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Review of Norrell's Moly Resin for M16A2 clone refinishing

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by ankratz, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. ankratz

    ankratz Bend, OR Member

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    I'm pretty active on AR15.com and posted this in the "A2" forum over there. You can see that forum here if you're in to it:

    Anyhow, I thought I'd also share this on NFW. It's a direct copy and paste, so some of it may read more in ARFCOM speak :) Enjoy


    Norrell's is the s***. Wear a respirator and have ventilation. Spray hot parts. A 1:1 mix of SOCOM black and gray black is a great blend for older gray finishes, but gray black on it's own is too light, and better suited to retro A1 builds.

    Now for those who can "read good"....

    Hey Gents, I'll likely post this in the refinishing forum, too, but I ask the Mods to please keep this here for future A2 lovers as this applies directly in the A2 community.

    I've been doing a lot of research on the proper coating and color to refinish my A2 clone. I have an all FN upper, and I love it, but it's the later revision "black" (more of a super dark charcoal) version. As such, the lower I bought for it is a McKay (black) receiver. I'm super jealous of you guys with legit gray Colts, or aftermarket gray anodized receivers icon_smile_big.gif so I wanted to do mine up in gray.

    After reviewing lots of products, and scouring Cerakote chips, Google image search, etc, I finally decided on Norrell's Moly Resin, and am glad I did so. It appears to be great stuff so far. I ordered two pints of it; one SOCOM black", and one "gray black". My initial image searches made me suspect that gray black is too light, and more appropriate for true retro builds reminiscent of the early Colt gray. I was correct, but I'll let you be the judge.

    I'm going to reference these colors a lot in the upcoming photos, so I will refer to the colors in shorthand:

    AN - factory anodizing
    BB - SOCOM black
    GB - gray black
    50 - a mix of black, and gray black, as in: 50/50, the ratio I used of 1:1 black to gray black

    I will address these colors in the photos from left to right, top to bottom unless otherwise specified, but you should be able to tell the difference. All photos were taken on a Galaxy Samsung S4 in Richtone HDR format under shop fluorescent lighting.

    I coated three USGI magazines after sandblasting with 80 grit Garnett Sand, and degreasing them with acetone. All were heated to 170 degrees F prior to coating, using an Iwata LPH80 HVLP gun with 0.8mm tip @ 10 to 14 psi (I'm still learning that gun, by the way, so the black is a little more shiny and overcoated). Each mag took almost exactly 9mL of paint (about the perfect amount). Then cured at 300 degrees F for one hour.

    1. FN upper reciever (black), GB, 50, BB

    2. AN (factory mag on the left), GB, 50, BB

    3. GB, 50, BB

    4. GB, 50, BB, AN mag on the bottom

    5. GB, 50, BB, AN mag on the bottom

    6. AN

    7. GB

    8. 50

    9. BB

    10. BB, 50, GB, over NOS USGI "gray" stock

    11. BB, 50, GB

    12. 50, GB, Noveske QD end plate over NOS USGI stock

    13. BB (left), 50 (top), GB (bottom) over NOS FN (3S679 marked) parkerized barrel

    14. BB

    15. 50

    16. GB

    17. BB

    18. 50

    19. GB


    SOCOM black is BLACK. It would look great for refinishing a regular lower and has a slight metallic flake almost to it, but I wouldn't recommend at all for using it to replicate an old A2. I had no intention to use it, but I wanted a color chip for comparison :)

    Gray black is too light for my purposes here, but perfect for a retro build. Even then it might be a little light; I would defintely re-coat magazines with it, though.

    My 50/50 mix came out great, and is very similar to the shade of an NOS A2 stock. Probably just about right.

    All colors had a "blue" tone to them compared to the parkerized parts like the barrel, LPK, rear sight, etc. Those parts looked almost green in comparison.

    I think what I will do to match the shade of those parkerized parts is to continue with the 50/50 mix, but cure it for the "green tint" per Norrell's excellent instructions (included with the paint and also on his website) at 325 degrees. Another thing I thought about trying is to maybe do a 60/40 gray black to black, again with the green tint curing temp/time.

    Anyhow, these photos are very close to what it looks like in person, at least from a comparison perspective. I hope the multiple angles and lighting help you guys pick the right mix for your A2 clone.

    Overall, my first experience with Norrell's Moly Resin has been a good one, and I will be using this stuff in the future for other parts. I can say though, tweak your paint gun (if using an HVLP) to really atomize the paint finely. Higher pressure is better than lower, but hold on to your part so it doesn't flip around. The hotter the part, the flatter the finish, though a shinier part with Norrell's doesn't look "bad" either with that subtle metallic in it.

    Another great thing I noticed: my paint "booth" if you want to call it that was garbage. Literally. It was a box with a piece of rebar stuck through it until I can build a proper one with 3 mil plastic and ventilation. My parts had dust and crap all over them. However, after curing, I was able to brush away those dust bits with no visible imperfections with the finish. I don't know if I got lucky, or if this stuff is just very forgiving, but keep that in mind.

    Also, the part in the instructions about doing at least five passes to coat it is absolutely true. However, try to go quickly as possible so you're spraying a hot part.

    I tried rubbing MEK on the part and *nothing* came off on the paper towel, so it cured perfectly. However, running the mags in the rifle a couple times did scratch down to the bare aluminum, but "meh" whatever. If it does that on the receivers, I welcome it for the honest wear look.

    Lastly, WEAR A F***ING RESPIRATOR and have VENTILATION. Holy crap this stuff hangs in the air. The smell is not bad, but your wife will definitely hate you briefly. If putting in the kitchen oven, it releases a smell that is similar to burning hair, so be ready for that. (Or maybe I just need to clean my oven)

    Hope this info is helpful, thanks for reading.
    Stomper likes this.
  2. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    Moly Resin is great stuff - holds up well and is one of the more chemical resistant finishes out there. I will say NEVER spray the stuff without a respirator - EVER. My old business partner forgot his respirator / filters one day and decided since he was only spraying some small parts he would do it outside since it was calm and warm. His risk resulted in some nicely refinished parts and pneumonia like symptoms that lasted over a month. He was continually coughing up a lung for weeks and black crud for several days - what seemed like 5 times the total amount of material sprayed.
    Hope you get the color you are looking for, we used to just find a mix that was a happy medium and respray everything to match.
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  3. fstdraw

    fstdraw Salem Active Member

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    I've used Moly Resin for several years. AR's, AK's and a couple of pistols have all been a perfect finish.