Instructables

Turn a cheapo airsoft gun into one that won't get laughed off the field.

Picture of Turn a cheapo airsoft gun into one that won't get laughed off the field.
There are some powerful airsoft rifles out there for very little cash. Particularly spring powered sniper rifles and shotguns with great internals, who's only draw back is that they just plain don't look real enough for a serious airsoft game.
Here's how I turned my $160 UTG L96 into a nice piece of eye candy.
It's not terribly hard to do if you have any kind of DIY attitude, but I'll lay it all out there and hopefully it will make you think twice about passing up some of those plasticy looking guns.

DISCLAIMER!
Last time I played airsoft in my local, orange tips were not nessicery.
Check your local laws regarding replica firearms.
I make things look pretty, I'm not responsible for what you do with them after.
 
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Step 1: What you'll need.

Picture of What you'll need.
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First you need a lousy looking airsoft gun.
My choice was the UTG K96 which is an imitation of the L96 commonly known as the AWP in counterstrike.
There's another brand that makes one almost just like this. Can't vouch for the internals though.

Pros of this weapon.
-Price point. $160 with a firearms grade scope.
-Powerful. 460 FPS, borderline too powerful for most fields.
-Primary weapon. All you need is a backup ready for close encounters.
-Spring powered. No batteries, no gas.
-Cheap mags. You don't need many for a game either.
-Realistic action. The real one works on the same concept. Cock and shoot for every shot.

Cons.
-Looks and feels like cheap plastic.
-Does not load like the real-steel.
-No dummy mag. The spot where the real mag-well would be is just closed up.

Tools and materials.
-Jewellers saw. Not needed, but sure makes some of those little cuts a lot easier.
-Dremmel with heavy duty cutting disks and sanding wheel.
-Callipers.
-Sandpaper. Prolly just 100, 220 and 400 grit.
-Epoxy putty.
-Precision hobby knife
-Exacto knife.
-Files. Either one half-round or a small set of varying sizes.
-Matte Finish. Duracoat and an applicator or a nice brand of matte spray paint.
-Dummy mag, in the caliber of the weapon you are imitating.
-The saw on my leatherman came in handy too. Gerbers sometimes have grit saws for PVC that would be awesome.

The real L96 is available in multiple calibers. Most common is 7.62x51 which is the same as the M14.
I was able to pick up a real-steel 5rd M14 mag for $20.
For a sniper rifle you want the 5rd because the longer ones will get in the way when you're laying flat on the ground with the bi-pod. It's unlikely that you'd ever see a real sniper rifle with a long mag.
You could use one of the cheapo plastic airsoft mags you buy in boxes too, just cut it to size and maybe duracoat it as well. But other airsoft mags are usually more expensive and more complex than the real steel. Best not to cut them up for something like this.

For paint, I used Duracoat. It's a real firearms finish. It goes on thick, it's an epoxy coat with some elasticity so it doesn't chip, no primer needed.
For colors I used tactical OD and black for the barrel.
You either need an airbrush set up in which case you will also need to buy the Duracoat thinner to clean your equipment because this stuff ain't water soluble.
Or you need a disposable applicator. The place I bought my Duracoat from was selling something like a can of duster gas for your computer with a glass bottle on the bottom.
It was about $17cdn per 4oz duracoat, $11 for the degreaser and $18 per disposable applicator.

You could use a spraypaint but you'll have to primer and probably touch up before long.

If you are buying a gun with this project in mind, for the cost of the materials, duracoat and applicators needed to do one gun, it might be worth puting the extra money towards a better quality rifle from the start.
But if you have one of these already and/or you have more than one gun to paint, this is easily worth the money.
If you have an airbrush it will also cut the cost.
If not you will need one applicator for each color of Duracoat, and you can't re-use it.
There's supposed to be enough gas in one to apply an entire 4oz bottle of coat, so to get the most out of it, round up everything you might want to paint, prep them all, mix the entire bottle and use it up.
You only get one shot, the paint will cure in the applicator after a while.

