Over the last few months I’ve learned a lot about Cerakote’s gun finishes and have completed ten or so coatings for weapons including a 5 color camo for our 16” Recce AR, a two color Cryptex for our first .300 BLK biuld, and other solid color builds, our latest being our new .300 BLK build in Burnt Bronze which turned out a bit dark because I sprayed it a bit thick.
In Cerakote’s catalog was a product called Micro-Slick. It’s a spray on no-bake coating similar to Nickel Boron in that it protects the piece while adding lubricity throughout the surface. And while Nickel Boron is chrome like in appearance and takes scads of equipment and EPA certifications to apply, Cerakote can be applied in a home shop with relative ease and access to the wife’s oven. While Nickel Boron is the best of it’s kind right up there with Robar, Micro-Slick has positioned itself in the market as a less expensive alternative and its’ turning up more and more in gun coating shops exactly as that. You’ll see it offered on BCG’s (bolt carrier groups) and internal parts. Cerakote is a blue/grey coating which frankly is attractive to these eyes.
Recently I purchased two new BCG’s I’m working on titled “A 100% Reliable $400 AR-15 Build” that I might end up changing to “A 100% reliable $350 AR-15 Build” I placed my order with Palmetto and received two $79 fully automatic BCG’s with the following specifications:
Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel bolt Shot Peened Bolt High pressure tested Mag particle inspected Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO) Chrome Lined Gas Key Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications Gas Key Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners Gas Key Staked Per Mil-Spec Tool Steel Extractor Extractor Spring Extractor O-ring Insert
Made in USA. Bolt is made of Mil-spec Carpenter 158 steel, Shot peened, High pressure tested and Mag Particle Inspected. Gas key is machined out of bar stock, chrome lined phosphate coated, and secured with grade 8 fasteners and staked per mil-spec. Bolt carrier is phosphated outside and chrome lined inside. Laser engraved with the PSA logo.
These are exactly the specifications I look for in a premium BCG and it’s missing only one thing. A quality coating! Palmetto has this same BCG with the same specs coated in Nickel Boron for $119 which is also a bargain. I buy them and change out the extractor spring, donut, and insert with Bravo Companies Excellent Upgrade Kit, and use them in my best AR builds. But the $79 version only has a phosphate coating and even for my $400 bargain build I want a quality coating where if I ever run out of oil in the heat of a battle the heart of the AR-15 (the BCG) will be ale to keep going because its coating doesn’t require oil. Yes, I oil my BCG’s even though it’s not required.
Here are two BCG’s right out of the typical tubes BCG’s are shipped in. Phosphate isn’t a bad looking coating, it’s just not very durable and it has little if anything in the way of lubricity. Let’s take the apart!
Stripping a BCG requires a small brass hammer and two small punches. If you’ve never taken one apart here are what two stripped down BCG’s looks like. Notice the bolt which breaks down to the extractor, extractor spring, donut, insert, and a pin to hold the extractor in, three gas rings, ejector, ejector spring, spring, and roll pin to hold the ejector assembly into the bolt. There is the pin that holds the bolt in and the retaining clip that keeps it all together. Cool eh? Don’t through away the tubes, they’re handy for storing BCG’s and a grunch of other things.
The next thing is to strip off the phosphate coating and in the process correctly prep the surface for spraying the Micro-Slick. Keep in mind that while you can spray over existing coatings, the new coating will never adhere more than the coating it’s sprayed on to. So while a super hard anodizing is very touch and I wouldn’t hesitate to spray over it, there’s just no way I’ll spray on top of a phosphate coating. So off to the bead blasting cabinet to spray 100-120g oxide particles at about 40psi. This creates a surface prep similar to a golf ball surface which is the perfect surface for Cerakote to adhere to. This is not the time to skip an instruction in the application guide because it’s not convenient. In fact, Cerakote’s positive traits require you follow all their steps exactly!
See how nice the bare metal is? No shiny areas, dull but uniform. The extractors are looped on a wire ready to spray as are the pins. Using compressed air make sure you remove all the blasting media before putting them in a dipping tank filled with Brake Kleen to remove all traces of grease and oil. leave them soaking for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the dipping tank and from this point on wear a latex glove without powder for the remaining steps. Use compressed air to blow them dry, and then put them on a metal tray and into the oven for a solid hour at 300f so all the cleaning fluid can leech from the pores of the metal. After an hour remove them from the oven and let them cool before spraying with Micro-Slick. Leave them hang drying for 24 hours after spraying.
These are the pieces 24 hours after spraying, air dried. This is a nice finish! Using 0000 steel wool burnish the outside of the BCG at the 24 hour after spraying point, and then hang them back up to dry for another 4-5 days. Because you don’t make these like the gun colors, you must let them sit. I’m sure this will be hard for some of you, it was for me.
Five days after spraying they’re ready to use. At this point I’m not ready to use these two BCG’s so I coated them liberally in G96 Gun Treatment which is the sweetest smelling lubrication product I’ve ever used. If you ever run out of aftershave use some of this and she’ll love it.
So that’s it. How to apply Cerakote Micro-Slick. I haven’t yet ran any BCG’s with Micro-SLick but I’ve read plenty of reviews to convince me its’ a very good product. I’ll update this article in a few months once I have ran the BCG’s and we’ll see first hand at that time. Until then enjoy Cerakote products. I love using them and most of all the look and protective qualities.
Until next time..