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Hello all, I am new to the forums and have some questions about the AK finishing world. I have recently been introduced to the world of AK metal finishing by a customer. Here to now, I have generally worked with factory commercial guns and I have avoided military variants. I do have some experience in handling and shooting AK's; Although not enough experience to be able to discern the finer points. My questions to the forum are: Are AK shooters as a group, looking for authentic reproduction finishes, example bluing and how "shiny"? Parkerizing and is it an authentic finish? Do you not care as long as it is very durable, example Parkerize under Cerakote. Or is it generally just up to an individual? As far as spray finishes, is there a favorite (Gunkote, Dura/Cera Kote Krylon)?
 

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Personally, I want protection and utter durability. I am dying to get one Cera-Coated in sniper or titanium grey. There are a lot of purists on here as well. I plan on getting numerous firearms Cera-Coated this year as funds permit.
 

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For some authenticity is everything for others it's practical durability. I've got a couple rare projects coming up. None of them will have original finishes due to how easy they are to rust. I will be going with something super durable over the factory finish look. I've got a couple others where I wanted the finish as close to original as I could get it. I'd say it depends on the customer and at the same time the project.
 

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If the customer simply wants it to be durable, paint over park, and - depending on the type of final paint used - this will also be the "authentic" solution for some guns. If the customer requires that the finish appear authentic, then this will require a little build-specific research, which isn't that difficult - lots of resources here and you can always just ask on this forum and get an accurate answer.

Remember that in some cases bluing is required for authenticity (includes, but not limited to, all Yugo builds and some Romanian) on some rifles and its also the preference of some customers (whether correct or not). There are a few guns that can be authentically finished by just parkerizing. Those of us living in the desert don't worry about rust, while in other areas of the country, its a prime concern, so geography enters into this too.
 

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If you want an Authentic paint over park. Arsenal uses a paint that will breakdown and run with many solvents. Acetone will infact remove all factory paint.

GunKote makes their color called "AK-Black" it is their regular black with extra pigment added. I have this on most of my AKs. For my Battlefield look I parked the receiver and trunnions then assembled the rifle and removed (wore down) the outside parkerize finish to match the rest of the kit.

If you are looking to match the Romanian finish you could parkerize with a zinc park and then dip the whole gun in a cold blue solution to get the really black parkerize. There is a solution that can be used as a pre-dip darkener but the name slips me right now.

The newer Polish and East German finishes were quite hard almost like an Polymer type Epoxy. The new finish holds up to considerable aggressive media blasting before finally releasing it's hold on to the parkerize finish. That one would be a tough one to match in dimension and impact protection. I've got a feeling the EPA bans that product here since it works do damn well. It's like a powdercoat but not as fragile.
 

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Depends on the purpose of the particular rifle. Some I want to be as authentic looking as possible for collector value and others like a regular shooter or duty type rifle its all about performance and durability.
 
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