-coat really is. Luckily TTAG has a long-term Duracoat test in process: I gave this parts-kit AK-74 a Duracoat ACU camo job almost two years ago. It’s not my rifle any more, but it went to a good home and its new owner even brings it over to play once in a while . . .
Despite being treated with anything but kid gloves, this rough-use AK shows almost no new surface wear since getting the Duracoat treatment. It seems impervious to ordinary dings and scratches, but repeated metal-to-metal wear has completely removed the Duracoat from the magazine catch, safety sweep, and the rear corner of the ejection port. This photo (above) shows where the hammering from 800+ ejected steel cases has worn the edge of the dust cover back down to bare metal. It also shows how the safety lever detent has etched its arc of travel into the Duracoat of the receiver.
Properly-made AK magazines have a steel protrusion at the top rear, which locks into the rifle’s stiffly-sprung magazine catch. AK’s have legendary magazine retention, and all of this steel-on-steel abrasion has mostly removed my Duracoat attempt. Looking back to my original post, I acknowledge at the time that I didn’t do a great job of prepping or shooting the magazine catch area. This is an extremely high-wear part, and I can’t say if even perfectly-applied Duracoat would last very long.
A few more specks of Duracoat have flaked off from the rubberized pistol grip, which I really didn’t know how to prepare properly when I applied it.
From the appearance of this almost 2 year-old surface treatment, I can’t imagine that it could ever rust unless the Duracoat were chipped off first. That’s pretty hard to do.
Duracoat is said to be susceptible to darkening when it’s exposed to extreme heat above 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and I expected the barrel and gas tube to be cooked a deep brown after 800 rounds. This AK tends to be shot quickly, 30 or 60 rounds at a time between cool-downs, and most shooting trips include at least one brief episode of bump-firing silliness. The barrel and gas block basically get hotter than hell.
And the Duracoat basically doesn’t give a damn. The Ultimak gas tube has the same colors as the day I sprayed it, as is the barrel. Most of the darkening you see in this picture is just carbon fouling, but the Duracoat has permanently darkened the area around the vent holes in the gas block.
The muzzle brake gets awfully hot, and it has also kept its ACU colors except for the very muzzle end where it’s a little darker. It fouls quickly when you shoot filthy 7N6 ammo anyway, so you can’t tell where the soot ends and the darkened Duracoat begins until you clean it.
Conclusion: It’s Good Stuff.
Even when applied by a rank novice, this Duracoat job looks *almost* the same after 800 rounds and nearly two years of use. It doesn’t last long under repeated metal-on-metal wear and it’s got a tentative relationship with this rifle’s rubbery pistol grip, but it shrugs off moisture and scratches that would quickly trash a blued or phosphated metal finish. Despite my initial concerns, Duracoat seems to have no problems with the heat generated by ordinary run-and-gun shooting.