Gong paint

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Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 1:41 pm

Painting your steel targets.

I'm not a fan of painting steel targets as I feel part of the challenge is making the rusty steel out against a field background.
But I have a few plates I like to check zero on, very difficult when they're covered in lead spatter, so I paint those :-)

I bought a carton of spray cans a few years back, but I find them more annoying than helpful.
I think the ideal is probably a gallon can of left over white house paint and a four-inch brush, but that's messy and difficult to either leave in the field or carry out and back all the time. And opening it so often is not conducive to preventing it from setting hard in the can eventually, not to mention the brushes needing cleaning or replacing. Wooden brushes are only a buck apiece though which is cheap enough not to bother trying to clean them.

250gm spray cans are about $4 apiece, but can often be found on special in cartons of a dozen cans.

A 4-litre can of house paint is about $35, about half the price of spray cans. But I've found it also covers much better than sprays.

So, what do you use and why?

What do clubs use to paint their steel targets all the time?
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Re: Gong paint

Post by boingk » 23 Sep 2021, 1:56 pm

Basic white spray works well, and is cheap. Yellow or other bright high-contrast colours will work too.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 2:15 pm

boingk wrote:Basic white spray works well, and is cheap. Yellow or other bright high-contrast colours will work too.


I'm not fussed on colour as I really don't want high-contrast.
I just need paint that will show bullet splashes, I've used white, black, red and probably some others (I had heaps of spray cans from painting my race bikes). I haven't used yellow paint myself but the air-rifle silhouettes I use came painted yellow.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by Larry » 23 Sep 2021, 3:12 pm

I use the Wattle Enamel that also has a primer or doesnt need a primer. That was recommeded by STS Targets and it works well. I have tried other brands of the enamel paint and that also works well.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by boingk » 23 Sep 2021, 3:18 pm

Fair enough on the hi-contrast.

Perhaps a flat grey? They are hardy and will go on pretty much anything. Export do a cheap version called 'machine grey' which may help.

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Re: Gong paint

Post by deye243 » 23 Sep 2021, 3:19 pm

I go to Supercheap Auto when they have three or I think it might be four Cans for $9 99 and you just get Matt White paint .
I spray the gong and by the time i get back to fp it is dry do not use enamel it takes over an hour for it to dry
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 3:23 pm

Larry wrote:I use the Wattle Enamel that also has a primer or doesnt need a primer. That was recommended by STS Targets and it works well. I have tried other brands of the enamel paint and that also works well.


I do have gallons of Wattyl Killrust Delicious Red.
I bought a lot of it on a crazy special a few years ago to use for painting anything around the farm that gets rusty, I just bought another two four-litre cans a couple months back.
I have used it on gongs and it does work great, but it's still pretty messy.
I leave my targets out in the paddocks and just move them around as required. I'd have to take a vehicle out if I wanted to collect them to bring them back to paint them. The biggest plate is about 750mm square and very heavy, its size it what makes it most useful for checking zero though.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 3:31 pm

deye243 wrote:I go to Supercheap Auto when they have three or I think it might be four Cans for $9 99 and you just get Matt White paint .
I spray the gong and by the time i get back to fp it is dry do not use enamel it takes over an hour for it to dry


I prefer to paint them after a session so they will be dry by the time I want to shoot them again. I like to go up and see and photograph the targets close range afterwards so it makes sense to paint them then. When I feel the urge to do some shooting I don't want to mess about with targets :-)

Yes, the enamel is pretty much 24-hour dry time.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by scoot » 23 Sep 2021, 3:33 pm

Line marking paint covers easily and dries fast. Not as durable as other stuff but you shoot the crap out of it anyway. You can pick up free cans from jobsites, etc that are 1/2 empty or just discarded. (If your in the right circles)
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 3:35 pm

boingk wrote:Fair enough on the hi-contrast.

Perhaps a flat grey? They are hardy and will go on pretty much anything. Export do a cheap version called 'machine grey' which may help.

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I have used grey undercoats and it works fine colour-wise.
I just don't like the spray cans much :-)
Walking out to paint them only to discover the can or cans have no pressure really sucks :-)
But leaving them out there they seem to lose pressure even quicker.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 3:39 pm

scoot wrote:Line marking paint covers easily and dries fast. Not as durable as other stuff but you shoot the crap out of it anyway. You can pick up free cans from jobsites, etc that are 1/2 empty or just discarded. (If your in the right circles)


I have tried this stuff as we use it to mark out contours for contour ripping the paddocks.
It's not cheap though. I think we pay $40 for six 450gm cans?
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Re: Gong paint