Our mistake was that we mixed the enitre bottle thinking we'd barely have enough to do what we wanted.
In fact we had more than enough to paint the L96, my P90's frame, 1911's frame, my friend's glock's frame and my flashlight.
After that we still had half a bottle left, though the guns could have used a few more coats, I would have liked to have done some of my knives and other outdoors equipment, we could have even done my friend's P90.

Here are some before shots.


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Nice work! I don't think I could bring myself to do that on a £100+ rifle, but it would be good if I did at some point.

I think I just blew a blood vessel looking at that P90.
I just painted my clear plastic shotgun black with accrylic paint... It looks great... I'll post some pics soon... I really like your guns!
mrdepo965 years ago
This wouldn't happen to be your cat would it?
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Tiny rifle or a huge cat? ZOMG we're all screwed by the he-uge kitteh!
Moonrabbit (author)  mrdepo965 years ago
My cat trained that one.
He seems to have stolen your weapon... Watch your back...
bring a cheap gun to a war shoot them while there laughing
Oh, yeah almost forgot LOL, I like the Instructable. Very helpful, i used it to work on my smith & wesson shot gun (airsoft of course :0 ) please make more and if you have what are they?
Cats suk...
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I have 3 cats. i love all of them... but one of them eats to much and bites me if i dont give her food...
That's kinda like mine... I have 2, and my cat Oliver always bites attacks everybody for no reason, and he overeats constantly!
Moonrabbit (author)  Airsoft_ninja5 years ago
I'm gathering parts to make myself what's probably going to be a single-shot, maybe a double barreled shotgun to start, with very inexpensive yet re-usable shells. Just so it's not the end of the world if one gets away from you. Unlike most gas or even spring shotguns. Also, it will hopefully have a fairly impressive spread. I'm just concerned about how efficient it's going to be on the gas. If I can find the parts I need. I should have some test-fires of the mechanism done in the next couple weeks, but my job's working me like a dog, so it'll be tough to squeeze this project into my spare time as I am also making a projector. But just to get your gears turning, look into using Co2 bicycle tire pumps. I've found some that can use any size of threaded or non threaded Co2 cartridge like the ones a BB gun uses. They will have everything you need to hold and puncture the powerlet, as well as a control valve. That's half of the airsoft gun right there. I was also looking into using the N2o powered whipped cream dispensers because they use a similar powerlet, so it should be easy enough to modify to take the 12g Co2 powerlets. But the bike pumps look like they're closer to what you'll need in the end so you may as well start with them.
my favorite gun double barrel mad max shotgun
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Moonrabbit (author)  albylovesscience5 years ago
Mine will be more functional. It should have at least a six pellet shot. I need to work out exactly how much power I need to launch X number of BBs. Also going to experiment with a refillable tank that can accept the propane adaptor. The whole thing will be more economical.
sound awsome
Zezjek5 years ago
where can you buy the modeling plastic?
Moonrabbit (author)  Zezjek5 years ago
I got mine from a Canadian outfit called Princess Auto in their Surplus section. Not exactly a reliable source for things like that. I'm not sure where else you'd go for it. Hobby and craft stores I imagine.
Princess auto FTW!!!!!!!
Moonrabbit (author)  z-man62334 years ago
*highfive* It sucks though. There isn't a princess auto in the greaterVancouver area, which has effectively put the breaks on have of my wildschemes. I'd probably have my airsoft shotgun system made by now ifthere were.
Where'd you get the Dura-spray spray paint? Sorry for the somewhat ovbious question. Could I just run down to Rona or Home Depot and find some there?
Moonrabbit (author)  Thundertydus4 years ago
My understanding is that it's 'The firearms coating' to use, so check with gun dealers.