Post by northdude » 23 Sep 2021, 5:14 pm

I just use a white spray can it lasts for ages
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 6:20 pm

northdude wrote:I just use a white spray can it lasts for ages


I don't seem to get much out of them.
I have the big 750mm-square plate, a couple of plates about 400mm by 300mm, and the half-scale and fifth-scale silhouettes that I paint one side. I don't think I've ever done them all with one can.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by deye243 » 23 Sep 2021, 6:41 pm

bladeracer wrote:
deye243 wrote:I go to Supercheap Auto when they have three or I think it might be four Cans for $9 99 and you just get Matt White paint .
I spray the gong and by the time i get back to fp it is dry do not use enamel it takes over an hour for it to dry


I prefer to paint them after a session so they will be dry by the time I want to shoot them again. I like to go up and see and photograph the targets close range afterwards so it makes sense to paint them then. When I feel the urge to do some shooting I don't want to mess about with targets :-)

Yes, the enamel is pretty much 24-hour dry time.

Yeah we do it a different way with us hitting the gong just isn't enough every shooter lays down a group we go up and measure it spray get back and then next shooter up and so on and smallest group wins the afternoons fun
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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 6:46 pm

deye243 wrote:Yeah we do it a different way with us hitting the gong just isn't enough every shooter lays down a group we go up and measure it spray get back and then next shooter up and so on and smallest group wins the afternoons fun


You need more gongs!
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Re: Gong paint

Post by Larry » 23 Sep 2021, 7:12 pm

Never had a problem with the paint taking to long to dry even if I go and give them a spray before use. I am not touching them they are in place 24/7. I like to use the gloss white as it does give good contrast. I have used other peoples gongs that have used the orange marker paint and it really didnt work very well. The thicker enamel paint chips off better.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by on_one_wheel » 23 Sep 2021, 7:15 pm

I like to use dy-mark, usually white.
It's cheap, covers fast, dries fast, is a good mat finish.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by scoot » 23 Sep 2021, 8:44 pm

on_one_wheel wrote:I like to use dy-mark, usually white.
It's cheap, covers fast, dries fast, is a good mat finish.

That's the stuff I meant earlier. Not sure what it was worth as I've never "paid" for it.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by boingk » 23 Sep 2021, 9:12 pm

Ah, no pressure!

Take a thermos or bucket of hot water. Just out of the tap, nothing special. Throw the cans in a few minutes before paint time, give 'em a good shake when you're ready and you're all set.

I've done this a bunch when I'm in a bind for basic paint projects and its still 5'C outside. Cans won't work until they're at least lukewarm to the touch, damn things.

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Re: Gong paint

Post by bladeracer » 23 Sep 2021, 9:37 pm

boingk wrote:Ah, no pressure!

Take a thermos or bucket of hot water. Just out of the tap, nothing special. Throw the cans in a few minutes before paint time, give 'em a good shake when you're ready and you're all set.

I've done this a bunch when I'm in a bind for basic paint projects and its still 5'C outside. Cans won't work until they're at least lukewarm to the touch, damn things.

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I'll have to try that!
I'll never get used to being cold and wet most of the year :-)
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Re: Gong paint

Post by ZaineB » 23 Sep 2021, 10:51 pm

I use $2 line marker
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Re: Gong paint

Post by ZaineB » 23 Sep 2021, 10:51 pm

on_one_wheel wrote:I like to use dy-mark, usually white.
It's cheap, covers fast, dries fast, is a good mat finish.



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Re: Gong paint

Post by wanneroo » 23 Sep 2021, 11:53 pm

Most of the time if I am shooting on my own, I just paint at the end of shooting.

I wouldn't worry too much about shooting wet paint, it absorbs the lead dust.

I prefer an enamel Rust Oleum spray paint. I paint different colors depending on the background. White is probably the best for me.

I have an excess of purple property line no hunting paint, so I've been using some of that this summer and it's your standard cheap spray can paint. It works ok but I prefer the more expensive stuff.
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Re: Gong paint

Post by Gamerancher » 24 Sep 2021, 11:15 am

Having shot metallic silhouette for over 20 years and long range black-powder using metal "gongs" out to 1000m, I've seen and used a sh!t-load of different paint on our targets.
The Dy-mark above is about the best but can be big $$$ if you are using a bunch of it.
Metal primer in spray cans can be cheap, about $4 a can. Sticks to the metal, dries quick and doesn't leave a shiny surface.
Gloss enamel is the worst paint to use, it doesn't stick to bare / dirty metal very well, takes an age to dry and will flake off in large pieces, meaning you use more paint.
We've also found over the years that "flat" paint is better than gloss for consistent sight picture. Get the sun in the wrong spot on gloss painted targets and they disappear.
Colour is dependant on background, light background requires dark target, and vice versa. We've predominantly use white or black and some ranges run with the orange "fluoro" like clays.
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