I purchased mine from a Canadian outfit called fabports.ca but last I checked they didn't seem to be re-stocking their supply.
In the US I imagine you could get it from the main web site. www.duracoat-firearm-finishes.com/

I just hate having to pay duties and customs fees when I ship things across the border.
Suppose I could send it to my sister in the states if I need some more.
lotrsam115 years ago
Dude! nice cat! haha really
I agree.
KITTY KITTY!!
Moonrabbit (author) 5 years ago
Stay tuned! I'm getting settled in at my new home here in BC. I have a job now, so in the next couple pay cheques I plan on getting the materials for the mod on my M16, and possibly a home made shotgun. Not going to look like any shotguns that currently exist, but it should look like one that could possibly exist. Sort of a conceptual, tactical shotgun.
that is one sexy gun.
bowmaster5 years ago
Looked like a cheap plastic piece of s**t when you started, now it looks decent!! I really like the P-90 btw.
Theodotious5 years ago
Does this work with CO2 powered airsoft pistols? That's what I'm best with.
Moonrabbit (author)  Theodotious5 years ago
As far as the paint goes, there's no reason it shouldn't. The important thing is that the surface be porus enough for it to bond, but worse case scenareo is you go over it with 400 grit sandpaper. Also you take it apart and protect any surfaces that need to move freely against other parts. Say, if you were to put a whole milimeter worth of duracoat on the underside of the slide, it wouldn't fit back on to the frame properly.
Shredder5435 years ago
(Comment removed by bribe of milk and cookies)
finnster5 years ago
Your other guns are just as cool, I see you like long range and CQB. Where do you airsoft? Anywhere in MI? ~F!nnster
HEY YOU COPIED MY ICON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol Jk it's different but similar
Moonrabbit (author)  finnster5 years ago
Thanks! I'm in Canada. I haven't seriously played for a long time. I'm about to move and hope there's more players and fields near where I'm going. The rifle and pistol are just my newest acquisitions for re-entering the sport. I have an M16 a1 which I am planning to modify. I'll have that posted here once I get it done.
Love the cat I have 4 cats. Love 'em all. I have a German shepherd, great dog, I still love cats more, What's its name?
jmanjman5 years ago
man I hate cats (no offence). Dogs are real pimps.
aceLED jmanjman5 years ago
man dogs are awesome what are you talking about and i have both animals and i still think dogs are better
Moonrabbit (author)  jmanjman5 years ago
Seeing as we're already off topic. I will indulge you. Here are my thoughts on cats vs dogs. Neither see you as human, a dog sees you as a member of the pack, and a cat sees you as another cat. Dogs are pack animals, packs have leaders. You must either stay ontop of them at all times to prove you are the pack leader or else they will walk all over you as they attempt to become, or in their own minds see themselves as pack leader. As leader of the pack, you have a duty to show the dog where it fits in the pack, or else it will be vicious or very timid to overcompensate for it's insecurities. To do this you must constantly reassure and prove your dominance over this otherwise wild thing. They show you affection out of obedience. Having had to babysit my mother's pitbull for the last two weeks, and currently being surrounded by a pre-established pack of seven dogs(two of which are huskys), whom over the last two days since I have arrived have had to prove myself dominant over, when they previousely got away with a lot from their owners. I gotta say, it makes me feel pretty good about myself. If I had low self esteem, this would make me feel like a god. Thus you get insecure guys walking rottweilers. Whole lotta dog to take command of, makes ya feel like a big man. A cat on the other hand is not a pack animal. It does not need your constant reassurance. If it doesn't like you, it simply will not come near you. So when it does show affection, you know it is because the cat genuinely likes you. Not because it is attempting to appease you. It doesn't have a high maintenance personality, it is it's own cat with or without you as long as it's not abused. It makes me feel very good about myself that my cats want my attention. Not to say everybody who owns a dog is insecure about themselves. It's just a different type of animal all together, and I don't have the time to manage a pack, even if it only consists of the dog and me.
i know. I have two golden retreivers! But my sister has a cat and it sprays all over her house man!
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